The Best Things to Do on Anafi Island

Anafi Island is a hidden gem, a place of untouched beauty, mostly undiscovered by mass tourism. If you love rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, whitewashed villages, majestic mountain views, and hidden coves then you will fall instantly for Anafi. It is a perfect destination if you love low-key vacations, authentic Greece, and unique volcanic landscapes.

Some of the best things to do on Anafi island are to swim on its “virgin” beaches, walk by small remote chapels, and hike the gigantic Kalamos rock, and taste the local cuisine.

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Best Things to Do on Anafi Island

Anafi Island Fast Facts

Roukounas sandy Beach in Anafi island in Greece with only 3 people at the beach.
Roukounas Beach. Credit: Hellas Beach
  • Anafi is an hour away from Santorini by ferry. Administratively it belongs to the municipality of Santorini.
  • It has 479 permanent residents (2021).
  • According to Greek Mythology, the island emerged from the bottom of the Aegean Sea to give shelter to the Argonauts.
  • There are no banks in Anafi but there is 1 ATM in Agios Nikolaos Port (Piraeus Bank) and 1 in Chora, next to the post office (Eurobank), both Greek banks.
  • There is a local medical center and a gas station on the island.

Arriving at Anafi’s Port, Agios Nikolaos

The Anafi port and the Anafi Chora on top of the mountain in Anafi Island Greece.
Anafi Greece Port and Chora

As soon as you arrive at Agios Nikolaos, Anafi’s tiny port, you will be welcomed with its laid-back charm. The boat stays long enough so that everyone disembarks and before you know it, it’s gone again. Hora, Anafi’s main town stands 200 meters on the hill right above the port and you will need transportation to reach it. There is a local bus that runs around the island but not so frequently. Alternatively, you can take one of the two taxis on the island, or rent your car to best explore Anafi island.

Walk Around Picturesque Anafi Hora

Anafi Square

Anafi’s main settlement Hora, also known as Chora, is a postcard-perfect Cycladic gem. Amphitheatrically built upon the ruins of the Venetian castle and 3 km from the port of Agios Nikolaos is full of charming white-washed houses, little churches, and picturesque squares.

Chora Anafi © Loukas Efthimiou

One of the best things to do in Anafi Hora is to walk around the kalderimia (cobblestone alleys), visit quaint shops hidden in alleyways, enjoy the stunning vistas and taste the local Greek cafe and sweets at the kafenion (cafes). At the top of Hora lie, the remains of a once-mighty Venetian castle that you can visit. The view from there is captivating, with Santorini’s silhouette gracing the horizon, ideal for romantics and dreamers who want to enjoy the stunning sunset.

Check out the traditional old windmills scattered on Hora Hill and look for the small archaeological collection in the village. Apart from Hora, Anafi has only 2 other villages: Agios Nikolaos the port, and Kleisidi.

Best Beaches on Anafi Island

The sandy beach of Roukounas and some people in Anafi Island
Roukounas Beach

Set in the south of Anafi, Roukounas is without a doubt the most beautiful beach on the island. It is a large sandy beach with golden sand and clear blue-azure crystal clear waters. It is not an organized beach however, it has showers and toilets. There are also tamarisk trees to hide under their shade and nearby there is a tavern for food or water supplies.

Kleisid Beach in Anafi Greece
Kleisidi © Sergio Panic

Just east of Agios Nikolaos port lies the settlement of Kleisidi, beckoning with its handful of charming hotels like Apollon Village Hotel (family-friendly, swimming pool) or the YPSELI Anafi’s hive (children over 10 are welcome, swimming pool) and several taverns perched above the turquoise waters of Kleisidi beach. Imagine soft sand, crystal clear waters perfect for a cooling dip, and easily reached by a scenic coastal road, making it ideal for families with young children.

Just opposite Kleisidi are the islands of Makra, Ftena, and Pachia which you can visit while doing the tour of the island with a small local boat.

The Livoskopos Beach with some tree and two people
Livoskopos Beach

If you like challenging beaches then you should go to the northeast of Anafi where you can find Livoskopos beach. You can leave your car in the parking lot but, getting to the beach itself is a handful of downhill, bare-terrain hiking. Two chapels on the nearby hill are worth visiting.

Sandy Agioi Anargyroi Beach with a whitewashed church and many campers
Agioi Anargyroi Beach

There are 14 beautiful beaches in total all around Anafi island that you can visit and find your favorite one. Most of them have no water or food or shade, so be prepared especially if you are visiting during the hot July and August months.

Explore the Sites of Anafi Island

Panagia Dokari church with some ancient ruins in Anafi
Panagia Dokari church

According to Greek Mythology, Anafi emerged through the raging waves of the god Apollo to save the shipwrecked Argonauts. There are traces of its ancient past, scattered all around the island. You can visit Kasteli, the ancient city of Anafi, where you can see the ruins of the city founded in the 8th century BC.

An alley with steps in Kasteli village with flowers houses and sea view

Located at the foot of the Kasteli hill you will also find Panagia Dokari church and a marble sarcophagus of the Roman period.

White chapel of Agios Antonios on the steep north shores of Anafi
Agios Antonios

Perched on the steep north shores of Anafi, is the white chapel of Agios Antonios with the typical double arch on the roof. It is the only Byzantine church on the island and inside it, you can admire the amazing frescoes dating from the 14th century.

A beautiful sunset in Kalamos Rock
Kalamos Rock © Madres Bar sunset views

If you’re looking for a wild night out in Anafi Greece, then you should go to the bar-club Madres, set on the hill (open only in July and August). While dancing, you will be able to see the lights of Santorini in the distance.

Taste Anafi’s Local Cuisine

Skaltounia Greek traditional sweat and Greek coffee
Skaltsounia and Greek Coffee © Margarita’s restaurant

The local cuisine of Anafi is simply delicious!

Freshly caught fish and seafood and local traditional Anafi dishes with fresh ingredients will make you just love the food. While you are on the island taste the local dishes:

  • Pitaria & skordompalota (local pasta served with tomato sauce, cheese, and garlic)
  • Psomi zaforisto (bread with feta cheese and local saffron)
  • Gemista (fried sweet pastries with sesame, orange, cinnamon, and almonds)
  • Melitera (sweet pastries filled with the local cheese mizithra)
  • Local goat cheese and thyme honey
  • Do not miss to combine all dishes your dishes with strofyliatiko, an aromatic local white wine

Hiking the Impressive Trails

Kalamos Rock in Anafi Island Greece.
Kalamos Rock in Anafi

One of the best things to do in Anafi Greece is hiking. The island’s most impressive feature is a gigantic and intimidating rock, Kalamos, 460 m high, only second in size to Gibraltar rock. If you climb it, towards its top, you will find the Panagia Kalamiotissa, a beautiful whitewashed chapel, built in 1715. From there, you will be thrilled by the sea vistas and if you go late in the afternoon, you will be dazzled by one of the best sunsets in the Mediterranean.

 Panagia Kalamiotissa, a beautiful whitewashed chapel, built in 1715 in Anafi
Monastery Panagia © Mauro de Brassi

On the north side of Kalamos Rock, with difficult access, there is a cave called Drakontospito (house of the dragons). Inside, the walls have beautiful golden-green colors and the stalactites and stalagmites make the cave a fascinating spectacle.

If you are lucky, you may see the sea seals that according to the inhabitants appear very regularly in the area.

A rocky terrain, volcanic-ash granite, and limestone from the Santorini volcanic eruption paths, steep cliffs, and cove-scalloped morphology in Anafi
Wild Anafi Terrain

Anafi island has rocky terrain, volcanic-ash granite, and limestone from the Santorini volcanic eruption paths, cliffs, and cove-scalloped morphology. The terrain is barren of trees or large plants with its peak being Vigla, at 582 m in the center of Anafi. There are a few paths to choose from on the 18km trail very old network and well-signposted, but if you had to choose one trail it could be: Chora – Ancient Kastelli – Kalamos peninsula to the top of Panagia Kalamiotissa church (around 7 km). Check here for the Hiking Trails of Anafi from Wikiloc.

FAQ for Anafi Island

Where Best to Stay in Anafi

There are limited accommodation options in Anafi. A popular place is Hora, the main village, with stunning views, charm, and easy access to shops, restaurants, and cultural sites. Hora will be more crowded and expensive than other areas with limited beach access. Ideal for: Travelers who want to be in the heart of the action and enjoy exploring villages.

Another great option is Kleisidi the small settlement near Agios Nikolaos with a beautiful beach and a few tavernas, offering a peaceful escape, ideal for couples seeking a secluded beach getaway.

Boreas Stone House in Anafi Hora (adults only)is in a great location, close to all restaurants, cafes, and bars but on a quiet bit of the village.

Golden Beach Resort Anafi is 1.4 km from the center of Anafi, with great views, lovely spacious rooms, and a gorgeous Infinity pool. Ideal for couples and for those who want a peaceful rest.

Apollon Village Hotel (family-friendly, swimming pool) or the YPSELI Anafi’s hive (children over 10 are welcome, swimming pool) are both close to Kleisidi village and beach.

What are some must-do activities on Anafi Island?

  • Hiking Trails: Various trails provide scenic routes, ranging from challenging climbs to leisurely walks along the coast.
  • Kayaking and Boat Tours: Explore the coastline, hidden coves, and caves from a different perspective.
  • Snorkeling and Diving: Discover the underwater world teeming with marine life in crystal-clear waters.
  • Cooking Classes: Learn about local cuisine and traditional dishes while indulging in delicious flavors.

Is Anafi a good island for families? 

Anafi offers a laid-back atmosphere and several child-friendly beaches.  However, limited entertainment options and transportation might not suit all families.

Is Anafi expensive to visit? 

Compared to other Cycladic islands, Anafi is generally less expensive.  Accommodation and dining options range from budget-friendly to moderately priced.

How to Get to Anafi Greece

Anafi to Santorini (Can I fly there?)

There is no airport in Anafi but you can fly to Santorini and take from there the 60′ to 90′ ferry to Anafi. There is a connection throughout the year but in high season there are quite a few lines that connect the two islands. Check out Ferryscanner for routes.

By Ferry: Most of the ferries leave from Athens’ main port, Piraeus, 3-4 times per week and the trip lasts 9-11 hours! I would recommend you book a cabin so that you can rest and make the trip less tiring if you go by ferry. As you can imagine, the cabins are the first to be booked so you better book them fast.

There is also a ferry leaving from Lavrio Port in Athens to Anafi once a week.

When is Best to Go to Anafi Greece

Anafi never gets as busy as the other very popular islands like Mykonos, Santorini, or Paros but August might be also a busy month.

Agios Nikolaos sandy beach and a fishing boat in the sea in Anafi
Anafi Beach Agios Nikolaos in summer

If you are wondering when is the Best Time to Go to Greece the most popular and lively months are during the summer. However, in August it will be windy – as everywhere in the Cyclades. For adventurous travelers who love remote and quiet places, Anafi will be open and working all year round, even in the winter.

A great time to visit the island is during Easter (May 5th, 2024). The countryside will be full of flowers, shoulder season prices for your hotel and the weather will be just perfect for hiking or long strolls on the island. You will also be able to watch closely the biggest religious celebration in Greece and all the customs related to Greek Easter. You can read here about Greek Orthodox Easter on Tinos Island.

The Monastery of Zoodochou Pigi, in Anafi
Monastery of Zoodochou Pigi

Another great time to visit Anafi would be at the festival of Panagia Kalamiotissa on September 7 and 8, at the Monastery of Zoodochou Pigi, where dinner and lunch with local food are offered. The Monastery of Zoodochou Pigi, (open 11 am–1 pm & 4–6 pm until 7 pm in summer), is one of the oldest Monasteries in the Cyclades, built around 10th c AD.

In the same place used to be the ancient temple of Apollo Aigletis, parts of which were used to build the Monastery.

How to Get Around Anafi Greece

Besides the municipal bus, 2 taxis work 24/7 on the island. Their numbers are:

  • Giannis, +30 6987 950445
  • Roussetos, +30 6970 848622

You can also rent your car or a bike that offers more flexibility, or explore on foot for a truly immersive experience.

What to Wear in Anafi

This depends on the season you are visiting but anytime between May and October, essential things to have in Greece are:

Plan My Trip to Greece

Do you need a custom travel itinerary or a transfer within Greece? Are you traveling solo, with your family or friends and need a tailor-made multi-day tour or a transfer?

If yes, please visit my dedicated Plan My Trip Page for a free itinerary!

Where is your dream summer destination? Would you go to Anafi?

I’d love to hear about where you’re spending your vacation this year, especially if you have any exciting travel plans! There are so many things to do on Anafi Island. I hope that you get the chance to try as many as possible. Till next time, Evgenia❤️

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About the author
Evgenia Mataragka
Hi! I am an Athens-based Greek obsessed with exploring Greece and bringing you the best travel experience ever!

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