The Complete Guide to Volcanic Anafi Island

Anafi Greek Island

Anafi island in Greece is a very beautiful and wild-looking island, mostly undiscovered by mass tourism.

Anafi is a secluded island, perfect for people who are seeking relaxed, low-key holidays, and are attracted by its very unique volcanic landscape.

Kalamos Rock in Anafi © Canva

Anafi island is also a very popular destination for hikers. Its most impressive feature is a gigantic and intimidating rock, Kalamos, 460 m high, only second in size to Gibraltar rock.

Its population is just 271 permanent residents (2011 registration) but it increases significantly during summertime.

I went to Anafi on a solo trip last summer and it was such a magical experience, as Anafi island is still preserving its natural beauty within a very mild touristic development.

“Virgin” beaches, small chapels, picturesque paths and imposing hills are some of the main reasons why Anafi will relax you and bring you a little closer to yourself!

Where is Anafi Island?

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Where is this unspoiled Anafi Island?

Anafi along with Santorini is located in the southeast part of the Cyclades group of Greek Islands. And because of this proximity, traveling from Santorini to Anafi is quite easy by ferry.

How to Get to Anafi Island

Anafi Port© Christian Rieke

You can travel to Anafi Island:

Anafi Airport: There is no airport on Anafi but you can fly to Santorini and take from there the 90′ ferry to Anafi. That will allow you to combine a visit to both super-star Santorini and tranquil but equally imposing Anafi island.

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 once a week.

Check the no-hidden-fees FerryHopper for tickets and prices to Anafi Island:

ferryhopper logo

Arriving at Anafi’s Port, Agios Nikolaos

Anafi’ Port © Pierros Zevolis

As soon as you arrive at Agios Nikolaos, Anafi’s main port, you will need some means of transportation to get to Chora, Anafi’s capital town.

Chora stands 200 meters on the hill right above the port and getting there is quite impressive especially at night as it is nicely lit offering a spectacle of the route.

Chora © Gianluca Cutrera

There is a local bus that runs around the island but not so frequently so if this is possible, I suggest you have your own car to best explore Anafi island.

Chora Anafi © Loukas Efthimiou

Anafi’s capital, Chora, is one of the most beautiful villages in the Cyclades.

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.

One of the most enjoyable things to do in Anafi is to walk around the kalderimia (narrow alleys) and taste the local Greek cafe and sweets at the kafenia (cafes).

Anafi Square

At the top of Chora is the Venetian castle or rather, to be more precise, its ruins.

The view from there is really captivating, ideal for romantics and dreamers who want to enjoy the stunning sunset.

Apart from Chora, Anafi has only 2 other villages: Agios Nikolaos the port, and Kleisidi.

Check out the traditional old windmills scattered in Chora hill and look for the small archaeological collection inside the Chora.

  • In a hurry? Check out this quick reference:
  • Where to stay in Anafi: Maki House
  • Heading to from Athens? Book your ferry tickets in advance with no-hidden-fees FerryHopper
  • Are you insecure about travelling outside your own country? Have a look at World Nomads Insurance: will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations
  • Would you like a sample of good quality Greek Food? Visit my small Greek Shop:

Best Beaches of Anafi Island

Roukounas Beach

Set on 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 trees to hide under their shade if you had enough of the strong Greek sun and nearby there is a tavern for food or water supplies.

Kleisidi © Sergio Panic

On the south of Anafi, close to the port of Agios Nikolaos, you will find the small settlement of Kleisidi with a few rooms for rent and 2-3 taverns above the beautiful beach of the same name.

The Kleisidi beach is sandy, with trees for shade,and fantastic blue crystal clear waters, with easy access, from the asphalt road.

Kleisidi Beach

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

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. There are also two chapels on the nearby hill that are worth visiting.

Anafi Greek island secluded sandy beach with trees
Anafi Beach

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

Exploring Anafi Island

Panagia Dokari church

According to Greek Mythology, Anafi was emerged through the raging waves by god Apollo to save the shipwrecked Argonauts.

There are traces of its ancient past, scattered 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.

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

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.

© Madres Bar

As for nightlife, there are some bars you can go most of them with great sea views.

But if you’re looking for a wild night out in Anafi, then you should go to the bar-club Madres (open only in July and August).

Anafi Island © Cyclades Islands

Anafi Local Cuisine

Skaltsounia and Greek Coffee © Margarita’s restaurant

The local cuisine of Anafi will blow your minds away!

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
  • And of course you should accompany all dishes with strofyliatiko, an aromatic local white wine

Where to Stay in Anafi Island

Ypseli Anafi’s Hive: This is a wonderful hotel in a stunning area, with Kalamos Rock view right 300 m from Flamourou Beach. High-quality decorated rooms, a swimming pool, and friendly hosts will make your stay a worthwhile experience. Check availability and prices in Booking. com

Maki House: With a fantastic view over the sea from the private terraces, bright, white, spacious rooms in a stunning set, with amazing hosts, you are going to enjoy this hotel immensely. Check availability and prices in Booking.com

Hiking Anafi Island

Monastery Panagia © Mauro de Brassi

In the east of Anafi, stands the imposing Kalamos rock. If you climb it, towards its top, you will find the Panagia Kalamiotissa, a beautiful whitewashed chapel, built in 1715.

© Kostis Papaioannou

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.

Drakontospito

At 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 beautiful seals that according to the inhabitants appear very regularly in the area.

Anafi Terrain

Anafi island has rocky terrain, volcanic-ash granite, and limestone from the Santorini volcanic eruption paths, steep cliffs, and cove-scalloped morphology.

The terrain is barren of trees or large plants with its peak being Vigla, at 582 m located in the center of Anafi.

Anafi

There are a few paths to choose from 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 all the way to the top to Panagia Kalamiotissa church (around 7 km)

Check here for Hiking Trails of Anafi from Wikiloc

Find here free e-book of Anafi’s Trails (pdf, 130 pages), only available in Greek

When is Best to Visit Anafi Island

Anafi in spring

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

Anafi island is great for summer vacations as the beaches are wonderfully clear with sandy beaches, ideal for children. However, in August it will be windy – as it is in the whole of Cyclades.

September is a fantastic month not only for vacations but also a bit better for hiking which is almost impossible to do on the warm days of the summer (very easy to get heatstroke).

For the very adventurous, or travelers who love remote and quiet places, Anafi will be open and working all year round, even in the winter.

My favorite months to hike in Greece is October (warm but not too much), November and April (everything has blossomed).

If you love hiking, and you are fine with quiet places, I would say go during Easter (Greek Orthodox Easter not Catholic).

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 custom related to Greek Easter.

The sea might be a bit chilly though, but its temperature will depend on whether Easter is early or late in April.

Anafi Fetival
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.

Note: The Monastery of Zoodochou Pigi, (open 11am–1pm & 4–6pm, until 7pm in summer), is one of the oldest Monasteries in the Cyclades, built around 10th c AD.

At 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 Island

Besides the municipal bus, there are also 2 taxis that work 24/7 on the island. If you need one their numbers are:

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

If you would like the convenience of your own car you can check, compare and save with the RentalCars which I highly recommend:

Useful Info for Anafi Island

  • 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)
  • There is a local medical center +30 2286061215
  • Gas Station: +30 6908098033 & +30 2286061350

Where to Stay in Athens

I hope I have inspired you to visit the amazing island Anafi, Greece. Meanwhile, stay safe, travel the world, and enjoy life!
Evgenia
Author
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Some of my Favorite Travel Resources for Greece

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  • Ferries to the Greek Islands: Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner or FerryHopper, and get the best prices in the market with no hidden fees
  • World Nomads Insurance: I feel insecure traveling to another country without having even the most basic of insurances. Insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations
  • Best car rental prices – Guaranteed. RentalCars.com
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