Have you ever visited a place that just hits you instantly, makes you feel at home in an unexplainable way? I've experienced that a few places in the world, and one of the places that really got to me within seconds after arrival is the small Island of Antiparos in the Kyklades, Greece. After visiting lots of different Greek islands every year since 2002, Antiparos still stands out as my Greek dream Island!
Getting to Antiparos is easy, but since it is still a bit outside the beaten track for the regular island hoppers and is not developed with big holiday resorts and it is not over crowded by mass tourism.
If you come to Greece via Athens, the easiest way to get to Antiparos is by plane or by ferry from Piraeus to Paros. From Paros you can take a small shuttle boat from the harbour in Parikia og go by bus to the ferry at Pounta. Both alternatives will take you directly to the charming harbour of Antiparos within 20-30 minutes.
Antiparos was discovered by young InterRail train riders with an alternative lifestyle in the 1970s, and you can still feel the wibe after these first tourists entering the island. There is still a large nudist community and a large camping site attracting young and adventurous travellers as well as the left over hippies and people with an alternative lifestyle. Even though the island is small there are still room for diversity, and the tolerance level is high, if you behave, that is! Visitors not behaving is effectively escorted off the island, and have to find their fun elsewhere.
|The church in Antiparos harbour|
Families with small children love the island because of its transparency and sense of safety. Coming to the island you will immediately be included in the local community and will soon feel that people care about each other and takes care of each other. Travellers with older children and youngsters also finds the same sense of safety resulting in a relaxed and enjoyable holiday in a way we have not found on any other island. Children are entertained, not by shows at the hotel or a children's club at the resort, but by spending time with other children they meet on the island. Even though there are many returning visitors, there is no hassle for the new ones to be included.
|The main street where you can meet absolutely everybody on the island|
The long main street in Antiparos village is car free and is filled with restaurants, cafes, local shops and a lot of stylish boutiques holding the latest high-end fashion in clothing, swim wear, interiour and accessoires. For many first timers this seems like an odd mix, but knowing that Antiparos also has a lot of celebrities visiting and even owning property on the island, you will understand why.
The luxurious housing area called "The Villas" by the locals, holds some incredible holiday houses with swimming pools, lots of bedrooms and large outdoor space for parties and gatherings, but the Antiparos village holds a different, more authentic Greek style with two story white sugar cube houses and blue framing. The relaxed wibe on the island must be a catch also for the celebrities, as no one seems to care if they walk the streets or participate in events or competitions arranged during the season. You will not find the paparazzi photographers luring in the bushes trying to catch a glimpse of the celebrities on their yachts, on the streets or in their houses.
|Some celebrities spend their summer holiday on a yacht, close to Antiparos|
Antiparos has a lot of nice beaches with different services and standard. You can choose to go to one of the small and hidden ones on the rougher west side of the island or visit one of the many sandy white beaches along the north and east side. The level of comfort and service varies from place to place, and i'm sure you can find the perfect beach for your needs. Up north by the camping area is the nudist beach but you can also visit with your swimsuit if you want to go snorkeling or just hang out. Close to the village there is a beach called the "Baby beach". Here a lot of the families with the smallest children visit, as the water level is low and the sea is very calm.
|Also Psaraliki 2|
The two main beaches near the village is Psaraliki 1 and Psaraliki 2. Here you can rent SUPs, paddle boats, do wind surfing and there are also sunbeds for hire. Between Psaraliki 1 and 2 there is a beach restaurant and hotel, Fanari, where visitors can have their breakfast, lunch or dinner with a beach view. Also at the far end of Psaraliki 2 there is a beach bar and restaurant, Time Marine, serving delicious food and beverages in a chill environment. I just love spending the hot hours in a hammock in the shade with a cold beer or just play a board game after the meal with easy listening and funky music playing at this place! At this end of the beach there are also possibilities for water sports like water skiing and different types of inflatable things to play with. If you go further along the coast line after the second beach you can find your own private beach spot in between the cliffs.
|Time Marine! Our favorite lunch spot!|
Further down the coast line there are several small, private beaches but also the more fashionable places. Beach House and Soros beach is two of the more classy beaches with sun beds, restaurant, music and beach service, and sometimes they hold beach parties after dark. On the south side of the island you can find small, sandy beaches in Ag. Georgios. Close by you can have a meal at one of the 3 tavernas located in the area. We prefer the cozy Pipinos.
Exploring the island is easy by bike, scooter or car and besides a lot of lovely beaches, you can also visit the Antiparos Caves with fantastic stalactites and stalagmites. The caves is possibly the oldest caves in Greece and is situated on the south east side of the island. Don't forget to explore the mid part of the island, in the mountain valley where there the grow vegetables and fruits. Just driving through the green and fresh scenery is refreshing!
Watching a great sunset is one of my favorite things to do, and there is no better place to enjoy a perfect sunset on Antiparos than by Sifneiko beach. Try an aperitivo at Sunset Deseo as the sun sets over Sifnos and the sea. I can guaranty you will not regret it! When the sun has set you can continue up to the restaurant for an authentic and delicious Italian meal.
|Sunset from Sunset Deseo|
|Its so beautiful!!!|
Antiparos village has a lot of great cafes, restaurants, bars and night clubs, and compared to the size of the island you will probably not expect the great variety of fun places to spend your time. In the harbor you can find the typical breakfast and afternoon coffee places, but also some of the best restaurants for dinner with friends and family.
|Breakfast at Elia Kafenes|
|Zorba by the harbour|
Further up the main street, and to the left in one of the crossing streets, is a great place for families with children and also couples wanting to have a meal in a more quiet place. While the children can play at a big outdoor playground, the adults can relax listening to chill music and enjoy delicious food and drinks. Of course, the restaurant Yam, also has a special menu for children.
|Yam. So cosy, chill and with great food and cocktails!|
Following the main street further up you will find great Greek and International restaurants serving great food. We have tried most of them, and are yet to be disappointed. There are also several places serving the typical Pita Gyro, 5F is one of the more famous places. If you are looking for a freshly baked, stone oven pizza, go to Stratos up by the main square. They have the best pizza i've ever tasted outside Italy, and I find myself dreaming of this pizza in winter time!
|Stratos has an open wood oven for the home made, delicious pizzas!|
For a nice day trip around the island by boat search out Captain Ben on his boat in the afternoon and book your trip. Depending on the weather you can have a full round trip around the island, or a daytrip to some of the really nice swim- and snorkel spots in the area between Paros and Antiparos.
|Go for a boat ride with Captain Ben|
|Find beautiful remote places to snorkel or jump|
If you are up to more than just snorkeling, you can try scuba diving with Blue Island Divers. I had my first dive with them a couple of years back and just loved it!
The night life on Antiparos is so much fun, and it comes in multiple shapes and styles. The square is well known for its bars, pubs and cocktail places, and also for playing board games in the late hours. Usually the peak is late, around 1 or 2 am, but there are people around most of the evening. If you want to listen to good old fashioned 70's and 80's music, Doors and Lucky Luke is the places to visit. For modern dance music try out Boogaloo. If you prefer a more soul and funk based music and vibe, go to Soul Sugar only 1 minute from the square.
|Soul Sugar is so chill!|
For the late, late night fun there are some night clubs situated just a few minutes walking outside the village. On one side there is The Mill, a night club build up in an old Mill. On the other side of the square you can find La Luna and Remember where you can party till the sun rises, without disturbing the rest of the village.
As you can see, the island is full of things to do for children, youngsters, grown ups and party animals, and that's the beauty of it. On this small island we can all come together and have a perfect stay regardless of age, preferences and wallet.
|Antiparos bay by night! <3|