Anafi: Far From the Maddening Crowds
Anafi´s claim to fame is arguably the small neighborhood that sits underneath the Acropolis of Athens. The first King of Greece decided Greece needed nice things, so when he set about restructuring the face of Athens he hired many a skilled laborers from nearby islands and villages. Anafi at the time was an incubator of great artisans and craftsmen, so when they settled in Athens at King Otto’s behest they did so at the foot of the Acropolis, quickly putting up their version of home. This community that once numbered several hundred houses now only contains less than 50, but a stroll through the Cycladic style streets nevertheless provides a resplendent daydream drenched in nostalgia. Anafiotika, as the small cul de sac is called, is legit.
Anafi, the island, is lit. Being in the Cyclades means you’re either in the thick of things or longingly gazing across to your famous sister. In Anafi’s case it’s Santorini, with the latter providing the volcanic soil from which it was created. As the most desolate inhabited island of the Cyclades, it is but a mirage. With no discernible traces of mass tourism in sight, Anafi is a mystery waiting to be revealed.
WHAT TO DO
Its sole settlement in Hora, is what you’d pictured in your Instagram feed, sans the multitude of people vying for a better shot at a sunset. There isn’t much at all by way of amenities. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything other than a couple tavernas and a few convenience stores. Nightlife is conspicuous in its absence and the only thing you need and should do is lie by the beach all day with a book in hand.
To be sure, that’s not the only thing to do. Anafi boasts tremendous hiking trails along its craggy inland, and you could hoof it to Kalamos rock for a spot of intrepidness, or even the Monasteries of Kalamiotissa and Zoodochou Pigi.
In all fairness, if you’re going to Anafi you probably don’t want to see a nightclub in sight, nor the nagging sound of a bass thumping in your ear while you’re trying to read on the beach. But that would be short-sighted. Even though Anafi is tranquil, one shouldn’t fall into the trap of beaching oneself on a chaise long. Devil makes work for idle hands.
Explore this virgin island at your leisure. Take it easy. As someone once said: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.