When looking for the most secluded pockets of authenticity, it’s always useful to keep in mind several rules of thumb. You won’t find it leafing through Lonely Planet, because quite simply it hasn’t been mentioned. Similarly, it’s good to know how connected the place may be. If there’s no airports then start packing your bags. If, like Antikythera, even the local boat lines run every now and again, that’s a sign from the Gods to get on the plane asap.
The island of Antikythera is almost mythical. It conjures up the now iconic Antikyhera mechanism: the world’s first analogue computer, designed to measure the moon cycles and various other astronomical observations. As far as claims to fame go, Antikythera could do far worse than having such a monumental artefact show up at its door step (and a fair few visitors interested in that story). The island of Antikythera is in fact so desolate that the Greek Archdiocese has recently began funding families with children to set up shop there with a monthly stipend of a few hundred euro and several other incentives.
Tourist-wise, Antikythera is nowhere near the developmental curve of even small islands like Alonissos or Serifos. We like to flap our gums about authentic destinations, but Antikythera makes you put your money where your mouth is. This is the real deal, folks. No hostels, no bars, no infrastructure other than the basics. You want peace and quiet? You got it!
Things to do on this small 20 square kilometer isle include chilling on the many beaches and exploring the ancient past of this island. And let’s just say that Antikythera punches well above its weight.
The temple of Apollo should be one of your first pilgrimages on the island. Situated near Xeropotamos village, the remnants of this temple are just about visible. A statue of Apollo, unearthed here, is currently in Athens, while pieces of the ancient wall still sit around. Classic Greece.
Continuing down the history line, the castle that stands proudly watching over the hill dates back to the Hellenistic years. Archaeological excavations here are ongoing and continue to yield a significant amount of artefacts and information about the island’s history.
Antikythera has some newer stuff, too. The 19th century watermill of Andronicos, and the 1926 Lighthouse of Cape Apolytaras are pretty impressive and also a good excuse to embark on a trail. As is customary in Greece, there’s the obligatory smorgasbord of various types of churches to round off your knowledge.
Antikythera may be a speck on the map, but as women are wont to say, size doesn’t (always) matter.