The truth is that the island of Antiparos was one of those islands that the artists and free-spirited entrepreneurs went to when the islands they had discovered, like Mykonos, Santorini, Ios, and Paros became much-frequented and saturated by tourists and the rents became unaffordable. It is still one of those unspoiled islands, ideal for those who prefer quit, not crowed and fancy, though majestic and discover-the-place vacation. It is a beautiful place for couples and families to chill out but with a variety of activities and a lively nightlife, it’s also suitable for young singles.
It is an island that combines beauty with history and archaeological interest (monuments and other landmarks attest to the creators of the unique Cycladic civilization), nightlife with moments of relaxation and peace, intrepid hikes on nature trails of exceptional beauty with water sports.
It is located in the heart of the Cyclades Islands cluster, at a very close distance from the famous island of Paros. The tallest peak is Prophet Elia (at 399 meters altitude) which is found in the center of the island. Mainly barren, the earth is volcanic in origin. In ancient times, the island was green but it seems that some intervening destruction of unknown nature changed all that.
In historic times, the island’s first settlers were Phoenicians from Sidon, who were succeeded by a number of settlers. In antiquity, Antiparos was known as Oliaros meaning forested island and its history is inextricably linked to that of Paros. The earliest reference to Antiparos with its present name is in the 13th century, even though the name itself is ancient as in mythology Antiparos was one the 50 sons of the murdered Aegyptus; Antiparos and a brother were the only two boys who survived as the rest were murdered by Aegyptus’s wife, Kritomythea, a daughter of Danaus.
In Byzantine times and through the early 13th century, as well as during the Greek independence revolt in 1821, the island suffered from raids by pirates from Algeria, Crete, Kefalonia, and elsewhere. In 1537, Antiparos and the rest of the Cyclades passed into Ottoman rule and the hands of the fierce pirate Barbarossa; during that period, the island was savagely pillaged. Antiparos was among the first islands in the Cyclades to join the Greek independence struggle. The island officially became a part of the Modern Greek State in 1832.
In the second world war, Antiparos was active in the resistance against the Germans, serving as a secret base for the Allied forces.
A useful guide:
Antiparos is reached via Paros. Access from Paros is easy: just a 30-minute crossing by fishing boat from Paroikia and a 6-minute crossing by ferry from Pounta.
Tip #1 Once you arrive on this island paradise, you’ll lose track of time. A must is to stroll the streets of the chora of Antiparos and wander around the stone paved broad streets, the white washed alleys, the flowered houses, the commodious square with the eucalyptus and of course the imposing venetian castle surrounded by the Genovese fortress.
Tip #2 The island is flat and spread out so the best way of transportation is bicycle.
Tip #3 Don’t miss a visit to Cave of Antiparos which is the most important site on the island and one of the most important caves in the world!
Tip #4 Driving to the end of the island (around 20 minutes) or taking the local bus, you will come to the most beautiful beach on the south west side of the island, at St. Georgios. Here you will find a fantastic view of the sea with a beautiful perspective of the uninhabited island Despotico, just across the bay.
Tip #5 For an actual and really worthwhile visit to the island of Despotico, once you get to the harbor at Aghios Georgios look for the Captain Giorgos Marianos (his nickname is “O Sargos”) to take you across the channel to Despotiko, for a majestic experience.
Tip #6 If you happen to be on the island between the 15th and 17th of July, don’t miss the festivities for St. Marina. A reenactment of the traditional Cycladic weddind (gamos) and “anti-wedding” (antigamos) on the next day will take place, along with the litany of the icon of St Marina and the local band.other important feast days are On May 7 (feast of Ai Yiannis Spiliotis in front of the cave.), on June 23 – 24 (feast of Ai Yiannis, again, with the custom of “Kleidonas” recreated in the port), On September 7 (feast at the church of Panayia Faneromeni, on the far side of the island where pilgrims are ferried by fishing boats).
Tip #7 Numbered among the many fans of the island is Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Pierce Brosnan, so don’t get surprised if you happen to eat at the same restaurant with them!
Tip #8 A small island, so a limited choice of beaches? Not at all! Discover the numerous small, clean and mostly not-organized beaches of the island. Dive in the romantic and hidden Faneromeni beach, see an amazing sunset from Sifneiko beach, feel the total freedom to the nudism beach of the ‘Camping’, explore the sea caves in Epitafios and the ‘Spilia tis fokias’ beaches.