By Sandy Pappas
Like all Greek Islands Antiparos is a magical shimmering jewel shining in the Aegean sea. Only 7 minutes by ferry from Paros yet visited by few, it is one of those true Greek island hidden gems and it’s easy to see why Hollywood royalty like Tom Hanks calls it home in summer. To inspire you to include it on your trip to Greece and to help you best plan your visit, Greece Travel Secrets has put together this complete guide to ensure you get the most out of Antiparos, Greece.
When to visit
The best times to visit Greece are April-June and September-October. The weather is mild and most places have few crowds. High season is late June to early September, and prices will reflect that as will the crowds, the number of cruise ships and accommodation availability.
Summer is still great, especially for beach time and in some of the lesser-known spots. The water is warm, there are blue skies every day and a fun holiday atmosphere. Antiparos has a number of stunning beaches so it is a great place to be in summer when lazy lunches and dips in the sea are daily events.
Where is Antiparos?
It’s probably no surprise to learn that ‘Anti’ means ‘opposite’ in Greek and is where the English word comes from. Antiparos is an island in the Cyclades group of islands in the middle of the Aegean Sea and is only 1 nautical mile west of the island of Paros.
It is 45 square kilometres in size and has a population of around 1200 people. There is one main town called Antiparos Town.
The main attractions on the island are its famous cave and its excellent beaches whilst fishing, tourism and farming are its primary industries.
In ancient times the island was called Oliaros.
How to get to Antiparos
Antiparos island is located one nautical mile southwest of Paros island. There is no airport on Antiparos and the only island that connects to it by ferry is Paros.
Paros to Antiparos from Pounta
Buses depart frequently from the main Paros port, Parikia, as well as the most popular villages around the island. From there, travelers can take the vehicular ferry over to Antiparos which takes 7 minutes.
In 2019 the Antiparos – Paros ferry tickets cost €1,30 per passenger and €6,30 per car. Children ride for free and all tickets are one way.
Tickets are only sold inside the boat and cannot be prebooked. You can only pay by cash and only in Euro. Credit cards are not accepted.
Ferries run daily Monday to Sunday all year around. (If the winds allow it.) During peak season you may not get on the first ferry you want and might have to wait for the next.
Ferry to Antiparos from Parkia
There is also a small boat operating daily between the main port of Paros, Parikia, and Antiparos that only takes passengers and no vehicles.
The service usually operates from Greek Easter (usually April or May) until October. The trip takes 30 minutes and a one-way ticket costs 5 Euro.
Where to Stay
For couples: Artemis Hotel has lovely sea views from the rooms as well as a rooftop terrace and a plunge pool. The decor is modern and chic and yet the hotel is surprisingly affordable.
For families and groups: Kastro Antiparos is one of the few places on Antiparos that has a swimming pool. They have 2 bedroom apartments and put on a huge breakfast spread. It’s an easy walk into town and close to everything.
Solo: Nicolas Studios are in town but in a quiet spot. The rooms are basic but spotlessly clean and have a small kitchen. You can walk to most things including the local tavernas and shops.
Where to eat
Lunch: In town Anargyros and Nautica both have excellent food and service and are right on the waterfront near the ferry dock. A bit further along is Soulatso who does great Italian food as well as Greek. Along ‘pedestrian street’ ( the main street into the village) you have many great choices including Cafe Babel Metaxa and the aptly named, Bougainvilles who also do great breakfasts.
If you are driving around the island or heading over to Despotiko you can enjoy a lovely meal down at Captain Pipinos on the water, where they dry their fish, as well as octopus, each day.
Dinner: Sapou is serving up some of the best and most inventive food on the island and is right on the waterfront. Great atmosphere at night. The main square, at the end of Pedestrian Street, has a number of bars and tavernas, some of which play live music at night time.
Drinks: Head to the Sifneikos Gialos(seashore) behind the main town for amazing sunsets at Sifneiko Cafe.
Things to do
With a coastline of 57 kilometres, Antiparos has some incredible beaches. On the east side facing Paros, the island has tranquil waters and sandy beaches whilst on the west side, there are limestone cliffs and sea caves.
During summer you can take the bus to some of the most popular Antiparos beaches or go on a boat trip to some of the more beautiful remote spots.
Antiparos Cave is the most popular attraction on the island and is situated just 8 km from Antiparos town (Chora). It is also called the Cave of Agios Ioannis church.
Antiparos Cave is the biggest vertical cave in Europe and has a depth of approximately 100 meters. The cave showcases the most exquisite stalactites and stalagmites including the oldest stalactite in Europe estimated to be 45 million years old!
The view from the Cave is quite wonderful. You can clearly see Paros in the distance with various beaches and islets close by. The sheer size and height of the cave will leave you speechless. A number of famous people have inscribed their names in the cave wall over the centuries including King Otto of Greece and Lord Byron.
You can visit Antiparos Cave by car, motorcycle or bicycle. The paved road that leads to the Cave begins where the ferries dock in the Port area of Antiparos and there is ample parking. You can also walk from the town which takes about 90 minutes. If you do this in summer please make sure you take plenty of water!
In 2019 Antiparos Cave was open from April 2019 through October 2019 and its opening hours were daily from 10:00 to 16:00. Tickets cost 6.00 euros which includes entry to the Folklore Museum. Children under 6 are free and children 6-12 are half price.
Antiparos is also known for having a number of stunning sea caves, not dissimilar to those you see on islands like Milos. If you fly into Paros make sure you sit on the left-hand side of the plane as you will get a birdseye view of some of them.
Many boat tours from Paros come over specifically to sail around the coves and beaches that house these sea caves and its a great day out exploring them and swimming around in the crystal clear azure waters at their entries.
Visit Despotiko Island
The island of Despotiko (Despotico) is a small island that sits at the southern end of Antiparos. Ιn ancient times it was believed to be heavily populated but today no-one lives there.
There has been extensive restoration work and excavations are ongoing at the ancient Mantra Sanctuary, believed to date back to the 7th century BC.
Despotiko was identified as the ancient island of Presepinthos by the Ancient Greek historian and geographer Strabo and by Pliny the Elder, the Roman historian, and philosopher.
The island has a number of beautiful beaches sea saves. The best beach is called Livadi and it has magnificent silver sand.
Despotiko can be reached by a private boat or one of the many daily trips across from Saint George village of Antiparos town.
*For more check out Greece Travel Secrets