Instead of people, the tiny island of Despotiko is populated by...goats. In fact, there are about a thousand of them. There are also ancient ruins, and archaeologists come here to churn up centuries-old offerings to Apollo and Artemis—vases, agricultural tools, and figurines. Maybe there’s no one living here today, but Despotiko has plenty of past: It played host to the Venetians, Ottomans, and many, many pirates. Aside from millennia of ruins, the views of Folegandros, Syros, and Sifnos are spectacular. Getting to Despotiko is a breeze, especially from Antiparos, where the ferry only takes a couple of minutes.
840 07, Antiparos
Smack in the middle of Antiparos square, Boogaloo is an atmospheric spot for a pre- or post- dinner drink (ideal if you’re dining at Sapou, nearby), with polished concrete walls and tropical textiles and colorful paintings everywhere. The cocktails here are uniformly great, but we’re especially into the Green Witch (kiwi, ginger, cucumber, lime, gin, and elderflower with a hint of chili). Revelers will dance the night—and much of the early morning—away during the summer high season.
840 07, Antiparos
Come here for the best breakfast sandwiches on Antiparos. Five minutes’ walk from the port, this is not an establishment that throws together two slices of untoasted bread with a bit of bacon and egg squished in the middle. These sandwiches are carefully crafted: perfectly toasted bread with crisp bacon, locally-grown tomatoes, ripe avocado, and lightly fried eggs. Their coffee is fantastic and effective, and their stack of pancakes, meanwhile, come drenched in chocolate sauce and fresh berries. Elia Kafenes is open late by American standards (meaning 4am, which is entirely normal in Greece), and while it’s also popular for dinner, you should really be coming here for the breakfast. You’ll probably find yourself sitting back at the same table the next day, and the day after that—the food is that good. And the staff won’t mind—they’ll probably recognize you after the first visit, ready to welcome you back with genuine enthusiasm.
This teeny cove (it wouldn’t fit more than twenty people at once) is idyllic. It’s about a twenty-minute drive from the main town and charmingly rustic. No parasols, cushioned sun beds, or bar service here. But it’s worth a visit if for nothing else than the glassy, crystalline water and ineffably peaceful feeling of being in a place so desolate. Our advice: Fill a roomy beach bag with towels, snacks, drinks, and snorkel gear—even the smallest swimmers will spot fish and shells in the bathtub-clear water. And the tiny church on the beach’s edge adds to this picturesque scene. Image courtesy of Antiparos.com
Vicky’s Ice Cream
Antiparos Town, Antiparos
This gelateria is rightly famous for its out-of-this-world flavors, like lemon pie, walnut, and the most decadent salted caramel—even locals and tourists on neighboring Paros make the trek here for a few scoops. Waiting in a line is pretty much guaranteed, but as anyone who’s been will tell you: You won’t be sorry.
If you do one activity on Antiparos (that’s not food- or beach-related), do this: Descend hundreds of steps into the cave while listening to an audio tour that explains the history of this natural wonder. Part of the attraction is the endless stalactites and stalagmites, one of which is rumored to be the most ancient in Europe, at about 45 million years old. As you descend, notice the various inscriptions on the cave walls, reminders of the figures who have also come down these steps, Alexander the Great and Lord Byron to name just two. There’s plenty of parking by the entrance, and a bus also runs from the port to the cave throughout the summer. Just be prepared with appropriate footwear and a bottle of water—there is no store nearby.
Monastery of Panagia Drosiani
Chalkiou-Keramotis, Drimalia, Antiparos
This Byzantine site is of huge religious importance to the Greeks. It’s built from thousands of small, overlapping stones with gently curving walls and topped with domes that, seen from above, form the shape of the cross. Inside, many ancient murals—some of which date as far back as the seventh century—are still visible.
Agios Georgios Beach
Agios Georgios, Antiparos
Officially called Agios Giorgios but colloquially referred to as “the Captain Pipinos beach,” this stony stretch is adjacent to the best seafood in the Cyclades (or at least one place that claims that title, Pipinos). This beach itself doesn’t have the luxuries you’ll find at others—no umbrellas or beds for hire—but the clear views of Despotiko (a nearby island) the proximity to Pipinos, the calm waters, and the absence of a strong wind make Agios Giorgios foolproof.
While this gem of a hotel is open only seasonally (mid-May to October), it’s worth the effort to go during that season. It’s that lovely. Each of the nine rooms is simply appointed with cool cement floors, air conditioning, a bathroom done in Parian marble, and the all-important Nespresso machine—ideal for your morning coffee on the balcony overlooking the Aegean. The extremely helpful concierge will organize all the island activities you’d possibly want, including boat trips and guided hikes. There are also yoga and meditation classes on-site.
Antiparos Port, Antiparos
Trust: You will tire of grilled fish and Greek salad at some point. That’s when you will be happy for Lollo’s pizza (make a reservation; it’s that good—and popular). The pies here are of the pinsa romana variety—stretched, oval, flat-crusted, and made with a mix of flours that supposedly is easier to digest than conventional pizza. The sides and salads are decent, but we recommend sticking to the pizza and leaving room to share the hazelnut chocolate slice of heaven that is the Nutella pizza for dessert.
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