Tom Hanks bought a villa in Antiparos 15 years ago and it somehow remains one of Greece’s best kept secrets. Less than 2,000 residents live on the Greek island year-round, spanned across a stretch of land approximately 17 square miles long.
With whitewashed buildings, cobblestone streets and blue doors framed by bougainvillea trees, Antiparos is a haven untouched by the influx of tourists to the Cycladic Islands and one of the few places in the Mediterranean where you can still have an authentic Greek experience.
There’s a word in Greek called “philoxenia,” which loosely translated means love of strangers. The term is meant to encompass the concept of Greek hospitality, which is unlike any other in the world. It is this spirit of acceptance that has allowed Greece to embrace immigrants and visitors alike, and that gives guests of Antiparos the chance to truly let their hair down.
Antiparos is the sister island to Paros, which can be reached by plane or ferry. Antiparos an additional 15 minutes from Paros by ferry, but every year guests and residents attempt to swim across the channel in an event held during the first week of July.
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Amongst its neighbors, Antiparos is endearingly referred to as “the hippie island.” True to its nickname, you’ll find no shortage of free spirits on this Greek island. Here are 6 reasons why:
1. Camping Antiparos
The ultimate retreat for any budget backpacker, Camping Antiparos is a seaside campground nestled between stalks of bamboo trees.
For a maximum price of 8€ per night in peak season, guests can rent a space to pitch a tent and enjoy the restaurant, bar and mini-market on-site.
Between June and September the place is typically booked to capacity. While famous for its adjoining nude beach, you’ll find many families making use of the space for its affordability.
2. No tan lines
Want to let it all hang out? Antiparos is the place to do so. As mentioned, Camping Antiparos has an adjoining beach that’s 100% nude.
However, if swimming in your birthday suit is your heart’s desire, you’ll be happy to know it’s allowed throughout the island.
Those wanting to experience sunbathing and swimming in its purest form will feel right at home in Antiparos.
The coastline at most Greek islands is pristine, especially in more secluded locations like Antiparos or the beaches of Naxos.
3. No shoes required
When was the last time you walked around barefoot, comfortable that you weren’t going to step on a piece of glass or trash by the side of the road?
As a city-dweller, the answer is probably never. As a resident of Antiparos, the answer is “every day.” The island is so pristine you don’t see litter on the streets.
The city center is reserved for pedestrian traffic only and boasts stone streets that are hand-painted and outlined in white. Guests can walk around safely knowing that shoes (and at times, pants) are optional.
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4. Eclectic nightlife
The soundtrack to Antiparos is more Jim Morrison, less David Guetta. This is a place where classic rock reigns supreme and music is meant to encourage nostalgia, not head banging.
While some islands have an early curfew, nightlife in Antiparos starts around midnight and goes until sunrise.
Check out a bar called Lucky Luke—tucked away in the corner, it is a favorite of locals and serves a killer ouzo mojito.
5. Exotic landscapes
While remote, Antiparos is home to impressive landscapes.
The Cave of Antiparos is thought to be the oldest stalagmite in Europe and provides an otherworldly descent with unique geological formations.
If swimming in turquoise waters and secluded caves sounds more up your alley, a boat tour with Captain Ben takes you to places only accessible by water, including the nearby island of Despotiko.
Finally, the city center itself is an old castle dating back to the 1400’s and has information placards throughout to provide context and insight into the history behind the architecture.
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6. Shopping in Antiparos
In Antiparos, mannequins are displayed outside boutique clothing stores, adorned with off-the-shoulder dresses and vibrant patterns.
Your bohemian chic wardrobe will receive a quick boost with pieces imported from Bali at Sȏ Shop, just off the main road.
Flowy fabrics are preferred to the constraints of business attire here and are a welcome change of dress code for anyone looking to embrace the hippie lifestyle.
While it’s one of the lesser known Greek Islands, Antiparos can always be counted on to provide peace, love and an unforgettable time. Don’t miss it on your next visit the Mediterranean!
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Till next time, safe travels!
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Thursday 6th of May 2021
Nice article, Jen, but not entirely accurate. Tom Hanks blazed the trail for a never-ending succession of celebs who flock to the island every summer. Villas are sprouting like mushrooms and the whole nature of the island is shifting in the Mykonos direction, with expensive boutiques, trendy bars and restaurants serving international food. In August (best avoided) the island is absolutely packed with tourists and negotiating the main street in the evening is like queuing for a concert. And you’re wrong about nude bathing – it’s officially allowed only at the Camping Beach. At most of the other beaches it’s strictly forbidden, and even on the Camping Beach, you’ll see precious few nudists in July and August. And even fewer hippies. I’m afraid Antiparos lost its reputation as a ‘hippie island’ many years ago.
Saturday 30th of May 2020
I am planning a 2 week trip for our 30 anniversary in September. Are there any apartments you can recommend near the port.
Jen on a Jet Plane
Thursday 11th of June 2020
I wish I did Joe, I stayed with a friend. The main port area is really nice though (busiest part) and the whole island can be traversed easily so even if you stay a little outside the center transport is easy. Have a wonderful time and happy anniversary!
Friday 18th of October 2019
I went to Antiparos in 1976 with a group of friends who were university students.The 6 of us had the best time ever. We were in a hostel in Athens and we asked the manager for the name of a small island we could go to. She said she would let us know. A few days later she told us about Antiparos. She didn’t tell everyone about it because she went there and didn’t want to tell rowdy students about it. The residents were very friendly and made us feel like family. We were taught to sprinkle salt on our watermelon and we had the best rice pudding. Breaking dishes was a lot of fun. Beaches were incredible, including the nude beach. I look forward to coming back. We stayed at the hotel just to the right of the pier.
Monday 8th of July 2019
I spent two summers in Greece 1975/76 best time ever. Visited Antiparos several times and used to play backgammon or Tavli as it's known in Greece, in what passes for a village square at the end of the main road from the ferry landing . Loved the shallow beach to the right when the ferry pulls in where the water was so warm and you could lay in it reading a book 30 yards out that wouldn't cover your face.Doesn't sound like it's changed a great deal. Took my wife years later she loved it.All pre Paros/Mykonos/Santorini and Skiathos airports.
Saturday 10th of March 2018
Antiparos is so incredibly beautiful!!!! I’ve only been to Santorini and I’m dying to visit Greece again and explore more cities. Your pictures are so colorful and beautiful Jen! We should take a trip back to Greece together!