In the heart of the Cyclades, the island that never sleeps

February 2021

Night / Adventures

From bewitching Rebetiko songs with electronic echoes to torchlit walks, nights on this small island in the Cyclades make people sing out and dance without a care in the world.

The scent of freedom

Arrivals in Ανάφη always happen at night, around 2 or 3 AM. Amidst the swell of the sea and the waves hitting the quay, the headlights of cars and scooters illuminate the passengers exiting the ferries. The wild, arid and rocky island reveals its winding roads where only thyme and pungent Carlina flowers grow. Around the main village of Χώρα, where a few Greek yayas and shepherds live all year round, locals have been enjoying the luxury of pure freedom for nearly a century.

 

A place of deportation and exile for political opponents under the dictatorships that the country has endured (since the beginning of the 1920s and during the period of the Dictatorship of the colonels until 1974), Ανάφη has since become the promised land for an alternative, artistic and creative community who happily mingle with families and hippies in tents set up on the beaches of Ρούκουνας and Κατσούνι. A few lucky tourists visiting the 200 rooms open to visitors join in this collective dance.

Divine nights

A place that seems to transcend the concepts of both rules and time, Ανάφη truly shines when night falls. No guidebooks needed, just the wind leading visitors into the Rebetiko taverns where accordions, guitars, bouzoukis and violins make beautiful music until late into the night. Nearby, the great agave plants to the tune of electro-jazz music lead to the white hill of Μονόλιθος, to taste some Anaflexi, a cocktail blending mastiha liqueur, gin, bitters and cucumbers. The winds blow others towards a windmill called Μήλος to listen to Peggy Gou’s electro beats and Bowie’s glam rock where heads turn like whirling dervishes.

 

In the early morning, as long as Madres’ club neon lights are shining and the popcorn bags are still bursting, night crawlers can keep on dancing. On the rocky terrace, daybreak makes the curves of the monolithic Κάλαμος rocks vibrate. A scenic trek with torch or flame in hand leads to the summit to see the ancient Καλαμιώτισσα monastery, just a one and a half hour hike away from the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. Some even spend the night there – a divine experience. As the morning light creeps in, Ανάφη’s sparkle fades. That is, until the next day…

 

In 2021, Anafi will welcome the Biennial of Contemporary Art, Phenomenon. More information at www.phenomenon.fr

*Anafi

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