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Escape to Antiparos
By Denise Dalton
26 October 2010





My favourite holiday destination is a small island in Greece called Antiparos (population of just over 1,000) which I’ve been visiting for over 25 years. The first time I went there as a back packer was in 1982 -  then the island was mainly visited by Scandinavians and Italians and very rarely did the locals see an Australian tourist.

It’s located in the Cyclades group of islands situated right beside Paros, thus the name Antiparos.  Over the years we have seen the families extend, the children grow up to young adults, some now  with their own children. We’ve watched the island grow and develop over the years, fortunately not to the extent of some of the more popular islands nearby like Santorini, Ios and Mykonos, which swarm with tourists in high season.  Antiparos is still a very local island and because of this has become quite the haven for a number of celebrities like Tom Hanks, Madonna, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston as it’s hardly the island the paparazzi would hang out waiting for the ‘money shot’.

We usually stay at a small hotel run by a fellow who has grown up and lived all his life on Antiparos; his name is Pavlos and he’s a real character – everyone who meets him likens him to the Basil Fawlty of Greece.  The best thing about his hotel is the taverna – he seriously has the best local Greek food on the island, or in fact anywhere else I’ve eaten in Greece.  Pavlos involves his wife, sister, mother, nephews, his 2 sons, and anyone else who can handle his shouting, to work the kitchen and the restaurant.
 
His eldest son, Beno is a professional bouzouki and guitar player so quite often he provides the entertainment in the evening.  We’ve had many a night in Pavlos’ taverna ending up dancing on the tables and breaking plates – Greek style !

This year, we decided to stay in a different hotel and we just loved our experience there. Called Kouros Village, it’s located right on the port of Anti Paros – a mere 5 minute walk from the main street which leads up to the local ‘square’ where the tourists and locals gather of an evening.   The room we had was very spacious with a kitchenette, a private outside area leading on to the garden and swimming pool, which was wonderfully refreshing to jump in to first thing of a morning and especially after returning from the beach on a typical hot sunny ‘Greek Island’ day.
 
 
Our room looked out over the port and it was so peaceful to sit and watch the local Greek fishermen carrying on with their everyday life unloading their catch and constantly repairing their fishing nets.  To watch the sunset, with a glass of ouzo in hand, with the fishing boats quietly putting in and out of the port is something that stays in my mind. The wonderful thing about the boats in Antiparos is that most of them are still of the old wooden variety, which unfortunately is not that common now around other islands in Greece, where they seem to have opted for the fibreglass version. Such a pity – where’s the romance gone!   The room rate at Kouros was very inexpensive at E60 per night and we were there in June (just before the peak season).
 

You can see more of Kouros Village by clicking on the following link :   http://www.kouros-village.gr


It’s very easy for us to travel to Antiparos as THAI has 3 flights a week direct from Bangkok to Athens, it’s then either a flight or a jet cat to Paros then a small boat ride from Paros to Antiparos.
Over the years I’ve introduced other Australians to the island, and they in turn bring along more of their family and friends. There’s something about this island that just draws us back again year after year.  Some years when we return for a holiday it’s common to have up to 10 or more people in our group who all have that same yearning to go back to Antiparos for yet another summer Greek island holiday.
Antiparos enjoys a healthy tourist season, however I’m sure that by the time the end of the summer season arrives and the last of the tourists have departed the island, the locals finally sit back, relax and enjoy the tranquillity of their own island with their families and friends.

 


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Comments
Trish Smith
That sounds like paradise, especially the part about watching the sunset as the fishing boats come in. How lovely for you to have somewhere so special to keep going back to! I'm very jealous.
Libby Collins
Im sold after reading the above and will definately at some point of my travels make my way there. Lib
Carol Devine
I too frst discovered antiparos in 1982 and my husband and I went there yearly for the next 20 years until he died in 2002. I have been back on my own since. I know Pavlos well ,also Vascilis of Kouros and many others!! It has always been the unspoken agreement that antiparos should be a "secret" not broadcasted abroad. your mention of the "celebs" could attract the very attention they go there to avoid !! One can only hope it will continue to appeal to a certain "antiparos" type and not the sort who wouldn't appreciate its unique atmosphere and locals !!
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