Walk around the Coast of Northern Antiparos, Greece

This is an easy walk along the beautiful northern peninsular of Antiparos following a route that even many locals think is not passable. It is!

• Duration : around 2 hours at an medium pace including breaks.
• Distance: about 7km
• It's impossible to get lost. Just stick to the coast, although there are ways of shortening the route, most notably heading back through the dunes behind the camping beach.
• Travel from Paros to Antiparos is easy especially during the summer. Ferries run every hour or half hour, although be careful to check bus timetables as out of season they often do not connect.

From the port of Antiparos, turn right along the (in summer busy, and out of season deserted), seafront. Follow the coastline past the restaurants and hotels and rows of attractive little fishing boats that line the harbour of the largely unspoilt village of Antiparos. After 500 metres or so turn right again, still following the coastline. After another few hundred metres you will come to the first of many beaches this walk passes. The water here is extremely shallow barely reaching a depth of 20 cms until a distance of around 200m from the shore. Consequently, even out of the summer months the sea is unusually warm if you fancy a quick swim before continuing on.

Keep going along the coast, past a small church and groups of villas, until you arrive at a small headland with great views across the bay of Antiparos to the town and beyond. Rounding the corner and passing more villas, a view across the narrow channel that separates Antiparos from its bigger sister, swings into view..

From here you can see most of the western coastline of Paros, from the western tip of Agios Fokas at the edge of Parikia Bay, past Agia Anna, and the kitesurfing school at Punda (where the skies fill with multi coloured sails for 6 months of the year ), to the rocky hillsides around Alyki in the south.
This as also as close as you are likely to get to the small privately owned islet of Revmatonisi with its luxurious villa and grounds which sits seductively in the middle of the channel.
On this stretch of the eastern coastline of Antiparos the villas are grander, the gardens bigger and futher back from the coastline. Consequently the area starts to feel more tranquil and natural. Great sand bars jut out into the sea, often occupied by flocks of passing seagulls. Flowers abound in the spring months and even during the summer, marsh grasses cover large swathes of the sandy ground.

After a while the coast becomes more rocky and the path starts to rise to height of 10 or so metres. A big ugly stone wall with a height of 3 metres or so appears to not only be marking out the villa owners' territory, but also to block your way. It doesn't. The path snakes round its bottom end and although a fence again appears to block it, there is a small gate. Just make sure you close it again.

From here on, civilization has been left behind, the countryside is as nature intended. The ground is quite rocky and sparse with bush scrub hanging on to the wind blown glently sloping landscape, but even here flowers are everywhere, the types and varieties changing with the seasons. A little further on and the neighbouring islets of Fira and Diplos shimmer across a stretch of pale turquoise water and the rocky coastline gives way to a series of small secluded bays before the path descends back down to sea level, crossing a number of small sandy beaches before arriving at one of only 3 legal nudist beaches in the whole of Greece. You'll know which one it is, even without the obvious pointers, as there are several large white stones with “nudist' in faux Greek lettering painted on them.

From here it is possible to walk, or swim across to Fira but it's impossible to say where exactly is the best crossing point, as the currents in the narrow channel mean the sandbars are constantly changing. If you are going to attempt a crossing, and it is worth it, as the islets are completely uninhabited apart from a herd of possibly too friendly goats, it's a good idea to bring something waterproof along in which to keep your valuables.

Staying on Antiparos the path continues past Antiparos camping and what at more than 700 years, must surely be one of the oldest trees on the island, before curving round and arriving at a small harbour where on the day we visited, traditional colourfully painted caiques bobbed picturesquely on the gentle swell.

This is a great place to stop for a break, as it is generally protected from the prevailing northerly winds.

Slowly the path starts to rise again, with green fields full of spring flowers (at least from January until June) on your left, and views across the open sea to Syros and beyond on your right, before crossing a plateau at a height of around 12-15 metres. We chose to stay as close as possible to the coast but it it perfectly possible to cut across the pink and yellow flower filled landscape. (In summer this area is covered with herby yellow scrub bushes that smell strongly of curry. In a good way.)

In the near distance Sunset Beach is clearly visible. Head towards it along the narrow path which clings to the edge of the, at times, steep rocky coastline, before widening into a dirt road just as it passes a very overgrown children's playground.

Sunset Beach is a long wide stretch of golden sand which is very popular in summer and another great place to stop for a swim or a bite to eat, and if you have timed it right, enjoy watching the sun sink into the deep blue waters of The Aegean.

Just behind the beach, to the right of the playground the track turns into a narrow paved road which leads back to Antiparos Square, from where it is only a short walk down through the cosmopolitan main street of the village to the seafront and port.

A word of warning. If you are visiting Greece and Antiparos out of season,(October – April), make sure you take your own refreshments as often everything, even the seafront kiosk, is closed.

Andy Kirk