Eden springing up from the deep blue or the vivid turquoise of the Mare Nostrum (as Ancient Romans used to call the Mediterranean sea), where time flows according to old rhythms and where the unaffected simplicity of inhabitants will give you a great sense of peace. Eleven islands, mostly unknown for many, where the holiday turns into a journey through time. To allay the stress, to live a romantic dream or merely for the most unspoiled water of the entire Mediterranean Sea, these semi-desert islands will make you relieve the Mediterranean as it was. Here the guide to the most unspoiled mediterranean islands.
Despite the closeness to Santorini Island (one hour and a half by ferry), the island of Anafi could not be more different than the partying island. Anafi, in fact, seems completely isolated from the rest of the world, and the islanders take this isolation as a pride and a will, doing nothing to attract tourists, willing to keep its authenticity.
Even during the peak season the island is connected by a ferry only every other day. The inhabitants are few more than 200, split in two tiny villages. All around are cliffs, azure sea melting with light blue sky, goats, brushwood and rugged landscapes crossed by dirt roads. The north of the island hides some beaches that are as hard to reach as untouched, completely empty even during the season.
Few the taverns, the rooms to rent and the houses perched on the rock; but if you don’t find a place to stay, don’t give up hope, because Anafi is one of the really few Greek islands where spontaneous camping is, if not permitted, at least tolerated. To be woken at the sunrise by the sound of waves is definitely something to try once in a lifetime.
LAGOSTA (LASTOVO), CROATIA
Located in the extreme south of Croatia, close to Montenegro, the island of Lagosta, or Lastovo in Croatian language, is an oasis of nature and peace. 800 inhabitants, less than 300 houses and lunar highlands gently falling in the blue sea make this place a part of Croatia unknown to most.
The island is considered one of the ten most important natural parks of the Mediterranean Sea because of its variety of rare plants and animals. Lastovo, homonym capital of the island, is a sleepy port town with few bars and taverns and a strong Venetian imprinting. The hinterland, with orchards and remote chapels, is wild and picturesque, but the showpieces are the desert beaches and the lagoons all around the island.
This is probably the most touristic of this round-up, with the limit that the word ‘touristic’ can have when talking about an island with 600 inhabitants, 3 small villages and few accommodations.
Folegandros continues to attract more and more visitors, appealed by the eco-chic allure that you breath on the island. Dry stones walls, mules, bougainvillea and flowering hibiscus draw the profile of this corner of paradise lost in the middle of the Cyclades Islands. Folegandros has the advantage to be remote and peaceful while having good level services such as high-end boutique hotels and restaurants. In spite of this, Folegandros has been able to save its environment and its traditions; nowadays it exudes a yesteryear charm. The perfect place for those who want loneliness and relax without giving up comforts.
The smallest, the remotest and the less inhabited of the Eolian Islands, Sicily. Alicudi, developed only in its Eastern versant, has really few houses spread all over the terraces for the capers, vine and olive trees culture. There are no car nor motorbike here: the only way to move is on foot or by mule, crossing the old muleteers that branch all over the island. To climb up till the various houses of the island is not easy, but you come repaid by the marvellous view on the Sicilian blue sea.
The sea itself is unspoiled and it’s so blue that it seems the speculum of the night. You need to hire a gozzo, typical Eolian boat, in order to reach the most beautiful coves, where the water is incredible. A place where to completely regenerate.
Not randomly Gabriele Salvadores chose this island and it’s little town to shoot his famous movie ‘Mediterraneo’, set during the II world war. And that because since that period, in Kastellorizo, little has changed.
The small capital Megisti (other name of the island), with its multicolored houses, exudes Greekness from every brick, embodying perfectly the idyllic Greek dream of the island calmly sleeping around its marina.
Kastellorizo is geographically Turkish (2,5 km from the Turkish cost), but deeply Greek in its soul. However, with Turkey it shares the crystalline sea and the barren vegetation. Only a hundred beds for tourists are available on the the island, plus about 200 inhabitants. So in total a maximum of 300 people. If this is not peace!
The Kornati Islands archipelago is not out of time, but out of everything. If someone tried to recount this place by words nobody would take him seriously. The archipelago counts 146 islands and islets, and even if it’s the biggest archipelago in the Adriatic Sea, it’s still widely unknown.
Despite it could rival the most beautiful tropical paradises, Kornati is merely out of the main touristic routes of the Mediterranean, and that because 89 of its island have been declared natural park and so untouchable. To go by boat is for sure the best solution, but for those who don’t have (or like) the boat there’s the chance to stay in one of the fishermen houses spread all over the main island.
KERKENNAH ISLANDS, TUNISIA
Flat as a board (no more than 12 meters on sea level), these islands situated in the Gabes Gulf had once more than 150.000 inhabitants, now drastically reduced to less than 200. The two main cities, overlooking the sea, feel like ghost cites. Few fishermen, desert beaches, ruins and remains of ancient mosques embraced by the sand of the desert compose the landscape of these silent islands, assimilable to an oriental-Mediterranean limbo. The tourism is basically absent and the sceneries are as arid as charming. Sunsets like the ones here are really hard to find.
SMALL CYCLADES: IRAKLIA-SCHOINUSA-KOUFONISIA-KEROS, GREECE
Among Ios, Naxos, Paros and other islands with highly developed tourism and worldliness, there are the Small Cyclades Islands, strips of land and silence. As if somebody, passing by here, didn’t notice their sweet beauty. And this, if really it has happened, has been the greatest luck of these islands that, despite their central position in the Cyclades archipelago, keep simple and quiet tones that make them wild and charming.
The main islands of the group are Iraklia, Schoinusa, Koufonisia, and Keros. Quietness is the keyword on these, more than islands, islets where, owing to the lack of beds, the touristic influx is really limited. Perfect for those wanting, after the crowded fun of the most renowned islands, to enjoy some rest in a postcard paradise.
In Giannutri there aren’t hotels nor quays, and camping is forbidden. The island has 13 inhabitants and the only way to spend some time here is to be so lucky to find one of the few houses of island free to rent.
Giannutri is located few kilometres from the Argentario peninsula, and it’s the southern island of the Tuscan Archipelago. The island is entirely a natural and archeological park, hosting the ruins of a Roman villa and of a Roman harbour where you can take a swim among amphorae and hulls of wracks. The stroll trough the lighthouse on the southern tip of the island is really suggestive too. True peace within few kilometres from the crowded Tuscan costs.
SVETI KLEMENT, CROATIA
Known also as Palmizana, Sveti Klement gives more the idea to be in the Tropics than in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. This island, where cars are banned and where you may arrive only by private boat or taxi boat from Hvar, is linked to a curious story dating back more than 100 years, when the Meneghello family, having fallen in love with the island, decided to built a big house and to re-create a tropical botanical garden, enriched with floral species from all over the world. The climate and the fertile land did the rest, and now part of the island is covered with a tropical forest. On the island there are just a couple of accommodations and really few tourists.
The remotest, loneliest and most unspoiled of all these islands. Located between Kythira and Crete, between Ionian and Aegean Sea, this island has about 20 inhabitants, a tavern and a couple of houses for the fearless tourists who decide to face the uncomfortable journey to reach this place. Antikythera, with its high and rocky profiles, studded by white sand and crystalline sea caves, is suitable for those who are running away more from creditors than from stress. Don’t worry, in Antikythera they won’t ever find you!
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