Visit Gavdos island, mythological home of nymph Calypso, the southernmost part of Europe,25 nautical miles away from Plakias and 170 N.m. from Africa (Tobruk, Libya) Amazing coastline and beaches, where cedars reach the sea.
Gavdos is believed to be the Ogygia, mythological home of the enchantress Calypso, who idled away seven years with the hero Odysseus before he finally got restless at about the same moment the gods decided he really should stop back home at Ithaca and check in on his wife Penelope. Legend has it he contributed greatly to the original population of the island, leaving behind four children, Latinos, Nausithoos, Nausinoos, and Auson.
Visitors can visit a spot believed to be Calypso’s cave by the sea, though some Gaviots insist the real cave was filled with sand and vanished during a severe storm a hundred years ago.
Gavdos has groves of pine and cedar trees, which once were abundant on the island of Crete. The scent of these trees is locally believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac, perhaps explaining Odysseus’ long stay on the island and those four children.
These days, Gavdos boasts a permanent population of only about forty people, down from a high of about eight thousand during Byzantine times.
While there is no trace of Calpyso, there are some Minoan artifacts indicating that even this remote spot was used by their ships in ancient times.
According to Cretan lore, the apostle Paul was shipwrecked about an average of once every ten nautical miles during his travels along the coast of Crete. He is also said to have been shipwrecked here on Gavdos, as well as at AgiosPavlosBeach and Kali Limenes along the coast.
On the surface, Gavdos looks hard put to keep anyone’s attention that long. In modern times, it was used as a place of exile for those who had fallen awry of the Greek government, and some stone houses from that period still survive. But the wildness and remote location attract fans that yearn for the good old days of travelling to Greek islands.
Visitors enjoy the giant chair on the cliffs at Tripiti, marking the “Southernmost Point of Europe”. There are hiking opportunities and kayaking possibilities. At the newly-rebuilt harbour, an excellent tavern offers fresh chicken dishes and other specialties.