The edge of the world
Traveling to places that end in ‘-most’ is always an incredible experience. I’m talking about the southernmost and northernmost points of continents and countries. There is something exhilarating about knowing you’re at the edge of something; all that lies before you is water and new lands out there in the far distance. The Greek island of Gavdos is one of those places.
Mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, Gavdos is Europe’s southernmost point and lies closer to Africa than it does to Athens. Gavdos has been home to a permanent population since Neolithic times, but today the island houses very few people, making it exactly as Homer described it, ‘a world apart’.
The small island, only 10 square miles, is home to fewer than 100 people. Thanks to free camping and nude bathing, the island draws a summer crowd, but somehow Gavdos has managed to stay away from overdeveloped tourist crowds that have plagued the tranquility of other Greek islands. There is something truly mythical about Gavdos, which is believed to be the home of the temptress Calypso who entranced Odysseus. In fact, you can still visit the cave of happiness and love where the famous Greek is said to have spent his seven years, although the entrance is mostly hidden behind sand and stones.
In many ways, the island is caught in a past era; slower, calmer and traditional than most. If you want to get there in the winter, for example, the ferry only runs once a week. Truly a hidden gem that makes you feel as if you were at the far edge of the earth. AB