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Gavdopoula: The unknown neighboring island of Gavdos and Crete


Gavdopoula

Of Greece's 3054 islands, only 87 are inhabited. Gavdopoula is one of the large uninhabited remainder. From the north coast of Gavdos, it seems close enough to touch, but it is hard to reach. Beautifully situated and equally mysterious, it is part of the beautiful panorama between Gavdos and the imposing island of Crete on the horizon. Gavdopoula is barren and uninhabited, but still has a few stories to tell. Quite a few visitors to Gavdos have already looked into the distance to Gavdopoula and asked themselves a few questions: "What is there?", "Can you go there"? This article will clear up some of these questions!



 

#1 Geography and vegetation of the island


If you stand on the beach of Agios Ioannis, you can easily recognize the small island between Gavdos and Crete. A small hump sticks out of the water. The island seems to be very close. You might think that you can swim to Gavdopoula. Nevertheless, the small sister island of Gavdos is about 7 kilometers away. There are usually strong currents between Gavdos and Gavdopoula, so swimming can sometimes be very dangerous, despite the great distance. The island, which is around 3 kilometers long, is barren and has little vegetation. Overall, there are fewer plant species than on the neighboring island of Gavdos. The height of the vegetation only extends to the bush layer. However, it is interesting to note that Gavdopoula (together with Gavdos) has some plant species that can only be found in Europe outside of Africa. This is due to the special and extreme climatic conditions, which are already very different from those of the neighboring Cretan island about 30 kilometers to the north. The island's relief is flat and the coast is steep and rocky. There are no real beaches. The north side of the island slopes quite gently into the water, while on the south side a meter-high cliff runs along the entire island. The highest point of the small island rises an impressive 110 meters!





#2 The island is uninhabited but not unused


Today, no one lives on Gavdos' little sister island. But this was different thousands of years ago. Remains of a small Minoan settlement were found on the south side. The Minoans - Europe's first advanced civilization - existed at the same time as the Egyptians and shaped an era full of culture, progress and development, particularly on Crete. They also spread to Gavdos and Gavdopoula. However, the island does not go unnoticed even today. If you look carefully, you will see a boat setting sail for Gavdopoula from time to time. These are usually local fishermen or farmers. On the rough coastal rocks of the small island, salt collects between the stones due to the sea water, which is collected and transported to Gavdos. If you are lucky, you can buy fresh sea salt from Gavdopoula in the mini market.


Gavdopoula with Crete in the background


#3 Can you travel to Gavdopoula?


Although there is not much to see on Gavdopoula, many travelers are attracted by the charm of this mysterious, uninhabited island. A crossing to Gavdopoula is definitely possible! The two local boat companies on Gavdos (Gavdos Boat Trips and Gavdos Boat Cruises) do not "officially" offer this tour, but an excursion to Gavdopoula is certainly possible on request. In principle, tour requests can be put together individually. Availability depends mainly on the time of year. Capacities are significantly higher in the low season in particular.


Gavdopoula at sunset moods

#4 Threatening scenarios for Gavdopoula


Over 25 years ago, plans were published for the redevelopment of Gavdopoula Island, according to which a gigantic container port was to be built. The entire island was to be demolished and leveled. Gavdos was to have served as a site for workers' settlements. Both islands and the surrounding waters would have been completely destroyed. Fortunately, such plans did not withstand the huge public pressure.



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