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Gavdos in Winter: Travel guide for your vacation on Gavdos in winter

A trip to Gavdos in winter is adventurous, special and beautiful. And in fact, making such a trip happen is not as difficult as some might think. Nevertheless, there are a few things you should bear in mind to make your trip enjoyable and unforgettable. In the following blog article, you will learn everything you need to know about traveling to Gavdos in winter, including winter camping: from how to get there to the availability of accommodation and tavernas, as well as other important things to consider.


#1 Life and weather on Gavdos in winter

Silence reigns on Gavdos in winter. All you can hear is the whistling of the wind or the waves breaking off the coast. The beaches are deserted, the footprints in the sand disappear. No tents in the sand, empty and closed tavernas, hardly any cars on the island. If you are looking for absolute peace and seclusion for once in your life, you will find it on Gavdos. And yet Gavdos is not extinct in winter. Some locals live on the island all year round. As do a few dozen dropouts who have found happiness in the cedar forests and their self-built barracks. Gavdos is also alive in winter, you just have to look closely. Life is now characterized by cosiness. The locals gather in the few remaining tavernas, sit together and talk about the issues of the day. The wood crackles in the fireplace while the storm rages outside. The smell of the fireplace wafts through the streets of Kastri. If you are on the island at this time, you will experience Gavdos with a completely different intensity. Authentic life can be experienced. You sometimes feel like you've been transported back in time. All the beaches, hiking routes and destinations are deserted. The few holidaymakers you meet often have very interesting stories to tell. Gavdos in winter is a special and unique experience!

While many areas of the island are deep in hibernation, nature awakens in all its glory. Due to downpours and lower temperatures, the island suddenly shows its colorful garb. Flowers and grasses of various colors adorn the fields. Anyone who has only been to Gavdos in summer will be amazed.

Winters are often very windy. Constant wind forces of around 7 to 9 Beaufort are not uncommon. At the same time, the thermometer levels off at around 15 to 20 degrees - and it can get colder at night. In addition, it is usually very humid at night. Almost 100 percent humidity drowns everything in moisture. However, there are also upward or downward outliers. It can also happen that temperatures reach around 25 degrees in January or February. Anyone talking about winter has to apply a different standard for Gavdos. Although rainfall is more frequent than in summer, it rains less often than on the neighboring island of Crete. The clouds often get caught in the mountain ranges and rain down there. While the sun shines on Gavdos, you can often lie on the beach and watch the capricious weather on Crete, including violent thunderstorms and heavy rainfall.

#2 Ferries to Gavdos in winter

The short answer is: Yes, there are ferries to Gavdos in winter. Even if there are currently fewer ferries from Crete to Gavdos due to licensing problems, there is usually a year-round ferry service (car ferry). Despite low visitor numbers, the Anendyk ferries run regularly, even without passengers. The route is subsidized by the state in order to support the population on the island with important supplies on a permanent basis. However, it should be noted that winters are characterized by strong winds, which can disrupt ferry traffic. From wind forces of 6 Beaufort, the boat has to stay in the harbor. Last year, I had to wait a total of 6 days in Chora Sfakion because the wind did not decrease. The same applies to the return journey. So you should bring plenty of time and not be tied to specific dates.

#3 Accommodation, tavernas and grocery shops on Gavdos in winter

As in almost all regions of Greece, the range of accommodation and restaurants is greatly reduced in winter - too few holidaymakers make their way to the southern Mediterranean. Nevertheless, Gavdos still has a small selection to choose from. The only mini market open all year round is the Livykon mini market near Agios Ioannis. In the small mini market you will find all the important groceries. There are also a small number of hygiene and camping articles (e.g. gas cartridges). There is also fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as freshly baked bread from the island. The bread comes in the morning from Stella's Bakery in Kastri. Stella is also open all year round and offers small treats and good coffee by a cozy fireplace. For other culinary delights, you will only find what you are looking for in Kastri. Princess Hotel (which also offers rooms all year round) is often busy even in winter, as many locals like to eat there. A few meters away, the cosy tavern "Chez Gogo" is also open. In the building of the former police station, you can sample local cuisine in the best ambience in the traditional stone house. The Livykon taverna near Agios Ioannis is usually open until Christmas and closes until April. In addition to the Princess Hotel in Kastri, rooms are also available at Consolas Gavdos Studio in Sarakiniko. Consolas is also open all year round. Both Princess Hotel and Consolas offer shuttle services and pick up their visitors from the port, as there is no public bus service during the winter months. Other tavernas, e.g. in Sarakiniko or Korfos, are closed during the winter months. Sarakiniko is almost like a ghost beach. Most tavernas, accommodation and markets reopen at the end of April. Important for a winter trip to Gavdos: There are no buses to the island. Buses usually run to the port until November, but this service is no longer available in the "low winter season".

#4 Camping on Gavdos in winter

I have already spent many winter months in a tent on Gavdos - including many months at a time. I had some wonderful experiences, but I also got to know the harsh side of winter on Gavdos. You feel like you're stranded on a desert island. A whole new time to completely rediscover Gavdos. At night you snuggle up in a warm blanket, listen to the sound of the sea and wake up in the morning with the first rays of sunshine. The Camping stove warms your coffee, body and soul. Gradually, the jacket can be taken off again. The warm winter sun of Gavdos shines on your face and you know: today will be a good day!

Winter camping is absolutely possible, but must be well prepared! You won't have much fun with a hammock and a thin blanket. Over the months, I got to know a lot of interesting, sometimes crazy people who decided to take a break in wintry Gavdos. And, of course, wanted to sleep in a tent. Some people were well equipped, some less so. For example, I met a Tibetan monk who traveled to Gavdos with only a thin blanket and a thin (non-rainproof) tarp to camp. He then sought shelter in a cave.

Winters on Gavdos are very windy. There is a constant breeze almost every day. Accordingly, care must be taken to ensure that the tent is positioned out of the wind and well secured. I've seen a few tents that couldn't withstand the wind. You also have to be prepared for rain on Gavdos. Although this happens much less frequently than on Crete, the downpours are usually very heavy and intense. It can also get colder at night than you might expect. A thick sleeping bag and a good mattress are very important so that you don't get cold outside. One thing that many people don't think about before they come to Gavdos in winter: The high humidity at night. As soon as the sun goes down, the humidity rises to almost 100 percent. Within minutes, everything gets wet. The tent wall looks like it's been rained on and the sand is very damp. Due to the humidity, the perceived temperature is significantly lower.

In conclusion, a trip to Gavdos in winter is wonderful. Of course it is colder than in summer. So you should be prepared for it. However, most days are still sunny, you can perfectly explore the island actively and you have almost the entire island to yourself.

Important in winter time: a rainproof tent


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