Lonely Planet Writer

This idyllic Greek island is looking for residents, and it will pay them to move there

If you’ve always dreamed of leaving the world behind and spend your days in a secluded paradise, or if maybe you’d like to live out your own Mamma Mia! fantasy, then you’re in luck— an idyllic Greek island is looking for residents.

Antikythera is one of the Ionian Islands, much like the bigger island of Lefkada. Photo by Evgeni Dinev Photography/Getty Images

The Greek island of Antikythera is twenty square kilometres of almost completely untouched nature, with emeraldine waters and only one village, Potamos, which also serves as the main harbour and arrival point on the island. It was also the place of discovery of one of the oldest analogic computers ever found, the Antikythera Mechanism, built sometime around 150 and 100 BC— its gear wheels and clockwork mechanism were used to predict astronomical positions, eclipses, orbits, and even mark the four-year period between each Olympic Games.

The Antikythera Mechanism’s technology was lost in history and resurfaced only in Europe in the 14th century. Photo by Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Sadly, Antikythera has been losing inhabitants, and today only forty people live on the island. That’s why a repopulation campaign was launched, with the help and sponsorship of the Orthodox Church, to find new families willing to move to this small but beautiful island. The process of selection is careful and gives precedence to Greek people, but for those who manage to be chosen there will be a house, a parcel of land to start farming or to build a business on, and a monthly cheque of €500 for the first three years of residence.

The city closest to Antikythera isn’t a city at all, but rather the island of Crete. Photo by Adam Sabic/500px

If you’re looking for a way to live among the peace and quiet in an island that’s perfect for diving and bird-watching (it sits right on the route of many seasonal migrations), then Antikythera is the perfect chance. The island is two hours by ferry away from the much bigger Crete, and around four hours away from the closest city on the mainland, Laconia in the region of Peloponnese.