A lonely medieval monastery on an uninhabited island.
One of the two Strofades islands in the Ionian Sea, only approachable by private boats, the tiny island of Stamfani is surely not a place flocked with tourists. There is only one building on the island, a fortress-like medieval monastery, which is inhabited by just a single monk.
The lonely monastery was built in 1241, fortified to protect against the frequent pirate raids on the island. The monastery was once the final resting place of Saint Dionysios, the patron saint of Zakynthos, an island to the north. In the 17th century, the saint’s body was moved to Zakynthos after a brutal pirate attack on the Strofades monastery.
The Strofades are considered national monuments, known for their rich vegetation, marvelous cedar trees, and the many different bird species that find refuge on the island complex. The smaller of the two islands, Arpyia, is perhaps even lonelier: It is considered dangerous to approach because of its shallow waters.
Know Before You Go
Accessed only by boat.
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