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Saturday February 24th 2024

Mediterraneo | 1991

Mediterraneo location: Kastellorizo, the Dodecanese
Mediterraneo location: the idyllic Mediterranean island: Kastellorizo, in the Aegean Sea. | Photograph: iStockphoto / Margaretrr

During WWII, a small group of Italian soldiers are sent on a vague mission to Megisti – described as the “smallest and most distant” island in the Aegean. And the setting for 1992’s Best Foreign Language Oscar winner is just that, otherwise known as Kastellorizo. Just off the Turkish coast, 72 miles east of Rhodes, “small” in this case means no cars and a couple of hotels.

Megisti, its official name, is also the name of the only settlement on the island, serving as both harbor and capital, divided into three districts: Pigadia, Chorafia and the picturesque little port of Mandraki.

So don’t visit Kastellorizo if you”re looking for bustling beaches and wild nightlife. Although 15,000 people once called the island home, in 1943 they were evacuated the to Egypt to protect them from German air attacks. Few returned, most opting to emigrate to Australia. The current population is somewhat hazily estimated at around 250.

A shuttle bus and a single taxi are the two ways to get around the island. The upside is that Kastellorizo is one of the most peaceful islands you’ll find in the Mediterranean. A natural paradise, with so little human interference turtles and dolphins thrive.

There are no direct flights from Athens to Kastellorizo, but you can reach the island via Rhodes (there are five or six daily flights from Athens to Rhodes in the summer, and three in winter). From Rhodes, three flights a week, of around 45 minutes, will take you to the island’s tiny airport.