Vrykolakonisia (Vampire Islands) - Atlas Obscura

Vrykolakonisia (Vampire Islands)

Skyros, Greece

The alleged vampires after which these islets are named may have actually been plague victims. 

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Vrykolakonisia, literally meaning “vampire islands,” are two small islets by the coast of the island of Skyros. The sunny Aegean climate may not be ideal for vampires, but this is exactly the reason for their name.

According to local lore, alleged vampires would be abandoned on the remote islets. They would then be trapped since, according to Greek folklore, vampires cannot pass through water and die through exposure to the sun. Another folktale says that the vampires are dead pirates that disturb the local fishermen.

The real history behind their name is more tragic. According to archival material, the alleged “vampires” were victims of the plague who were abandoned on the desolate island and left to the islet to their own devices. A 1918 account says that the citizens of the nearby Skyros heard howls and screams coming from the islet, believing that the dead from the plague buried there many years ago had risen.

The solemn history of the islet adds to its appearance; weird stone formations shaped by the strong sea winds can be traced through the area, The only building that can be found there is the little chapel of Agios Ermolaos.

Know Before You Go

The area can be accessed only by boat.

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