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Get paid to live on this idyllic European island – but there’s a catch

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Five ferries a week leave Antikythera from the port of Potamós (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A Greek island is offering money and free property to families who move there, as a way to boost its modest population.

Antikythera, between Crete and Peloponnese in the Aegean Sea, covers a distance of less than eight square miles,

It’s home to just 24 full-time residents and 40 during the summer tourist season, having dwindled from 300 over the last 40 years.

This initiative, organised by the Greek Orthodox Church of Kythera, aims to entice a new batch of inhabitants to move in – but they have to meet certain criteria to be accepted.

Five families will get the chance to start a new life in Antikythera, receiving a home, a plot of land and €500 a month as an incentive.

However, applicants will need to have four children to qualify, as president of Antikythera, Andrea Harhalakis, said: ‘We need young families, large enough to make Antikythera alive and full of children’s voices.’

This is the only business on the island; a coffee shop and grocery store (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The top candidates will also have a trade like baking and fishing, and can help grow the economy in this small community.

Currently, the only business on the island is a coffee shop which serves as a gathering place for locals and also functions as a market for groceries.

Greek property firm Elxis reported in February that since the homes offered as part of the scheme haven’t yet been built, applications – which will be followed by interviews – aren’t yet open. If you fit the bill, though, it may be worth getting ready to put your hat in the ring.

There are plenty of beautiful beaches (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Alongside the financial incentives, there are plenty of reasons to consider a new life in Antikythera.

It boasts pristine beaches and a charming little settlement beside the port of Potamós. Hikers will love exploring the island’s hills and caves, while swimmers can enjoy clear blue waters that are perfect for snorkelling.

The island is packed with history, having first been inhabited as far back as around 4000 BC. It was the site of the discovery of one of the oldest analogic computers ever found, the Antikythera Mechanism, built sometime around 150 and 100 BC, along with a fort used by Cilician pirates between 300 and 100 BC that still stands today.

Fancy this being right on your doorstep? (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Known as a haven for nature, a number of wild goats and a large breeding colony of falcons call Antikythera home. Thanks to its low levels of human pollution, it’s even been earmarked for a new Climate Observatory Center coming in the next few years.

As for the climate here, summers are hot and dry with peak temperatures of around 32°C. It does cool down in the winter, but lows of 3°C in January mean it’s still warmer than the UK at that time of year.

One thing those that move here will need to be comfortable with is how remote it is. Ferry crossings between Antikythira and nearby Kythera island (a journey which takes around two hours) leave five times a week, and this is dependent on weather. While there are boats from Kissamos in Crete and Pireaus in Athens, these are much less frequent.

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