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The Ultimate Karpathos Island Travel Guide

Pristine Scenery

Karpathos

Karpathos Dodecanese

The Destination

A colourful, diversified destination that marks the border of Greece in the east, Karpathos is a unique island with distinctive treasures and an exquisite personality that enchants visitors as soon as they set foot on its blessed land. Its rare beauty and deep tradition set it apart not only from all the rest islands of the Aegean Sea but also the Dodecanese in which it belongs to.

Immense contrasts, vivid colours and impressive landscapes make Karpathos one of the most relaxing and indulging summer destinations. Its extraordinary geomorphology comprises of crystal-clear waters, sun-kissed shores, limestone terrains, gorges, mountains, caves, lush green plains and slopes carpeted with pine trees reaching down to the sea. The island has managed to maintain its unspoilt personality due to the love and passion Karpathians have for their homeland, even if they live faraway.

Highlights

OLYMPOS

A spectacular village built on a mountaintop, isolated from the rest of the island, that keeps its exquisite, old-fashioned character until now, Olympos is the island’s must visit with its paved alleys, traditional shops and its people wearing the local costumes in their everyday lives. Here you will find local products varying from cheese, honey and wine to artifacts and folklore items made by local craftsmen.

SARIA

A small islet on the northern part of Karpathos, Saria used to be part of Karpathos but with time, the terrain eroded, and it got separated. If there is heaven on earth, Saria should be it! Unspoilt and untouched, this is a place of extraordinary natural beauty with turquoise waters, a stunning gorge, remnants of the island’s old settlement and awe-inspiring views. Due to its immense beauty and important biotope, Saria has been declared a Natura 2000 protected area serving as shelter to the Mediterranean seal.

OPEN-AIR FAIRS

Karpathos keeps its traditions alive in an everyday basis; locals wear the traditional costumes, practise the longstanding professions and artifacts’ creations, work with the island’s local products and are very keen on musical arts. Having the chance to be in a local feast, mostly taking place during summer months, especially August, is an unforgettable experience as you will witness local folk dances by the sound of traditional folk songs along with a crowd of old but also very young people cherishing their traditions.

GASTRONOMY

Blessed with a mild to warm climate and an extraordinarily fertile terrain, Karpathos takes pride in its countless local products varying from top quality wine, honey, grapes and a great variety of cheese characterized by intense flavours, such as manouli, armyrotyri and meriari. The locals are talented cooks making a visit to the island a mouthwatering culinary travel: makarounes (a type of pasta), pseftomakarona (chunks of stale bread boiled until soft and served as past with local cheese), several types of rusks and breads, tourtes (pies stuffed with local herbs, greens, onions and cheese), numerous creations with meat, distinctive dishes with freshly caught fish and seafood, tantalizing desserts, all make Karpathos one of the Greek islands with the richest local cuisine.

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In Details

An island with distinctive morphology and a narrow-long shape featuring a long coastline both sides, Karpathos has so much more than its sun-kissed beaches to show. Its mountainous landscapes descending to verdant or barren plains that touch the shoreline are awaiting hikers to take them in a world of magic and pristine nature.

Its unique mountainous villages are also one of Karpathos main attractions where you will meet the friendly, hospitable locals and stroll around narrow alleys, colourful gardens and small traditional “kafeneia” (cafés) to enjoy a cup of Greek coffee.

The northern part of the island is a valuable ecosystem – along with the island Saria – and part of the Natura 2000 network; countless species of birds, serpents and two endangered species of amphibians, kohylina, a kind of salamander, and the Karpathian frog, only met on the island. Thus, nature lovers should definitely take a day’s trip to this fantastic ecosystem. Especially for birdwatching aficionados, this is a place of endless observation due to the vast ornithological variety of the island.

Likewise, those who are keen on botany will find here various options for botanic tours in the protected area of the north and will have the chance to see many of the endemic, rare species of the island’s flora.

Action lovers will also find their place in Karpathos; apart from hiking and biking, windsurfing fans should take a stroll at the southern part of the island, at Afiarti area, which is one of the renowned destinations among windsurfers around the world. Here the World Windsurfing Championship has been taking place since 2006 and athletes from around the world have ridden the area’s waves.

The mountainous terrain of Karpathos also makes it ideal for rock climbing with more than 100 climbing routes throughout various areas of the island. Lastly, the island’s spectacular marine ecosystem calls for scuba diving fans to dive and explore its marvels at several parts of the island.

BEST BEACHES IN KARPATHOS

Ahatta

A stunning cove nestled within dramatic verdant slopes with white pebbles and azure waters that is partially organized.

Agios Nikolaos (Arkasa)

A long sandy coast with crystalline waters and views to the island of Kasos, this is an organized beach that offers everything.

Apella

Awarded and one of the most famous beaches of the island with sand and some pebbles, featuring a lush verdant backdrop.

Kyra Panagia

The most photographed coast on the island with gold sand and cobalt, deep waters encircled by cliffs carpeted with pine trees.

Lefkos

Featuring remnants of an ancient town in some consecutive beaches, all organized, with sandy coasts and emerald waters.

Diakoftis

A double coast with tropical ambience, views to the southern cape of the island, golden sand and crystalline, exotic waters.

Forokli

Two charming beaches, one with natural shade from trees, and another one, less affected by winds, with grey sand.

Palatia Sarias

A virgin beach on the island of Saria, with trees that offer shade, pebbled coast and tranquil waters, reached by boat.

Amoopi

A popular summer resort featuring a few coasts with sand, shallow waters, ideal for families as they are organized and wind protected.

Christou Pigadi

On the southern part of the island, this is a calm coast with thin gravel and cooling waters as there is a natural spring flowing in the sea.

Agios Minas

A large, wide coast on the way to Olympos with greyish pebbles and wild beauty, non-organized and reached by a dirt road.

Psorari

A secluded coast at the southern part of the island with clean, transparent waters and cave-like rocks on its backdrop offering natural shade.

Afoti

Very near Pigadia, the island’s capital, this is a long stretch of sand with azure waters, beach facilities and a vibrant ambience.

Agrilaopotamos

The absolute surfer’s paradise, this is a small sandy, non-organized beach with shallow waters and strong winds.

Mihaliou o Kipos

Very near the island’s airport, this is a small cove with eroded rocks that form caves, ideal for snorkelling explorations in total serenity.

Location

HOW TO GET TO KARPATHOS

Karpathos can be reached by air from Athens and the flight lasts about 1,5 hour while you will be able to rent a car there, a prerequisite to explore all the island’s treasures at your own pace. The ferry boat trip, on the other hand, is quite long and it should take around 20 hours to get there.

Accommodation

Its laid-back character and unsurpassed natural beauty make Karpathos one of the most precious holiday destinations in Greece. Although the island has maintained its genuine personality, there are countless options and infrastructure for travellers as well as several accommodation options including some of the most sublime luxury villas in Greece. One of the best ways to unwind and have a carefree, comfortable holiday is rent a private villa in Karpathos and make it your starting point for excursions and explorations.

The Greek Villas team will help you find the most matching property depending on your preferences and needs, including villas with swimming pool, romantic villas or family villas. Contact us and we will start working on your Karpathos summer escape together!

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