Karpathos is a unique island of the Dodecanese complex, geographically located on the southern side of the Aegean Sea. This island with the extraordinary natural beauty and the rich culture is lined up with exotic beaches and quaint villages, which have kept their traditions intact.
Getting to the island can be made by plane or ferry. Ferries to Karpathos depart from the port of Piraeus in Athens twice per week. However, the trip is very long (about 20 hours), which is why many visitors choose to start the ferry trip from other islands, like Crete and Rhodes.
Karpathos beaches enjoy an exotic setting of lush greenery, mountains and emerald water. They are sandy or pebbled, organized or secluded. Most of them can be accessed by car or boat from Pigadia, the capital town of Karpathos.
One of the most beautiful beaches in Karpathos is Kyra Panagia, a sandy bay that got its name from the chapel of Virgin Mary (Panagia) that is found on the hill above. The beach is clean and well organized. Close to Kyra Panagia is the popular Apella beach with white sand, surrounded by pine groves and impressive rocks. Many visitors go to these two fantastic beaches by boat from Pigadia.
The well organized beaches of Megali and Mikri Ammoopi, with fine pebbles and golden sand respectively, offer stunning scenery, seaside taverns and tourist facilities. For adventurous visitors, the beaches of Arkassa and Afiartis are ideal for windsurfing, due to large waves. Windsurfing competitions take place there every summer.
The villages in Karpathos are living remnants of tradition. Built on the slopes of rocky mountains, Karpathos villages have retained their time-honoured style and customs. They distinguish for their unspoiled scenery, the whitewashed houses and the amazing sea views.
A must visit village is Olympos, on the northern side of the island, where customs have been kept alive. Women in Olympos are dressed daily in their traditional clothing and every house has a wooden oven and a chapel at its yard.
Another beautiful village in Karpathos is Othos, known for its wine, fine taverns and many festivals. The Folklore Museum in Othos offers an exciting insight into the island’s history.
Things to do
As the island has not been tourist developed, Karpathos offers limited but exciting activities. Trekking and hiking signposted trails are available in many parts of the island, passing through villages, green hills and secluded beaches. Windsurfing is another popular activity with an international competition organized in Afiartis Bay yearly.
While in Karpathos, visitors should also take a boat trip to Saria Islet. This tiny island, split from the mainland by a narrow canal, is home to many sandy beaches, historical remains and wondrous caves.
Ferries to Karpathos
If you are starting your holidays from Athens, there are ferries to Karpathos from Piraeus port departing 3 times a week. The journey is long (18 to 20 hours) and it makes stops to other islands of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. The small beautiful island of Kasos is also accessible from Karpathos by ferry.
In summer, ferries to Karpathos also travel from Heraklion and Sitia in Crete twice per week. Ferries to Karpathos from Rhodes are also available.