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Karpathos

Karpathos with its natural beauties and wild landscape is an island in the Dodecanese that has been forged by the wind, the traditions and the different cultures that lived on this island. An emerald sea and the town of Olymbos will give you the chance to visit a world where time has stopped

Surface
324,1 km²
Airport
International
Port
Pigadia
Faster connection
Direct flight
Connections
Direct flight
Healthcare
Hospital
Tourist presence
Nightlife under 30
Nightlife over 30
Beaches
Sand, Pebbles
Beach services
Equipped
Beaches for children
Yes
Equipped campsite
Yes
Naturism
Yes
Points of interest
Olympos, Othos, Menete, island of Saria, Acropoli Arkassa, Potideon, Cave of Poseidone
Activity
Climbing Boat trip Birdwatching Canoe Diving Hiking Kayak Kytesurf Snorkeling Tour Trekking Windsurf
Holiday type
Family holiday, Romantic trip

Karpathos is an island that seems enchanted thanks to it’s beautiful sea and magic landscapes. It is known as the island of women (with their traditional clothes) amd here you will find high mountains, places for kitesurfing and windy beaches. It is one of the most touristy and visited areas of the Dodecanese and it is geographically divided into two parts: the northern and southern coasts.

Karpathos is half way between Crete and Rhodes, there is an airport on the island so there are many options that you can choose from for reaching the island. There are also many connections to get to the nearby and far away islands via ferry or by plane. For this reason Karpathos is a great island to start a tour of the Dodecanese islands!

Why choose Karpathos?

If you are looking for beautiful beaches, a wonderful sea and lots of small villages Karpathos is the ideal place for you. The northern part of the island is rocky and barren, for this reason it is a favourite spot for climbers and those people who love trekking.

There are also many panoramic paths that will lead you to hidden beaches that usually aren't very crowded. The southern part is green and lush with the presence of the Meltemi wind that makes this place one of the best places to go kitesurfing. In the last years a lot of the population that had abandoned the island has been coming back, giving new life to this island by creating shops and places for tourists besides attracting windsurfers and many other sportsmen. 

Karpathos is clearly an island for those people who love sports, trekking and long walks (for example there is a path that after a two hour walk leads to the wonderful village of Olymbos).

Time seems to have stopped in Olymbos, the landscape is breathtaking and the tiny houses seem to be molten with the rocks. Women here still wear traditional clothes. The town of Pigadia is the pulsing heart of the island and the most populated area where you will find many attractions and activities for tourists. 

Last but not least Karpathos and the island of Saria are the two most important Greek islands for the conservation of rare species and ecosystems.

The beaches on Karpathos are famous for their beauty and varieties that go from the many coves around the coast to the shallow seabeds that are perfect for children. The southern part of the island is often very windy and for this reason it is one of the world’s favourite destinations for kitesurfers. In fact the island every year holds different water sport competitions (some of which are also very important).

The beaches in the northern part of the island aren’t as crowded and as known. The ideal location for people that love hiking and walking as many beaches can only be reached on foot after a long walk between the rocky lanscape.

Afoti beach

A long beach with turquoise waters located near the city of Pigada. The beach is well equipped and offers many services like beach umbrellas, deckchairs, taverns and bars.

Apella beach

One of the nicest beaches of the Dodecanese located 17 km north from Pigadia. It is surrounded by two high cliffs on the side and from a mountain. The beach has a tavern but unfortunately during the summertime it is often “invaded” by the many tourists that visit the island early in the morning.

Finiki beach

Located in a small bay 2 km north from Arkasa, this beach has a small tavern and it is often very crowded. The beach has lost much of it’s original atmosphere so if you want to visit the traditional greek atmosphere we don’t suggest coming here.

Kyara Panagia beach

A beach with white sand and turquoise waters located on the eastern part of the island. It is considered one of the island’s nicest beaches and it is perfect for people that enjoy swimming. It is very well equipped with many services like sea umbrellas and deckchairs. There is also a tavern that serves fresh fish.

Vananda beach

Leaving Olymbos and after walking 4 km you will find a path surrounded by pines along the coast. This walk lasts about 50 minutes and it is perfect for someone that loves trekking. There isn’t a lot of shade but the constant wind makes everything a lot cooler. During the summer there is also a tavern open near the beach. If you don’t want to walk all the path then you can always rent a boat.

Vroukounda beach

Vroukounta is a mystical area in the north of Karpathos where once stood the ancient city-state of Vrykous. There is so much to see for anyone who likes to explore, who loves history or simply swimming and having fun by a beautiful lonely beach. You will discover ruins more than 3500 years old, Church cave of St. Joannis or underwater treasures while snorkeling.

The island of Karpathos offers many activities to choose from. There are water sports, nature, arts and beautiful waters. This island of the Dodecanese is well known for trekking and kitesurfing. In the last few years the island has had an increase in tourists that have made the island more active in a commercial point of view.

If you are looking for a peaceful place to spend your holidays try and get away from Pigadia, the main city and port of the island where there are many small white houses, bars and taverns. There isn’t a lot of nightlife going on in Karpathos. One of the best things you can do when visiting the island is trying to explore as much of it as possible.

If for example you don’t feel like going on a boat trip you will still have the chance to visit many places and hidden parts of Karpathos.

Boat trip

Thanks to the boat trips around the island you will have the chance to visit some of the most unique and inaccessible parts of the island. We also suggest you take an excursion or trip to the uninhabited island of Saria where besides some beautiful beaches you will also find the remains of the antique city of Ilyssos. Going swimming in these marvellous waters will be a truly unique experience.

A long walk in contact with nature

Karpathos offers some wonderful landscapes and for this reason trekking is becoming more and more popular. If you decide to go walking in Karpathos you will find a special atmosphere made of lush nature and beautiful view on the mountains and waters that surround the island.

Diving center in Karpathos

If you love going diving and snorkeling you can contact one of the diving centers of the island. When diving you will have the chance to explore and observe closely the wonderful seabed and coloured fish that live there. Recommended also for both amateurs and professionals you will find some highly qualified staff that will teach you everything there is to know.

Walking in Olympos

Coming to Karpathos and not having a walk in the village of Olymbos would be a mistake. It is located at about 60 km from the island’s Chora and it is one of the oldest villages of the island. Here you will find the typical Greek coloured houses and people wearing traditional clothes. Between the houses you will also find some of the old windmills that are still inhabited and can be visited. There are also many old churches built in Byzantine style to visit. If you get on well with the locals they will tell you many interesting facts about this magic village.

Water sports

In Karpathos you will have the chance to practice many different water sports like kitesurfing, windsurfing, water skiing and even renting motorboats. Even if it isn’t a water sport there is also the chance of playing beach volleyball on two different beaches.

Rock climbing in Karpathos

Thanks to the rocky structure of the island, in Karpathos just like in kalymnos there are many places where to go rock climbing and rock climbing centers that organize daily trips to the nearby mountains.

In Karpathos you can move around by renting a vehicle (scooter or car) taking advantage of the local bus line, by taking a taxi or by moving around the island’s different beaches with a taxi-boat.

Renting a car or scooter in Karpathos

Renting a scooter or car in Karpathos is very simple as there are many agencies to choose from spread around the island. The prices for renting a car range from 25-28 €/day during low season and 50 €/day during high season. If you are looking for a cheaper option you can always decide to rent a scooter for a price that ranges from 20 €/day during low season and around 35 €/day during high season. In the northern part of the island we suggest you rent a 150 cc scooter as the roads are very steep.

Moving around Karpathos by bus

The bus line that serves the island is rather efficient. The busses leave from Pigadia, located near the port in station called “Mattheou” and reaches many parts of the island. Here you can find the timetables and places reached by the island’s busses. We don’t recommend taking a taxi because of the high prices, especially if you are trying to reach the airport, located 14 km south from Pigadia.

Moving around Karpathos by boat

Boats leave from Pigadia and reach the port of Diafani, where you will also find the busses that leave for Olymbos or towards the creeks located in the northern part of the island.

The island of Karpathos has its own international airport, although the number of both flights and airports serving the island is limited. Other international connections are available through Athens airport, although some flights to the island may require an overnight stay in the capital. There are usually two flights daily between Athens and Karpathos.

If the cost of flights is excessive or no seats are available, there is a ferry service from Piraeus. The crossing is quite a long one, with several stops en route.

Reaching Karpathos from Rhodes

It is easy to get to Karpathos from Rhodes, although flights to the island often leave in the morning, so an overnight stay in Rhodes may be necessary. If this is the case, our advice is to extend your stay on Rhodes for several days, or at least the day before the flight, to see the lights and sights of the island with its taverns and views over the Aegean Sea.

Reaching Karpathos from Crete

An alternative way to reach Karpathos is to fly to Heraklion on the island of Crete. One can then take a ferry either from Heraklion itself to Karpathos (8 hours), or else cross Crete by bus or taxi to the port of Sitia, as the crossing from here takes only 4 hours. Again, if one is coming from outside Greece, the best solution may be to include a few days stay on Crete itself before continuing to Karpathos.

If you are trying to decide where to find accommodations and apartments in Karpathos remember that in the southern coast you will find Pigadia, the most vibrant town of the island. The cheapest accommodations are located on the road that leads to a hill while in the northern part of the island there are modern and luxurious hotels.

Where to stay in Karpathos

There are also many apartments and hotels in the villages of Arkasa, Finiki and Lefkos that are certainly a lot quieter than Pigadia. In the northern part of the island you can stay in Olymbos, where you can enjoy Karpathos’ beauties far away from the sometimes chaotic villages and towns.

There are also apartments and hotels in Diafani. Remember to book in advance in order to spend a bit less and be sure to find a place where to spend the night.

Studios in Karpathos

There are also many studios in Karpathos. These typical greek accommodations are spread throughout the island and are usually slightly cheaper than the options.

Villas in Karpathos

There are also magnificent villas with beautiful views of the sea. Most of them are located in the central part of the island, where you will be in contact with nature. The prices for these villas are slightly higher than the price for renting a hotel room, a studio or an apartment. During high season the average price is 200-250 €/night.

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