Karpathos

Strong winds, glorious beaches - a paradise for surfers
© iStock.com/borchee

Useful hints and travel information for a Karpathos holiday

The Greek island of Karpathos is the second largest island in the Dodecanese archipelago, but despite of this only about 6000 people live there. In recent years there has been a considerable increase in tourism on Karpathos, which has given a modern appearance to some parts of the island. The island of Karpathos has a number of very beautiful beaches and is extremely popular with surfers because of its favourable wind conditions. A holiday on Karpathos offers a good combination of sun, sea and sand and culture. As Karpathos has its own airport, it is easy to get there by charter flight.

Pigadia, the capital of Karpathos, has developed into a modern little town in recent years. There are many places to stay, numerous taverns, cafes and bars for a varied and entertaining holiday on Karpathos. In comparison to its capital, the northern part of Karpathos is noticeably quieter. The mountain village of Olympos is famous for its traditional life style. It has a few very pleasant taverns and bread is stone-baked in the traditional way.

The western beaches of Karpathos offer the most favourable conditions for a wind surfing holiday, while beaches in the east are less windy but tend to be smaller and have pebbles. Most of the sandy beaches are in the south, the majority of northern bays are only accessible by boat.

Pictures from Karpathos

Villages of Karpathos

Amopi

On one of the most scenic coastal parts of the Greek Dodecanese island of Karpathos you will find the picturesque village of Amopi. The west wind sweeping across the mountains in the island’s centre gives the air a transparency only matched by the crystal clear water of the Aegean Sea. Amopi has pebble beaches, one large sandy beach and a variety of charming little bays, just perfect for snorkelling, surfing and scuba-diving. Amopi is not quite the sedate little village it used to be and gets very busy during the tourist season.

Arkasa

The village of Arkasa, built along a dried-up river-bed on the rocky Paleokastro Peninsula, lies about 5 miles from the capital of the Greek Dodecanese Island of Karpathos. Halfway between the beautiful sandy beach and the village there are rooms and apartments for hire near a small beach tavern. Those interested in history and archaeology can visit the ruins of Agia Anastasia, a Byzantine Basilica, and admire the cyclopean masonry of Paleokastro.

Diafani

As the harbour of the beautiful and traditional village of Olympos on the eastern coast of the Greek Dodecanese Island of Karpathos, Diafani has hardly been affected by tourism and is an ideal resort for people who want to get away from it all. Main pursuits in this region are mountain-hiking, snorkelling and scuba-diving. Pine-forests and olive groves invite for a relaxing evening walk.

Finiki

For a quiet and relaxed Karpathos holiday, the small fishing village of Finiki is just right. Complete with a patriotic war memorial celebrating local heroes, Finiki has a small beach, a large harbour and traditionally Greek taverns where fresh fish tops the menu – slightly more expensive in the harbour region, but reasonably priced if you dine at Nikos’ tavern, a bit further away from the harbour.

Karpathos Town

Built on the ruins of the Dorian sea-trading town of Poseidion, Karpathos Town or Pigadia is, with a population of 3500, the largest town on Karpathos. The Dodecanese Island’s capital is a perfect base for exploring Karpathos as well as other islands like Rhodes or Crete. Pigadia is popular with tourists, but still has a typically Greek atmosphere, with picturesque narrow lanes, beautiful houses and a little fishing harbour. Bars, discos and traditional bouzuikias in Pigadia provide evening entertainment, and there is a growing number of restaurants and cafes for tourists as well to make sure that your Karpathos holiday will be a success.

Lefkos

The tiny traditional village of Lefkos on the west coast of Karpathos consists of Pano Lefkos (Upper Lefkos) and Kato Lefkos (Lower Lefkos) and has managed to escape mass tourism so far. Greek life-style and tradition, historic sights (a Roman cistern, an Ice Age Cave and a church with a cross-vaulted dome) and idyllic beaches (Limani Beach, called after its little fishing harbour, is the most popular one) are the reason why people come to Lefkos for their Karpathos Holiday.

Menetes

Small white houses with blue-and-yellow doors and shutters, narrow lanes and balconies virtually covered in flowers – the small village of Menetes is reputedly the cleanest village on the Dodecanese Island of Karpathos. It is the ideal place for those who enjoy sitting in the shade under lemon trees, drink Greek coffee or Ouzo and chat with the locals.

Olympos

The mountain village of Olympos is situated on a massive rock in the north of Karpathos. It is a traditional village where tradition tradition is still part of everyday life. As Olympos is so isolated, most people go up there for a day, although there is private accommodation available. Interesting for tourists is the fact that many women in the village wear traditional Greek dresses and for religious festivals very intricate ones. As in most Greek villages, the women do all the work (tend to the livestock, work in the fields, make cheese, weave cloth etc.)

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