This lovely little island between Rhodes and Crete is still a very genuine
place without any major tourism and friendly people. It is a great place
for windsurfers since it gets quite windy here which often keeps the
mosquitoes away, and keeps even the hot summer days enjoyable.
Half the island is harsh and inaccessible, the other is lush and
idyllic. Some buildings are small and very genuine, others are modern.
The same applies to the locals: many are modern and dressed accordingly,
others wear more traditional clothes in bright colours. Even today in
Karpathos can be found alive the folk tradition. The local songs,
accompanied by traditional instruments like tsampouna, the lyra and the
lauto you will often hear at weddings and festivals, in local cafes and
This island is so varied and original that it is ideal for photographers
and painters, and quite a few artists have taken refuge here. It might
be a bit difficult to get here, but once you've made it you won't regret
History Karpathos is mentioned by
Homer in the Iliad and the island might have been inhabited from
prehistoric times. According to legend, there lived the king of the
Titans, Iapetos, son of
Uranus (Heaven) and
Gaia (Earth). It was also
Athena sprung out of her father
It is very likely that the island was part of the kingdom of the Minoans
of Crete in the 2nd millennium BC. The Dorians came from the north in
the 9th century BC and settled here.
Although Homer supports the presence of the Achaeans, the island
continued to be the center of the Minoan civilization at the end of the
Bronze Age. Karpathos participated in the war against Troy. Later the
island was colonized by Dorians who named the island Tetrapolis because
it had 4 cities, the archaic names of these ancient cities survive until
today for example Arkesia, which is close enough to the current Arkasa
the Potidaion or Possideion near to modern Pigadia and elsewhere.
In the classical period Karpathos status and culture was high due to the
proximity of the island with the port of Lindos of Rhodes. In 478 BC
Karpathos became the first member of the Athenian alliance of Delos, but
in 404 BC at the end of the Peloponnesian War, the island was dominated
by the Spartans. In 42 BC Karpathos was conquered by the Romans. With
the division of the Roman Empire in the 4th century AD Karpathos becomes
part of the Byzantine Empire. At the time of the Emperor Heraklios
Karpathos was part of the theme of Crete.
In the beginning of the 13th century the island (the called Sarpantos)
came under Venetian rule after Constantinople had fallen, and in the
16th century the Turks followed. They stayed here until 1912, when the
island was taken by Italy. In 1948 it was finally given back to Greece.
The great revival of Karpathos came in the 1980's, when many of the
locals returned to the island after years abroad.
What to See-The village Olympos
is a must!!! Because Karpathos was often raided by pirates, this little
village was camouflaged since the people built their houses with natural
stone. The village is also called "the Women's' Village") since the
women have been and are in majority: their men have either been out
fighting pirates and Turks, or forced to work abroad. There are also
many local customs here not to be found anywhere else in Greece.
Lefkos is a very pretty little fishing village that is worth a visit, or
why not stay the night here. In Arkasa there is a church from the 5th
century, Agia Sophia ("Holy Wisdom"). The village Aperi is located on a
height of 320m, and used to be the capital, and it is very pretty with
small churches, a little square and a fountain.
Menetes is a village in the mountains built during the Middle Ages.
There are many churches here as well as an archaeological museum, and
the view is breathtaking.
Vounos was likely a fortified castle in the Mycenaean times and was the
ancient citadel of Posideon raised over the port of Karpathos. Today are
existing only foundations of buildings and parts of cyclopean walls.
In Pigadia located the Cave of Poseidon in the area of Mili. This is a
sculptured tomb or sanctuary. There are indications that in front of the
tomb was a wooden building. Perhaps the sanctuary was dedicated to the
goddess Aphrodite from the fact that they have found statues of Venus in
the region. The cave of Poseidon is eroded by the continued use by
sepherds. They also found tombs from the Minoan and Mycenaean era in the
surrounding area. On the beach of Pigadia in the area Afoti are the
ruins of an Early Christian basilica of St. Fotini.
What to Do
:Karpathos is a great place for windsurfing and taking long walks. The
snorkelling is also very good as well as the diving (there is also a
diving school here). Explore the villages - they're very original. There
are bus tours to Olympos. The island is also ideal for climbers because
there are many climbing locations on the mountains.
Many agree that the best beaches are in Lefcos, where there is a
beach for nudists. In general, there are many beaches, coves and
rocky shores on the island, where you can swim . Karpathos has
many small beaches, sandy or with pebbles, which are away from
the crowds offering direct contact with the natural serenity and
The greater beach is in Pigadia, a sandy beach with clear water.
In the south you will find the beaches of Amoopi and
Makrygiallos. boats from the port can take you to the beaches of
Kyra Panagia,the beach of Apella, Achata beach, Agios Nikolaos
and Agios Minas beaches, Diafani and Vananta beach.
In Amoopi you will find clean blue beaches and crystal clear
waters in Fokia and Lakki. In the small village Arkasa you will
find the beautiful beaches aof Proini and Finiki , you can also
enjoy the sea and the beach in Agios Nikolaos, one of the best
beaches in Greece.
In the small village of Aperi will find Achata, a small cove
with a pebble beach with blue and crystal clear waters. You can
also swim in the beach of Kyra Panagia, which has many pine
Nighttlife:Most bars and clubs
are in Pigadia. The Greeks love staying out until late, but it hardly
ever gets out of hand. You'll simply have a very good time. Karpathos
also have bars and nightclubs with Greek and foreign music, covering the
full range of nightlife.
Food- The food served in many
restaurants are mainly traditional Greek cuisine of high quality. The local
specialty is pasta with onions called Makarounes. In Karpathos, you can try
traditional rusks from rye, sousamokouloura (sesam cookiees), avgokouloura,
psilokouloura, Makarouna, lachanopitia, drilla, the specialty Bizanti, a
local dish with lamb filled with rice and baked in a wood oven, Hontrs is
another local specialty with minced meat and wheat, the local aspic, and the
kavourmas. You should also try different kinds of bread that are made from
wheat and barley, eaten together with the spicy local cheeses, armotyri and
From sweets, taste the local baklava of Karpathos that is very different
than the usual one, the myzithropita (myzithra cheese pie), the sisamopita
(sesam pie), sitakopita , sousamomelo and xerotigana.
Shopping: Apart from the many shops in
Pigadia, where you can find newspapers, magazines, fashionable clothes and
shoes (in some local traditional shoe shops you can order stivalia the
traditional shoes of Karpathos), there are many shops in the villages of the
island. You can find many souvenirs such as handmade textiles, painted
ceramic plates, woodcut toys and kitchenware. You can also buy local honey,
olive oil and wine.
Getting Around There is a
quite good network of buses connecting Pigadia with several beaches and
villages. A special bus takes you to Olympos. There are also car and
bike rentals, and small boats that can take you to various beaches and
villages. Taxis are also available.
Getting There :The airport
doesn't take large airplanes, but there are flights to and from Athens
Greece, Rhodes and Kassos. There are also ferryboats from Rhodes, Kassos
|| Phone numbers*
| Size: Size: 300 sq. km
||International code: 0030
|Population: about 5500
||Local code: 22450
|Cash machine: yes
||Health center: 22228
|Internet cafe: Yes
|Highest Mountain: Kali Limni, 1215
||Port Police: 22227
||Tourist Police: 22212
|Price rate: cheap