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The Greek island of Karpathos is located in the southeastern part of the Aegean Sea in the Dodecanese Archipelago, or the Twelve Islands. On a map you would look for it between the islands of Rhodes and Crete. The island itself is not particularly large, being narrow, less than 50 km long, with a circumference of about 160 km. However, it is often called the "queen" of the archipelago, a title it certainly deserves for its wild natural beauty, which combines with the lesser tourist traffic to create a unique holiday environment. The north is characterised by a rugged and wilder landscape, with cliffs and steep cliffs, while the south is more peaceful, green, fertile and beautiful. The writer Lawrence Durell once wrote of the island as an ideal hideaway from the world. Karpathos is an island untouched by mass tourism and is therefore an ideal place to relax. It is an island full of traditions and old customs, including dressing in local costumes, folk music and singing, and medieval crafts. Karpathos is strongly linked to Greek traditions. The flora and fauna of Karpathos, like those of the other Greek islands, is interesting for its rare species of wild flowers, beautifully scented herbs and hills with Greek shrubs and olive trees.

The island is full of contrasts. On one side are steep, sharp rocks, cliffs jutting out of the sea. On the other side, the island is green and fertile. The northern part is quite mountainous with mostly bare rocks. The southern part is overgrown and fertile. The southernmost point of the island is Cape Kastelo, the northern border is the islet of Saria. The two areas are separated by a mountain range with the highest mountain Kali Limmi at 1214 m. The beaches of Karpathos are a unique feature of the island. The coastline has a large number of beaches of different types, from sandy to pebbly. Achata - a pebble beach on the east coast with a tavern among the rocks. Kyra Panagia - there is a church with a red dome. Apella - a beach on the east coast with fine sand. The deserted beaches in the south of the island are also worth seeing, where you will find privacy and they will be just for you.

Due to its strategic location, the island has a long and rich history. According to legend, the island was first inhabited by the Titans. Archaeological findings prove that the island was inhabited as early as the Neolithic and that the Minoans had a great influence on it. The Mycenaeans came to the island around the 14th century BC, followed by the Phoenicians. Around 1000 BC, the Dorians settled here and brought prosperity with them. In 478 BC the island made an alliance with the Athenians and fought against the Spartans in the Peloponnesian War. After the defeat of Athens, the island succumbed to the Spartans. In 397 BC it regained its independence. But then came the Arabs, the Moors, the Genoese pirate Moresco, the Venetians and finally the Turks. The Turks, however, were never interested in improving or maintaining Karpathos and only sent tax collectors from time to time. After World War I the island was in Italian hands and before World War II in German hands. It was only in 1947 that the island became definitively Greek.

Today, the island attracts tourists seeking a quieter holiday amidst almost untouched nature. They head mainly to the southern part of the island with easy access to beautiful beaches. In the southernmost tip, windsurfing enthusiasts will enjoy favourable conditions. Hikers will also enjoy the island. The local countryside literally invites hiking, whether it is mountain climbing or walks along the coast and through the forests. Last but not least, visitors are drawn here by the aforementioned indigenous way of life in almost forgotten villages.

You will be most impressed by the traditional atmosphere in the most famous town of Olympos. It is located in the mountains in the northern part of the island, which for a long time was connected to the south only by a dirt road. Today, you can get here by a combination of boat and bus. This partial isolation has made the preservation of traditions in these places much more important. Traditional farming methods and practices as practised by the local population for centuries have been preserved to this day. Old traditions are very strictly respected. The women here wear traditional costumes even on a weekday. Every day, its inhabitants gather for social gatherings with music and singing in various cafés. But young people leave here to study, some young men to America, where they even have their own community in Chicago.

The capitol itself is music on Karpathos. It is particularly popular and catchy and will be in your ears long after you leave the island. The musicians here are respected people who often make their own instruments. If you were to go to Karpathos by boat, you would arrive at the port of the main town of Pigadia in the southern part of the island, which is also the largest town on Karpathos. In the local park, which lies opposite the town hall, there are ancient objects scattered about that are sure to catch your eye, such as an early Christian marble font and objects discovered in Mycenaean graves on the island dating back to the 5th century BC. You can visit the remains of the Christian basilica of Agia Fotini, the monumental tomb in the Cave of Poseidon and the archaeological museum.

Basic information:

  • Greek name: Karpathos (Κάρπαθος)
  • Capital: Pigadia
  • Island area: 301 km2
  • Population: over 6500
  • The highest peak: Kali Limni - 1215 m above sea level
  • Length of coastline: 160 km

RESORTS ON KARPATHOS

PIGADIA

Pigadia, the capital of the island, is also known as Karpathos and has about 2.5 thousand permanent inhabitants. The town is dominated by the harbour, from where cruise ships and ferries to other parts of Greece depart. As the commercial and cultural centre of the area, Pigadia offers everything you need. There is a hospital, several pharmacies in the city centre, a number of tavernas, restaurants and cafes, especially on the quay between the two port piers - the quay and the street parallel to the quay form the central tourist area. There are most of the souvenir shops, clothing and shoe shops, ice cream and fast food stalls. Enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of Pigadia in one of the cafes with a charming view of the panorama of houses built from the harbour further up the slopes surrounding the bay, as well as the surrounding mountains. The main road (28 Oktovriou) is lined with most of the supermarkets, greengrocers and fresh fruit shops, bakeries and patisseries. The siesta is mostly observed in specialised shops such as pharmacies and jewellers; usually between 13:00-17:00 or 18:00. The largest, best stocked and most frequented supermarket in the city is Louloudis. A cheaper range is offered by the Cash & Carry supermarket, which does not sell frozen or chilled products, but closes at 16:00. Banks and ATMs are only here (you won't find them elsewhere on the island, not even at the airport, there are about 5 banks and each has its own ATM). There are yellow boxes around the town where you can drop your mail. You won't regret it if you go to the city centre for nightlife. Nightclubs and bars tend to stay open until the early hours of the morning. The city centre can be really busy at night, especially in high season. There's a mini golf course a short walk from the bus station - great fun for the whole family.Top tip: it's worth a hike up the pine-lined path to the site of the original ancient Acropolis to the chapel of Panagia Larniotissa. From here you can enjoy an unforgettable view of the harbour, the whole town of Pigadia, the bay of Vrontis with its beach and the mountain villages in the background. If you head from the centre towards Aperi, you will reach the almost 4 km long beach of Vrontis Bay, with its golden sand, gradual entry and clear water. Various water sports and beach games are on offer. Above the beach you can see the remains of an early Christian basilica. A few km from the town is another nice beach, Kyra Panagia. Information for drivers - there are a lot of one-way streets in the town, the secondary and main roads are not marked like here - there is always a stop sign on the secondary road. The waterfront street between the piers and the street parallel to it is closed to motor vehicles every day after 7 pm, so it is better not to park here in the evening. There are no paid parking lots in the city (at the taxi stand, at the bus station by the Edem bar, next to the mini-golf), and you can also park on streets where there is no parking ban, no stopping or yellow lines.

Beach: sandy. Distance from the airport: approx. 15 km. Approximate transfer time from the airport: approx. 30 minutes. Resort rating: resort with a beautiful beach and shopping and entertainment opportunities.

AMOOPI

The smaller and quieter resort of Amoopi lies less than 7 km south of the island's capital, Pigadia. You can come across various transliterations of this name - Ammopi, Ammoopi, Amopi. The resort will charm especially those who want to enjoy a relaxing and peaceful holiday. The endless view of the sea with an open horizon, the beaches with turquoise blue water, the shining sun, the refreshing breeze, all create the ideal conditions for this. The resort consists mainly of smaller hotels and guesthouses. Although it is not a large resort, it offers everything you need to enjoy an undisturbed summer holiday. There are several taverns and bars, you can rent a car and a motorbike in the place, and the local smaller shops offer a basic assortment of goods (there are 3 mini-markets - offering only basic goods such as vegetables and pastries). Some taverns organized Greek parties for their guests in the 2015 season - for example Votsalakia Tavern always on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Nymfer Tavern always on Thursdays. For more shopping, it is possible to go to nearby Pigadia, either by public transport bus (about 6 times a day in season, except Sundays, the main stop is at the church of Agii Apostoli on the promontory above the beaches of Great Amoopia Votsalakia, a short walk from Kalypso restaurant- a one-way ticket costs about 1,80€), or by taxi (about 10-12€/ride). The beaches in this area stretch for almost 6 km. You can choose between two beaches in the resort. The small one (Mikri) with fine sand and turquoise water is preferred by lovers of peace and quiet. The rocks also attract divers. The more popular large beach (Megali, or Votsalakia), covered with smaller pebbles, offers other activities besides swimming. For those who like diving and snorkelling, Castelia Bay beach is suitable. The beaches in the surrounding bays also offer privacy. Windsurfing and similar water sports enthusiasts seek out the beaches in Afiartis.

Beach: sandy and pebble. Distance from the airport: approx. 11 km. Approximate transfer time from the airport: approx. 20 minutes. Rating of the resort: quiet environment with beautiful beaches.

LEFKOS

The village of Lefkos is renowned for its white sand and pebble beaches, which are considered among the best on the island. Lefkos is located about 33 km north-west of the capital. The picturesque surroundings are enhanced by small houses, pine trees and lilies that bloom throughout the spring and summer. A beautiful sunset can be seen here. Lefkos is an ideal place for relaxation and family holidays. There is everything you need for a holiday, 2 grocery stores, 5 restaurants, several bars and 4 car and motorbike rental shops. It is also an ideal starting point for excursions to the surrounding area. Nearby in the hinterland are the ruins of ancient water cisterns. The whitewashed mountain villages of Mount Lastos, built at an altitude of 300-500 m, attract those who want to diversify their stay by hiking and getting to know the life of the locals.

Karpathos

75 min.
Touch, 2016
Includes: Karpathos - Pigadia, Afoti, Tombs at Paliokastro, Panagia Larniotissa, Agia Kyriaki, Pouliou Potami, Amoopi, Lakki, Kastelia Bay, Fotia, Menetes, Agios Mamas, Damatria, Christou Pigadi, Vatha, Diakoftis, Meas Elaris, Akrotiki Bay, Agrilaopotamos, Agios Theodoros, Arkasa, Agia Sofia, Agios Nikolaos, Ancient Arkeseia, Finiki, Cape Proniou, Pine Tree, Iliondas, Potali, Kato Lefkos, Lefkos Bay, Sokastro Islet, Roman Cistern, Agios Georgios, Mesochori, Olymbos, Avlona, Vroukounda, Shields, Agia Marina, Tombs, Agios Ioanis, Vananda, Diafani, Panagia, Forokli, Agnondia, Agios Minas, Nati, Agios Nikolaos, Agios Ioanis, Agios Loukas, Apella, Mikri Apella, Kyra Panagia, Kato Lakkos, Achata, Aperi, Volada, Stavros, Othos, Pyles, ...

36 Beaches of Karpathos & Saria

11 min.
2016
Includes: 36 Beaches of Karpathos & Saria

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