A long, thin island with beautiful contrasts in scenery, Karpathos is one of the largest islands in Greece yet is still only recently becoming more popular with tourists. The north of the island is mountainous whereas the south is lower lying and greener. In this article we’ll take you through the best villages to visit whilst on the island, so that we can help you see why you should add Karpathos to your list of places to visit.
How to get there
Karpathos has a small domestic airport in the south of the island which links with Athens, Rhodes and Kasos. We recommend flying into either Athens or Rhodes and then catching a connecting flight. If you don’t want to fly you can catch a ferry which runs five days a week in the summer months. We’ll help you work out where best to catch it from.
Pigadia is a seaside town which is the capital of Karpathos. Contrary to the title of this article, Pigadia is a town but as a settlement with a lot to do we thought we’d include it. Pigadia is also the main port of the island, so if you arrive by ferry this is where you’ll come in. The town has a great traditional feel and as you walk around, you’ll be greeted by beautiful architecture and cafes and restaurants lining the glistening waterfront. Coming in on the ferry you’ll see Vouno Hill on which sits the acropolis of the ancient settlement of Potideon sometimes called Poseidio, named after the god of the sea. In keeping with the theme of Poseidon, take a visit to the Cave of Poseidon, a natural cave just outside the town. There’s one beach in the town and a few nearby, where you can relax and catch some sun. Pigadia has all the amenities you could need from a town and there is much accommodation here.
In the far north of the island is the small fishing village of Diafani. Here is where many of the boat trips from Pigadia end. Great for a boat trip and also if you’re wanting somewhere quieter to stay for the duration of your holiday. This village has restaurants and tavernas right on the beachfront so that you can move easily between the two.
If you follow the road from Diafani up into the mountains you’ll find the village of Olympos. It is the most traditional village on the island, with colourful houses climbing up a hill to the top, providing a wonderful view across both sides of the island. The town is often described as a living museum as many of the locals continue to wear traditional clothing and speak in old dialects. If you want to get a feel for the traditional side of Karpathos, Olympos is a must.
Nestled away underneath the mountains in the centre of the island is Mesochori. To reach it, you must follow very scenic routes from either Agios Mikolaos or Lefkos. There is a church, a monastery and cemetery dotted on the outskirts of the village, and you can walk through the whitewashed houses. The village’s position gives great views out to sea or up to the mountains.
Perched on a hill where the houses climb in an amphitheatre fashion up the hillside is Menetes. The village is home to the most famous church on the island Koimisis Theotokou (Church of the Assumption). It was built in the 19th century and used some of the columns from the ancient settlement at Arkasa nearby. Housed inside is the folklore museum; a large collection of vases, religious icons and sculptures which were found in the surrounding area. From the church you can see the entire village.
Sometimes known as Arcesine, Arkasa has a number of accommodations where you can stay if you’re looking to stay in the south of the island but not in Pigadia. On top of a hill near to the village are the remains of old settlements, these vary in age from ancient through to the Venetians of the medieval period. The town has a beach and all the amenities you could need to stay and explore.
Othos is the highest village on the island and sits in the centre. When you’re there you should visit the Folklore Museum which is in a traditional Karpathian house and gives you the chance to see how life on the island used to be.
In this we will include Kato Lefkos, the seaside part of the village and Lefkos which is further up the hill. Lefkos has two of the best beaches on the island, with both being excellently facilitated with bars and restaurants as well as some accommodation nearby.
We hope this has given you some insight into where to visit when on Karpathos, and has helped you see what the island has to offer. To find out more about the rest of Greece, take a look around our website or call us on 01157843388. If you know where you’re looking to book, call us, email email@example.com or fill in our contact form with what you’re looking for. Don't forget to follow us on social media to find out the next Destination of the Week and for all your Greek Holiday needs. If you've been to Karpathos, where was your favourite place? What was the best thing you did or do you think we missed anything? Let us know in the comments or on social media, just click the buttons below which take you to our social pages
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