If you’re looking for a Greek island that’s not overrun with tourists, Karpathos might be the perfect choice. This beautiful island has a rich history, stunning scenery, and plenty of things to do. Whether you’re interested in beaches, hiking, or exploring ancient ruins, there’s something for everyone on Karpathos.
Interesting facts about Karpathos:
- Karpathos is the second-largest island in the Dodecanese island group, after Rhodes.
- The island has a rich history, with evidence of human habitation dating back to the Neolithic period.
- Karpathos was ruled by various civilizations throughout history, including the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans.
- The island is known for its traditional way of life, with many villages still practicing customs and traditions that have been lost on other Greek islands.
- Karpathos has a unique dialect of the Greek language that is still spoken by some of the older residents.
- The island is home to several beautiful beaches, including Apella Beach, which has been voted one of the best beaches in Europe.
- Karpathos is known for its wind conditions, making it a popular spot for windsurfing and kiteboarding.
- The island is also home to several well-preserved ancient sites, including the city of Vrykounta and the Karpathos Stone Tombs.
- The traditional Karpathian cuisine is known for its fresh seafood, vegetables, and unique pasta dishes.
- Karpathos is also famous for its traditional dress, which is still worn by some of the locals during festivals and special occasions.
Here are 20 of the best things to do on the island.
Visit the village of Olympos
The village of Olympos is a unique experience for anyone visiting Karpathos. This traditional village has a distinct architecture and culture that sets it apart from other Greek islands. Walking through the winding streets of Olympos, you can see the brightly colored houses, local shops, and beautiful churches. The village is also known for its women’s traditional dress, which is still worn by some of the locals. One of the most interesting aspects of Olympos is the way the village has maintained its traditional way of life. Many of the customs and traditions that were once common throughout Greece have been lost, but in Olympos, they have been preserved.
Explore the ancient city of Vrykounta
Vrykounta is an ancient city on Karpathos that dates back to the 5th century BC. The city was an important center of trade and commerce, and it’s a fascinating place to explore for history buffs. The ruins of Vrykounta are well-preserved and include ancient walls, temples, and tombs. There is also a small museum on site where you can learn more about the history of the city. One of the highlights of Vrykounta is the ancient theater, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Go hiking in the mountains
Karpathos is known for its rugged mountain scenery, and hiking is one of the best ways to explore it. There are many hiking trails throughout the island, ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes. One of the most popular trails is the hike to the top of Mount Lastos, which offers panoramic views of the island. Another popular trail is the hike from Olympos to Diafani, which takes you through beautiful mountain scenery and ancient ruins. Hiking in Karpathos is a great way to see the island’s natural beauty and get some exercise at the same time.
Swim at Apella Beach
Apella Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Karpathos, with crystal-clear water and white sand. The beach is located in a picturesque cove and is surrounded by hills covered in pine trees. It’s a great place to relax, swim, and soak up the sun. There are also several beach bars and restaurants nearby where you can enjoy a meal or a drink.
Visit the Church of the Holy Christ
The Church of the Holy Christ is one of the most important religious sites on Karpathos. It’s located in the village of Pigadia and is known for its beautiful frescoes and icons. The church was built in the 19th century and is a great example of traditional Greek Orthodox architecture. It’s a great place to learn about the history and culture of Karpathos.
See the windmills of Menetes
The village of Menetes is home to several well-preserved windmills that were once used to grind grain. Today, they’re a popular tourist attraction and a great place to take photos. The windmills are located on a hill overlooking the village, and they offer great views of the surrounding countryside.
Take a boat tour to Saria Island
Saria Island is a small island off the coast of Karpathos that’s known for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear water. You can take a boat tour to Saria Island and spend the day swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing. The island is also home to several ancient ruins, including the remains of an ancient city.
Visit the Folklore Museum of Karpathos
The Folklore Museum of Karpathos is located in the village of Olympos and is dedicated to preserving the island’s traditional culture. Here, you can see exhibits on traditional clothing, household items, and crafts. It’s a great place to learn about the history and traditions of Karpathos.
Go windsurfing at Gun Bay
Gun Bay is a popular spot for windsurfing and kiteboarding, with strong winds and waves. There are several windsurfing schools in the area, so you can take lessons if you’re a beginner. The bay is also a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Walk through the Valley of the Mills
The Valley of the Mills is a beautiful hiking trail that takes you through the heart of Karpathos. The trail is surrounded by lush greenery and offers stunning views of the island’s natural beauty. There are several waterfalls and streams along the way, making it a great place to cool off on a hot day.
Try traditional Karpathian cuisine
Karpathian cuisine is known for its fresh seafood, vegetables, and traditional dishes. Some of the must-try dishes include the local goat meat, the stuffed vegetables, and the traditional pasta dishes. There are also several wineries on the island, where you can taste the local wines.
Explore the castle of Arkasa
The castle of Arkasa is an impressive fortress that dates back to the 4th century BC. It’s located on a hill overlooking the village of Arkasa, and it offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. There are several well-preserved towers and walls, as well as a small chapel.
See the Mertonas Cave
The Mertonas Cave is a fascinating natural wonder that’s located near the village of Aperi. The cave system is large and has several chambers with stalactites and stalagmites. It’s a great place to explore if you’re interested in geology and natural history.
Attend the Karpathos International Film Festival
The Karpathos International Film Festival is a popular event that takes place every summer. It showcases films from around the world, as well as local productions. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and meet other film enthusiasts.
Visit the Agia Sofia – Olympus Monastery
The Agia Sofia – Olympus Monastery is a beautiful monastery that’s located on a hill overlooking the village of Olympos. It’s known for its beautiful architecture and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. It’s a great place to learn about the island’s religious history and culture.
Discover the island’s many hidden beaches
Karpathos is home to many hidden beaches that are only accessible by boat or on foot. These secluded coves and bays are perfect for a peaceful day at the beach. Some of the best hidden beaches include Vananda Beach, Tristomo Beach, and Kato Lako Beach.
Go scuba diving at Kyra Panagia
Kyra Panagia is a beautiful beach with crystal-clear water and stunning rock formations. It’s also a popular spot for scuba diving, with several dive centers in the area. You can explore the underwater caves and see a variety of marine life, including octopuses and sea turtles.
See the Karpathos Stone Tombs
The Karpathos Stone Tombs are a fascinating archaeological site that dates back to the Bronze Age. They’re located near the village of Menetes and consist of several well-preserved tombs and graves. It’s a great place to learn about the island’s ancient history and culture.
Attend a traditional Greek festival
Karpathos is known for its lively festivals, which take place throughout the year. These festivals usually involve music, dancing, and plenty of delicious food. Some of the most popular festivals include the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, which takes place in August, and the Feast of St. John the Baptist, which takes place in June.
Take a day trip to the nearby island of Kasos
Kasos is a small island located near Karpathos, and it’s a great place to visit for a day trip. The island is known for its traditional way of life and unspoiled natural beauty. You can take a ferry from Karpathos to Kasos and spend the day exploring the island. Some of the highlights of Kasos include the traditional villages, the beautiful beaches, and the delicious local cuisine.
Visit the Museum of Folk Art
The Museum of Folk Art is located in the village of Menetes and is dedicated to preserving the traditional crafts and art of Karpathos. The museum has a large collection of traditional textiles, ceramics, and woodcarvings, as well as exhibits on the island’s traditional music and dance.
Take a sunset cruise
A sunset cruise is a romantic way to see the beauty of Karpathos. You can book a private boat tour and enjoy the stunning sunset over the Aegean Sea. Many sunset cruises also include dinner and drinks, making it a perfect evening out.
Visit the Monastery of Agios Ioannis
The Monastery of Agios Ioannis is a beautiful monastery located on a hill overlooking the village of Arkasa. It’s known for its stunning frescoes and icons, as well as its peaceful setting. The monastery is still active, and you can attend a church service if you’re interested.
Explore the village of Aperi
The village of Aperi is one of the oldest villages on Karpathos and is known for its traditional architecture and beautiful views. Walking through the village, you can see the traditional houses, the ancient churches, and the beautiful gardens. Aperi is also a great place to buy souvenirs and local crafts.
Take a cooking class
Taking a cooking class is a great way to learn about the local cuisine and culture. There are several cooking schools on Karpathos where you can learn how to prepare traditional dishes using fresh, local ingredients.
Karpathos is a hidden gem in Greece, with plenty of things to see and do. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or culture, there’s something for everyone on this beautiful island. From ancient ruins to hidden beaches, Karpathos is a destination that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
What is the best time to visit Karpathos?
The best time to visit Karpathos is during the summer months, from June to September. This is when the weather is warm and sunny, and the beaches are at their best.
Is Karpathos expensive?
Compared to other Greek islands, Karpathos is relatively affordable. Prices for accommodation, food, and activities are generally lower than on more popular islands.
How do I get to Karpathos?
You can reach Karpathos by ferry or by plane. There are regular flights from Athens and other Greek cities, as well as ferries from several ports in Greece.
What is the local cuisine like in Karpathos?
Karpathian cuisine is known for its fresh seafood, vegetables, and traditional dishes. Must-try dishes include the local goat meat, stuffed vegetables, and traditional pasta dishes.
What are some of the best beaches in Karpathos?
Some of the best beaches in Karpathos include Apella Beach, Kyra Panagia, Vananda Beach, Tristomo Beach, and Kato Lako Beach.