Karpathos is the second largest island in the Greek Dodecanese complex (after Rhodes). It is a rich habitat and for this reason it has protected areas where endangered populations survive. It is located in the middle of the Karpathian Sea between Rhodes and Crete, and its capital is Pigadia or Karpathos (2,280 inhabitants).
History of Karpathos
Karpathos is considered the homeland of the Titan Iapetus in mythology and is also the island where Proteus was born and raised by Athena. Prometheus also lived in Karpathos for a period of his life. In ancient times, there were four fortified cities on Karpathos: Arkesia, Vrykous, Karpathos, and Nisyros, the latter located on the islet of Saros, which was once united with Karpathos.
Karpathos passed through the hands of various conquerors such as the Romans, the Byzantines, the Genoese, the Venetians, and the Ottoman Turks. In 1913, Karpathos was ceded to the Italians. Liberation came earlier compared to the rest of the Dodecanese when, in October 1944, a revolution was launched by the residents of Menetes, and the Italians were expelled from the island. On November 11 of the same year, the Italians surrendered, and the declaration of union with Greece took place, raising the Greek flag and celebrating with a festive liturgy.
Beaches in Karpathos
- Apella: One of the top beaches in the Mediterranean with fine white sand, small pebbles, and deep turquoise waters. It is nestled amidst pine-covered cliffs that descend into the sea. The stunning scenery is complemented by the chapel of Agios Loukas, carved into the rock, and the water springs flowing from the mountain. It has been awarded twice as the best beach in Europe. You can reach it by excursion boat or by road access through a dirt road.
- Kyra Panagia: A beach with golden sand, small pebbles, and shallow azure waters. It is located in the shadow of the homonymous church with the red dome, at the top of the settlement. It is ideal for families as it offers good organization with umbrellas, sunbeds, and quiet taverns to enjoy your meal.
- Diakoftis: A secluded beach with an exotic scenery on the southern side of the island. The rocky formations, the pure white sand, the sand dunes with cedars, and the turquoise shallow waters create a Caribbean atmosphere. The beach has a few umbrellas and sunbeds, as well as a snack bar for coffee and snacks.
- Ahata: A mesmerizing beach distinguished by its beautiful white pebbles and the steep cliffs that surround it. It is located in an idyllic cove with turquoise waters and lush mountains on the eastern side of the island. It is relatively secluded, but there is a tavern on the shore to get coffee or have a meal. Don't miss the opportunity to visit it if you choose one of the itineraries to Karpathos.
- Ammoopi: One of the most famous beaches on the island due to its excellent organization for water sports enthusiasts. At one end, the dominant feature is Asprovas, a white rock that serves as a natural diving platform. The beach has dark sand and shallow waters, making it ideal for families with young children.
Food in Karpathos
- Enjoy "makarounes," handmade pasta with "myzithra" cheese or caramelized onion if you decide to visit Karpathos. Also, try "vyzanti," a traditional dish cooked in a wood-fired oven, which includes lamb or goat stuffed with rice, offal, raisins, pine nuts, and spices. Don't miss the opportunity to taste "hondro," a dish with meat and cracked wheat.
- For dessert, satisfy your sweet tooth with "metourtes Karpathou," sweet pies with "myzithra" cheese or "sitaka" cheese, "zebilia," sesame-shaped pastries filled with raisins and fragrant clove, "sesameli," a sweet made from sesame and honey, and "baklava."
- Also, enjoy "kopeles," triangular vegetable pies, "gra," cabbage pie, "lachanopiti," cheese pies with "myzithra," and "kolokythopoulia," which are pies with zucchini blossoms.
- For drinks, try the sweet red wine produced in Othos, a village with a great winemaking tradition.
- Finally, savor "skaros" fried or in a stew, a fish caught only in the waters of Karpathos, as well as "menoules," Karpathian sardine pastries in olive oil.
Sights in Karpathos
- Discover the enchanting Olympos, a picturesque village in Karpathos and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. This medieval settlement, dating back to the 7th to 9th century, is nestled on a steep slope of Prophet Elias and has remained unchanged over time. In this vibrant living museum, women still wear colorful traditional costumes, speak in ancient Doric dialect, and bake their bread in outdoor wood-fired ovens along the road.
- Witness a mesmerizing sunset from the beautiful village of Pyles. This settlement is built within orchards and offers stunning views of the neighboring island of Kasos and the mountains of Sitia.
- Acquire handmade textiles of high quality and craftsmanship from the women of Olympos.
- Visit the ruins of the ancient city of Arkesia on the rocky peninsula of Paleokastro.
How to travel to / from Karpathos?
Blue Star Ferries, the coastal shipping company, operates routes to Karpathos throughout the year. Tickets are available for both passengers and vehicles, such as cars and motorcycles. The duration of the journey ranges from 14 to 20 hours. Additionally, Karpathos is connected by sea to many other islands of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, such as Rhodes, Heraklion (Crete), Kasos, Halki and Santorini.
Below are some of the popular ferry routes to Karpathos:
- Ferry route from Piraeus to Karpathos: During the summer, there are about 3 weekly routes from Piraeus to Karpathos. The trip takes approximately 20.5 hours, and the cost of a single seat ticket ranges from 40 to 60 euros.
- Ferry route from Rhodes to Karpathos: During the peak season, there are 2 ferries per week connecting Rhodes to Karpathos. The journey from Rhodes takes about 6 hours, and the cost of a ticket is approximately 20 euros.
- Ferry route from Crete (Heraklion) to Karpathos: During the peak season, there are 2-3 ferries per week connecting Heraklion, Crete to Karpathos. The journey takes 8 hours, and the cost of a ferry ticket is about 17 euros.
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