Kastellorizo, a tiny red rock at the eastern edge of the Aegean Sea. With its unique position between two continents, it stands as a proud place. It is a crossroads of civilizations where borders hold no significance, offering an unforgettable experience in pure beauty that will enchant you. When you arrive, Kastellorizo welcomes you with pride.
History of Kastellorizo
The island of Kastellorizo has a complex history, involving various conquests and changes of ownership by different powers. During the Byzantine era, the island suffered significant destruction during the Crusades. In 1306, it came under the control of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, and in 1512, it was occupied by the Spanish. Throughout the Ottoman period, the island remained under Christian rule, and in 1570, it was taken over by the Venetians. In 1522, after the Turks captured Rhodes, Kastellorizo remained as one of the few Christian territories under Turkish occupation.
During the Greek Revolution of 1821, the island's inhabitants abandoned it and settled on other islands. In 1913, the island's residents liberated Kastellorizo from Ottoman rule. During World War I, the island was occupied by the French in 1915, and in 1920, it was ceded to the Italians. During World War II, Kastellorizo served as an important military base.
Finally, on March 7, 1948, the island was incorporated into the Greek state, along with the other islands of the Dodecanese. An important event that brought global attention to the island was the filming of the Academy Award-winning movie "Mediterraneo" there in 1991.
Beaches in Kastellorizo
- Port: Instead of a clean sandy beach, in the area of the island's natural harbor, you will find beautiful little rocky coves where you can enjoy refreshing swims in their crystal-clear waters.
- Mandraki: The picturesque harbor of Mandraki hosts the island's unique sandy beach, accompanied by famous fish taverns. If you visit Kastellorizo, you can combine your swim in the crystal-clear waters with an unforgettable seafood meal.
- Pharos - Kavos - Plakes: These three popular areas on the eastern side of the island offer opportunities for dives into crystal-clear waters from platforms and stairs leading to piers.
- Blue Cave: This is the most impressive swimming spot on the island. Don't miss the chance to take dives in the turquoise waters of the cave with its stalactites. It is best to visit in the morning when the sun creates a magical atmosphere.
- Ro - Agios Georgios - Strongyli: These small and untouched beaches on the nearby islands, within breathing distance from Kastellorizo, are equally impressive. They have crystal-clear and emerald waters, and it's worth discovering them.
Sights in Kastellorizo
- Folklore Museum: The Folklore Museum is located in the old Mosque and is worth visiting to learn more about the history of the island.
- Blue Cave: One of the island's significant attractions and a reason to visit Megisti, Kastellorizo, is to see this magnificent geological wonder. The cave is also called "Trypa" and "Fotsaliki."
- Museum: Located below the harbor castle, you will find the island's archaeological museum. The rooms are organized chronologically. The first one is dedicated to ancient Megisti with important findings. The second room covers the early Christian era up to the Byzantine period. The last room displays costumes and household items from the traditional 19th-century house.
- Paliokastro: The ancient acropolis of Megisti on Paliokastro Hill served as the central fortified installation of the island and dates back to the 4th century BCE. In the Middle Ages, extensive interventions were made in the fortification walls. The newer churches, artillery positions, and damages from bombings testify to its eventful history.
- Agios Georgios tou Vounou: If you're fit, try climbing the 400 steps leading to the Monastery of Agios Georgios tou Vounou, built in 1759. Inside the monastery, there is the catacomb of Agios Charalambos, and a small spring that gushes water.
- Lycian Tomb: This is a tomb from the 4th century BCE, carved at the foot of the Castle, which is another monument you can visit. The inhabitants of the region in Asia Minor were called Lycians because their god, Lycian Apollo, was worshipped as a wolf.
- The Castle: The fortress was rebuilt by the Knights of St. John in the 13th century on the site originally constructed by the epistates (governor of Rhodes) Sosicles Nikagoras during ancient Greek times.
Activities in Kastellorizo
- Discover the charm of the Town of Kastellorizo, one of the most picturesque preserved settlements in the Greek islands. Enjoy a romantic stroll along the beach (also known as "Kordoni") and admire the magnificent view of the colorful two-story and three-story neoclassical mansions dating back to the early 20th century.
- Explore the ruins of the imposing Castle of the Knights of St. John, which was built in the 14th century on top of the red rock (Castell Rosso). Stand at its unique battlement and admire the breathtaking view from the harbor to the beaches of Asia Minor.
- Experience the panoramic view of the island and the Turkish coastline from the enclosure of St. George of the Mountain, a stone monastery-fortress dating back to the 18th century, located in isolation on the uphill slope of the Castle. Take a moment to admire the ancient mosaic floor of the temple and the fresco of St. Charalambos (18th century) in the monastery's underground chamber.
- Visit the splendid Museum of Megisti-Kastellorizo, a chronological ark of the island's history and culture. The museum's impressive collection includes artifacts from ancient, Byzantine, and more recent periods, as well as objects of local folk art and traditional costumes. The museum is housed in the historic building known as "Konaki," an architectural gem in the atmospheric neighborhood of "Kavos."
How to travel to Kastellorizo?
Below are descriptions of some popular ferry routes to Kastellorizo:
- Ferry Routes Piraeus - Kastellorizo: The ferry connection between Kastellorizo and Piraeus is usually operated with frequent weekly schedules by the ferry company Blue Star Ferries. Ferry routes are increased during the summer season. The duration of the journey to Kastellorizo is approximately 22 hours. This route is not direct but includes intermediate stops at other islands. The ferry route includes stops at Ikaria - Fournoi - Patmos - Lipsi - Kalymnos - Kos - Nisyros - Tilos - Symi - Rhodes - Kastellorizo.
- Ferry Routes Kalymnos - Kastellorizo: The connection between Kalymnos and Kastellorizo is available year-round. The route from Kalymnos to Kastellorizo is operated by the ferry company Blue Star Ferries, and tickets are available for both passengers and vehicles (cars, motorcycles). The duration of the journey from Kalymnos to Kastellorizo is approximately 12 hours, and the cost of a single ticket is 26.5€.
- Ferry Routes Rhodes - Kastellorizo: Daily ferry routes are provided by Blue Star Ferries from Rhodes to Kastellorizo. The duration of the route is approximately 3 hours, and the ticket price is 21€.
After selecting the appropriate ferry route, you can easily and quickly online book your ferry tickets through booktickets with all available discounts for passengers and vehicles, organizing your trip in advance.