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Karpathos - Basic information on the island
Like a snake on a warmed hillside, Karpathos Island is strecthing in the rich waters of the Aegean Sea, near the coast of the famous Greek island of Rhodos in the north-east, and Crete in the south-east. It is a part of the Dodecanese Archipelago with a total od 12 islands and Karpathos as the second largest island (the largest island of the Dodecanse is Rhodos and the thirs one is Kos). In the vicinity of its bottom tip, the little islands of Kasos and Armathia are located, with the island of Saria on the opposite side. To get a better idea about the island and the location of all the places, we recommend you to see the section Karpathos - Map of resorts and beaches.
Nature on Karpathos is wild and unrestrained, and it is much less affectde by tourism than other Greek destinations. In a perfect symbiosis, the picturesque landscape is wedded to the urbanistic jewels of Greek island architecture, forming a scenery for a perfect holiday, knowing the natural and historical beauties of the island, or even a romantic wedding. The Karpathos weather and climate is also favourable, especially in the summer, and so when planning your holiday, you don’t almost need to be afraid to be surprised by rain that would spoil your holiday experience. During summer, there is basically no rainfall, and so those who like to lie around on the beach as well as those who prefer to go hiking will enjoy their stay. In fact the island nature is perfect for long trips, offering different levels of difficulty - from mountain climbs to peaceful walks in the forests or along the coast. The island vegetation is varied, with its pines forests and cypress and olive groves, plains with plenty of aromatic herbs, vineyards and fruit plantations.
The island surface is full of contrasts. It could be said it is literally divided into two parts by the huge mountain range with the the highest peak of Kali Limni, reaching 1 215 m and stretching to the north. It is in the mountains where you can find the most precious island jewels, the traditional villages where time has stopped. People live there at their own pace, observing the hundreds of years old habits. If you are lucky, you can happen to be at a real Greek wedding which is usually an extremely lively event, whith tables full of different meals and people having fun, dancing and singing, often during several days. One of the famous villages is Olympos, inhabited only by a few hundreds of people, that you will find in the north of Karpathos. It could be almost said it is a kind of an open-air museum. According to the information available, the path to the village is a tarmac road and should be passable.
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The visitors will literally return back to the past. Women in colourful folk costumes prepare home-made bread in the old way in the original ovens, sitting in the streets in front of their houses and dedicating themselves to handiworks, milling corn in the windmills or preparing delicious dishes from purely natural ingredients. Some of the meals worth tasting is for example pasta with cheese and onion, or sweets donuts with honey and cinnamon. The men are in charge of music and entertainment. Other villages where you can make a nice trip, are for example Aperi, Arkasa, Othos, Spoa, Messochori or Volada. If you like Karpathos and you would like to discover it a bit more, you will need a car or some other means of transport. There are several rental companies on the island - for some tips on rental services, see the section Karpathos - rental services.
For more information on nature and historical sites on Karpathos, you can take alook at the section Natural places of interest.
Karpathos culture and island equipment
The capital is the port of Pigadia, sometimes called by the same name as the whole island, i.e. Karpathos. It is located in the south, which, unlike the more traditional and mountainous north, is the centre of trade and prosperity, keeping up with the times. It is in this very modern part of Karpathos where the original inhabitants with their offspring have been returning recently after they emigrated to the US many years ago. Not surprisingly, you will see typical American houses and villas on the town. Besides that, you will find there tavernas, restaurants, bars and little shops. The town also has a beach, stretching on the long seacoast. Obviously if you want to discover the beauty of the mountain villages and the harshness of local life, you should definitely visit the Karpathos inland and the southern part of the island. You will find the description of historical sites, monasteries and other places of interest in the section Museums and historical sites or Villages.
Beaches on Karpathos are mostly covered with sand (which is often coarser), or pebbles. One of the most beautiful beaches not only on the island but reputedly also in the whole Mediterranean, is Apella. Its deep blue waters, goldish sand, green hillslopes and rocks, in short the perfect picture resembling a paradise somewhere in the Carribean, will provide you an unforgettable experience. Other charming beaches are Damatria, Achata, Kyra Panagia, Mikri Amopi, Agios Nicolaos, Agios Thoros or Diakoftis. The beaches in the southern tip of the island will delight the lovers od adrenaline sports, especially windsurfing - on Karpathos there are also different windsurfing competitions and championships being held. The Vatha Beach for example is completely dedicated to surfers and you can get there almost everything, including windsurfing and kitting equipment both for beginners and professionals. You can obtain more detaile dinformation on the website of Club Mistral
For more information on beaches, see the section Karpathos beaches.
Where to go to Karpathos?
Most accommodation capacities of the travel agencies are located in the capital, Pigadi, and in Amopi. A very popular place, especially for its beaches and relaxed atmosphere is the resort of Lefkos on the western coast. Last but not least, as Karpathos is becoming increasingly popular, the offer has been enlarged by the traditional village of Arkassa and the Aphiartis region which is the paradise for local sufers.
The fact that Karpathos is extremely popular can be evidenced by the continually growing offer of the travel agencies. Until 2014, travel agencies were flying to a few resorts only, while in 2015, they started to offer tours also to the mini resort of Kyra Panagia.
Transport to Karpathos
The best way to get to the island is by plane as Karpathos has its own airport, called Karpathos Island National Airport, and if you search for tickets, the airport codes IATA and ICAO are AOK and LGKP respectively. There are also ferries and boats arriving from Piraeus and the surroundings islands. The main port of the island is located in the capital, Pigadia, with boats arriving from Piraeus, Rhodos, Santorini, Crete and a few more little islands like Milos or Paros. To go to the island by plane is highly recommended since the boats are quite slow - you will probably pay a bit more for a flight ticket but gain one more day of holiday.
Video from Karpathos
Here is a small video with many different secluded places of Karpathos. Island.
Transport on Karpathos
During your stay on the island, probably the best option is to rent a car and travel wherever you like depending on your interests. The island is quite small so it takes little time to get anywhere you want. But if you have only a few destinations to visit, or you don’t want to rent a car whatever the reason may be, you can also travel by public transport. It is cheap and it will take you to all the exclusive beaches and the most interesting of the resorts, villages, and historical sites. You can see the timetables in the section Karpathos - buses and timetables.
Websites on Karpathos
There are not as many travellers’ websites on Karpathos as this island would deserve, but you can always visit the island’s official website.