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I will never forget the day me and my friends set foot on Karpathos. It was July of 1999 and it was me, my wife Leela, Isidora and Michael. It was Monday, I think, and we'd been through a rather boring flight, so I needed to cheer them up - as usual. Not being able to come up with something, I decided to tell them this: "oh come on, we're not going to visit any of the sites today!" I cannot even begin to describe how their expressions changed within an instant. I'm telling you, I've never seen wider smiles on their faces.

Karpathos doesn't really have any notable archaeological sites. I mean, of course there are a couple of places we inevitably visited (and their smiles faded away), but nothing as big as the sites of its neighbors, Crete and Rhodes. But that doesn't mean Karpathos is not worth your time. First of all, it's a rather unspoiled island; yes, it has undergone a major tourism boom in the last few years, but it's remained quite original. It's also rather large - it's the second. or third largest island of the Dodecanese. I'm not really sure which one, people tend to disagree on this subject. But who cares? The point is it's a very lovely island that has been a well-kept secret for decades. But now it's time to discover it, isn't it?

map of karpathos island

Karpathos Hotels

If you search for accommodation in Karpathos I recommend you to visit Karpathos Hotel Online Bookings. There, you can make your reservations directly to the hotels and find rooms in low prices and useful guest reviews.

Creta Grecia

So, what does Karpathos look like?

Have your ever seen any of these commercials about shampoos that say "two-in-one, your best option" etcetera etcetera? Well, I'm not so sure about the shampoos, but that's what Karpathos is like: two islands in one. It's long and thin and ruggedly mountainous in the north, then fertile and softer and beach-fringed in the south. It's a quite wild and sparsely populated island with a distinct character. For example, it's got olive groves and traditional pastel colored villages with attractive courtyards and gardens in some of the villages. Olympos has 40 ruined windmills lined up like teeth, only two of them still working. As for the capital, Karpathos town, it's sheltered in the southeast of Vrontis bay, with hotels strung out all around it.

karpathos karpathos - Kira Panagia

Which places should I visit in Karpathos?

As I mentioned earlier, Karpathos doesn't have any notable archaeological sites. Well, the same thing applies for general places you can visit. The only places that come to mind are a couple of museums, the Art Center and the Karpathos Park.

karpathos - othos galerie karpathos - othos galerie

Let's start with the museums, then. The first one is the one in Olymbos, a small museum with fine collections that are organized in order to present the culture and traditions of this picturesque village: traditional costumes, pictures and various objects are what you will find here. As for the other one, it's the Folk Museum of Karpathos that is located in Othos, in the traditional house of Varikas and Aristotle Stavrakis, a fine example of a Karpathian house. It exhibits a rich collection of authentic pieces of the folk art of Karpathos.

karpathos - folf museum karpathos - karpathos museum

The Art Center is a gallery that displays Minas Vlahos' paintings. Vlahos was a painter who was born in Karpathos in 1956 and after spending 10 years in the United States he opened his own studio. This center had always been his dream. Now this gallery is the best place you can visit in Karpathos: the combination of harmonious, relaxing music with Minas' paintings, it's simply brilliant. You will also find Minas himself there, ready to answer all of your questions about his work. Just don't ask too many questions; he won't really mind, but your friends might. I know from personal experience.

Finally, the Karpathos Park has an open-air display of ancient objects. This includes early Christian marble font and objects that were discovered in 5th-century Mycenaean tombs on the island.

What about the archaeological and historical sites of Karpathos?

Yeah, I've stated twice that there is nothing special going on in Karpathos when it comes to archaeological sites. There are a few places you could visit, like the ancient catacombs in Lefkos or the remains of the temple to Lindian Athena, maybe the remains of the 5th-century basilica of Agia Sophia (two chapels standing amid mosaic fragments and columns). But don't expect anything spectacular. Oh, you could also visit a sacred cave called Poseidona that has sweet waters.

What about Karpathos' beaches?

Thankfully, when it comes to beaches, Karpathos has a few beautiful places to offer you.

The first place that comes to mind is Apella. Apella is a white sandy beach located near the village of the same name. Coil up in a picturesque cove, this lovely beach may be quite difficult to reach, but it's worth it. It's got azure clean waters and pine trees blended with rocks, surrounding it. It's not organized.

Then there's Kyra Panagia, lying in a cove between the mountains, with a fine mixture of white sand and smooth pebbles, along with crystalline waters.

The area of Amopi offers three beautiful, sandy beaches. Big Amopi is popular with families with children, because of the shallow waters. Small Amopi is at a short walking distance from it and it has excellent sand with azure waters. Umbrellas and sun beds are available in both beaches. As for the third one, it's Kastellia, close to both of them, a nude beach with fine sand and clear waters.

There's also Diafani beach (diafani=see-through), a sandy and pebbled beach near the village of the same name. It's considered to be the best beach in Karpathos and I tend to agree on this one. Its waters are clear and turquoise.

Finally, there's the Devil's Bay, a long sandy beach that's a favorite place for windsurfers because it's always, well. windy. A couple of stands with wind-surfing equipments for rent are standing on the beach. This beach explains the name Anemousa (windy) Homer had once given to Karpathos.

karpathos - kira panagia beach karpathos - Apella beach

Where should I eat in Karpathos?

stifado karpathos

Finding a good restaurant in Karpathos town could become a sport or a video game, what with all the tourist-traps laying around, waiting for you to get fooled. Luckily, there are a few eating places scattered among them that are genuine and good.

Mike's Restaurant is a great example. This restaurant has been around for quite a while and it's always been a popular place. The prices are reasonable and the food is quite good, with specialties like chicken spaghetti and stuffed zucchini flowers.

Then there's Taverna I Oraia Karpathos, near the quay. I Orea Karpathos serves a wide range of traditional Karpathian dishes like makarounes (a delicious pasta cooked with cheese and fried onions).

I Anna seems like a tourist-trap, which is why I was hesitant when we visited it, but it turned out to be pretty good. Fresh fish, macaroni with octopus, shrimps and mussels are only some of this restaurants best dishes. Oh, definitely try the sardines in oil, they will sweep you off your feet.

Finally, pay a visit to To Helleniko. It's got a lovely outdoor terrace and its specials change every day so be sure to check the board for the best deal. The stifado, as I'm told, is rather tasty, but don't quote me on that cause I don't eat it so I really don't know. To Helleniko is rather popular with the locals.

What about Karpathos' nightlife?

karpathos greece - bar

Luckily, there are quite a few places you can visit in Karpathos at night. There's Kafeneion, a place where Karpathian lyra is at its best. There's Symposeio, a rather popular music bar on the ton water front. There's Yuppy Bar, near the church, which plays a mix of Greek and international music. There's Platania Bar in Aperi, a quite popular bar in a restored old house that plays Greek and international hits. Just choose one place and you'll be sure to have a great time.

A different kind of Caf is "To Alonaki". It lies high on the rocks above the spectacular beach of Kyra Panagia.

karpathos - alonaki-cafe karpathos - alonaki-cafe

So, how do I get to Karpathos?

By air, there are two daily connections with Rhodes, one with Athens and two per week with Kassos (which takes only 5 minutes) and Sitia. By sea, there are connections 2-3 times per week with Piraeus, Milos and Agios Nikolaos in Crete, 3-4 times per week with Rhodes and Kassos and once per week with Sitia in Crete.

Book online your ferry tickets to the greek islands and have them delivered at home easily.

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