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An ode to authenticity

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Kasos: An ode to authenticity

The southernmost island of the Dodecanese is a bare grey rock, thrown into the Aegean Sea between Karpathos and Crete. The Phoenicians named the island Kas, meaning sea foam and icing. A name that ideally embodies the wild natural beauty of the land and the kindness of its people.

A captain's island, noble Kasos boasts about its great naval history. In the Homeric era, its warrior fleet participated in the Trojan War while the island’s contribution to the Greek Revolution was significant. The famous wooden sailing ships of Kasos were built in its shipyards, while in the 18th and 19th centuries, its merchant fleet reached the ends of the world, bringing unparalleled wealth to the island. This strong naval tradition is the source of the cosmopolitan spirit of the Kassians, the people of Kasos, and what feeds their warm heart when they welcome their visitors saying "na s’evro”, “…so glad to meet you”!

Untouched and authentic, remote Kasos remains one of the most enchanting and unmapped secrets of the Aegean.

Routes & Attractions

Built in 1840 around the picturesque port of Bouka, the capital Fri is a jewel of island folk architecture. Stone mansions in earthy colours and elegant captains' houses capture the eye.

Take a stroll through the alleys before visiting the Archaeological Museum and the Folklore Collection of Kasos, housed in a beautiful, listed building of 1900 (the old town hall). Admire the stately church of Agios Spyridon (the patron saint of the island), with the impressive bell tower and the beautiful wood-carved altar screen dating back to the 19th century. In the Town Hall you will see the Monument of the Kasian Holocaust, a tribute to the victims of the Turks in 1824.

Leave Fri behind to explore the five settlements of the island. Wander around the Cycladic scenery of Agia Marina, among picturesque alleys with beautiful chapels and well-preserved windmills. The impressive mansions of the past are captivating.

In the village of Panagia, the large captains' houses stand as a reminder of the nautical grandeur of the island while the church of the Assumption brings admiration with its ornate pebbled mosaic floor.  Climb to the highest point of the village for a souvenir photo with the "Six Chapels" in the background, a majestic complex of successive churches of the 18th century. Legend has it that they were built to exorcise the spirits of six fairies who lived there.

Next stop, Arvanitochori, a white village of the 16th century that hosts, among others, the amazing Folklore Museum of Kasos. Have a stop before walking the path to the charming church of Panagia Potamitissa, built high on the mountain inside a natural cave.

Do not leave the island without taking a walk in the amphitheatrical village of Poli, the ancient capital of the island (Polin). The walls of the ancient acropolis and the carved tombs of the 4th century BC are worthy of admiration. In the shadow of the castle, the narrow alleys with the white houses and dry-stone walls are ideal for atmospheric walks.

Kasos is gifted with some of the most beautiful monasteries in the Aegean painted in white and blue. It is worth visiting Agios Georgios (1690) in Hadies with its rare icons and ornate wood-carved altar screen. The monastery of Agios Mamas (19th century) resembles a Byzantine castle overlooking the vastness of the Libyan Sea.

Beaches & Activities

If you live in Fri, you must definitely swim in the popular and organized beach of Emporios. Kasos’ beaches are truly exotic with their turquoise shades.

In the north, the pebbled Ammoua and Antiperatos stand out. In the South, the beaches of Hohlakia, Avlaki with its sea caves, Agali and Trita with the apsidal rock of Trypitos as their trademark, can be reached by sea.

At the southernmost tip of the island, the famous Helatros with its emerald waters offers ideal conditions for windsurfing. Sail around the island by boat and swim in the amazing Kassonisia, a cluster of 14 islets forming around Kasos, listed in the Natura 2000 network.

Plan a day cruise to the secret paradise of Armathia, an uninhabited island opposite the northern coastline of Kasos. You'll discover a land with a great history of centuries through the ruins of old houses, the chapel of Ypapanti, the gypsum mines that brough wealth to the locals up until the mid-twentieth century. Here you will find one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, the exotic Marmara with turquoise waters and fine, white sand. Mountain hikers can follow the beautiful hinterland trails to admire the famous mitata, the stone huts of the shepherds.


Tastes of the island

Kasos’ cuisine is the simplest way to get to know the culture and traditions of the island; the cultural influences from Asia Minor and Egypt to Italy and America are evident in the local recipes. The legendary Kasian dolmadakia (dulmaes, stuffed vine leaves), the Kasian pilaf with cinnamon, the kolokythopoulia (stuffed zucchini blossoms), the roikia (local boiled greens), pasta with sitaka and roasted onions, and lentil rice are some of the most delicious dishes on the island.

If you long for lavish dishes you must try the mpoustia and bobaria (lamb entrails stuffed with minced meat and rice). The fresh fish and seafood of the Kassian sea are transformed into exquisite dishes such as black pilaf with cuttlefish (cooked with the cuttlefish ink) and pateliorizo (with limpets) or fried skaros (a type of small fish). Don’t forget to taste the treasures of the local cheese products (sitaka, elaiki, armyrotyri, drylla, kaouli). Savory traditional sweets are the xylikopites (pies made with creamed cheese, honey and sugar), the moschopoungia (phyllo pastry pouches filled with almonds, walnuts, rose water and ouzo), kouloures (crispy double baked bagels), ideal for snacking.

Traditions & Events

The trademark of the island is its festivals, a traditional feast that expresses the authenticity and kindness of the Kasian soul. Most of the celebrations are associated with feasts dedicated to the saints. The ritual includes processions with icons and always ends in an overnight revelry with sounds of lyre, lute and dauli drum, mantinades (rhyming couplets), traditional dances (starting with sousta and zervos) and plenty of raki. The locals treat everyone with fine dishes such as xinomyzithra and fennel balls.

The largest festival on the island is that of Pera Panagia, in the homonymous village, taking place on the 15th of August. Also, do not miss the Feast of St. Spyridon (December 12), in Arvanitochori, the Feast of St. Marina (July 17), and St. Fanourios (August 27), in the chapel of St. Fanourios. On June 7, Kasos commemorates the tragedy of 1824, with a remembrance of Kasos Holocaust.  

Don’t miss...

To marvel at the sunrise from the church of Agia Kyriaki, a spectacle of unparalleled beauty.

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