Raw natural beauty, untouched by time; mountainous and rocky landscapes; rugged ravines in the north, fertile valleys with vineyards and orchards in the south. Wind-battered mountain tops and idyllic bays decorated with pines. A firm commitment to ancestral traditions and customs. The locals are pure, proud and rough but at the same time impulse and truly welcoming. They are fearless; legend has it, they didn’t even hesitate to kidnap the gods from Mount Olympus and bring them to their island; they say this is how the island was given its name (the Arpatheoi/ those who kidnapped the gods; then they changed their name to Karpathioi/ Karpathians and the island was named Karpathos). The incomparable charm of Karpathos comes from this captivating mix of contrasts that makes the second largest island of the Dodecanese unique.
Situated at the south-eastern corner of the Aegean Sea and in the middle of the turbulent Karpathos Sea, the island of Karpathos is a natural and cultural bridge between Crete and Rhodes. From the Neolithic era, the history of the island is marked by an amalgam of great civilizations that flourished on its soil. Minoans, Mycenians, Phoenicians, Dorians, Rhodians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Genoese, the Knights of St. John, Ottomans, Italians, all marked the history of Homer’s “Krapathos” or Anemoessa, the ancient “Tetrapolis” and the Medieval “Scarpanto”.
Start your adventure in the beautiful island of Karpathos from Pigadia, the capital and main port with busy pedestrian streets and buildings that incorporate all features of the Italian occupation: “Eparcheio” and the Customs building. Built at the foot of Mount Kali Limni, the village is located on the site of Minoan Potideon. At the top of the hill rise the cyclopean walls of the ancient acropolis. The impressive building of the Eparcheio houses the Archaeological Museum, with important findings from the Neolithic to the Byzantine era. But the true soul of Karpathos remains in the picturesque villages and beautiful countryside, the plateaus ornamented with farms and ancestral threshing areas, trails that lead to sacred cities, mountain tops covered by clouds and battered by the wind. The island’s spirit lives through the melodies of the lyre, the lute and the tsambouna (double-chantered bagpipe characteristic to the Aegean islands), the mantinades (songs in form of a narrative) sung by the pure-hearted locals. There is no precedent and no end to the nobility and uniqueness of Karpathos and its people.