KARPATHOS

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.

  • view_headlineRoutes and sights in Karpathos

    Magnificent villages with strong traditions; beautiful beaches and ancestral stone trails through the mountains form the astonishing  landscape of the island of Karpathos.

    • Perched on a steep slope of Mount Profitis Ilias, the village of Olympos is the crown jewel of Karpathos. An isolated medieval village dating back to the 7th century, with cobbled alleyways, traditional white and colourful houses, picturesque churches, outdoor wood-fired ovens and stone windmills. A journey through time and a proud haven  of ancient traditions honoured by the locals who still wear the traditional colourful clothes and use the old Dorian dialect. A dream balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea; a living folklore museum.

    • On the uninhabited islet of Saria, across the northern tip of Karpathos, the incomparable beauty of the landscape coexists in harmony with history and legend. At the site of the ancient city of Nisyros of the Minoan era stands a series of one-room buildings with domed roofs of the medieval Arabian village, called “Palatia”. The entire area is a protected habitat for rare birds and the Mediterranean monk seal.

    • The beautiful village of Menetes, the largest village of Karpathos built on a slope of Mount Profitis Ilias and ornamented with magnificent neoclassical mansions. The jewel of the village is the church of the Assumption (Koimisi tis Theotokou – 19th century) built on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. Right next to the village you may visit the historical church of Agios Mamas with frescoes dating from the 14th century.

    • Hidden behind imposing mountains is the picturesque village of Aperi, the former capital of Karpathos (1700-1892). The village stands out for its impressive old mansions with multicolored courtyards, its numerous fountains, the stone bridge, the beautiful churches and lush vegetation.

    • Built on a hill in the heart of the island, the village of Mesochori is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Karpathos as it commands magnificent views of the sea and its architecture that is characteristic to islands of the Aegean Sea. The village is full of surprises and attractions. The amazing church of Panagia Vrissiani rises on top of natural water springs. The astonishing square of Skopi, one of the largest and most beautiful squares in the Dodecanese. The Karpathian houses have their doors open so that visitors may admire their lush traditional interior decoration.

    • Situated at an altitude of 510 meters above sea level and wrapped in clouds, the picturesque village of Othos is one of the most charming mountain villages on the island, famous for its views of Pigadia, its wine-growing tradition and the woodcarving workshop where the local lyres are made along with other wooden items.

    • The exotic and heavenly beaches of Karpathos with crystal clear waters. Apella, one of the best beaches of the Mediterranean, with turquoise waters and pine trees blended with the surrounding rocky shore. Nearby you’ll find natural water springs and the rock-carved chapel of Agios Loukas. The golden sandy beach of Kyra Panagia and its church with the same name. Its red dome contemplates the turquoise waters of the village. The enchanting beach of Achata with its beautiful pebbles. To the south, you shall find the beach of Diakoftis, sheltered from the wind and full of dunes, sparkling white sands and cedars. The beach of Kastelia and its magical seabed; Ammopi; Lefkos and Palatia in Saria.

  • view_headlineWhat’s not to miss….

    • Visit the ruins of the ancient city of Arkesia on the rocky peninsula of Palaiokastro. The remains of the early Christian basilica of Agia Anastasia (5th century) with magnificent mosaics.

    • Visit the excellent Folklore Museum in the village of Othos, an authentic reproduction of the traditional “karpathian house” with a collection of furniture, textiles and everyday items.

    • Order your own stivania (traditional boots) in the only stivanadiko (traditional boot workshop) that still operates in the village of Olympos. For women, the traditional color is … red with refined embroidery. The best souvenir and a real work of folk art.

    • Enjoy the sunset from the village of Pyles. With its innumerable, beautiful gardens, the village offers magnificent views of the nearby island of Kassos and the mountains of Sitia.

    • Enjoy the specialties of Karpathos such as makarounes (artisan pasta with myzithra cheese and sautéed onion), vyzanti or ofto (roasted lamb or goat stuffed with rice, offal, raisins, pine nuts and spices), the local tourtes (sweet pies with myzithra cheese and sitaka cheese) and zempilia (crescent-shaped sesame pies stuffed with raisins and cloves)

    • Purchase high quality hand-woven textiles made by the women of Olympus.

    • Enjoy some windsurfing in the famous beaches of Afiartis, one of the most windy places in the Mediterranean and the favorite destination for surfers from all over the world.

    • Visit the abandoned chapel of Agios Ioannis of Spoa, carved in the rock.

    • Discover the ancestral hiking trails in the northern part of the island, a paradise for hikers.

  • view_headlineTravelling to and from Karpathos

    Travel to and from Karpathos with ANEK LINES. Enjoy a comfortable journey with one of the leading passenger ferry operators in the Mediterranean.

    ΑΝΕΚ connects Piraeus and other popular destinations with Karpathos, calling at both ports on the island, through the Cyclades, Crete and Dodecanese route (Piraeus, Milos, Santorini, Anafi, Heraklion, Sitia, Kassos, Karpathos, Diafani, Halki, Rhodes) with port-to- port itineraries. The company offers top quality services and authentic Cretan “philoxenia” on board.

    The modern fleet and highly trained crew of ANEK, promise a pleasant on board stay, meeting the needs and demands of the modern traveller. ANEK ferries have spacious cabins of all categories, comfortable and air-conditioned all-user areas with many entertainment options, modern stores, gourmet restaurants and café -bars.

    ANEK highly values gastronomy and offers exquisite menus based on authentic Cretan products and tastes of the Cretan cuisine. All ΑΝΕΚ ferries offer 24hour internet service (wi-fi and Internet Corners) at designated areas.

    Discover our best prices for ferry tickets and unique offers for passenger tickets and cabin accommodation throughout the year.

  • view_headlineArriving at Karpathos

    ANEK LINES vessels arrive at the two ports of the island. Pigadia is the main port and capital of Karpathos in the south-eastern part of the island. From here you can reach several locations on the island by taxi or bus.

    The ferry also calls at Diafani, the second port of Karpathos in the northeast side of the island. Diafani is the port of Olympos, 67 kilometers north of Pigadia.

    Karpathos is ideal for traveling by car thanks to its extensive road network that connects all villages of the island. ANEK LINES offers reliable and value for money transportation services so you can take along your own car, motorcycle, trailer or caravan and enjoy unique trips around the island.

  • view_headlineUseful telephone numbers

    ΑΝΕΚ LINES – Central Reservation Dept: 0030 210 4197400, 210 4197420
    Possi Travel – Holidays (Pigadia) : 0030 22450 22235
    Orfanos Travel (Diafani) : 0030 22450 51410
    Karpathos Port Authority: 0030 22450 22227
    Karpathos Police Station: 0030 22450 22224
    Karpathos Tourist Police: 0030 22450 22212
    Municipality of Karpathos: 0030 22450 22427
    Karpathos Health Centre: 0030 22450 22228
    Karpathos Post Office: 0030 22450 22219
    Taxi stand: 0030 22450 22705
    Karpathos Bus Service: 0030 22450 22338, 22450 22206

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