Karpathos is the third largest of the Dodecanese and remains one of the most traditional despite recent increases in tourism due to the opening of its own airport, although it only takes domestic and not international flights. Before that, visitors faced a long ferry ride from Rhodes, but what greeted them was a dramatic and rugged island with a high mountain range running down its spine, the highest point being the 1188m (3898ft) Mt Kalimni, almost in the centre of this long thin island.
The capital, Karpathos Town (also known as Pigadia) is in the south at one end of a long sheltered bay that has a 3km (2 mile) sweep of sand. It also has a delightfully old-fashioned fishing harbour where the fishermen still mend their nets, not yet having surrendered their places to fashionable yachts. This is also naturally the best place to go for a meal of the freshest fish, straight from the sea.
Olympos Village on Karpathos
The one essential visit on Karpathos is to one of the unspoilt mountain villages, the best example being Olympos in the far north of the island. The village was founded in 1420 and for most of its existence remained virtually cut off from the rest of the island, only accessible by boat to the nearest port at Diafani, followed by a long steep haul to Olympos, some 600m (1969ft) high, its houses clustered along the ridge of a mountain. Because it was so remote, its traditions remained untouched by the modern age, and even today many women, and some men, still wear traditional costumes.
It is possible to visit Olympos on a day trip from Karpathos Town, but there are some closer mountain villages, each with their own attractions. Menetes is also high in the mountains, if not quite as high as Olympos at only 350m (1148ft) above sea level, and several of its streets are covered with vines making it a wonderful place to visit in the autumn when the grapes are heavy and ready for picking.
GETTING TO KARPATHOS
Flights to Karpathos
Karpathos has its own international airport which in the summer months has regular charter flights from all over Europe. Within Greece there are year-round services with daily flights on Olympic Air to Athens, Kasos, Rhodes and Sitia on Crete.
Ferries to Karpathos
There are regular ferries between Karpathos and Athens (Piraeus), Anafi, Halki, Crete (to both Sitia and Iraklion), Kasos, Milos, Rhodes and Santorini.
Ferries in Greece
Ferries in Greece has an excellent and very thorough website where, in addition to checking ferry schedules and times, you can also book tickets and get lots of useful information about travelling by ferry in Greece.
Visit the official Karpathos website
Where to Stay on Karpathos
Other Dodecanese pages
Travel information on Kasos in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.
Symi (or Simi) is a small island in the Dodecanese near Rhodes with regular ferry connections, hotels, rooms to rent, beaches, tavernas.
Travel and vacation information about the Dodecanese islands of Rhodes, Symi, Kos, Patmos, Halki, Tilos, Karpathos, Leros, Lipsi, Astipalea.
Wild Abandon by Jennifer Barclay and published by Bradt Guides is A Journey to Deserted Places of the Dodecanese islands in Greece, including Rhodes and Kos.
Tilos is a small island in the Dodecanese between Rhodes and Kos with regular ferry connections, hotels, rooms to rent, beaches, tavernas and ancient remains.
Patmos in the Dodecanese islands is famous for the monasteries of St John and the Apocalypse and on this page you can also read about flights and ferries
Greece Travel Secrets helps celebrate a feast day on Astipalia in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven.
Nisyros is a unique volcanic island in the Dodecanese and easily reached on day trips from Kos Town and Kardamena.
Mermaid Singing by Charmian Clift is a fine example of 1950s travel writing about the Greek island of Kalymnos in the Dodecanese.
Travel information on Lipsi in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.
Leros is a sizeable island in the Dodecanese with flights from Athens, ferries from Rhodes and Piraeus, good beaches, restaurants and hotels.
Kos in the Dodecanese islands of Greece has good beaches and night-life, and archaeological remains.
Travel information on Kastellorizo in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.
Kalymnos in Greece in the Dodecanese islands is most famous for its history of sponge fishing, and see here information about flights and ferries.
Travel information on Halki in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.
Astypalaia in the Dodecanese islands of Greece is a largely unspoilt island with good beaches.
Arki is a small island in the Dodecanese close to Lipsi, with beaches and tavernas with rooms to rent and ferry connections with Patmos, Samos and Marathi.
Agathonisi is a small island in the Dodecanese with quiet beaches, a few hotels, pensions and rooms to rent.
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