Kasos is an unusual little island that lies off the southern
tip of Karpathos, between there and the east coast of Crete. Like Symi, it's an
island that was once home to a much greater population than today, when only
1,000 people live there.
The Kasos Massacre
In the early 1820s Kasos had a population of about 11,000. At that time it was under Turkish rule and, as a ship-building base, had a large fleet of ships. It was the first Greek island to declare independence during the Greek War of Independence (1821-1832).
This act enraged Mehmet Ali, who was the Turkish Pasha in Egypt. He sent a huge fleet of boats to punish the Kasiots, to show his power and to destroy the Kasiot fleet. They invaded the island and killed about 7,000 islanders, after which Kasos unsurprisingly fell into a decline.
The massacre took place on 7th June, 1824, and is still commemorated on that date, a very moving time to be on the island. Obviously ferries and flights either side of that date get very full as many Kasiots return to honour their ancestors.
Getting to Kasos
Flights to Kasos
For such a small place, Kasos is well-served by flights.
There are daily flights to Kasos on Olympic Air from Karpathos and Rhodes, and
from the airport at Sitia on Crete.
Ferries to Kasos
You can get to Kasos from several islands, and from Piraeus,
but be prepared for long journey times. You will also need to do some planning
on your dates as none of these ferries to Kasos operates daily.
The journey time from Athens is 19 hours, so you'd have to
be a real ferry fan or on a tight budget to consider that an option. The
closest island connected by ferry is Karpathos, 90 minutes away, and then
Crete, with the ferry from Sitia taking 2.5 hours. There's also a ferry to
Iraklion but that takes 6 hours. Other connections are with Rhodes and
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.
The island capital is Fry, which is pronounced 'free', where
about one-third of the population lives. The few tourists who do venture here
are greeted by the sight of bright white houses with their blue doors and
shutters, looking remarkably like the Cyclades. Impossible to miss is the
surprisingly large cathedral of Ayios Spiridon, the patron saint of the island.
Other than that and an Archaeological Museum, there's not
much to see in Fry, though it is where you'll find the post office, ATMs,
police, shops and travel services. There's a beach within about a 10-minute
walk, and while it's not the greatest beach in the Aegean, it's pleasant
Outside Fry there are four small villages scattered around
the island. There are a few beach 'resorts', and much of the interior of the
island is quite rugged and barren. The highest peak is Mount Kapsalo at 1,913ft
(583m), and not far away is the Ellinokamara Cave. It's a bit of a hike to get
to it, and the way isn't well-marked, but you will be rewarded with great views.
If you're staying in Fry you might be able to find a local guide to take you
there, if you ask around.
What to Eat on Kasos
One unusual feature about the island is its food. One result
of the massacre is that afterwards a few thousand people from Kasos emigrated
to Egypt. They kept ties between Egypt and Kasos alive and as a result, Kasos
cuisine has been influenced by Egyptian cooking. You'll find some dishes that
are much spicier than is usual in Greece, and you'll even find dishes like
tahini and pilaf appearing on menus.
Where to Stay on
Most of the accommodation is in Fry, and there is some
around the rest of the island but the choice is limited and you ought to book
Other Dodecanese pages
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.
Karpathos in the Dodecanese islands of Greece is noted for its traditions, its music, and mountain villages like Olympos.
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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