Kastellorizo

Dodecanese Islands

Kastellorizo is a difficult island to reach, which is why it has retained so much of its charm. It is definitely one to seek out for those who like to get away from it all and have a real and unique Greek island experience.

Fewer than 300 people live on Kastellorizo, and almost all of these live in the one village on the island, which is also called Kastellorizo. See it today and it's hard to believe that about a hundred years ago there were some 10,000 people living here. Most left during the Greek-Turkish population exchange in 1923, and more were forced to leave during World War II, ordered out by the British army.

Kastellorizo Harbour

The main reason for the island's previous importance is its magnificent and vast horseshoe-shaped harbour, which takes the breath away if you arrive by ferry. It's one of the biggest harbours in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the island's location just one nautical mile from the Turkish town of Kaş. By contrast, the nearest main Greek island is Rhodes, seventy nautical miles away. 

The amount of trade the harbour generated resulted in some wealthy people here. Many of their mansions fell into ruin after 1923, and others were destroyed during World War II. Some remained however, and a lot of these have been renovated by islanders returning home either to live or have a second home. Some lining the harbour have been painted in bold colours, making for a striking sight.

Kastellorizo Town

 For such a small population, the main - the only - town on the island is surprisingly lively, thanks to returning ex-pats and the more adventurous holidaymakers that get here. There's a good choice of accommodation and of eating places, a bank, post office and several travel agents.

There are several things to see in the town and around the island. In the town itself is an Archaeological Museum and the Megisti Museum. Megisti is an alternative name for Kastellorizo. It means 'biggest', but only in the sense of it being the biggest of this little group of islands. It is in fact the smallest of the main Dodecanese islands.

On a hill above the town stand the ruins of a castle, which is where the name Kastellorizo comes from. Because of the red cliffs on which it stands, it was originally known as the Castello Rosso, or Red Castle.

Other attractions on the island include a Lycian tomb dating from the 4th century BC, and the Blue Cave. You can take a boat trip to the cave from the main town, and from here you can also take trips to Kaş in Turkey.

Getting to Kastellorizo

Flights to Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo does have a domestic airport but the only flights are a few each week from Rhodes with Olympic Air. Be aware that at the time of writing there's no bus from the airport to the main town, which is 1.5 miles (2.5 kms) away, though there is a taxi service on the island. Be prepared for a walk or a wait, although there has been a bus service in the past so perhaps it may get reinstated.

Ferries to Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo is not much easier to reach by ferry. There is only one ferry a week from Rhodes, and that only operates in the summer months, going to Kastellorizo and coming back on a Saturday. It takes 2.25 hours each way. You can also get there from Rhodes on a different ferry service which operates from Piraeus twice a week, year-round. It takes almost 24 hours to get from Piraeus to Kastellorizo.

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.

Where to Stay on Kastellorizo

Check our other Dodecanese pages...

  • Wild Abandon

    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.

  • Karpathos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Karpathos in the Dodecanese islands of Greece is noted for its traditions, its music, and mountain villages like Olympos.

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  • Tilos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    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.

  • Rhodes

    Travel advice, information on Rhodes in the Dodecanese, with ferries from Piraeus for Athens, Symi, Crete, Kos, Patmos, Santorini, and flights from Europe

  • Leros in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    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

    Kos in the Dodecanese islands of Greece has good beaches and night-life, and archaeological remains.

  • Kasos

    Travel information on Kasos in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Kalymnos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Kalymnos in Greece in the Dodecanese islands is most famous for its history of sponge fishing, and see here information about flights and ferries.

  • Astypalaia in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Astypalaia in the Dodecanese islands of Greece is a largely unspoilt island with good beaches.

  • Symi in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Symi (or Simi) is a small island in the Dodecanese near Rhodes with regular ferry connections, hotels, rooms to rent, beaches, tavernas.

  • Nisyros

    Nisyros is a unique volcanic island in the Dodecanese and easily reached on day trips from Kos Town and Kardamena.

  • Lipsi

    Travel information on Lipsi in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Halki

    Travel information on Halki in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Arki

    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 in the Dodecanese islands of Greece

    Agathonisi is a small island in the Dodecanese with quiet beaches, a few hotels, pensions and rooms to rent.

  • A Walk in the Old Town of Rhodes

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    Travel and vacation information about the Dodecanese islands of Rhodes, Symi, Kos, Patmos, Halki, Tilos, Karpathos, Leros, Lipsi, Astipalea.

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