Karpathos: Hidden gem of Greek Islands
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Few words about this touristy not so popular island for the beginning
But don’t worry you wouldn’t be Robinson there.
Karpathos (Greek: Κάρπαθος) is small island located in southeastern Aegean see, between Rodhos and Crete. It is second largest Dodecanese Island and fifteenth island of Greece with 116 sq. miles (300 km2) area.
Interesting fact is that the Karpathos was Italian territory for 1947. so it is possible to see a lot of Italian architecture.
How to get to this spectaculars island?
- By plane to Karpathos airport (AOK), located on south – with one of regular line from Athens or circuital line Rhodes – Karpathos – Kasos – Crete; or one of many charter flight from various European cities.
Airport is small but it has all necessary things – easy going check in, cafeteria (0.75l of water after security control is 2€), post box (yes, very important if you forgot to send postcards in the city), duty free shop, souvenirs…
They have very specific way of luggage drop – first time seen here – normally you just drop your luggage on check in, but not there. At check in you will just be given the tag and it will be scaled and you have to take it back and drop few meters further on security control.
I guess there is only two police officers who work on passport control as there is not such many non EU flights.
Taxi from airport to Karpathos town is fixed price of 25€.
- By ferry from Athens (Pireus), Rhodes, Crete, Kasos to main ferry port Pigadia or Difani (on north). There is everyday regular ferry line to Karpathos town (which is also called Pigadia). It is very comfortable way to come by night line.
Move around the island
Roads are very winding except one part of 1.24 miles (2 km) between the airport and the city – favorite part for drivers. Taxi driver said that can be dangerous to drive scooters because of the roads and very strong wind. But don’t worry, it is still the best way to move around if you want to explore the whole island. If you prefer to rent a car choose small one.
Fun fact: there are only three gas stations on the island.
If you are not feeling comfortable to drive on roads like these – take a bus. There are several regular lines to the most beautiful beaches and towns.
Pigadia – Karpathos capital
The largest town on Karpathos is located on eastern coast with the main view on the north.
Note for the scary ones: the city has several supermarkets, bakeries and market with fresh fruit and vegetables, a lot of restaurants, tavernas and cafes and of course one pedestrian street with souvenir shops and ice cream and frozen yoghurt shops. There are no night clubs.
Must try: Greek yoghurt with honey mhhhh.
Also don’t miss to try Greek pita with cheese, fresh fish and seafood, Greek salad with olives, Goat cheese. Retsina wine is most famous Greek wine with very specific and unique flavor that’s why not everyone like it, but it is must try as well – you never know.
City beach is sandy with one part with stones, so be careful not to choose that part in order not to carve your feet. The beach is not crowded at all (this was main hint for choosing this island) so you can relax and enjoy your day at the beach. There are several café bars and tavernas where you can refresh. Be careful if with ordering lemonade – when you say lemonade Greeks think of carbonated lemon juice, so if you want some fresh refreshment and natural vitamins order fresh lemon juice.
Price for two sun beds and umbrella is 6€. Take it if you don’t like to feel the sand on your skin.
But you just have to feel the sand for the fully experience. Lay down on sand make perfect anatomic “bed” of your mat and relax. Yes, you will get up covered by sand – in the end that’s why you are on sandy beach.
Take care of hats and your belongings as it is always windy so you wouldn’t have to run for them. I had twice J
Kyra Panagia Beach
The most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Crystal clear water with wide range of shades of blue color.
Do not buy into the stories of agents that it can be reached only by boat. You can come there by bus for much less money and get the real feel. You wouldn’t get that amazing experience coming by boat on just few hours. There are two tavernas and one mini market. Way down to the beach from main road can be a little bit uncomfortable but bus driver did it amazing.
My favorite part was swimming to the some kind of cave and enjoying the peace of water mixed with sunlight. I preferred the cave as shelter for the sun.
It just can’t be described by words, take a look of my real photos.
There you will be almost Robinson. To Kasos island is possible to come by ferry, by speed boat “Kasos princes” or by plane with 6 minutes long flight. Arrival by plane is incredible experience as well as the flight. Price for that flight is fixes no matter when you buy ticket. There is no public transport from the airport to the Fri town so we took 10 minutes walk to the center.
Day trip you must go to see how Greeks actually live. I saw only one hotel which I wasn’t sure it was open. And only four people at the beach, literally! We had enjoyed in Greek meals recommended by locals. Walk around the town and rest under pine three shadow at the beach (only natural shadow founded).
Evening spent in marine looking how fishermen are preparing their nets, boats and leaving to the open see were magical. Great way to spend time while waiting for ferry back to the Karpathos. Ferry is driving to Pigadia little less than hour and a half and it has everything you need for your comfort – choice of several types of seats, restaurant, café bar, shop even swimming pool (which was empty).