Karpathos

An island of unexplored heights and delicious depths
The award-winning sandy crescent of Apella is the most beautiful beach on Karpathos
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Karpathos is an island of wild, untouched beauty in the Dodecanese, sculpted by winds, customs and centuries-old traditions

The second-largest of the Dodecanese islands has no equal. Karpathos holds on dearly to its past in its ancient acropolis, caves, churches and even its traditional dress. The setting is dramatic in all the best senses of the word: striking vistas from untouched, clifftop and mountainside villages that defy gravity and a fearful hammering from the wind to keep a vigilant watch over the Aegean.

On Karpathos, you’ll discover an island with its soul very much intact, with living traditions, people of real character, musical skills passed down the generations and legendary festivals – untarnished by modern fads. Are you in the mood to discover one of the hidden gems of the Dodecanese?

 

What to do on Karpathos island

Head to Olymbos, a timeless village in the north

Exposed to the winds, the village of Olymbos balances like a tightrope walker on a rough-hewn, remote ridge in northern Karpathos. Its houses spill down the slope seawards, tightly bound to each other and rooted in the rock. This wild place kept pirates and marauders eager to plunder Karpathos at bay, and it still resists intrusions by today’s more peaceful invaders. Just what you’d expect from a town that has been defying the tides of time since the 9th century
 

Travel through the colourful history of Karpathos

In a single glance, you can take in a wealth of clues as to the cultures that have had an impact on Karpathos island. Among the significant sights and attractions are early Christian churches, ancient Vroukounta and Arkesia; the castle and the acropolis at Aperi; the Roman cistern at Lefko; and the beehive tombs at Karpathos town and Arkasa. And then there are the more recent structures left by the Italians, such as bridges, aqueducts, wells, windmills and the outdoor ovens of Olymbos. Don’t miss this opportunity to travel into Karpathos’ past.

Spend a day village-hopping on Karpathos


Discover manners and customs alive and unspoiled

It’s as if time has stood still on Karpathos where you will find a Greece straight out of a bygone era. Many women still wear traditional dress, while men harvest their crops with scythes. Men and women sit separately at village festivals, where musicians play the bagpipes, lyre and lauto, crafted on the island, and sing in the style of their ancient ancestors. In northern Karpathos, you’ll find even older, sometimes strange customs still practised faithfully. The festivals of this island have to be lived to be believed.
 

Take your pick of a pristine beaches 

The award-winning sandy crescent of Apella is the most beautiful beach on Karpathos and a contender for one of the best in the Dodecanese. Emerald waters will also tempt you in at Kyra Panagia, Ahata, Lefkos and Ammopi – only the beginning of a long list.

 

Hidden gems of Karpathos island

Explore nature and history in an undisturbed paradise

The north, above Olymbos and all the way to the tiny island of Saria (just north of Karpathos), is a favourite haunt for birds, seals, frogs and salamanders as well as the home of large, tasty but elusive fish. There you’ll also find the palaces of Doric Nisyros, sacred ancient Vroukounda and exotic Tristomo.

Escape to uninhabited Saria


Time travel around the fertile plateau below Olymbos

It’s like stepping into another world. The plateau of Avlona invites you to travel in time around its meticulous patchwork fields, barns, scattered farm dwellings and crofts. You just pick the century and Karpathos will do the rest.
 

Hit some of the best hiking trails in Greece 

If there is a hiker’s paradise in the Aegean, it must be Karpathos. Centuries-old cobblestone paths lead to forgotten ancient sites, roadless villages without electricity and with breathtaking views. The hiking trails crisscross the island but are best in the north. 
 

A rare ecosystem

Karpathos is one of the most important Greek islands for the protection of rare species and ecosystems. Two sites are included in the Natura 2000 network for their bird and seal populations.

Mount of Ai-Elias, where Olympos traditional village is nestled

Experience the best of Karpathos

Depending on which boat excursion you take from Karpathos, your day trip to Saria will involve soaking up the feeling of freedom on the beach and swimming in wonderfully clear water

Feel the meaning of escape on uninhabited Saria

Whether you choose to laze on a pristine beach or hike inland to discover an intriguing island, visiting Saria is an ideal day trip from...
Olympos itself is a live museum with an idyllic atmosphere when the clouds come down and surround the village

Colourful village-hopping through the mountains of Karpathos

Within Karpathos’ mountainous interior are colourful villages that have preserved everything that is most traditional about the beautiful Dodecanese island in a wonderful capsule of...
In a setting of pine-tree green, white sand and deep blue sea, Apella has a special knack of capturing the hearts of those who discover it

A touch of exotic beauty at Apella beach on Karpathos

In a setting of pine-tree green, white sand and deep blue sea, Apella has a special knack of capturing the hearts of those who discover...
  • Ancient ruins in northern Karpathos
  • Olymbos: A timeless eagle’s nest
  • Manners and customs alive and unspoiled
  • Emerald waters and countless beaches
  • The fertile plateau below Olymbos
  • A rare ecosystem

Highlights

8 reasons to make you want to explore Karpathos
The second-largest of the Dodecanese islands stands out for its charming contrasts: green mountains and dozens of beaches;
Discover It
The most famous village in Karpathos island, with panoramic views
The Dodecanese: An island chain made for hopping
From Rhodes and Kos to lesser-known Karpathos, Astypalea, Leros and Patmos
Discover It
The windmills of Hora

Travel ideas

Shining the light on stories
The most famous village in Karpathos island, with panoramic views

8 reasons to make you want to explore Karpathos

The second-largest of the Dodecanese islands stands out for its charming contrasts: green mountains and dozens of beaches;
In a setting of pine-tree green, white sand and deep blue sea, Apella has a special knack of capturing the hearts of those who discover it

The Dodecanese: A dozen island beauties on the edge of the Aegean

To find something extra special often means going the extra mile.
The windmills of Hora

The Dodecanese: An island chain made for hopping

From Rhodes and Kos to lesser-known Karpathos, Astypalea, Leros and Patmos

Plan your trip