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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Thrace region-id="pin-13";Macedonia Macedonia Epirus Thessaly Sporades Ionian Islands Western Greece Central Greece Attica Peloponnese Crete Cyclades North Aegean Islands Dodecanese Dodecanese Karpathos Astypalea Tilos Sitia Faistos - Matala Patmos Kastelorizo Kasos Kos Leros Halki Rhodes Symi Sfakia - Loutro Rethymno Elounda - Agios Nikolaos Agia Galini Plakias Hersonissos - Malia Ierapetra Heraklion Chania Nisyros Ikaria Lipsi Tzia - Kea Thasos Samos Lesvos Samothrace Limnos Chios Kalymnos Paros Naxos Zante - Zakynthos Lefkada Corfu Santorini Milos Kythnos Kimolos Serifos Syros Sifnos Koufonisia Ios Kefalonia Mykonos Paxi Ithaca Arta Ioannina Tinos Parga - Sivota Metsovo Anafi Sikinos Folegandros Donousa - Iraklia - Schinoussa Antiparos Zagori Mountainous Arkadia Porto Heli - Ermioni Preveza Amorgos Andros Delos Messolongi Ancient Olympia Aegina Kythira Archea Epidavros Patra Nafplio Kardamyli Kalamata Ilia Corinth Western Messinia Kalavryta Elafonissos Nafpaktos Spetses Poros Hydra Alexandroupolis Pylos Mycenae Monemvasia Loutraki Piraeus Athens Arahova Xanthi Galaxidi Mystra - Sparta Mani Edipsos Delphi Chalkida Karystos Evia Skyros Vergina Alonissos Volos Karditsa Skopelos Skiathos Kastoria Thessaloniki Prespes Agios Athanasios Edessa Serres Veria Larissa - Tempi Elati - Pertouli Trikala Pelion Meteora Drama Ammouliani Mount Athos - Ouranopolis Nymfeo Mount Olympos Katerini Halkidiki Grevena Lake Kerkini Naoussa Kozani Kilkis Kavala Pella Lake Plastira
Wild, untouched beauty in the Dodecanese, sculpted by winds, customs and centuries-old traditions

The second largest island of the Dodecanese has no equal. It 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: stunning vistas from untouched, cliff top and mountainside villages that defy gravity and a fearful hammering from the wind to keep vigilant watch over the Aegean. In Karpathos you’ll discover an island with its Greek soul intact, living traditions, people of real character, musical skills passed down the generations and legendary festivals – untarnished by modern fads.

 

What to do on Karpathos

Olymbos: a timeless eagle’s nest   

Exposed to the winds, Olymbos balances on a rough-hewn, remote ridge like a tightrope walker. Its houses spill down the slope seawards, tightly bound to each other and rooted in the rock. This harsh, wild place kept pirates and marauders 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.

A colourful history of the Dodecanese

In a  single glance, you can take in a wealth of clues as to the cultures that have had an impact here. 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, 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 back into the past.

Manners and customs alive and unspoiled

On this island, it’s as if time has stood still. Here you will find an authentic Greece, like something out of a bygone era. Many women still wear the 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 practiced faithfully. The festivals have to be lived to be believed.

Emerald waters and countless 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 entire Mediterranean. 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

Nature and history in the untrodden north

The north, above Olymbos and all the way to Saria, 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.

The fertile plateau below Olymbos

It’s like stepping into another world. In Karpathos, 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.

Walk to your heart’s content

If there is a hiker-paradise in the Aegean, it must be on Karpathos. Centuries-old cobblestone paths lead to forgotten ancient sites, roadless villages without electricity or other mod cons and breath-taking views. The hiking trails crisscross the island but are best in the north. 

A rare ecosystem

Karpathos, along with the islet of Saria, is one of the most important islands in Greece 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

Travel ideas

Shining the light on stories
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
Emerald waters on the Island of Kato Koufonisi, Little Cyclades cluster

Greece’s 10 Hidden Gems

Unexplored islands, with a rich history, secret beaches and rare natural beauty. Discover Greece’s island-treasures and experience authentic moments