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Der Strand von Apella aud Karpathos, Bild: Pawel Kazmierczak / shutterstock

Karpathos – Insider tip in the Mediterranean

Greece fans will love you: the small island of Karpathos – a pearl in the southern Aegean Sea that has retained its originality. Because here there are still traditional mountain villages that have been able to retain their charm despite the increasing number of visitors.

Original landscape

Nestled between the well-known Greek islands of Rhodes and Crete lies Karpathos. It is the second largest island in the Dodecanese and attracts with deserted beaches, picturesque bays and original villages. Karpathos scores with its seclusion and is considered a true insider tip for those seeking relaxation. In particular, the northern part of the island is completely natural and uninhabited. Accordingly, this area is suitable for extensive hiking tours. Especially in spring, a visit to Karpathos for hiking is worthwhile – when the great summer heat has not yet set in, the landscape shines with a true splendour of flowers. Particularly recommended is an ascent to the mountain Kali Limni, which at 1,215 meters is the highest elevation of the quite mountainous island.

Abandoned dream beaches

Beaches Karpathos
Karpathos offers fantastic beaches, Image: leoks / shutterstock

Natural, picturesque bays with snow-white sand and crystal clear waters are what make the island of Karpathos so endearing. Those seeking peace and quiet will find absolute solitude on almost all beaches of the island. Especially on the east coast, deserted sandy beaches are virtually guaranteed. One of the most idyllic beaches is Kyra Panagia Beach, which is surrounded by bizarre rocks and exudes a very special atmosphere. The dream beach Apella Beach is also in no way inferior to its predecessor. It is rightly considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, because the natural bay with its gently sloping sand is perfect for safe bathing of smaller family members and a wildly romantic pine forest in the background gives the beach an extraordinary fair.

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Of course, Karpathos has numerous other beaches. Bathing bays suitable for families can be found in the resorts of Amopi and Arkasa in the southeast of the island and also in the fishing village of Lefkos in the far west of the island. This seaside resort offers several great sandy beaches and is guaranteed to offer a quiet place for bathing fans even in the high season. Popular in Lefkos is the Gialoú sandy beach, which borders the idyllic fishing port. And if you want to feel the Caribbean feeling, you should definitely visit Diakoftis beach in the south. The powdery white sand and the shallow turquoise blue water offer pure romance.

The wind miracle for surf travelers

Who would have thought that Karpathos is considered an absolute insider tip for surf travelers? It is thanks to the Meltemi, the fair-weather wind, that the spots in the south of the island are among the windiest in the world. Just a few minutes from the airfield are the bays of Gun Bay and Chicken Bay, which are popular with surfers. The latter is an ideal bay for beginners in surfing due to its shallow waters. It is also perfect for freestyle and maneuver training.

Pigadia – charming capital with serene serenity

The island’s capital Pigadia, also known as Karpathos Town, stretches out in a round, picturesque harbour bay. Its centre is full of souvenir shops, traditional Greek taverns, cosy cafés, trendy bars and discos in a relaxed atmosphere. On the balmy summer evenings, life also likes to take place along the waterfront. Especially in the high season, Pigadia likes to present itself as a meeting place to start the nightlife.

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Centuries-old traditions

Karpathos, Easter
Traditional bread at Easter, Image: Hector Christiaen / shutterstock

Karpathos is also a great destination for holidaymakers who want to discover vibrant cultures. This is because the island has been occupied by many peoples throughout history, such as the Romans or the Ottomans, among others. Later, due to its remoteness, it was considered a place of refuge from pirates and people retreated to the mountain villages. In the past, this led to the most intimate family bonds and traditions that are still lived today. A good example of this is the village of Olympos in the north, located between two rugged mountains. A few decades ago, this place was very isolated and could only be reached by sea. Today, visitors can drive up the steep rocky slopes by car via a gravel road. But the exertions are worth it, because the friendly villagers still await their guests in traditional costumes and offer handmade goods and food for sale. The narrow labyrinth of alleys, which is lined to the right and left by small Greek houses built of sandstone, seems to transport the holidaymaker to another time.

Olympos, Karpathos
View of the village of Olypos, Image: SimonaKoz / shutterstock

If you want to learn more about the life of the islanders, you should definitely visit the Folklore Museum in the center of the village of Othos. The building, built in the typical island style, shows the life of the inhabitants of Karpathos in the past decades. In addition, numerous handmade objects, musical instruments and, above all, lavishly decorated traditional costumes can be seen. Wax figures recreate the simple life of the islanders.