Karpathos: the island where we live! This Greek island is located in the southeastern Aegean Sea. It is the second-largest island in the Dodecanese group and is known for its stunning natural beauty, traditional villages, and gorgeous beaches. Karpathos is the perfect destination for those who are looking for a less-tourist island and those who love hiking, beaches, traditional villages and windsurfing.
Best time to visit Karpathos
The summer months of June to September are ideal for visiting Karpathos. The weather is warm and sunny during this time, making it ideal for swimming and sunbathing on the island’s beautiful beaches. Furthermore, the majority of the island’s attractions and services are open during the summer season, and there are numerous events and festivals to attend. It is, however, the busiest time of year, so expect larger crowds. Although Karpathos isn’t the most tourist island so busy means still less busy than islands such as Santorini, Crete and Rhodes. If you prefer a more peaceful vacation, consider visiting the island at the end of September. The weather is still perfect as well as the seawater, but it’s less busy. May is also quiet, but the sea water isn’t as warm as in September, but if you don’t mind May might be the time for you. Also when you prefer hiking April/May is your period to go!
What is Karpathos known for
Karpathos is not yet a mega well-known island. We sometimes even meet Greeks on the mainland who have never heard of Karpathos. Oops! In our opinion, the island is perfect for couples looking for a cosy, romantic Greek island that does not yet have mass tourism. In low season, the island is perfect for hikers and besides that, the island has nice traditional villages and beautiful beaches. Oh and Karpathos is known as one of the best windsurfing spots in the world!
How long should you visit Karpathos
Of course, the length of a visit to Karpathos can vary depending on personal preferences and travel plans. However, We would recommend staying on the island for at least a week to fully appreciate the island.
During this time, you can explore the island’s stunning beaches, quaint villages, and historic landmarks, as well as try local cuisine and activities. If you have more time available, you could consider extending your stay to a week or even longer, this way you can enjoy more activities, beaches etc.
How to get there
Although Karpathos isn’t a huge island it still has an airport and during the season a lot of countries have direct flights from their capital to Karpathos. If you are like us travelling from the Netherlands you can book with TUI or Sunweb direct flight from April to October. If you want to travel a bit more on a budget you could check Aegean air as well. They offer during high season flights from Amsterdam to Karpathos with a stopover in Athens (usually 1 or 2 hours, which is perfect!).
Usually, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Austria, Israel and the Czech Republic also have direct flights. Otherwise, you can fly from your city to Athens and book a flight with Sky Express or Olympic Air to Karpathos. The flight from Athens to Karpathos will take about 50 minutes. You can check flights on the following website for the best and cheapest options:
Those who are island hopping in Greece can also arrive by ferry on the island. ANEK Prevelis goes via Crete and Rhodes to Karpathos and also Blue Star Ferries Patmos goes via Patmos, Kos and Rhodes to the island. It’s not really convenient to travel from Athens by boat to the island because it will take 20-24 hours. So it’s not really worth it unless you are island hopping of course.
Where to stay
We’ll say it right away: do you come for all-inclusive hotels, entertainment for your kids and water slides? Then you’ve come to the wrong place on Karpathos. But where can you stay on the island? We have highlighted a few accommodations for you and there is something for everyone (unless you want all-in haha).
Lux View Villas
If you are looking for a gorgeous villa in a remote and quiet spot, Lux View Villas is the place for you! This villa is located in Katodio which is just before Kyra Panagia. It’s just so beautiful here! If you sent them an e-mail you’ll get a 15% discount on your stay (of a minimum of 4 nights) with our code: thekarpathosguide15.
This accommodation is in Pigadia (the capital). It’s just outside the centre though so you can have a peaceful stay but still be within the city in a few minutes. The owners are very kind and they have a pool. Couples with children also enjoy spending their holidays here. And this place is nice if you are on a bit of a budget.
Looking for a (big) hotel with an infinity pool in the centre of the capital Pigadia (also known as Karpathos-Town). Then Alimounda Mare might be for you! The price is a bit higher though than Venezia.
If you want to spend your nights in something traditional, yet newish this might be the place for you! It’s an amazing apartment in the centre of Pigadia with a beautiful view of the harbour!
12x Things to do on Karpathos
Let us take you through a few fantastic things to do and visit on the island. And we chose 12 things to do for a reason. This is because Karpathos belongs to the Dodecanese (the name of the archipelago) and is derived from dodékatos which is the number 12 known. In fact, there are 12 islands belonging to the Dodecanese 😉
Karpathos has a wide variety of beaches. Whether you want to snorkel, dive off rocks or relax on a sandy beach, there is something for everyone! These are our 3 favourites beaches that we think you should visit
1. Apella beach
Apella is, I think, the most famous beach on the island and also one of the most beautiful! The beach itself was voted the most beautiful beach in Europe in 2003. Want a nice view of the beach like the photo below? About halfway down the beach, a path goes up. Just make sure to wear sturdy shoes 🙂
1. Ahata beach
This is our favourite beach! Ahata beach is SO incredibly beautiful. The water is perfect, it is a nice beach (pebbles though, so don’t forget your water shoes if necessary) and also great if you want to snorkel. In addition, the road to it is already beautiful, although you will also see part of it burnt by a number of fires in recent years.
Oh well, this is not really one beach, but the Saria peninsula sort of belongs to Karpathos and is uninhabited. You can get to this island by boat from Diafani or Pigadia. And as you can see from the photo below: the beaches are breathtaking. Definitely worth a visit!
Activities and sightseeing
Olympos is a traditional village located in the northern part of the island. The village is known for its traditions, unique architecture, and stunning view. When you drive to Olympos and get around the mountain we always say it looks a bit like Minas Tirith from The Lord of the Rings. The village is also known for its traditional clothing, which is still worn by the residents.
These days also tour-operator visit the village with a bus full of people. If you want a true authentic Olympos tour book one with Ecotourism Karpathos.
5. Eat the best pita gyros
We know, if you visit Greece you want to try the best pita gyros on every island. For this delicious dish, you should go to Erasmias which is in Pigadia opposites the taxi station.
Karpathos is one of the best hotspots if we’re talking windsurfing. Due to the Meltemi, especially in July and August, you have a big change on 5bft or higher. If you windsurf or want to learn the skills. This is the place for you!
7. Daytrip to Kasos island
Kasos is one of the remotest islands in Greece and is only 1,5 hours by boat from the harbour of Pigadia (or less than 5 minutes by plane). It is perfect for a day trip to see the beauty of this place. You can book a ticket for the boat called Kasos Princess. They go almost daily from Pigadia to Kasos.
8. Kali Limni
With 1215m the Kali Limni is the highest mountain of Karpathos. When you’ve reached the top (and with no clouds) you are able to see both ends of the island; it’s amazing! The hike takes about 1,5 hours to reach the top. Usually down goes a bit faster.
9. Visit Mattsson Winery
Explore the vineyards of Karpathos Island in Volada. Renate and Thom are the owners of their Mattsson Winery. You can book a guided tour (and tasting!) with them or just visit their place to have a look in the garden and to buy your own bottle(s).
10. Gastronomy restaurant (Masterchef Greece)
In the village of Afiartis, you’ll find the hotel and restaurant Poseidon. The owners have a good restaurant with an amazing view over Damatria beach. He (Dutch) is a sommelier and She (Greek) is a chef who participated in Masterchef Greece as well as other cooking programs on Greek television.
Do you have something special to celebrate or want to have a date night? This is your spot! Although it is more expensive than some other restaurants on the island, I’d say it’s still very affordable!
11. The Greek chruches
Greece is known for its beautiful churches and on Karpathos, there are a lot as well! In Kyra Panagia, you’ll find one of the most photographed churches in Greece!
12. Visit Finiki
Finiki is a small fishing village on the west coast of Karpathos. It’s very pretty and is the perfect place for a typical Greek lunch at Mama cuisine or Marinas!
Looking for more tips about the island? Since 2016 we have had our blog The Karpathos guide where we share more tips and our experiences about the island. Go check it out!