Passengers traveling by ferry to Karpathos, approach the second-largest island of the Dodecanese complex in the Karpathian Pelagos between Crete and Rhodes!
Karpathos, it is a mountainous island, one of the best destinations for trekking full of pine-tree forests and water springs (Kali Limni is the highest peak-altitude 1.214m). The rock-caves of the island are the home of the Mediterranean seal called Μonachus monachus.
According to mythology the first inhabitant of the island was the Titan Iapetus, the son of Uranus and Gaia. The conquerors who influenced the island were Francs, Turks and Italians. The oldest archeological findings date back to approximately 2500 BC. During the 14th century the Mycenaeans appeared, conquered the island and built the acropolis of Potidaeus or Poseidon. The pottery found testify their stay on the island. Another population that inhabited the island was the Phoenicians, who used to cross the Mediterranean Sea with their ships for commercial purposes. Around 1000 B.C, the Dorians brought the largest prosperity to the island. During the reign of the Dorians, Karpathos was named Tetra polis with the four fortified cities Potidaio or Poseidio, Arkesia, Vrikous and Nisyros, which is a small rocky island (Saria) north of Karpathos.
During the 5th century a.c. Karpathos was invaded by the Arabs, Sericucians and Mauritanians and the inhabitants were obliged to go to the mountains and create villages there. After the Italian governors from Genoa and Venice between 1282 and 1306 the Knights of Rhodes finally conquered the island.
In 1538 the Ottoman Turks took over the control of the island which was never really inhabited by them. During the Greek War of Independence from 1821 to 1822 Karpathos rebelled like the rest of Greece but later fell again under Ottoman rule, who used the island only for tax revenue purposes. Finally in 1912 the Italians took over. During the 2nd World War in 1943 the German army arrived on the island and left on the 4th October 1944. On 5th October 1944 the Karpathians started a revolution against the Italians in the village Menetes. The inhabitants of Arkasa followed and in three days the villages of Mesochori and Olympus were also free.On the March 7th, 1948 Karpathos became part of Greece.
Karpathos ferry routes
Getting to Karpathos by ferry can be a wonderful experience, especially during the summer months. The island is connected to Piraeus Port all year round with 3 weekly departures but during the vacation period there are ferry connections from other islands like Rhodes, Kos, Kasos, Anafi, Patmos, Santorini, Milos, Symi, Samos and Crete.
The most popular Karpathos ferry routes are:
Ferry ports in Karpathos
There are two ferry ports in Karpathos: Pigadia in the center and Diafani in the north part of the island, next to Olympos village. Karpathos or Pigadia is the capital and the main port of the island. In a close distance visitors can find a supermarket, ATM and gas station.
The main ferry port is in Pigadia, the center of Karpathos, it is easily accessible on foot but you can always use a bus or a taxi if your accommodation is a little further.
Τhe main bus station of Karpathos is located in Pigadia. The bus schedules depend on seasonality. Public transportation in Karpathos is very affordable and organized, a good way to discover the main villages and the beaches of the island. For contact details, you can visit Ktel Karpathos.
Upon arrival by ferry, you can take a taxi from the parking area near the harbour. The island does not have many taxis and sometimes are a little difficult to find but the locals are kind and are willing to serve every visitor.
Karpathos Airport to Karpathos Port
The distance between the port of Karpathos (Pigadia) and the airport of Karpathos is about 15 mins by taxi and the cost during the day is about 20 eur. There is also a night fare which is slightly more expensive. For further details, please call +30 22450 22705.
As an alternative, you can take the bus which makes stops in most points of interest on the island of Karpathos. For details about the schedules, please check Karpathos Airport Buses.
Holidays in Karpathos
Even if you decide on a last minute Karpathos booking you can visit our website and make your ferry reservations with a few clicks.
Do not miss to explore the diversity of landscape, sometimes rough with the high rocky mountains but other times appealing with the diverse villages and beaches. Try the traditional recipes of the Carpathian cuisine in a local restaurant serving the fresh fish, homemade paste and sweets.
Villages of Karpathos
Karpathos villages can satisfy even the most demanding traveler but it is almost necessary to rent a car or take a bus to reach every corner of the island
A tourist resort set in an area of scenic beauty, offering a happy alternation of bights, sandy beaches and rocky coasts, within 6.5 km to the south of the town of Karpathos. Amoopi Karpathos bay is worth visiting
Aperi, built at an altitude of 320 meters, is a picturesque mountainous village which was the capital of Karpathos from 1700 till 1892. Invisible from the sea, it was a safe haven from corsair raids. Up until the island fell under Ottoman rule, this place bore the name of Karpathos. The name "Aperi" derives from the Turkish word "Aperghi", meaning "the capital town". With a population of 400, this settlement lies within an 8 km distance from the town of Karpathos. Most of the owners of the houses are immigrants especially from the United States who care for the renovation of their houses according to the traditions of the island.
Arkassa, 16 km SW from Pigadia is built in a fertile area and impresses the visitors with its beautiful beaches, the green nature and the historical monuments. On the hill of Paleokastro you will see the remains of the ancient city of Arkesia. In a distance of 2 km from Arkassa you can meet the tiny coastal village of Finiki, well known for its fish taverns.
This is the second port of Karpathos. A pebbly beach is offered to the pleasure of swimmers and sun lovers. Flat-roofed houses arranged around a narrow bay, with a fishing boat dock and a pier for boats carrying visitors to the village of Olympos.
A favourite tourist destination with spacious sandy beaches, crystal-clear azure waters is set against the austerity of an arid valley in the background. A loved place by surfers from all over the world who visit this village to practice their favourite sport. Location: 15 km to the south of the town of Karpathos.
Menetes is the largest village of Karpathos, built in the north part of the island at a distance of 8 km from the city center. One of the most important sights of the village is the large church of Panagia, built on the impressive Holy Rock. From the courtyard of the church you see in front of you the whole village and from there you have a unique view to the capital of Karpathos, Pigadia.
Mesochori is one of the most picturesque villages situated 31 km north west of Pigadia very close to Spoa. The beautiful beach Lefkos with hotels and apartments attracts hundreds of tourists every year and nowadays has become a summer resort of the island. There is a beautiful pine grove around the settlement.
Clearly mountainous, Othos is the highest village of Karpathos built at a 510 m altitude, situated 12 km from Pigadia. The houses are built amphitheatrical, offering a great view to the sea. In Othos it is worth visiting the wood carving workshop where the famous lyre of Karpathos and other ornate wood carvings are made.
Do not miss to visit the village of Olympos. You will be rewarded by natural beauty like no other.
You will drive through several traditional villages, pine-grown hills, rocky mountains offering some truly breathtaking views of the sea. Due to its position and its isolation from the rest of the villages, the locals have kept the village’s physiognomy as well as the traditions. Most homes are decorated with the old way and many women are dressed with the traditional costumes.
Arriving approximately in the center of the island you will find the mountain village of Spoa, overlooking the open sea. A picturesque place of lovely houses with a living tradition and customs that keeps hospitality unchanged up to date.
Beaches in Karpathos
In the following lines you can find the most visited Kalymnos beaches:
In a distance of 14 km north of Pigadia and close to Apella Beach, lies the sandy Kyra (or Kira) Panagia beach visited by almost every visitor of the island. Easily approached by car or motorbike, offers some rooms and taverns to visitors who decide to spend a few days in the area.
Another organized beach with sunbeds and umbrellas, Lefkos, except the turquoise waters, offers a wonderful view to the tiny, uninhabited islet of Sokastro, easily visited by local boats
Agios Nikolaos (Arkasa)
Loved by the surfers due to the often big waves, the organized Agios Nikolaos beach is located on the western side of Karpathos. Next to the beach is the Paleokastro hill known for its archeological findings of the ancient city of Arkesia
In a distance of 21 km from Pigadia, Diakoftis beach is located, worth visiting for the landscape, the golden sand and the emerald waters.
One of the north beaches of the island, Agios Minas beach is preferably accessible by boat or by a 4x4 car as the roads which lead there are rough and poorly maintained. The sea is blue with crystal waters and grey pebbles and in the top of the hill there is the little chapel of Agios Minas
Very close to Arkasa is situated the Finiki beach, easily accessible on foot if you are in the village.
You can rent an apartment with a sea view to the small port, enjoy the clear and calm waters and taste the local taverns with the Greek specialities.
The unorganized beach of Forokli, is mainly accessible by boat from Diafani.
Hotels in Karpathos
There is a great choice of all inclusive hotels, airbnbs and apartments in the island some of them are the following:
- Aegean Village
- Electra Beach Hotel
- Alimounda Mare
- Hotel Albatros
- Hotel Venezia
- Irini Hotel
- Althea Boutique Hotel
- Oceanis Hotel
- Nereides Hotel
- Seven Stars
- Poseidon Blue
- Lux View Villas, Kira Panagia
- Sophid Wellness suites
- Anatoli Villas
- Astron Hotel
- Athina Palace