Travel tips and facts
Inhabitants:|| ca. 5,400|
|Country code:|| 00 30 (if you are calling Greece).|
|Language:||Greek, but many speak excellent English|
Karpathos is a Greek island between Crete and Rhodes. Covering 330 km2 it is the second largest island in the Dodecanese (the largest is Rhodes). Most of the inhabitants live in the main city of Pigadia and in the villages on the island's southern part.
The island's northern part is mountainous and difficult to access, and this is where you find the best-known town, Olympos. People settled in this remote and inaccessible place many years ago to escape pirates. The community was isolated for centuries, but now it is a favoured tourist attraction.
Tourism is an important source of income, but compared to some other Greek islands the number of tourists is still fairly low. Most visitors are from Germany and Scandinavia. There aren't many traditional sights, and life seems pretty relaxed. There are beautiful beaches with crystal clear water, and the brisk wind makes the island a paradise for windsurfers. The wind also helps to keep mosquitoes away and cools pleasantly when the sun is high.
Karpathos' airport is on the island's southern tip about 17 km from the main city, Pigadia. It is rather small, but what did you expect?
There are buses and taxis on Karpathos. Roads are fine on the southern part of the island, but if you want to go north a four wheel drive is recommended!
If you want to get around and see the island the best way is to rent a car. You can take buses from Pigadia to some villages. However the buses leave in the morning and return in the afternoon, so you must be prepared to spend most of the day on the trip. You can take a taxi from Pigadia to some of the villages, but that will cost you 16 - 36 € (in 2007) depending on the distance.
Karpathos is serviced by ferries, but not every day. Visiting Olympos is a tough ride if you go by road, and a tour boat from Pigadia to Diafani is easier and more comfortable. From Diafani it is 20 minutes by bus (included in the ticket). The cheapest is if you buy tickets at the harbour (9 € in 2007).
Where to Stay?
Where to stay depends on what you want to do. The main city, Pigadia, has an excellent beach and is a peaceful place in every sense. But if you want even more peace and quiet you could stay in one of the villages like Lefkos or Finiki on the west coast - or why not Diafani in the north? Lefkos is known for its beautiful beach and Finiki for its seafood restaurants.
There are several good hotels, but you can also rent rooms or apartments, which could be convenient if you are an island hopper.
And don't forget that air condition can be a blessing on hot summer days!
Restaurants and Taverns
There are many restaurants (taverns) in Pigadia. I have reviewed the ones we visited in my travelogue from Karpathos. Most serve traditional Greek food, but you can find Chinese or pizza. There are a few seafood restaurants in Pigadia, but I wasn't impressed by the fish on display. If we had red mullets (or the like: scrawny and full of bones) in Denmark I suspect they would be used for pet food or mink fodder. The fishing village of Finiki on the west coast is said to have some good seafood restaurants, but beware: you pay per kilo, and some have had an unpleasant surprise when the bill arrived, because they had just pointed.
It is cheap to eat out: a dinner for two with the house wine will typically cost you 20 - 30 €.
Tipping is normal and expected by waiters and people who service you. 10 - 15 %.
We visited the island in September and the tap water had a salty taste. Water is scarce, so be conscious about your habits if you want to be a sustainable tourist. I recommend bottled water for drinking.
There aren't many traditional sights on Karpathos, but you can enjoy the beautiful nature. The village Olympos is a sight worth seeing with its many windmills and picturesque houses climbing the mountain.
Banks & Money
There are banks with ATMs in Pigadia. The usual plastic cards are accepted here.
My travelogue from Karpathos 2007.
Have a nice trip!
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Updated 22. October 2007