Greek island of Karpathos - our insider tip

The Greek island of Karpathos is an absolute insider tip and absolutely enchanted us. Karpathos is a dreamlike island in the Mediterranean, which, in contrast to the other better-known islands of Greece, is really very original and authentic. You can expect beautiful beaches with crystal clear water, original taverns and an impressive - albeit barren nature. In our opinion, the island of Karpathos is a real insider tip in Greece.

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Arrival to Karpathos

If you want to travel to the Greek island of Karpathos, you have the option to travel by ferry or by plane. We decided to travel via Rhodes. We flew from Munich to Rhodes and from there took the ferry company Blue Star Ferries [ad] to Karpathos. The journey to Karpathos by ferry was really quite relaxed. There is a large and free car park available at the ferry port on Rhodes.
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Buying tickets and checking-in for the ferry to Karpathos is all online. You can book different cabin types and of course sit inside or outside depending on the weather. We really enjoyed the journey by ferry to Karpathos, as you can admire the island from the water side. The ferry ride took about three and a half hours. The return journey is a little longer because there is a short stop on Kasos. When we arrived at the port of Pigadia in Karpathos, our rental car was waiting for us and we could start right away. If you want, you can of course take your car with you on the ferry. With rental cars it is not always allowed to change islands. It's best to check it out beforehand. Of course, you can not only arrive from Rhodes, but also from Crete, for example. Blue Star Ferries connects a large part of the Greek island world and thus also our Greece insider tip Karpathos. Just take a look at the ferry schedules on the website.
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Karpathos also has a small airport in the very south of the island. When we visited Karpathos, however, there were no direct flights from Germany, which is why we opted for Rhodes as our destination airport. Alternatively fly to any major airport in Greece and connect with Aegean Airlines to Karpathos. If you are from southern Germany or Austria look out for direct flights from Salzburg to Karpathos.

On the road - Greece island insider tip

To move around on Karpathos, our insider tip for Greece, you need a rental car, as there is almost no public transport on the island. So we decided to rent a car from Holidays rent a car [ad]. We collected our rental car directly at the ferry port. The paperwork was done quickly and we could immediately explore Karpathos with our little Fiat Panda. We recommend a good insurance on Karpathos, because the island is very rocky and steep cliffs often rise next to the roads, so that there is a permanent risk of falling rocks. There are also often fallen stones on the streets or a herd of goats blocking the way.
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Pigadia, aka Karpathos city, is the capital of the Greek island of Karpathos. The island is about 50 kilometers long in north-south direction. There is a narrow ring road in the southern part of the island. In the north of the island, the infrastructure is much more basic and the nature is rougher and wilder.
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SIM Card

If you come from an EU member state, you will of course not pay any additional roaming fees. The LTE network is good in the villages, outside or on the beaches the network can be poor or not available due to the steep cliffs.

ATMs, money and tip

In Greece, of course, you pay with the Euro. At the entrance of some supermarkets or mini markets you will always find ATMs. In larger restaurants you can also pay by card. In the small taverns, you tend to pay in cash.

Tips are the same as in Germany. Depending on the amount, 5 to 10% is appropriate.

We always kept the plastic bags, when we went shopping in supermarkets and reused them next time, because reducing plastic is not yet that common in Greek supermarkets.

Culinary

The accommodations on Karpathos - our insider tip island in Greece - tend to be more self-catering. So you have to go grocery-shopping. In Pigadia, the capital of Karpathos, there are one or two supermarkets. But even these are more likely to be smaller shops with a manageable selection. There is no meat or fish counter. You can get meat at the butcher in Pigadia and to get fresh fish, you have to be at the port early in the morning and wait at the small stalls of the fishermen. Alternatively, you can ask for a source of fresh fish and seafood in the tavern of your trust.

In the smaller towns, there are mini markets with a very limited selection. Cold drinks, sweets, some fresh fruit, bath products and so on are found there.
The price level is reasonable, even if a lot of food has to be imported from neighboring islands or the mainland. As you can see, the infrastructure on Karpathos is rather basic compared to the more touristy islands of Greece. But that's exactly what makes the island so charming. Nature and tranquility are the reason, you'll come here.

We therefore recommend you to visit the local taverns, because the Greek cuisine is really incredibly delicious. From summer salads to light dishes with fresh seafood or rather savory traditional stews with meat and lots of vegetables - so delicious. If we had to choose a cuisine, that we would have to eat for the rest of our lives, we would probably choose Greek cuisine and be happy with it.
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

Highlights on the island of Karpathos

In the following we would like to talk about, what makes Karpathos special and why it is an insider tip among the islands of Greece for us. Imagine an island in the crystal clear Mediterranean. One beach is more beautiful than the other. Enjoy the hospitality of the gracious locals. Every evening, you'll eat delicious seafood and drink a chilled glass of white wine. And all of this without the negative influences of package tourism.

The highlights on Karpathos are picturesque bays and villages as well as breathtaking nature.

On Karpathos, you will find sand and pebble beaches, although we liked the pebble beaches much more due to the crystal clear water. Since we traveled in the second half of September and during the Covid-19 pandemic, we had almost all the beaches to ourselves.

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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

Amoopi Beach

Amoopi Beach is located in the south near the main town Pigadia. It is a beach with fine yellow sand that stretches to the left and right of a small cape with a church. Due to the location in a wide bay, the water is really calm, crystal clear and gently sloping, so that Amoopi Beach is also well suited for families with children. There is a large parking lot and you can borrow sunbeds and umbrellas. The restaurants and small kiosks will cater your needs. The beach has a good infrastructure by Karpathian standards and is therefore well frequented in the summer months.

We really enjoyed the Skala bar on Amoopi Beach. A cold beer or a cold glass of white wine with a great view awaits you here.

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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

Damatria Beach

Damatria Beach is really great, too. A mixture of sand and pebbles, crystal clear water and few other swimmers make Damatria Beach in the south of Karpathos really enjoyable. There is no infrastructure except for lounge chairs to rent at the small parking lot. Here, it ist so quiet that you can swim in the sea without any other people around.
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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

Kato Laki Beach

Kato Laki Beach is located near Lux View Villas and can only be reached by foot. Park your car on the side of the road here and descend a rocky path for about 20 minutes to reach this incredible little bay. Sturdy shoes are clearly an advantage here. The water really glows in all shades of blue you can imagine. This secret beach was our Karpathos highlight. The bay is so small that there is only space for a few swimmers. Most of the time, we were the only guests here. This beach is really one of a kind. We would even say that few beaches we've seen so far can compete with Kato Laki Beach - maybe some in Western Australia or the Seychelles.

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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

Paralia Kato Lakkos

Paralia Kato Lakkos is so wonderful and can only be reached by foot. It is about 25 minutes by foot from Lux View Villas. The beach has a bigger and smaller bay with rough pebbles and the clearest and bluest water you can imagine. Sturdy shoes are also required here, because the serpentine path is rocky and sometimes a bit steep. Uphill it is a bit sweaty, but the brilliant view makes up for everything. Definitely one of the best beaches in Karpathos.
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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

Kyra Panagia

Kyra Panagia Beach is also really nice to spend half a day or a full day here. Rough sand and gently sloping water make Kyra Panagia a popular family beach. There is a beach bar, two small taverns and a mini market. You can also rent loungers here. The infrastructure at Kyra Panagia is excellent. The beach is accordingly well visited.

Apella Beach

The same applies of course to famous Apella Beach. The rough sandy beach is very wide and several hundred meters long. There is of course also a lounge chair rental and a tavern as well as a large parking lot. In the main season, the sailboats anchor in the crystal clear water of Apella Beach. This beach, with the large rocks in the water, is very popular with tourists.

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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

The lagoons of Lefkos

As you approach the lagoons of Lefkos, you'll get a glimpse of the beauty of this place from far. The Lefkos has three beaches. Two of them are sheltered in wonderful turquoise blue bays and are great for swimming and families. The third and also the widest and longest beach is oriented directly to the west and is unprotected, which is why large waves land here.

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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

Lefkos is a place on the west coast of the island of Karpathos. There are many accommodations and restaurants as well as small supermarkets. The infrastructure in Lefkos is very good compared to other places, which is why many tourists come here. You can of course rent loungers and umbrellas on all beaches of Lefkos. Overall, we liked the lagoons of Lefkos very much - even if there is more hustle and bustle here than on other beaches.

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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

Olymbos

One of the most beautiful places on our Greek insider tip island of Karpathos is the pilgrimage site of Olymbos or Olympos in the north of Karpathos. Olymbos with its white houses sits idyllically on the cliffs and offers an impressive sea view to the west. It's best to visit the place in the evening and enjoy the sunset from the terrace of one of the many restaurants. Following the recommendation of Tom and Ella , we went to Milos´ Taverna and had fresh Greek salad, delicious tzatziki and the best Makarounes on the island.

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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
The women in Olymbos wear traditional costumes, which they also sell in the souvenir shops. In the high season it should be pretty busy here in the afternoon. We were almost the only visitors to Olymbos in the late afternoon.
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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

Mesochori

Mesochori is a small village on the west coast of Karpathos with a great view of the Mediterranean. Bougainvillea, pomegranates, citrus plants and other wonderfully blooming flowers grow on every corner of the small alleys. The village is very untouristic, there are no souvenir shops or anything else, except for two or three cafés, where you can have a drink. Otherwise there is nothing to do here, except strolling through the alleys and enjoy the beauty.
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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp

Kali Limni

Kali Limni is the highest mountain on Karpathos and the entire Dodecanese region. Park your car near the Kali Limni tavern and follow the signs to Kali Limni and the red markings on the rocks.
We decided to do a sunrise hike and started at 05:40 in the dark. Finding your way in the dark is not that easy. We would definitely recommend hiking boots. We made it to the top with sneakers, but we wouldn't do it again. Roundtrip takes two to two and a half hours to walk. Enjoy the view from the summit all over the entire island - a really magical place and we were alone up there again.

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Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
Griechenland Insel Geheimtipp
There is also a Karpathos Island Guide to download in the Appstore. It also works offline and offers a good overview of the highlights of the insider tip island of Karpathos, Greece.

CLIMATE - GREECE ISLAND INSIDER TIP

The climate on Karpathos is a typical Mediterranean climate. The best time to travel is of course the European summer. But April or especially October, when there are only a few tourists on the island, can be very attractive. The water temperature in the southern Aegean is up to 27 degrees Celsius at the end of summer.

Conclusion

For us the trip to Karpathos was an absolute highlight. We have left part of our hearts on this island of Greece - a real insider tip. Thanks again, Tom and Ella.

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