Dodekanisa guide KARPATHOS

Sightseeing

THE CAPITAL OF KARPATHOS

Pigadia is the current capital of the island. Until 1892 it was called Posi, and it was the seaport and dependency of the residents Aperi (first capital of the island), and due to its many wells it was renamed Pigadia (Wells). Today, it has transformed in a small modern town of 3,000 inhabitants and it is the ideal spot for excursions to the southern tip of the island. Here you will find the ancient citadel of Poseidon and many scattered monuments and Italian buildings.

OLYMBOS

It could be the cultural capital of the Dodecanese, as it is considered a living cultural museum. It is an isolated village with wild scenery, admirable architecture and rich musical tradition which has been handed down from generation to generation for centuries. The slopes are adorned with dozens of windmills (some work until today) and churches, while in the streets you will find dozens of stone ovens, where women with Doric beauty and traditional costumes make delicious pastries for their household almost every week.

  • Men organize feasts at the traditional coffee shops, where they sing serenades inspired from every day life or an anniversary.
  • At the major festivals of the village the young women wear traditional costumes, the “kavai” or “sakofoustano” (the youngest) along with their “kolaina” (golden coins embroidered on cloth) which are inherited to the eldest daughters from their mothers.
  • The most important festivals of the region is the festival of the patron Virgin of Olymbos (15/8 ) and St. John in Vroukounta (29/8).

Olymbos was built at this inaccessible location during the 7th-9th century by the inhabitants of Vroukounta and Saria. Its ideal location allows the residents to monitor the arrival of the pirates from the west side of the village and protect them in their castle, remnants of which remain today, as well as the names of the districts “Mesa Kastro" and "Oxo Kamara". With their tenacity and hard work, the villagers overcame the difficulties of the inaccessible countryside and managed to become independent, taking advantage of both the land and the sea, and their patent.

  • In addition to their hard work, the residents of Olymbos are distinguished for their musical abilities, as the best musicians of the islands originate from this remote place.
  • Do not forget to visit the folklore museum of Vasilis Chatzivasilis.

APERI

It was the capital of Karpathos until 1892 and the seat of the bishop of Karpathos-Kasos. Aperi has the highest immigration rate, which makes it the richest village of the island.

ARKASA

In the southwestern part of Karpathos, opposite of Kasos, lies the beautiful Arkasa, just 16 kilometres from the island's capital. A small town with many natural beauties and rapid development in every field, especially in rural tourism. The ancient Arkessia is located just south of Arkassa, and was one of the four ancient cities of Karpathos: Arkessia, Vrykous (Olympos), Possi (Pigadia), Nissyros (Saria)).

DIAFANI

A picturesque seaside village on the northern tip of the island. It is an ideal point for excursions to Olymbos Saria, Tristomo, Avlona and Vroukounta and the right choice for a quiet holiday in a welcoming environment with fresh local fish. It is connected to the capital with daily ferries.

MENETES

The villagers of Menetes were the pioneers in the liberation of the island by the Italians, in October 1944. The church of Panagia Meneton, which hosts the miraculous image of the Virgin and Child, stands out as it is built on the edge of the cliff. The Folklore Museum of Menetes is worth a visit  (information: 22450 81190).

MESOCHORI

This is one of the most beautiful villages in Karpathos and it is famous for the more jolly and hospitable inhabitants. It was built during the Byzantine times by the inhabitants of Lefkos and it hosts one of the most famous churches of the island, the church of Panagia Vrissiani, which is renowned for its beautiful ponds and crystal clear waters. Do not forget to visit Skopi, one of the largest and most beautiful squares in the Dodecanese.

OTHOS

It is often lost in the clouds, as it is the highest village in Karpathos at an altitude of 510 metres. You should also visit the wood carving workshop of the lyra player Giorgos Kostetsos and the folklore museum of the village (Inquiries: +30 22450 31460).

SPOA

Located on the north side of the island, close to Olymbos it is one of the most authentic villages in Karpathos. At the foot of the village there is an enchanting and picturesque bay with pristine and crystal clear beaches, including the famous Agios Nikolaos beach.

PHINIKI

It took its name from the Phoenicians, who used it in the 11th century BC as a natural harbour of ancient Arkesia. Today, Phoiniki is famous for its fish taverns which have a daily supply of fresh fish, but also for its beautiful beach.

VROUKOUNTA

Whether you reach it by sea or by land it is difficult not to feel the strong energy that springs from this ancient landscape. The ancient Vrykous with Potidaio (Posi), Arkessia and Nissyros (Saria) were the Karpathian Tetrapolis since 1500 BC. Although archaeological findings indicate the existence of settlements from the Minoan-Mycenaean era, ancient Vrykous flourished mainly in the 4th-3rd BC century. Ruins of temples indicate intense religious activity during the early Christian period while the construction of the port of this ancient settlement is a mystery until today. However, the most impressive attraction is without doubt the tombs that create an eerie landscape.

  • Today the sacred Vroukounta is known for the "secret" church of St. John which is located in an underground cave in the cliff. It is evident that it was an ancient Greek temple (probably of Aphrodite or Artemis), used by Christians in the next historical period.

PALAIOKASTRO OF ARKASA

Ancient Arkessia was one of the four ancient cities constituting the Tetrapolis. The archaeological site of Arkasa is 10-15 minutes away from Agia Sophia and it consists of the Citadel of Palaiokastro with visible remains of fortifications and medieval buildings and churches. North-northeast of Palaiokastro lies the plain of Arkasa with two ancient ports which are used until today.

  • On the eastern side yoy will discover two middle Byzantine churches, Panagia Marmarini and Saint George.
  • Ιn the Exiles, between Arkasa and Meneton, you will find the church of Saint Mamas with its peculiar conical dome and frescoes from 1300.

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