Karpathos is the second largest island in the Greek Dodecanese archipelago (after Rhodes). It covers an area of 302.152 square kilometers, has a coastline length of 160 kilometers, and a total population of 6,416 inhabitants (as of the 2022 census). The island boasts a rich ecosystem and, for this reason, it has protected areas where populations of various wildlife species threatened with extinction survive.
It is located in the middle of the Karpathian Sea, between the island of Rhodes to the east and the island of Crete to the west, with its capital in Pigadia (or Karpathos).
The rocky, yet previously green island is characterized by its high mountain peaks, which reach up to 1,215 meters. The southernmost point of the island is Cape Kastellos. It still maintains moderately sized pine forests in the north and southwest of the island.
Όρος Λάστος στην Κεντρική Κάρπαθο
The dramatic landscape provides visitors with unique natural beauty, combining the charm of the mountains and the sea. High mountains on one side and steep gorges on the other. On the cliffs and rocky shores, you can find the Mavropetritis and the Aegean seagull, two bird species on the brink of extinction. Karpathos is generally a passage for migratory birds.
Small coves and beaches with crystal-clear waters are formed along the entire eastern side of the island and are easily accessible, either through the paved road network or by excursion boats from the town of Karpathos. Some of these have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag for their safety, organization, and cleanliness. There are also unknown and rugged shores, accessible via paths that pass through pine forests and springs. Furthermore, there are caves with stalactites and stalagmites, primarily in the central part of the island.
Despite being a small island, Karpathos has a rich and extensive folk culture, and it diligently maintains its traditions, customs, and values. This dedication can be attributed to its geographical isolation (far from mainland Greece) and the genuine and pure Greek spirit of the Karpathian people.
Many Greeks and foreigners have been captivated by Karpathos, and a wealth of ethnographic material has been published in books, magazines, and newspapers, with much remaining unpublished in the hands of researchers.Due to its rich ethnographic heritage, Karpathos is considered one of the most important contributors to Greek folklore.
Invaluable treasures for Karpathos are the ethnographic works of Manolakakis, Michailidis Nouaros, Georgios, and Alexiadis. Most of their ethnographic material is still preserved by the Karpathian people themselves.
It is noteworthy how not only the permanent residents but also the Karpathians in the diaspora maintain the linguistic and folkloric traditions of Karpathos.
Folk songs and improvised momentary couplets, proverbs, riddles, fairy tales, myths, traditions, wishes, curses, and oaths are on the lips and in the daily conversations of young and old, men and women of Karpathos.
A special place is reserved for the traditional Karpathian celebration, which provides an opportunity to bring the folk songs of Karpathos to life. Additionally, the poetic talent of the Karpathian people is displayed through impromptu couplets that express their pain and joy depending on the occasion.
Such celebrations, where local musical instruments (such as the tsambouna, lyre, lute, violin) always participate, can be observed at festivals and social events (baptisms, weddings, name days) following sumptuous tables (tavla) laden with traditional foods served to all the guests.
Karpathos offers beaches for every taste. Most of the shores on the eastern side have pebbles, while on the western side, they are mostly sandy. The island features both organized and more secluded beaches, all with the common characteristic of crystal-clear azure waters. Here's a list of some of the best beaches in Karpathos:
Achata: This beach has a mix of sand and fine pebbles, surrounded by imposing rocks. It is organized and features a taverna.
Agios Nikolaos (Arkasa): Known as the "Hawaii" of Karpathos, it boasts golden sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and is ideal for bodysurfing. It also offers a stunning view of the neighboring island of Kasos. It is well-organized with umbrellas, showers, and restaurants.Agios Nikolaos (Arkasa): Known as the "Hawaii" of Karpathos, it boasts golden sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and is ideal for bodysurfing. It also offers a stunning view of the neighboring island of Kasos. It is well-organized with umbrellas, showers, and restaurants.
Apella: One of the most beautiful beaches on the island, Apella boasts deep turquoise waters, golden sand, and lush vegetation, creating an exotic scenery. It has umbrellas and a taverna.
Kyra Panagia: Perhaps the most photographed beach on the island, Kyra Panagia features golden sand, transparent turquoise waters, and is surrounded by pine trees. It is equipped with umbrellas and restaurants.
Lefkos: This beach consists of successive sandy shores with mesmerizing azure waters. It is organized with umbrellas and tavernas, offering a fantastic view of the nearby island of Kasos.
Sokastro: You'll feel like you're in the Caribbean when you visit this beach. It boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters, golden sandy shores, and a dreamy setting.
Forokli: A secluded beach with deep blue waters, surrounded by tall cliffs. Accessible by hiking or by sea.
Palatia Sarika: A beautiful, unspoiled beach with crystal-clear blue-green waters. You can reach it by local boat or your own vessel.
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