Karpathos - A backpackers guide

We Last Visited Karpathos in 1996

Map of Karpathos Karpathos can be regarded as 2 islands. The road between the North & South is very poor so it is much easier & considerably cheaper to get a ferry from Pigadhia (Karpathos) in the south to Diafani in the north. Most of the life is in the south as is the airport which hosts the Olympic flights. Pigadhia has a long expanse of sandy beach to the north of the town and since it doesn`t get that busy even during high summer it shouldn`t be very difficult to stake a claim without nearby neighbours. Pigadhia certainly isn`t the prettiest town in Greece but is pleasant enough and has all the requisite facilities. We arrived at 05:00 so not surprisingly no-one met the ferry, which incidentally calls at both Pigadhia & Diafani. They arrive at a civilised hour if you are heading east but not so convenient going west. Especially when greek time keeping is added.


As is often the case, our room owner found us and offered a room at 4500drs (08/96) in one of the streets a block or so from the harbour front. A big bear of a woman who frightened us to death with a her gruff nature but her rooms were clean & tidy. The bus service in the south is not bad with services running fairly frequently to the west coast for Arkassa & Finiki. Arkassa is pretty modern with not a lot to recommend it and the beach, with views to Kassos, is average. Finiki is a little fishing harbour a couple of Km to the north with practically no beach at all but has a handful of tavernas and is not a bad place to while away a few hours. You can also get a boat to Kassos from here.

Boat trips - PIGADIA - Karpathos

Some of the best beaches on Karpathos are available via boats out of Pigadhia travelling up the east coast. We went to the pebble beach of Akhata which has shade & a taverna. The captain also called at some caves on the way back, skillfully guiding the boat into the darkness with his feet while operating the throttle via a piece of string with his hand. If Pigadia & the south is too quiet then Northern Karpathos is not for you. There are no asphalt roads at all in Diafani, only dirt tracks. In fact the only tarmac up here connects Diafani & Olimbos. It is blissfully quiet with nothing to do but enjoy a meal at one of a handful of tavernas along the beach, sunbathe on the town pebbles or explore the wooded interior.

DIAFANI - Karpathos There are however a surprising number of rooms to rent as you will soon discover on arrival. Hordes of Greek ladies, some still dress in traditional greek costume, jostle for your business on the quay which can be a little un-nerving as it is totally unexpected. Kaliopi (Delfini rooms) muscled her way through to offer a double room we eventually obtained for 4000drs (08/96) pleasantly situated on the hill to the left of town. Be warned, she drives a hard bargain ! There are loads of small coves and beaches to the south of town, easily walked to in 1-1.5 hours for almost guaranteed seclusion & a couple to the north. Although you won`t be on your own here. Eight Kilometers away precariously placed on the ridge of the mountains you`ll find Olimbos.

OLYMBOS - Karpathos

Although the sails have now gone from most of the windmills, this is still picture postcard stuff. The usual maze of winding streets as well as some beautiful churches combine with the incredible drop to the sea. You can have the place to yourself if you get the early bus from Diafani before the excursion boats arrive from Pigadhia.


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Olymbos Northern Karpathos Karpathos Beach - Apella Pigadhia Southern Karpathos Diafani Northern Karpathos Apella Beach on Karpathos