Karpathos: hidden paradise

  Although Karpathos is the second largest island of the Dodecanese, it is still not very well known. This little paradise, located between Rhodes and Crete, has the most beautiful beaches you can imagine. Hidden everywhere, even in high season there will be private beach where you will feel like nobody ever has been there before.

 Apella is probably the most famous beach of Karpathos. It won a price in 2003 as the most beautiful beach in Europe! Hidden between high green mountains, this beach with small, white pebbles and crystal clear water will give you the feeling you are on a tropical island. But that’s not all: The east coast has several beaches similar to Apella.

 Achata, Kyra Panagia and Amopi are probably the most famous ones. All these beaches are easy to reach. Off the road you can find plenty more but to get to them you need a four wheel drive or a long walk. 

  When you cross the island and take a drive through the mountains to get to the west coast, you will notice the difference in landscape and temperature as well!! This side of the island has a more rough nature and beaches with high waves, Lefkos being the most popular one. This little village with the two big bays is a perfect holiday destination if you really look for something quiet.

 But karpathos has a lot more to offer than just beaches. When you drive around, don’t just drive by the villages. Park your car or scooter and walk into through them. Narrow streets will always leed to a cozy taverna where you still can have a great meal for little money. 

  The main attraction of Karpathos is Olympos, one of the oldest villages in Greece. This village , built in 1420, still has its own traditions. Visit it to travel back in time. It has been hidden between the mountains for a very long time, but now it’s open for tourism. You will notice that a lot of houses in Karpathos are different than on other islands or the mainland. A lot of Karpathians left the island back in the 60’s to migrate to the US, Canada or Australia. They came back and started building houses. That’s why you see many American influnces . That’s also the reason why most Karpathians speak English fluently.

  Although not a party island, Karpathos has a lot to offer especially to the more active ones. Thanks to the strong winds, Karpathos is an ideal place for windsurfing. The windsurfing area, close to the airport, has a bay for staters ("chicken bay") as well as a bay for professionals ("Devil bay"). Schools and instructors are available here for people who like to learn windsurfing. Karpathos is also the best snorkeling destination in the Mediterranean. The pebbly west coast attracts a lot of fish and the underwater nature is amazing. If you like to dive or learn to dive, there is a diving school in Karpathos. Hiking or mountain biking are some great choices too! Many tourists get "addicted" to Karpathos. The so called "repeaters" are coming back year after year, or even twice a year, because of the whole relaxed atmosphere of the island. 

  A unique place to have a drink at is Skala bar in Amopi. Located on the top floor, it sports a 360 degrees balcony with an amazing view over the beaches of Amopi. Not only in the daytime for a coffee or a little snack, but also at night for a cocktail or a beer it is the best place for relax.

Text by: Tom van Lingen and Skala bar

More photos here: http://pinterest.com/visitgreecegr/karpathos/