Villages of Karpathos
Karpathos comprises 12 villages. Pigadia (official name Karpathos), the capital and main port of the island, is located in the southeast of the island. The capital is surrounded by the villages of Menetes, Arkasa, Foiniki, Aperi, Volada, Othos, and Pyles. In the north Mesochori, Spoa, Diafani and Olympos. There are two ports, in Karpathos and in Diafani.
The island Saria was once united with Karpathos, but an earthquake divided them. Saria preserves many important antiquities.
Pigadia (Karpathos Town) , the capital and the main port of the island are identified with the ancient harbor Potidea or Posidiou. The city got its name from the many wells that were in the area. At the entrance of the harbor there is the rock with the remains of the ancient acropolis Potidaion. Perched on the mountain, the villages of Menetes, Othos, Bolada are visible. Nowadays the town of Pigadia offers all the comforts of a capital to the inhabitants, but also to its guests. It is the most well-organized area of the island. Your evening walk along the coastal street and the city's pedestrian street will be memorable. Every morning, from the port of Pigadia, small boats leave to go to unique beaches.
Menetes, the most important village of Karpathos in its modern history. In the dark centuries of the raids, the Menetian resistance was a symbol against every conqueror, and their inhabitants were always pioneers in the liberation wars and symbolized patriotism and freedom. The village is built amphitheatrically on the northern slopes of Prophitis Ilias mt., few kilometers west of Pigadia, consists of 450 houses built one next to each other, most of them in island style. Characteristic of the village is the large church of Holy Mary built on the impressive Holy Rock and the Folklore Museum of Menetes.
At the ages of pirate raids the people left from the coast and went to the mountains. When they reached the Menetes location some decided to rebuilt their society there, at the secret rock of Holy Mary. Although the location was perfect to recover and rebuilt their society some decided not to stay and continue . For days they were discussing and arguing . Those who wanted to stay behind were saying 'menete' to the others, which means 'stay' and those who wanted to continue where saying 'othoume' which means 'we are moving forward'. Village Othos took its name from the ones who moved forward and Menetes from the ones who stayed.
Aperi is located a few kilometres north from pigadia and it lies on the hills of the surrounding mountains, at an altitude of 350 meters. It was built in the middle ages, when the inhabitants were looking for a safer place , away from the coast and the pirate attacks. Aperi played a major role through the ages and was the capital of Karpathos until 1892. The island's first high school was founded in Aperi in 1939. There are rebuilt houses and colorfoul buildings- renewed by the Greek immigrants who came back to their birthplace. Today , Aperi , is the seat of the Archbishop of Karpathos and Kasos.
Olympos is the most characteristic and famous settlement , a purely traditional village, where all traditions arose and spread to the rest villages. Its inhabitants have a different dialect than the rest Karpathians, while women continue to wear traditional colorful costumes. In the 7th century because of the raids, especially of the Saracens pirates, the inhabitants of the ancient cities abandoned their original homes and sought shelter in mountainous and most inaccessible parts of the island, resulting in the establishment of the present settlement.
The settlement was built following the architecture of the medieval island settlements and this image remains almost unchanged to this day. The name Olympos owes it to the oldest name of the mountain at the foot of which it was built, and today it is called Prophet Elias.
Olympos remained, until recently, cut off from the rest of Greece, even from the rest of Karpathos, resulting in the development of a completely separate and peculiar cultural tradition, many of which are still alive. The most characteristic is the traditional costume of the area that is still worn by the women of Olympos.
Arkasa is one of the most populated villages in the island of Karpathos. Together with the seaside settlement of Foiniki, it is the local community of Arkasa. In the summer the village is filled with second and third generation immigrants who each summer return to their village for holidays. Along with Pigadia is one of the most well-organized villages of the island which has a view of the neighboring island of Kasos.
The remains of the ancient city of Arkesia located there at the area of Palaiokastro. It is a seaside village characterized by its important historical monuments and the intense marine landscape that surrounds it. The beach of Agios Nicolaos with its great waves offer you a unique experience as long as the Archeological museum of Arkasa.
Volada is a mountain village, 500 meters above sea level, with a stunning view. The characteristic of this village is the traditional homes, which are well preserved white houses on steep, green slopes of the mountain. The narrow streets and old houses give Volada a typical Greek atmosphere. Everywhere you see flowerpots bursting with color. In the village are kafeneions and a taverna.Near the village, on the mountain Lastos, are ruins of three castles built in different periods. The oldest castle was built in the Bronze Age, the youngest in the time of the Turkish occupation. Higher up, behind the village, is the top of the mountain with remarkable, white rock formations. From Volada are mountain trails that can take you to Kali Limni (Good Lake) the highest point of Karpathos (1,210 meters/4,000 ft). Though the name implies a lake will be seen, the former lake no longer exists.
Volada is the birthplace of the war hero Christoforos Litos (1909-1945) who fought brave for independence all over Dodecanese islands.
Othos. Τhis village is higher than any other village on the island. It is famous for its sweet, strong wine, for its country houses with their gardens just outside the village, the excellence of the magnificent view as well as the wood carving workshop where the Karpathian musical instrument lyra is made. Othos is lost over the clouds and in the winter the snowflakes make their appearance, something rare for the island. Residents of Othos share the same story of origin with Menetian people.
Pyles is the smallest, inhabited village, built on the west side of the island and has a panoramic view of the neighboring island of Kasos and the mountains of Sitia in Crete. It is located 15 km from Pigadia and is literally drowned in the green of many of its perches, while every evening, one can enjoy a wonderful sunset!
The most important church of the village is the church of the Assumption of the Virgin, which is celebrated on 15 August. A unique agricultural museum that exists not only elsewhere in Karpathos, but also in most Greek islands, is located in Pyles. Visitors can experience the natural and environmentally friendly way of life in the Karpathos countryside.
Mesochori is one of the most picturesque villages in Karpathos. It is located 31 km northwest of the capital and is built on a hill. To reach there, the visitor follows one of the most beautiful paths through a dense pine forest. In Messohori there is a large church, Panagia Vrysiani, built over natural water springs. It has stunning views, while the whole village is a lively sight. With its unspoilt traditional beauty and authentic island identity, it impresses every visitor. Walk through the streets of the settlement and admire the excellent architecture of the houses and public buildings. The narrow alleyways end up on stone wide steps leading to the old neighborhoods of the village.
The coast of the area is the small seaside village of Lefkos. It is the main holiday village of Messochori. Thanks to its beautiful beach, it attracts thousands of visitors each summer
Right across the street you will see the island of Skokastro, where there are important antiquities but no excavations have yet been made.
During your stay in the Messohori area you will swim at the beach of Lefkos, Limanaki, Potali, Perdika, Potamos and Fragolimniona.
Spoa. Driving from the capital of the island to the north of the eastern side, you will find yourself on a magical journey that combines lacy beaches, mountain and green. Arriving around the center of the island you will meet the mountainous village of Spoa having a view of the open sea.
Some houses on the slope, which, as they are in the narrowest part of the island, observe two seas. Or better, Spoa, see the two best hours of the Karpathian Sea: the sunrise and the sunset.
A village with a lively tradition of customs , a village that revives from its roots and keeps intact the hospitality and friendship. Signs and titles that distinguish the village of Spoa until today.
This rural village is one of the most authentic of Karpathos. The Karpathian lyra is heard in the alleys, and the wood-burners of the houses smoke to bake bread.
The precious treasure of this village is at the coast and is the enchanting and picturesque bay with crystal clear and transparent beaches. Saint Nicholas of Spoa.
Diafani is a small picturesque fishing village with a small harbor, which is the port of the traditional and historic village of Olympos.
It has small accommodation possibilities but it is a great place for a quiet holiday in a wonderful setting. It also offers homemade cuisine and fresh fish in the seaside taverns.
You will enjoy your swim in crystal clear waters in the beaches of Diafani and the neighboring beach of Vannada.
Access is easy from the capital by boat, or by road .
From here you can visit the island of Saria, located to the north of Karpathos, where you can enjoy your swim in distant but crystal blue beaches. In Saria, the ruins of an Arab settlement are preserved. The Saria Island along with the northern part of Karpathos is a protected area of the European program NATURA.
From Diafani, you can reach the little harbor in the picturesque settlement of Tristomo. Small island houses and fishing boats are waiting for you. (source: altheakarpathos.gr)
Finiki, famous for its fish taverns, and its history throughout the period of the Second World War, is located on the southeastern coast of the island 1 kilometer north of Arkasa and 17 km southwest of Pigadia. Ii is a picturesque and beautiful seaside village, fishing village, with small harbor where small fishing boats and fishing boats are safely bound.
Inside the settlement, along with beautiful wooden boats waiting for you a small sandy beach and shallow water.
The must, however, are the fresh fish and meze you will enjoy at the beautiful taverns of the settlement.