Dancers in traditional costume on the island of Karpathos. Photo by George Economides
KARPATHOS – The island of Karpathos, one of the gems in the Dodecanese, is featured in a new video promoting tourism to the island. Andreas Tsagkaris, Tourism Consultant at the Municipality of Karpathos, spoke with The National Herald about the video and about the best time to visit Karpathos.
He told TNH: “First of all, I would like to inform you that we are a safe destination with a newly built General Hospital and professional staff. Also, 70% of the population of Karpathos is already fully vaccinated and by the end of this month we expect to be all fully vaccinated. We want incoming visitors to know that they can enjoy the beauty of the Karpathian culture in a safe setting during these unprecedented times.”
When asked how the video about Karpathos came about, Tsagkaris said that “the video that you saw is our Official Touristic Promo of Karpathos, which we made to promote the island in Greece and abroad. The idea came from director Nikolaos Panou, who wanted to present Karpathos as a place where you can feel Greek hospitality and discover the beauties of the island through the eyes of locals.”
He continued, “Karpathos is unique in its nature, as it still holds close to its heart its tradition and folklore over many generations. He [Panou] and his video crew stayed here in Karpathos for three weeks, where they explored the island and shot all the videos (we have also six thematic videos about culture, sports, gastronomy, archaeology, etc.). The cinematography that you see is raw footage of what anybody who visits Karpathos will be able to see. It is our goal for those that see this footage to feel the natural beauty of this hidden gem in the South Aegean of the Dodecanese Islands.”
When asked when about the best time to visit, Tsagkaris told TNH: “In my opinion, the best time to visit Karpathos is during the summer season from late May through early October. July and August are generally considered the high season where the island is most busy.”
The caterpillar-shaped island runs north and south, topped by the little island of Saria, which split from the rest by an ancient earthquake. The province of Karpathos (combining the main island with Saria and Kasos, a populated island three miles southwest) sits neatly between Crete and Rhodes. This curved string of islands defines the outer edge of Greece and delineates the Aegean from the greater Mediterranean Sea. The year-round population is about 7000, with the majority of people living in the capital city of Pigadia on the southeastern coast.
The land is mountainous and rocky, but the popular eastern beach coves are well-protected from the prevailing winds. The scenery resembles an abstract color block painting, with translucent blues out to sea, and shades of amber across pocked rocks and steep cliffs. Karpathos’ weather is chiefly sunny and warm with average summer high temperatures of 29 C (85 F). The water is crystal clear.
The whole island is only about 300 square kilometers (125 square miles), or roughly 48 km long (30 miles) and 6 km (3.7 miles) wide. Locals measure distances in walking time.
Historically– and still today– the villages identify with either their northern or southern locale. The North with the municipality of Olympos maintains a distinct culture of dress and dialect, and older women still wear the colorful traditional dress on a daily basis. The northwest area features wildlife preserves and is known for great birding based on migratory patterns. The South, where the mountains ease down into the populated coastal villages, is where the airport is located and where the port city of Pigadia is found.
Karpathos has more than 100 beaches. Set your alarm clock early to beat the crowds to the famous Apella Beach, on the east coast, with white sand, emerald waters and pine trees and beach umbrellas for shade. If you do get there late and it’s already crowded, head a short distance south to Mikri Apella, where bathing suits are optional. Further south are the beaches of Kyra Panaghia and Achata, both with sun loungers and places to eat. At the southern part of the island, a dirt road takes you to Diakoftis, an exotic beach with turquoise waters and sun loungers surrounded by stretches of brushwood and cedars. For those who love snorkeling, Kipos Michaliou features spectacular underwater rock formations. Around the beach there are also caves, whose walls are covered in seashells. On the west coast, the quiet pebbled beach of Araki is perfect for reading your book in the shade of the cliffs. Aghios Nikolaos Beach in Arkasa has shallow waters, sun loungers and offers a great sunset view of Kasos. For greater seclusion, the pebbled beaches of Forokli and Aghios Minas are good choices – the latter is served by a 24-hour café-bar.
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