While most people head to Rhodes or Kos in the Dodecanese island chain, there is one special place you might not have heard about. Karpathos Greece is a unique island filled with epic mountains, beautiful beaches, and traditional villages. This one week itinerary will take you to the best places on the island and set you up for the perfect vacation on Karpathos!
Planning a Trip to Karpathos Greece
Flights: We recommend booking a flight to Athens then jumping on a connecting flight to Karpathos Greece. If you are based in Europe, there are airlines that fly direct from cities such as Munich and Prague in the summer months. Compare airlines to get the best travel deals at Kayak and Skyscanner!
Rental Car: Karpathos is one of those islands you will need a car to fully explore. It’s always a great move to sift through different companies and reviews. When booking rentals abroad we always check with Discover Cars to compare the best deals!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without insurance. There is a range of companies that offer different coverage so double-check what’s covered based on your trip’s needs. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last two years and it has been awesome.
Hotels: Karpathos Greece is a very seasonal island with many hotels shutting down completely in the winter months. We recommended several places to stay in this article and you can find more options on Booking.com or Agoda.com.
Karpathos Greece Route
What kind of adventure are you looking for on your Karpathos itinerary? Our route will literally take you on a circle around the island as you explore this Greek paradise. As we mentioned, it’s so important to have a rental car if you truly want to experience the island to the fullest.
On the nearby islands of Halki and Symi we got around everywhere by walking, water taxi, or even one day scooter rentals. However, that’s not the case on Karpathos! You’ll be driving up, down, and around this mountainous island.
Download an offline app on your phone like maps.me as you won’t have service on many parts of your one week Karpathos journey. When driving from Olympos to Kyra Panagia stop at Apella beach.
Below are the driving estimated times according to google maps. However, be warned that it typically took us longer with stops and going slow on the mountain roads.
- Airport – Pigadia: 20 Minutes
- Pigadia – Lefkos: 50 Minutes
- Lefkos – Olympos: 45 Minutes
- Olympos – Diafani: 15 Minutes (Each Way)
- Olympos – Kyra Panagia: 60 Minutes
- Kyra Panagia – Airport: 40 Minutes
Driving in Karpathos Greece
Before we get into this one week Karpathos itinerary there are a few important things you need to know about driving here. The roads on Karpathos near Pigadia and the airport are nicely paved with plenty of room too spare. Yet, once you get into the mountains and more secluded parts of Karpathos Greece it is a different story!
The roads in Karpathos are full twists and hairpin turns high above the sea. More often than not, you will be on the edge of a cliff with no guardrails or have giant boulders towering over you with no netting to stop falling rocks.
Also, some of the roads down to some of the most desirable beaches are unpaved and steep. The hairiest area we drove in was definitely the route from Pigadia to Olympos. Basically what we are saying is to be confident in your driving skills and get prepared for an adventure!
Tips for Driving in Karpathos Greece
Now this isn’t meant to deter you from driving on your one week Karpathos itinerary… You’ll need to if you’re trying to get to all the most beautiful places!
And trust us when we say it’s well worth it to rent a car on Karpathos. Below are some of our best tips after spending a week driving around Karpathos Greece.
- Go with a reputable rental car company and make sure to have their contact number and spare tire in the car.
- Yield to oncoming traffic especially on the tight roads that will feel like they should be one way.
- Drive slow and let others pass if they are in a rush behind you.
- Only stop at actual pull-offs and never block the road from traffic.
- Watch for falling rocks! Especially on the stretch of the road starting at Kira Panagia until you’re just past Apella.
One Week Karpathos Itinerary
Day 1: Pigadia
Day One Karpathos Greece
No matter if you arrive by plane or ferry, you’ll almost surely be starting your one week Karpathos itinerary from Pigadia. The small island city is the most populated part of Karpathos Greece and definitely worth taking a day or two to explore. We loved hitting the local bakeries early in the morning and perusing the bars and restaurants at night.
Most hotels and apartments will have beautiful views of the port, and there are some awesome boat tours that leave from the same area. Although Pigadia is a cool place to stay, the real treasures are found once you leave the main city!
If you’re looking to skip the larger town on your first night you can stay just down the road in Lakki. With dozens of hotels and several restaurants, this area is more relaxing and set on a stretch of several beautiful beaches.
Where to Stay in Pigadia
Porfyris Studios and Apartments – Pigadia – Located in the center of all the action, this hotel is within walking distance of everything you need in town. Ocean view balconies, a small living room, and compact kitchens.
Day 2 & 3: Beach Days in Lefkos
Day Two Karpathos Greece
One of the main draws to Karpathos Greece is its stunning beaches, and some of the best can be found in Lefkos! On the start of your 2nd day in Karpathos check out of your hotel and drive to the mountain village of Menetes. Plan to grab a local lunch at Taverna Perdika or at least a bakery treat at Koula’s Bakery!
Continue on the beautiful drive as you cruise along the coast on your way to Lefkos. When we first arrived we drove straight down to the water and couldn’t believe our eyes. Beach after beach of crystal clear water and soft white sand… We were in heaven!
There aren’t a ton of hotel options in Lefkos, and most accommodations are set back from the beach. Yet, they won’t be more than a few minute drive away.
Where to Stay in Lefkos
Zorbas Studios – Basic studios with beautiful ocean views! Just steps from the sand and close to all the shops and restaurants.
Day Three Karpathos Greece
Spend an enjoyable and relaxing day on the beaches of Lefkos. You can rent a beach umbrella for a few Euros or walk along the several different beaches in the area. For breakfast, we loved Filsvos which served up delicious coffee and Greek omelets.
There are also some wonderful seafood restaurants on the ocean such as Meltemi. These local spots are a must when you’re ready for a long Greek lunch or hearty dinner.
This beach town is a great place to relax and do some swimming before the more adventurous part of your one week Karpathos itinerary.
Day 4 & 5: Ancient Village of Olympos
Day Four Karpathos Greece
Olympos was our favorite place in Karpathos Greece and is a MUST-VISIT on the island. Honestly, it’s one of the most beautiful and unique villages we’ve experienced anywhere in the world. The drive should take around an hour which will feature more epic views of the coastline.
This traditional Doric town sits high in the mountains and went highly undisturbed from the rest of the world until recent years. In fact, the road from Pigadia to Olympos was only recently built. Before that, you could only get here by boat!
You can spend hours just strolling the colorful streets of this magical village. Take in the local life, customs, and especially the traditional food while you’re here. There will be no shortage of great meals and photo opportunities in Olympos.
If you have one dinner here make sure it’s at Milos Taverna. Sunset under the windmill while sipping on Greek wine will be the most amazing end to your day in this special place.
Where to Stay in Olympos Karpathos
Aphrodite Hotel – This is where we stayed in Olympos and we loved every second. Enjoy incredible views from the small balconies that overlook the rugged coastline. Basic accommodations, but one of the best deals you can get for the location.
Olympos Archipelagos – Gorgeous apartments just below the town center and close to Milos Taverna. Stunning views of the ocean and Karpathos Island.
Day Five Karpathos Greece
Keeping the town of Olympos as your base, make the 10-minute drive down to the port town of Diafani. This is where you can hop on a Saria Island boat trip!
It’s best to confirm what day it is running beforehand when you make your Karpathos itinerary. You can also switch it to day four of your one week Karpathos trip and drive straight from Lefkos to the boat.
This all-day cruise with snorkeling and sea caves was one of our favorite adventures from our month in Greece! For more a breakdown of what to expect you can read all about Saria Island in our full travel guide below.
Day 6 & 7: Kyra Panagia
Day Six Karpathos Greece
The last stop on our one week Karpathos itinerary will take you to more of the best beaches on the island. The actual town of Kyra Panagia has a gorgeous beach itself that you’ll surely spend some time at soaking in the Greek sun.
However, on your sixth day exploring Karpathos is when you’ll pass the magnificent Apella! Apella Beach is not only considered one of the best in Karpathos, but one of the top beaches in all of Greece.
You will pass it Apella along your drive from Olympos to Kyra Panagia. A quick turn off the main road will take you to the long pebbly beach that looks straight out of a dream.
Rent one of the many beach chairs for 5 Euros and wait for the coffee man to come to take your order. Trust us, you won’t regret this stop! After a day at the beach continue onto Kyra Panagia and check-in to your hotel.
Where to Stay in Kyra Panagia
Pension Akropolis – Where we stayed on our one week Karpathos itinerary. Wonderful family-run hotel with rooms that overlook the ocean and beach below.
Bella Vista Suites – Cute apartment situated above Kyra Bay. Clean and stylish space with amazing views of the island.
Day Seven Karpathos Greece
Kyra Panagia is one of the most glorious towns in Karpathos Greece. Our hotel was perfect and we could have easily spent all afternoon enjoying the ocean view from our balcony.
On your last day head down to the beach, grab a chair, and spend the afternoon swimming in the ocean.
We ate lunch at our hotel (Pension Akropolis) and loved the view from their cute cliffside restaurant. For the best dinner in town, walk over to the nearby Sofia’s Taverna. This local restaurant is the oldest in town serves up traditional Greek and island seafood specialties.
Continue onto Another Greek Island
From the island of Karpathos Greece, there are many more amazing places to see! You can fly to Rhodes or some of the other bigger Greek Islands, or take the ferry to nearby islands in the Dodecanese. We highly recommend visiting Halki as it is one of the most beautiful small islands in this region.
- Halki Greece: Why You Need to Go to This Historic Island Paradise
- 12 Amazing Things to do on Symi Island in Greece
- One Week Rhodes Itinerary: Best Route, Hotels, and Tips For Your Visit
Have any questions on this one week Karpathos itinerary or want to share your own tips for visiting Karpathos Greece? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
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Greece Travel Planning
Explore all our Greece articles to help plan your trip! We cover everything from general travel tips to amazing destinations such as Santorini, Paros, Rhodes, Karpathos, Crete, Milos & more beautiful islands!
When island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies.
Rental Car: You can book a rental car for around $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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