10 Fun & Unique Things to do on Karpathos Island in Greece

Karpathos Island

You may have not heard of Karpathos Island until you started planning your trip to this region of Greece. However, now that you have… You’re in for an amazing time! Karpathos is a wild mix of mountains, beaches, and fun activities that are perfect for the adventurous traveler. So get ready to explore! Here are the ten best things to do on the island of Karpathos.

10 Best Things to do on Karpathos Island

1. Wander the Streets of Pigadia 

Most likely your journey to this one-of-a-kind island will start in the city of Karpathos. Pigadia is where the main ferry port is located, and a great spot to start your adventures from.

Most of the best tours, activities, and things to do in Karpathos begin here from the port and take you outside the city. Nevertheless, make sure to spend some time wandering the streets, taking in the views, and eating some great traditional Greek food. 

→ Planning a Trip to Greece: 10 Step Easy to Follow Guide

Pigadia Greece

2. Circle Karpathos Island

While Pigadia is certainly worth spending some time exploring in, it is hardly the main draw of Karpathos Island. To see the best things to do on Karpathos you should rent a car and get out onto the winding roads.

Although the island may seem small, it’s far from it… And once you get into the mountains you’ll see just how massive the island of Karpathos truly is.

Starting from Pigadia you could circle the island in one long afternoon. Yet, it’s much better if you take a few days and stay in different towns to have a slower more enjoyable experience. 

→ Karpathos Greece Itinerary: One Week Route, Best Hotels, and Travel Tips

Best Things to do in Karpathos

3. Swim at the Unique Beaches

Many travelers are drawn to the beautiful beaches of Rhodes and Kos, but wait until you see Karpathos Island! They range from long stretches of sand to secluded pebbly beaches that you could only imagine in your wildest dreams.

Now when we say secluded, we mean all to yourselves! There are of course more organized beaches with sun loungers as well. 

Either way, you may have to work to get to them. Many of the best things to do in Karpathos are difficult to get to, and that includes the most spectacular beaches.

Be prepared to drive down crazy roads, hike, or both. Two of our favorites not to miss are Apella Beach and Kyra Panagia. Also, be sure to check out our 6 favorite Karpathos beaches here.

Karpathos Island Guide

4. Snorkle or Scuba Dive in the Crystal Clear Water

Now that you know about the beaches of this special destination, there’s another secret we need to let you in on. The island of Karpathos has some of the clearest waters in Greece!

We’ve been to so many different islands in this country now and have always been blown away by how blue and translucent the ocean is.

With that said, Karpathos is some of the most crystal clear we’ve ever seen. These conditions are ideal for snorkeling or scuba diving trips. You can book one easily from Pigadia for all-day fun on the water. To scuba dive, we recommend heading to Karpathos Diving Center.

Karpathos Underwater

5. Visit the Remote Town of Olympos

If there is one must-visit place on your trip to Karpathos Island it’s here! The colorful village of Olympos is a traditional Greek settlement that will make you feel like you’re taking a trip back in time.

First founded around 7th Century AD, it was built high in the mountains to stay protected from pirates.

As you’ll see from how the women dress and the food in the town, many things are done like they were hundreds of years ago. The families are descendants of Doric people and up until recently had been largely cut off from the outside world.

Make sure to visit this special village of just over 400 people on your visit to the island of Karpathos!

Karpathos Island Tip: Be confident in your driving skills if you’re renting a car to go to Olympos. The road features many twists and turns high up in the cliffs of Karpathos.

→ Olympos in Karpathos Greece: Our Trip to the Beautiful Mountain Village

Karpathos Island Things to Do

6. Boat Trip to Saria Island

Just down the road from Olympos is the small fishing port of Diafani. From here you can take an epic boat trip to the uninhabited Saria Island.

Not only is Saria Island full of more amazing beaches, but also some unique sea caves that you can actually swim through! Most boat tours include lunch and a trip to the ancient Argos ruins. 

→ Saria Island Boat Tour: Magical Day Trip from Karpathos Greece

Things to do on Karpathos

7. Eat Dinner Under a Windmill 

We hope you’re hungry because one of the best things to do on Karpathos is to eat! Foodie lovers will find a great mix of traditional Greek food and local seafood specialties from Karpathos. 

One of our favorite eating experiences on the island of Karpathos was eating dinner under a windmill! At Milos Taverna in Olympos with the sun setting, we had the most delicious and unique local dinner. What a magical experience this was!

→ Karpathos Food Guide: Must Try Island Specialties and 8 Best Restaurants

Karpathos Island Windmill

8. Hit the Hiking Trails 

Before traveling to the island, we had no idea that one of the best things to do in Karpathos was hiking. I mean, take one look at those massive mountains and you would be shocked, too! While you can drive to some of the most enticing hiking trails, we would recommend doing one with a guide.

These tours range from one-day or multi-day treks through the mountains of Karpathos. Even if you don’t end up doing an actual hike, we’d be shocked if you didn’t do some climbing down to the beaches.

Greece Hiking Trails 

9. Go Windsurfing or Admire the View

Windsurfing is one of the biggest draws to the island of Karpathos. The best spot is at the beaches near the airport, and to get started you can head to Anemos Ion Club.

We couldn’t believe how windy it was on this one little end of the Karpathos. If you’re not into windsurfing, don’t worry. Watching the windsurfers rip through the waves is one of the most exciting things to do on Karpathos.

Karpathos Island Tip: If Saria wasn’t enough for you, you can also make a day or overnight trip to Kasos island. Jump on the ferry or take one of the shortest flights in the world from Karpathos and be there in just 4 minutes!

Karpathos Windsurfing

10. Visit the Many Famous Churches 

Karpathos is a deeply religious and spiritual island and that can be seen best in its churches. The Church of The Dormition of the Theotokos is located in the village of Menetes, and arguably the most important on Karpathos Island.

You will also find impressive religious architecture in Pigadia and of course the village of Olympos. In fact, we were told that in Olympos alone there are over 300 churches! 

Island of Karpathos

Have any questions on Karpathos Island or want to share your own favorite things to do in Karpathos? Leave us a comment below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where to Stay in Karpathos

PigadiaPorfyris Studios and Apartments –  Located in the center of all the action, this hotel is within walking distance of everything you need in town. Seaview balconies, a small living room, and compact kitchens. 

LefkosZorbas Studios – Basic studios with beautiful sea views! Just steps from the sand and close to all the shops and restaurants. 

OlymposAphrodite 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. 

OlymposOlympos Archipelagos – Gorgeous apartments just below the town center and close to Milos Taverna. Stunning views of the sea and Karpathos Island. 

Kyra Panagia – Pension Akropolis – Where we stayed on our one week Karpathos itinerary. Wonderful family-run hotel with rooms that overlook the sea and beach below.

Kyra Panagia –  Bella Vista Suites – Cute apartment situated above Kyra Bay. Clean and stylish space with amazing views of the island. 


Karpathos Island Greece

Greece Travel Planning 

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!

When island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. 

 Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Crete to Athens for under $50 USD!

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 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.

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities in Greece. You can find everything from visiting the Acropolis in Athens to wine tasting in Santorini, and a boat tour in Milos.

 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.

Greece Travel

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