The small uninhabited island of Saria sits just north of Karpathos in the Dodecanese archipelago of Greece. When we found out we could take a Saria Island boat tour we were filled with excitement… But what is there to see on a rocky volcanic island with no people? Well, what we would discover is a magical place with secluded beaches and caves waiting to be explored. Join us on our day trip from the port of Diafani Karpathos for a unique ocean adventure!
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Getting to Diafani Karpathos
Before touring Saria Island in Greece you’ll need to find your way to the port of Diafani. To get there from the main city of Pigadia you’ll have to make the treacherous drive through the mountain village of Olympos. Needless to say, it’s not easy to travel to Saria Island!
For this reason, we recommend staying in Olympos for at least two nights. It’s one of the most beautiful local villages we’ve ever seen and worth the trip alone. On the 2nd day, you can drive down the 15 minutes down to Diafani in Karpathos to take your Saria island boat tour.
→ Olympos in Karpathos Greece: Our Trip to the Beautiful Mountain Village
Pigadia to Saria Island Greece
The only other route to get to Saria Island is to jump on a boat tour directly from Pigadia. We would avoid this as you’ll spend way more time on a boat in the hot sun than you will from Diafani.
Going from the closest port will allow you to maximize your time swimming around Saria Island. You can even stay in Diafani Karpathos for the night if you’d rather do that than Olympos.
Not Your Average Boat Tour
The start of our Saria boat tour was just like any other. Yet, as soon as we got out onto the water realized we were in for an epic adventure!
Captain George is a legend around Karpathos and came highly recommended. He not only told us all about the history of this special island but did so in a fun and interactive way.
He would end up taking us to places we would never expect. From swimming and crawling through amazing sea caves to beaches that would give anywhere in Greece a run for their money!
Booking Saria Island Karpathos: We used the company Captain Manolis as a recommendation from a dive shop in Pigadia Karpathos. There is only a couple of boat tours that run from Diafani port. As far as we know there is no website to book tickets on, but if you ask around locals will be able to direct you to George’s boat.
Taking Off for Saria Island From Karpathos
Little did we know, the fun was about to start before we even got to Saria Island. As we took off from Diafani we straddled the coastline and made a couple of interesting stops.
It was mid-June in Greece and already scorching hot. So once we pulled up to our first sea cave we were ready to swim! Still, we weren’t expecting the captain to maneuver the boat all the way inside. We saw right away that George is a very skilled boat driver.
After about 15 minutes of swimming, we went to a gorgeous beach just around the corner. From there, we were ready to catch our first glimpse of Saria Island Greece.
About Saria Island Greece
Saria Island is basically part of Karpathos as it’s only separated by 100 meters of ocean. We stopped in between the two islands to learn some fascinating facts about Saria on our way.
Saria Island is uninhabited and the only people that travel here outside of the boat tours are local farmers. These people live on Karpathos and usually only one week out of the month farm on Saria.
The fact they’re actually able to grow crops on such barren lands is impressive, but that wasn’t even the wildest part. The farmers actually bring their livestock with them across the dangerous water passage between Karpathos and Saria Island.
Just to put this in perspective… We’ve all surely seen horses and other large animals crossing shallow rivers, but taking them across the ocean really blew our minds. Did you know cows could even swim??
History of Saria Island
Although the island is currently uninhabited, people have lived on Saria island for thousands of years! Luckily at our stop at Palatia Beach, we got to learn all about the ancient cities of Saros and Nisiros.
Before a fresh fish lunch, the captain took us up to the ancient Arabic ruins from 700 AD. These people originally arrived from Andalusia Spain, and only here and Andalusia can find you this style of architecture in the world. In medieval times this town was used as a shelter for pirates.
Since we had over 2 hours here we had plenty of time to explore around this beach and walk to a nearby church. Honestly, we had not been expecting to see or learn any of this so we were incredibly surprised! Who knew there was so much history on this volcanic island?
Sea Caves and Beaches of Saria Island
Even with all that, the best part about our Saria boat tour was undoubtedly the caves and beaches! The beaches on Saria Island can only be accessed by boat and the water is unbelievably clear. It was so much fun jumping off the side and into the crystal clear water.
The beaches were amazing, but the Saria island caves are on another level. At one point the captain told us to trust him, left us at a cave opening, and said he’d meet us on the other side.
Nervously, we swam into the cave not knowing what we were about to find. One opening led to another, and before we knew it we were walking and driving through different sections.
When we finally came out we swam over to another spectacular beach to find the boat waiting for us. Captain George greeted us with fresh watermelon which was just what needed after that wild cave experience!
- 6 Best Karpathos Beaches to Spend a Lazy Afternoon
- Karpathos Food Guide: Must Try Island Specialties and 8 Best Restaurants
- 10 Fun & Unique Things to do on Karpathos Island in Greece
Crusing Back into Diafani Karpathos
After a full day in the sun, we were somewhat relieved to be heading back to port. What an experience that was on our Saria Island Boat tour!
In typical Greek fashion, the captain ended our day by pouring us all some local ouzo liquor. We left at 10am and pulled back into Diafani Karpathos as the sun was setting around 7 pm.
We’ve seriously taken tours for way more than 25 euros where we didn’t see half as much. Our fresh fish lunch was also worth it as it came with salad and a drink for 10 Euros. If you’re planning your trip to Karpathos make sure not to miss out on its exciting neighbor Saria Island.
→ Karpathos Greece Itinerary: One Week Route, Best Hotels, and Travel Tips
Have any questions on Saria Island Karpathos or want to share your own boat trip experience? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where to Stay in Karpathos
Pigadia – Porfyris Studios and Apartments – Located in the center of all the action, this hotel is within walking distance of everything you need in town. Oceanview balconies, a small living room, and compact kitchens.
Lefkos – Zorbas Studios – Basic studios with beautiful ocean views! Just steps from the sand and close to all the shops and restaurants.
Olympos – 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 – Olympos Archipelagos – Gorgeous apartments just below the town center and close to Milos Taverna. Stunning views of the ocean 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 ocean and beach below.
Kyra Panagia – Bella Vista Suites – Cute apartment situated above Kyra Bay. Clean and stylish space with amazing views of the island.
For more places to stay in Karpathos Greece you can explore the latest prices here!
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.*We receive a commission for purchases made through links in this post. This allows us to continue our travels and keep providing great content to our readers! Also, as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Do you see that bell tower in Diafani? I designed that and partially financed its construction.
We were only there briefly but looking back through pictures now. Beautiful town!
Thank you for your excellent post about my hometown of Olympos/Diafani. I grew up in Olympos and left it at the age of 20 for greener pastures (USA). As a child I experienced first hand the hard but peaceful life of Olympos/Diafani, Avlona and of course Saria. I witnessed Horses, caws and donkeys crossing the STENO that separates Saria from Karpathos. In those years Saria was a booming agricultural area that helped feed the locals during WW1 and WW2 but it goes back many centuries, many saying as far back as the 7th century AD. I visit as often as I can but it is nothing what it was during my childhood. Now it is a place for tourists to see and enjoy , as you did.
Of course! It was really one of the most unique places we’ve been to in Greece so far. So much incredible history and nature to see there. Thank you for sharing your story!