With a colorful history, mountain villages straight out of Greek mythology and an abundance of wildly glorious beaches, Karpathos in Greece is a Dodecanese gem. The old adage, “Leave only footprints,” is a good one to keep in mind during your visit to Karpathos. Like most other Greek islands, Karpathos can be explored on a budget. Here is our top 11 list of budget-friendly things to do in Karpathos to give you a mezedes platter (appetizer platter) taste of this magical island.
1. Split Dishes at Ellinikon
Lunch or dinner at the mezedopoleion (restaurant selling lots of dishes to share — think tapas) “Ellinikon” in Pigadia. We returned here for meals numerous times, trying different dishes on each occasion, conversing with the friendly server and savoring our meals for hours on end. (Not making it to Karpathos on your upcoming trip to Greece? We also have advice on budget bites in Athens.)
2. Enjoy Food and Coffee at Asteri Café
Enjoy kolokithokeftedes (zucchini balls — think meatballs, but with zucchini instead of meat), tiropites, spanakopites and Greek coffee at Asteri Café in Pigadia. There are several hip cafés in Pigadia, and Asteri is not one of them. That’s why we like it so much. The owner is exceedingly kind and generous, the pites are made fresh at the bakery across the street and lots of local elders hang out there.
3. Spend a Day at the Beach
Visit Apella Beach, Kyra Panagia, Achata … or, for that matter, any of the dozens of beaches on the island. Walk, swim, nap, daydream, listen to the sea as it laps at the shore, watch the cloudscapes decorate the sky, and remember what it is to live in the moment.
If you venture down to Apella, make sure to stop at the sweet little cave chapel, Agios Loukas, about 500 feet up the road from Taverna Apella. The frescoes painted on and inside it are from the second half of the 13th century. Plus, its location, tucked into the mountainside, is enchanting. The local goats like the chapel, too! You may find them relaxing in the shade around it.
4. Walk Around the Village of Stes
Walk among the vineyards and down to the sea from Stes. This agricultural village without tourism on its mind may remind you of parts of the Napa Valley of yore. Walk through the village, take in the thoughtful architecture of the old homes and enjoy watching cats lounge in sunspots atop walls and steps. Drink fresh mountain spring water from a public tap outside the village chapel and meander down the hillside road to the sea.
5. Take a Local Tour
Hire locals to take you off the beaten path and introduce you to experiences you could only otherwise have if you had family and friends living in Karpathos. Go wine tasting, bird watching, hiking or camping. Prepare Karpathian delicacies. Try your hand at beekeeping.
Plan your own private tour to include the activities that interest you at a price point that works for you, or join in pre-organized activities and meet other like-minded wanderers.
6. Visit Panagia Mertonitissa Church
The church is located in in Mertonas/Mirtonas, by far the greenest village on the island. There are fresh mountain water taps along the path in front of the church. The view from the church and from the loop walk, which you can take down into the village and back up, is magnificent. Watch the sunrise here, or walk down to Kyra Panagia Beach (it will be a steep walk back up!) to take a dip in the sea there.
7. Explore Olympos
Yes, that Olympos. Make sure to visit the cemetery. If you can take someone with you who reads Greek, all the better. The inscriptions on the headstones are unlike anything we have ever seen. If you get the sense that the mountain village is run by women, that would be correct. It is a matriarchal community. The views and hikes in every direction are glorious, so allow plenty of time for exploring.
8. Take in the Coves on Lefkos’ Shores
Meander around Lefkos’ expansive shoreline of coves. Whether you venture out by foot, by car or by bicycle, the area is a marvel of ever-changing topography to behold. After you’ve worked up a solid appetite, stop at Ellovos restaurant for a scrumptious, homemade meal with the offerings determined by what is freshly available that day.
9. Harvest Fresh Sea Salt
Harvest sea salt from the rocks along the water in Diakoftis. (If it rains the day before you go, the rain may wash all the salt water from the rocks, and when it evaporates there will not be any salt to harvest. It’s best to go when it’s been dry for at least a few days.)
The landscape is otherworldly. You may feel as though you are on the set of a Star Wars film but with a glorious sea just beyond the rocks. You may see goats here, despite how isolated the area feels. In fact, you may see goats everywhere on the island!
10. Stop by Spoa
Visit Spoa, a delightful village with winding pedestrian alleyways and stunning views around every corner. Fill up on delectable Greek staples at Folia. Venture down the hill from Spoa to the Agios Nikolaos marina, and stop part of the way down to stroll across the hillside. Vineyards dot the landscape, the views to the sea are amazing and very few cars will interrupt your reverie. If you are hungry again by the time you reach the marina, stop for a bite at Café Portobello.
11. Book a Budget Hotel
Before you head out on your trip, book a budget hotel in Karpathos. Many affordable lodgings on the island offer a lot of bang for your buck with perks like views of the sea from your room to free breakfasts and more.
Traveling around Greece? Make sure to check out these ways to save on a Greek vacation before your trip!
What are your favorite budget-friendly things to do in Karpathos? Share with us in the comments below!
Source: Euro Cheapo