Karpathos (Greek: Κάρπαθος, Greek pronunciation: [ˈkarpaθos]) is the second largest of the Greek Dodecanese islands, in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Together with the neighboring smaller Saria Island, it forms the municipality of Karpathos, which is part of the Karpathos regional unit. Because of its remote location, Karpathos has preserved many peculiarities of dress, customs and dialect, the last resembling those of Crete and Cyprus. The island has also been called Carpathus in Latin, Scarpanto in Italian and Kerpe in Turkish.
The island of Karpathos is located in the Dodecanese area and it is the second biggest island after Rhodes, with a 160 km coastline. It is situated between Crete and Rhodes, in the well-known “Karpathian Sea”, and its capital is Pigadia, also known as “Karpathos Town”. You can reach the island by air or sea, while there are also two marinas for private yachts and boats.
The ten villages that comprise the tradition and history of the island are: Menetes, Arkasa, Pyles, Aperi, Volada, Othos, Olympos, Spoa, Mesochori, Diafani, each one surprising pleasantly the visitor with a different scenery. Karpathos is also a “refuge” for windsurf lovers. The world windsurfing championship takes place every year in Afiartis, where organized facilities and instructors for beginners are also available.
According to mythology, the first inhabitants who immensely loved their homeland, stole the Olympian Gods and brought them to the island. For their deed, they were named “Arpatheoi” (which means those who have abducted the Gods) which later turned into “Karpatheoi” and finally “Karpathioi” giving the name to Karpathos! Karpathos has intense relief terrain and offers the visitor landscapes of splendid natural beauty while combining mountain and sea. The island also features the highest mountain top of the Dodecanese, Lastos at 1.215 m. altitude.
Karpathos Island National Airport, with its relatively large runway, is located on the south side (Afiartis area). Karpathos is connected to neighboring islands and to the mainland via ferries and airplanes. The ferries provide transport to and from Piraeus (via Crete and Rhodes). Scheduled domestic flights connect the island with Rhodes, Kasos, Crete and Athens daily. Additionally, charter flights from various European cities are frequently scheduled during the high season (April–October).
Within the island, cars are the preferred mode of transportation. The port, the airport, the main villages and other popular locations are connected by an adequate system of municipal roads, most of which are paved. During the summer months, small private boats depart from Pigadia to various locations daily, including Olympos (via Diafani) and some inaccessible beaches. Fixed-rate taxis (agoraia) and municipal buses are also available all year long.