Top 6 + 1 moments from my family holiday in Karpathos
Α 5-day adventure in August
Looking for an island paradise to spend your family holiday away from the crowds? Then it’s time you visit Karpathos. I traveled there with my family last August and I highly recommend you also do so, since it’s one of Greece's least commercialized islands.
Wild mountains, blue coves and cloud-wrapped villages are only some of the highlights from our 5-day trip to Karpathos in 2023. Want to find out more? Then keep scrolling to discover why Karpathos is such a great family-friendly destination in Greece.
The crystal clear, turquoise waters in Amoopi bay, Karpathos
Top moments from my summer holidays in Karpathos with my family
From lots of beach fun and enjoying beautiful views to cultural exploration through picturesque villages and impressive archaeological sites, we pretty much did everything in Karpathos.
Here are the top 7 moments from my family holiday in Karpathos:
1. Staying in Amoopi
Amoopi (also known as Lakki) is a small seaside resort on the southeast coast of Karpathos, within a 5 minute drive from the bustle of Pigadia, the island’s capital. It has 3 beautiful beaches (Mikri Amoopi, Votsalakia and the main beach of Amoopi) - all fully organized with amenities, shallow water and fine pebbly sand. They are also mostly windless. Our hotel was located less than a 10 minute walk to Mikri Amoopi, so everyday started with a refreshing dip in the water.
Personally, I found the location of Amoopi ideal for a family vacation. It has a calm atmosphere, but not too calm, since there are a number of taverns and bars where you can eat or grab a drink without having to leave the area. Don't miss the Skala Bar!
2. Swimming and lunch in Achata
Achata was my favorite beach in Karpathos. Even though it took us 30 minutes by car from Amoopi, the breathtaking views as we drove down the valley made the trip worth it. Before we reached the beach we made a quick stop at the small picturesque chapel of Achata and took a few pictures.
Upon our arrival at the beach, we decided to rent 2 parasols and sunbeds to be more comfy. The beach is characterized by incredibly clear, emerald colored waters and fine pebbly sand. Besides being one of the most famous beaches on the island, Achata is also considered to be one of the best snorkeling and diving spots in Karpathos. Make sure to bring your goggles and head to the solitary rock some 50 m into the water. There’s plenty of underwater beauty to see here while snorkeling.
After our swim, we headed to Anna's Traditional Taverna (the only taverna on the beach) for a quick, light lunch and drinks.
Tip: Karpathos is a fairly large island (the second largest of the Dodecanese islands) and distances are long. We, therefore, recommend renting a vehicle to get around and independently explore the stunning landscape.
A sneak peak of Achata beach from the chapel above
3. Discovering the village of Olympos
One of the highlights of our family holiday in Karpathos was definitely exploring Karpathos’s crown jewel - the village of Olympos. We spent the afternoon wandering through the narrow, cobbled alleyways with beautiful photogenic houses, sampling local products, and admiring the women's traditional attire with bright embroidering and goatskin boots.
A cute souvenir shop selling colorful handmade items in Olympos
As a foodie, I was also intrigued by the local cuisine - the handmade pasta, locally-made cheese and sweets found only in Olympos. The most popular places here are Taverna Olympos and Milos, but we went for drinks at Parthenon Restaurant- Bar. The view of the Aegean from the traditional cafes and windmills was breathtaking, especially at sunset.
Getting to Olympos: we drove to Olympos from Amoopi, but not directly - we stopped for a quick dip at Achata and Apella beach. Alternatively, there are boats departing from Pigadia to Diafani village, from where a bus will wind you up a paved road to Olympos.
Tip: if you drive here, keep in mind that there’s no petrol station in Olympos to refuel your car. By the time we had reached the village, our fuel level wouldn’t have been enough for the return journey, but, thankfully, a friendly local gave us a gallon of petrol.
The beautiful colorful houses of Olympos situated on a dramatic slope
4. Dinner in Menetes
Menetes is Karpathos’ largest village. We decided to come here on our 2nd night on the island. First thing we did when we arrived was to head to dinner at Taverna Perdika. This is a very cozy place with good food. We mostly enjoyed their amazing freshly baked bread and makarounes (small pieces of hand rolled pasta served with caramelized onion and grated cheese).
The mouth-watering makarounes from Taverna Perdika in Menetes
After all this food, me and my family decided to take a stroll since we had heard all about Menetes’ picturesque alleys and colorful houses with flowered balconies. We also headed up to the church of the Assumption of the Virgin, the village’s most striking feature built at the edge of the cliff. The view from the courtyard towards the village, Pigadia and the surroundings is really memorable, even in the evening. PS if you’re on the island on August 15, the village hosts a festival. It’s worth attending in order to taste the delicacies and experience the local traditions.
Useful info: keep in mind that Karpathos is very windy, even in summer. I underestimated this fact before arriving on the island and I found myself freezing on many occasions. I, therefore, recommend bringing a light jacket with you.
5. Boat trip to the nearby island of Kasos
On our final day, we were looking for a short escape, so we decided to sail to the nearby charming island of Kasos. We had booked our ferry tickets on Ferryhopper in advance and arrived at the main port of Karpathos (known as Pigadia port) just in time to take the early morning ferry.
After around 1 hour, we arrived at the ferry port town of Fry in Kasos. We were very eager to explore the island’s main town, with its narrow alleys and traditional architecture. After paying a short visit to the Naval Museum and Archaeological Museum of Kasos, as well as the traditional house of Ioulia Daskalaki, we headed to Panagia village, which is particularly known for its 6 churches, one attached to the other.
By this point, we were dreaming of splurging on Kasos’ authentic food, including its fresh fish and locally made cheeses - which is exactly what we did. We found a cozy fish tavern in Fry before taking the afternoon ferry back to Karpathos.
The church of Agios Theodoros in Karpathos with breathtaking views towards Kasos, Greece
6. Sunset, drinks and live music in Arkasa
Even though the island's nightlife is centered around the capital, Pigadia, we were seeking quieter options, which is why we decided to visit Arkasa for our final night. This is the largest town on the west coastline of Karpathos and a perfect spot to watch the sunset.
We arrived just in time and headed to Nustema Bar. The vibe here was great. Besides the iconic sunset, the bar had amazing signature cocktails and live music. We stayed here until it got dark and then walked around the village's paved streets. Close to the bar we discovered a cute boutique store, which also organized film screenings.
The colorful village of Arkasa and the Ypapanti church seen during sunset, Karpathos
7. Dinner in the fish village of Finiki
After leaving Arkasa, it took us around 5 minutes by car to reach Finiki, a beloved seaside resort, famous for its fish taverns and picturesque views. We headed to Ristorante Delfini, which became my favorite restaurant in Karpathos. It’s known for its excellent lobster, but we ordered fish with potatoes (!), seafood pasta and the famous Karpathian shrimps.
If you happen to come here during the day, Finiki also has a beautiful sandy beach, well-organized with parasols and sunbeds. Thanks to its shallow and calm waters, it’s ideal for families with young children. In addition, it’s worth climbing to the chapel of Agios Nikolaos to enjoy some amazing panoramic views of the charming village and the sea.
The mesmerizing sunset of Olympos
To sum up, Karpathos is a wonderful destination for relaxing family holidays. It’s one of Greece’s best-kept secrets, boasting an unspoiled nature and dreamy beaches.
But things are changing. Karpathos is receiving increasing attention (National Geographic dedicated a feature to Karpathos in 2022), and I wouldn’t be surprised if more and more travelers started visiting the island in the coming years. So, grab this opportunity and visit Karpathos by booking your ferry tickets on Ferryhopper. The beautiful island might not remain a secret for much longer…
Hey fellow human! I'm Sabine Camhi and I'm a Content Marketing Copywriter at Ferryhopper. With around 3.5 years of writing experience, I've worked for various Greek and foreign news sites and magazines. I've also spent a year working in marketing and social media, so I know my way around the digital world.
When I'm not busy writing, I'm usually planning my next seaside adventure. I absolutely love exploring new coastal regions and sharing my experiences with others. Whether it's a hidden gem in Greece or a far-off destination on my bucket list, I'm always on the lookout for new places to visit and write about. So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time ferry-goer, I hope to provide you with the most up-to-date info and tips to help you make the most of your ferry experience ⛴️