Although I like a nice beach, the beaches are not usually my first priority in terms of what I’m looking for in a nice Greek island. However, the jewels in Karpathos’s crown are definitely its beaches. So it would have been rude for me not to have sampled one. Or two!
My first venture outside of Pigadia was to Amoopi Bay which is about 15 – 20 minutes South of Pigadia by bus. Amoopi Bay has a scattering of beautiful beaches where the landfall drops into the sea and creates an interesting vista from the beach. I chose Votsalakia beach which was busy (with towels already on the sunbeds) but very scenic. If you walk up to the little church of Agioi Apostoloi and walk around its perimiter you will get really good views of the beach and the landfall. The beach is made of pebble that shelves gently into the sea – it seems very good for children and families. The water is crystal!
Before catching the return bus at 16.10, I ate a late lunch at the Votsalakia Taverna which was excellent – the stuffed courgette flowers were divine!
I had read that one of the most beautiful beaches of Karpathos was Apella beach so I had to visit it at least once during my stay. Again the bus station was packed with people going to other places and luckily just a small mini bus took about a dozen of us to Apella. However, that was not a sign that the beach was going to be empty – far from it.
The journey took about 40 minutes, up over a mountain with some hair raising hairpin bends but the most spectacular views. This really is a beautiful beach backed by clusters of pine trees jutting out of the mountain rock. Many people visit it by car, moped or pirate ship! However, it is a large beach that is partly sand and partly pebble and it is possible to find space without feeling hemmed in by others. From the car park there is a walk down a narrow path to the beach which is easy to do. If you want to see real turquoise waters – this is the place! The only downside is that the sunbeds here are expensive – I was charged 8euros for one sunbed which is the price for two – no reduction for a single person as I have found elsewhere.
There is one taverna set above the beach which offers fantastic views and great food – if you get there earlier enough you can get a seat on the edge of the terrace which has the best views.
The other thing of interest to visit there is the cave church of St Luke. It is a short walk from the car park where the bus drops you off and definitely worth a visit. The wall paintings are still in tact and there is a tunnel that leads off the cave – but my fear of snakes prevented me from exploring further!
The only beach that I spent some time on in Pigadia was next to the Liminaki Taverna on Pigadia Beach. The sunbeds here were much cheaper than other beaches I’d visited on Karpathos though nowhere near as pretty. However, this beach is convenient with good facilities and the food at Liminaki Taverna is also good. The thing to note here is that the water is a bit seaweedy and sticking out of the water at intervals were metal rods just poking up above the waves. Not particularly safe for children. It was an OK place to spend an afternoon – good to see my old friend Prevelis passing in the distance. The beach is nice but doesn’t really compare to the islands’ other beaches.
During my trip to Olympos I visited the Diafani, the second port town of Karpathos. Included in the bus fare from Pigadia to Olympos is the opportunity to catch the the bus to Diafani fora couple of hours in the afternoon. Diafani is a complete contrast to Pigadia and everything is much more low key. There are several nice beach tavernas and a small organised beach that looks so peaceful and relaxing. I also took time to seek out the plaster statues created by the artist and sculptor Nikolas Hatzivassili that I had learned about during my visit to the Hatzivassili Museum in Olympos. Two hours is too short a time to visit this pretty little village. Northern Karpathos is definitely the place to stay if you are looking for a more chilled vibe.
Agios Nikolaos Beach, Arkasa
My final beach trip on Karpathos was to Arkasa on the West coast where the landscape is much flatter than on the west. The bus journey goes via the airport which sits on a promontory near the coast.
After disembarking from the bus there is a nice walk past a little archaeological site. There isn’t any signage and it also looked rather uncared for. As you enter through the gate you walk by (and even over) patches of crumbling mosaic that doesn’t have any protection. A larger patch had been fenced off to protect it. Two churches sit side by side and the smaller one Agia Sofia has a beautiful mosaic floor. Sadly the site looks a little forlorn and neglected.
After following the coast around a little further I come to Agios Nikolaos beach which seems like a good place to stay. I had noticed that the water was a little choppy but the winds had begun to pick up since the previous night. I didn’t stay on the beach for very long as the wind began to whip up the sand giving me a free exfoliation treatment – whether I wanted it or not! Sitting on the horizon in the distance was the beautiful island of Kasos. (my heart pangs!)
Arkasa is a pretty village with lots of pastel coloured villas but doesn’t look as though there is an awful lot to do there – though it is difficult to tell during siesta time what the feel of the place is. Before catching the return bus back to Pigadia I walked to Arkasa village towards a church tower that I could see in the distance. Once there you can climb up until the bell tower for some excellent views over the village.