|Transportation||Air, ferry, hydrofoil|
|Main Attractions||Healthful climate|
|Food||Many excellent choices|
|Accommodations||Many excellent choices|
Karpathos, the second largest island of the Dodecanese, lies 227 nautical miles from Piraeus and has a population of 5,500. It has a land mass of 301 sq. km and a coastline of 160 km.
A long narrow, mountainous island, Karpathos is basically two islands in one. The northern and southern parts were isolated from one another by a vertebra of cliffs for hundreds of years. Their only contact was by caique. The north is rugged and mountainous. Most sandy beaches on Karpathos are in the southern portion of the island, where it's fertile and more European in character. Pigadia is the capitol and connected to the north by a poor road.
Karpathians still retain many old island customs and are a treasure for ethnologists. The isolation of the northern village of Olympos created a goldmine of unique traditions. The islanders are extremely hospitable.
Karpathos has sent many of its sons and daughters to far shores in order to survive. They retain a strong affection for their native island, however. Survive they did, sending back more money to this island than any other in Greece. Most went to the United States, to New Jersey in particular. Many have retired back on the island. Others come back as often as possible and some even ship their bodies back here for burial.
The island has a tradition of lyrical poetry. Impromptu singing contests feature a style of 15-syllable couplets. Two Austrians published a book (with cassette) in 1992 that included many island songs. The book was Die Volksmusik der Insel Karpathos.