Adventurous walking and hiking on Karpathos was the idea when I went to the next island after Rhodes. Before coming to this Greek island, I had done a little bit of reading up and hiking on Karpathos came up a lot in this. There were many hiking trails on Karpathos that seemed to connect the different villages.
If I am up for anything, this is it. I had started this trip in Turkey to do a long-distance hike. The Lycian Coast was really great but I stopped the hike due, among other things, to the lack of sufficient accommodation.
Now hiking on Karpathos again looked like it was going to work out for a few days. A bit of adventure while travelling is my way and so I went for it. I had questioned the guide on the Valley Walk hike I had booked with Art and Walk. He mentioned to me a number of places I could string together in no time. A nice hike in Karpathos was easy to achieve and so I planned my hike via Karpathos hiking trails. When I entered that into the app maps.me, it didn’t seem such a bad idea at all.
Hiking Tips Karpathos
Hiking in Nature on the Greek island of Karpathos
I managed to hike for 3 consecutive days on Karpathos. They were beautiful walks on the footpaths along the coast of Karpathos. But I also went into the interior of Karpathos and had a real mountain hike on the third day.
These 3 days of hiking on Karpathos have far exceeded my expectations and I am a fan!
I left Pigadia on the first day on foot and would get there again after a few days by hitchhiking. I walked through small villages, through inhospitable terrain and along a beautiful coastline. What a great adventure it was! I can recommend hiking on Karpathos in that respect to anyone.
How to navigate on the Karpathos Hiking Trails?
When I arrived on Karpathos, I first booked that walk with Art and Walk. So I was in contact with someone who knew the hiking paths on Karpathos. During that walk, I asked him if I could just go for a walk without any preparations. He immediately listed a number of places that I could put in a row and walk to. Navigating the route is easy because there are many signs but can be a bit tricky if you don’t know roughly which way to go because sometimes a sign or black/red painted flag is missing.
Tip: This is easily solved with a navigation app on the phone. I use maps.me for this and it really proved itself while hiking on Karpathos.
So… take a look at the map of Karpathos and look up some places. Enter them on maps.me and watch how the app links them with hiking trails. After this, you really will hike the most beautiful nature walks on Karpathos.
Is it safe hiking op Karpathos?
Do share your location with a friend or family!
Karpathos is a small island but even so, hiking can obviously take you hours away from a place. On my last hiking day, I did a real mountain hike on Karpathos. This one I cannot recommend to anyone else to do alone. I always share my location with a family member and this did cross my mind a few times that day.
Then, should there be anything, one can always see where I am. Because I walk alone, this is very important.
Agressive dogs on the Karpathos hiking trails
Before I went to Greece, I came from Turkey. There, I had encountered some aggressive dogs that really scared me for a while. Well, then our brain works in such a way that this keeps playing through your head every time you hear a dog barking in the distance. Fortunately, I can assure you that in Greece this went very well. The dogs were all tied up or behind a fence. Besides, I can tell you that the dogs looked curious and friendly. I did not encounter a single dog that I had to watch out for.
Defending yourself – Karpathos hiking Trails
The Greek people are very nice and very helpful. If anything does happen that doesn’t feel nice just distance yourself. Walk on and don’t give it any more attention. I have shared a few more tips on Walking Safely as a Woman Alone. These tips obviously apply to men too if they find themselves in such a situation. Walking with walking sticks is also a plus in this safety point of view. Read the tips blog to read more about that.
Overnight stays during hiking on Karpathos
I booked my overnight stay each time a day before I was going to do the hike. Suppose I wanted to take a break for a day? Or because I would have muscle pain, knee trouble or I just wanted more time in the place where I was at the time? When you have that freedom, it’s wonderful! Through the internet, I searched for a nice, suitable overnight stay.
Only on day 2 was it difficult to find a spot. This is because Adia is very small and I was lucky to find a spot there anyway. Otherwise, I could have walked to Othos and thus chosen a different hiking route on Karpathos that following day. Anything is possible as long as you are flexible!
Tip: If you are travelling in high season, it is advisable to book your accommodation earlier to make sure you can find a place to stay.
The places I booked were all equipped with a kitchen. In fact, most accommodations are flats or studios. That also means you can prepare something to eat for yourself if you like. I always like a cup of soup or broth when I’m just about over and so that option is there.
Your luggage during hiking on Karpathos
This trip I had started as a walking trip and so I had very little luggage with me. I had a good 36-litre backpack with me in which I carried everything. My clothes, my laptop but also the small bag I used during the day to carry my wallet, phone and other goodies.
So I walked with about 8 kilos on my back this trip.
I can also imagine that you want to hike on Karpathos with less. You could then ask the hotel in Pigadia if they have a saferoom where you can leave some of your things. I haven’t come across a service anywhere that takes luggage from one place to another like you see during the camino in Spain or Portugal. Or what travel agencies can arrange for you when you go hiking in e.g. Austria.
After these handy hiking tips Karpathos, it’s time to go hiking.
Lovely hiking on Karpathos! With the most beautiful views of the coast and the island itself.
Hiking day 1 – Pigadia – Menetes – Arkasa
That morning I left nicely on time, after a breakfast at the Hotel Atlantis where I was staying. The day before, I had done a hike with a group and I knew roughly where to go. Without paying attention to the signs, I had been walking on the tarmac road towards Menetes for a while when I remembered that I had walked on a footpath the day before. No problem because when I was past the cave Poseidon’s temple, the turnoff came at the cement factory and there I could turn right. That was where I had passed on the previous day on the way back. From there I knew how to get to the little church and from there I had to walk further.
At the little church, of course, I made a quick stop, had a drink and took a look at the map. I use maps.me and I could see that the route sent me further across the road. Where the signs also sent me. So I was nicely on course. A little further on, the route sent me off the road and I was allowed to follow a path. This became a bit more challenging but I could still see the colours red / black here and there on stones along the almost invisible path.
When I came out on a wider road at one point, I should have followed the sign to Menetes…. But it was going so well and my maps indicated that I could go straight ahead and there would be a path there. That was partly correct… but at some point I still ended up in a place that was not convenient. I was walking between gardens, sheep and fenced off with fences. Eventually I climbed over a fence, which was on a rise.
That was really not easy but I made it. Some scratches on my legs later I could continue on my way. So… I can recommend following the signsabout a good kilometre before Menetes and not the painted flags. Then you would enter Menetes on the left. I was now entering from the right. That is the way I had to go again when I continued walking to Arkasa.
To clarify, I share some handy GPS coordinates of places I passed while hiking from Pigadia to Menetes: Poseidon’s temple – Cement Factory – Church halfway. I just can’t find on the map the last point again where I should have gone left and where I went right. It was just a wider road, which seemed to go to an asphalt road.
At the beautiful church in Menetes, I met a couple who said they had seen me walking and asked if I had found the road properly. I had also seen them walking, when I turned right at the cement factory they were already walking a lot further on the paved road. They had walked all the way on tarmac and obviously wanted to walk alternative paths. Their final destination was Finiki, just a village further along the coast than Arkasa.
Menetes is another very nice village, super narrow streets where no car can pass and all kinds of vistas with great views of the surroundings. After having a nice cappuccino on a terrace, I walked on. Just before the church, just outside Menetes, you then have to turn right. You can follow this road nicely with the signs that say Arkasa. It was made easy for me.
After a while, I could already see the coast and took a short break to eat something. In the local supermarket in Pigadia, I had bought 3 fresh energy bars with chocolate and I ate 1 of them. It was delicious!
After this, I continued walking along the road and didn’t pay attention for a moment and when I was already a bit lower I suddenly thought that this couldn’t be good. I had to go up again and in a bend I saw the black/red flag. I should have gone straight on, up a narrower path but straight towards the coast. From there I could see from the trees along this path that the wind always came from one side, so crooked was the tree.
After a while, I passed some abandoned and degraded buildings again. People, shepherds, used to live here but had abandoned them when sheep herding no longer paid enough. Many of these abandoned cottages were refurbished again and rented out as Air B&B. This is exactly what is in demand again now, away from the crowds and in nature.
I passed another little church and shortly after, I walked into the residential area of Arkasa. My flat was on the road to Finiki. I checked in first, freshened up and then walked back into the village. An amazing church I could see from afar and of course I wanted to visit it. The village seems to consist of several parts.
There is a river that flows into the sea from the mountains, there is a bridge across it and that way you can get to the part where the church is. And also if you walk further you can go to the Acropolis on the mountain behind it. I didn’t get further than the little church by the beach, the Acropolis was still quite far and I was strolling delightfully on my flip-flops.
The restaurant just before you walk out of the village towards the Acropolis I chose to sit down and have something to eat. It was around 3.3o pm so I still had all the time I needed. I ordered a nice Greek salad.
After this, I kept wandering around the streets, looking into empty houses and walking up and down some stairs. The village is not very big so when I got back to the supermarket and the 3 restaurants on the square I sat down. I ordered a cappuccino, which I was actually supposed to order from the coffee bar across the street when the waiter did it for me. In fact, he walked across the street and got the cup of coffee from there. It was a delicious coffee, I think the best coffee I had on the island of Karpathos. So I ordered another one! booked. On the peninsula is the Acropolis of Arkasa
After an hour, I decided to order a pita sandwich with vegetarian filling, for me a whole meal and costing only €2.50. This one was delicious too! At the supermarket I bought a banana and watched the sunset from my flat balcony. What a lovely first walking day on Karpathos. I could already say that I thought my hiking holiday on Karpathos was a success!
Day 1 = 13 kilometers – 430 meter up. Length = 5 hours – I started at 9.30 am and was over by 2.30 pm.
My stay was at Seafront Paradisos, a studio just outside Arkasa
Hiking day 2 – Arkasa – Stes – Pyles – Adia
That next morning I walked out on time, without having had a cup of coffee and something to eat. A flat is nice but getting groceries in the house for a night like this doesn’t shoot up. It was almost a kilometre outside the city centre and I had to go in the other direction. It wasn’t long before I reached Finiki and could sit down at a terrace to order breakfast. Some older locals were already sitting there and it wasn’t long before a group of tourists joined them.
After a good breakfast, I continued walking through the village and went up a bit via the road. I couldn’t find a path on the map and after a few hairpin bends I could get off the tarmac road. So I quickly made a few altitude metres. Hiking poles in my hands and just go…
After this, I found myself walking on a wider dirt road. I saw again the black/red walking signs of the hiking path network on Karpathos that would lead me to Stes and Pyles. Just before I reached Stes, I walked past a pretty little white and blue church. It was open, of course, and I took a look inside. I sat on the edge of the wall around it for a while and then continued my way into the village.
Stes was a small village and felt partly deserted. Lots of empty buildings and few people on the streets. However, I did encounter a whole group of tourists walking around there with guides. In the larger church in Stes itself, they were given an explanation. I was glad I was in the church just before that because it must have been almost full when they were all in there.
The footpath in Stes should then be watched carefully because just about opposite this larger church in Stes is a sign. This sign points you down a narrow footpath between the houses.
Hiking on Karpathos was really super, I was pleasantly surprised every time at how easy it was for me. I had maps.me with me and was able to follow the signs and black/red flags pretty well anyway. The footpaths on Karpathos are well-maintained and easy to follow.
The footpath between the houses became a narrow footpath in nature. I was now between the two mountain villages of Stes and Pyles on Karpathos. So that means I had super views of the surrounding area and the sea.
These villages are located high up in the mountains of Karpathos because in earlier times they had to stay out of sight of the pirates. I heard a guide tell this and of course it made a lot of sense. From the sea, the villages are invisible and the best part is that you do have a good view of the sea from the village. Perfectly strategically chosen spot, then.
A little later, I walked into Pyles. Here again I could admire a beautiful church and the village itself was even smaller and even more deserted than Stes. Just past the village, I sat down for a while at a water tap, which was no longer doing anything. By now it was 1pm, so it was a good time to sit down and have something to eat.
After this, the path took me down long roads to the sea. The paths were well marked, I didn’t have to pay super attention. So this allowed me to give my attention finely to the surroundings. I took time for some little birds, who also seemed to be paying attention to me. At one point, I walked along a considerable cliff, the landscape of Karpathos is really wild. I do think the Greek island of Karpathos is really impressive in terms of nature!
When I got to the village of Adia I saw the tavern Evdoxia, it was 3pm and if I wanted to eat some more, this was a good place. I ordered vegetables from the garden and got delicious green greens with salt, lemon, olive oil and some bread. They were freshly picked from the garden so I had to wait a while for them. I loved it so it was well worth it!
After this, I walked the last kilometre to Kathy’s Island Retreat. Only when I was there did I see that this was a yoga retreat. At the time I stayed there, there was no retreat and the volunteers were walking around relaxed and there was no theme. I was able to join them for dinner in the evening though, they had different pizzas and salads. It was delicious and the room was really super!
For this day’s walk on Karpathos, I am not sharing explicit GPS coordinates because it was actually a clear walk. No strange turns and maps.me and the signs showed me the way well.
Dag 2 = 21 km – 500 meters up Duur = 7 uur, incl lunch. Ik started at 8.30 am and was at 15.30 pm at Kathy
I had my stay at Kathy’s Island Retreat.
Last day Hiking on Karpathos – Greece
This day was maybe a bit to adventurous!
Day 3 Adia – Stroumboulas – Lefkos Beach
Breakfast at Kathy’s would not be until 9 o’clock and since I had a long day ahead of me, I walked out of the gate as early as 8 o’clock. I immediately saw a sign where I could cross the road and disappear into nature. The footpath took me straight to the top, I started a big climb right away. This first part took me quite a long time in my opinion. I really had to stop and catch my breath a few times. Also to cool down a bit as it was soon quite warm.
Once again, the footpath was easy to follow, which is nice. The views also became increasingly beautiful and so I thoroughly enjoyed my third day of walking on Karpathos already. Once I reached the top, I found myself walking slightly on a plain. I passed a farm where 1 lone goat was waiting for me, it was already shouting at me from afar.
After this I passed a sign Adia (where I had come from) and Lastos. My app told me to take the path to the left there, which would take me to the top of Stroumboulas after which I could continue to Lefkos.
The best views I had on this day
Hiking on Karpathos
This was a wider road which later became a nice hikingpath. It wasn’t long before I had the sea in sight again. Very nice! So I was heading in the right direction. The path became very challenging though, in some places I was really walking along huge precipices, I had to be careful. Getting serious about walking for a while. Phone away, hands firmly on the walking sticks.
Keeping my thoughts and attention right here. I always share my location with my brother shot through my mind, if something went wrong he would be able to see where I was. Yes, actually, it wasn’t quite justified that I was walking there by myself.
But how beautiful were the views!
At the point where I could go to the top of Karpathos’ second-highest mountain Stroumboulas, I took a break. What a great view, what an amazingly impressive hike it had already been!
Kali Limni is the highest ( 1214 metres ) mountain on Karpathos. From Kali Limni you could see the whole island I was told. A Dutch woman I spoke to at Kathy’s Retreat in Adia had hiked to the top of Kali Limni that day before. The start of the walk to the highest mountain on Karpathos is partly the same walk. Where I turned off she then continued walking towards Lastos.
As I continued walking on Stroumboulas after the break, I thought it would only get easier. I was startled by a pair of birds flying away. Looking it up on the internet, I saw that it was the Asiatic stone partridge. On the second time I startled stone partridges again, and they me, I saw that little ones were trying to come along. Oy, I just hope mother gets the litter back together.
I was in good spirits because I would only be walking downhill to Lefkos. Nothing was further from the truth, well I was going downhill but the easy part was far from it. Years ago there had been a fire on Karpathos and it had raged on this part of the mountain. The blackened was mostly gone as I thought I had fallen into a landslide.
The path could no longer be found, whole sections had been beaten away. I had to climb and scramble, going under fallen trees or over them. I knew I was walking on the path, my app indicated it and sometimes I saw a sign somewhere. It was a struggle and every time I had found something of a path I was disappointed after just a few metres. After a while, I had all these scratches on my arms, sweaty arms… so that’s painful and irritating.
Judging by the times of the photos, I struggled for about 2 hours to get back to a little church where I ended up somewhat on a path again. After this, I found myself walking along a wall, quite steep down still, but as the path was again far to be found I started walking on the wall. At least then I knew where to put my feet. After the little church, it took almost another hour before I reached the bottom.
I was really quite done with it. When I got to Lefkos Beach, I had sore feet, sore knees and just wanted to shower and sit. But since I couldn’t find my flat right away, I decided to replenish energy first. I ordered a cappuccino, a cola with chips and meat. What it was I couldn’t see very well but it looked good on the picture. I got a good plate full and saw that the meat was 3 freshly fried burgers…. They were delicious! I ate almost everything!
Adventurous Hiking on Karpathos – Greece
After dinner, I asked the manageress where I should be for Sea Melody and she pointed across the street. I had seen it listed but the reservation wanted to send me somewhere else. After asking around a bit there, I was given a key and could enter my little flat. Lovely place close to the sea and with a nice balcony where I could dry my laundry!
After showering, I put on my bikini and went to lie on the beach and enjoy the fresh sea! What a wonderful days I had had!
What a great adventure today had been too!
GPS coordinate which I used in maps.me is just below the highest point of Stroumboulas, from there maps.me navigated me further to Lefkos along the partly disappeared footpath.
Dag 3 = 18 km – 870 meters up Duur = 7,5 uur – Ik started at 8.00 am and hiked until 15.30
I had my stay at Sea Melody in Lefkos Kato (beach). I really liked the location!
Back to Pigadia – Hitchhiking or the bus on Karpathos
When I wanted to return to Pigadia after these great walks on Karpathos, it was a bit tricky. There is a public bus but it only goes on certain days and then only a few times a day. From Lefkos, on the day I left there, a bus went at the end of the morning. I could have waited for that, of course, but actually I didn’t feel like it. I decided to hitchhike. From Lefkos Beach I walked to Lefkos, there is the main road and I could stand.
Even before I arrived in Lefkos, I got a lift from an older couple from Germany who have been holidaying on Karpathos for years. They had their own house in Lefkos Beach and went for a nice drive every few days and were willing to take me to Pigadia. We had a very nice conversation. The trip took about an hour and takes you through several towns of Karpathos.
I did tell myself that if a man alone stopped I might thank for the lift and try my luck with the next car. So feel the situation, stay alert and don’t just take any lift you are offered. Safety always comes first.
Tip – Check bus times and schedule of public transport on Karpathos from 2023.
If it is convenient to go by bus, that is of course fine! I received the above bus schedule of summer season 2023. Study the 2023 Karpathos bus schedule carefully. Check the bus schedules but also which bus stops on Karpathos are included and which are not. I have made the map clickable so you can get it bigger in the picture….
Finally, I would like to share with you some hiking tips for Karpathos. Hiking on the beautiful island of Karpathos is different from what you are used to in the Netherlands. Expect it to be hot. When I was there, in spring, it could already get quite warm. My phone kept telling me it was 22 to 25 degrees but sometimes it really felt like 30 degrees. The sun is bright and sometimes burns up quite a bit.
Protect yourself from the sun
So protect yourself well from the sun with a cap or hat, and use plenty of sunscreen. You can see in the photos that I am not wearing a cap, hat or sunglasses. I can’t stand them very well and am therefore a bit more used to the sun on my head.
Make sure to have enough water along the way
Take plenty of water with you. On some hiking days, you will come across a restaurant and you can refill but make sure you have enough if you don’t come across this. I carried 2 litre bottles of water and made sure they were full before I left. You can drink the water in Greece from the tap.
It can get very hot while hiking on Karpathos and make sure you can hydrate enough. A tip I learnt during my camino is that it’s better to drink plenty of water in the evening too so you start the next day well hydrated. For your muscles and body, this is a very good start to the day.
Make sure you have enough energy
By this I mean that you should be able to keep your energy at a good level. So take energy bars with you so that if you get hungry you can take a break and replenish your energy. The hikes on Karpathos are not for sissies and you use up your energy quickly when you are hiking.
Hiking wit hiking poles?
On this walk too, I had my walking poles with me. I also used them frequently. Sometimes for balance, when walking along precipices, sometimes to walk a bit faster but sometimes also just because you walk in a nice rhythm with them. You stay well upright and move with your whole body which is just good for your upper body.
I found the hiking poles no luxury while mountain hiking on Karpathos.
Does hiking on Karpathos appeal to you?
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