For most people going to Karpathos, the journey on Karpathos starts in Pigadia. Close to Pigadia is the airport and the boat/ferry naturally arrives here in the harbour. The town itself does not have many sights but does have a lively centre where it is good to hang out. But what to do in Pigadia? Read on.
It is the largest town, actually called Karpathos (Κάρπαθος) town, on the island of Karpathos. All traffic for the island of Karpathos passes through this port and town. Pigadia is the tourist and economic centre of Karpathos island. Many boats arrive daily but rest assured it did not feel crowded in late May early June. But there is always something to do and watch.
How does Pigadia get its name? Actually, the town is named like the island, just as with Rhodes, Mykonos and other Greek islands this is the case. Pigadia got its name from the water springs in the surrounding mountains. Pigadia, in fact, means spring.
Pigadia is ideal as a starting point to explore the island of Karpathos. I stayed there during my week for the first 2 days and the last 2 days. I really wasn’t bored there.
What to do in Pigadia as the starting point of your trip on Karpathos?
Enjoying a terrace by the port
Right as you enter the town of Pigadia by boat walking or driving of course you pass the many restaurants. It is a cosy part of the town of Pigadia where there is always something to see. I could regularly be found at one of the various restaurants with lovely terraces and, of course, ice cream parlours. You can find traditional taverns but also international cuisines such as hamburgers or a tasty pizza.
Shopping in the main shopping street of Pigadia
Going up one street, seen from the port, you walk straight into a cosy shopping street. From tourist shops with souvenirs to cute clothes shops and fine coffee shops. I found it a cosy little street and often walked through it in search of something to eat, a face mask or conditioner for my hair. After travelling for a while, you run out of stuff and a shopping street like this with small supermarkets and the pharmacias is very nice. Of course, they sell many products with olive oil like soap, shampoo etc.
Enjoying the beach of Pigadia
Taking a swim in the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean sea around the island of Karpathos? You can have a wonderful time at the sandy beach near Pigadia. The beach is no less than 2.5 to 3 km long and the entire bay covers as much as 4 km. Pigadia Beach is divided into Limniatis beach, Afoti beach and Vrontis beach.
There are many areas with sunbeds, so you can rent one for a small fee. If you just want to go for a swim and lie on your towel on the beach, you can still do so in most places. Without having the idea that you’re between sunbeds…
Church Evangelistria in the shoppingstreet
It is an imposing building when seen from the harbour in Pigadia. In the shopping street, I had walked past it like this several times without noticing it. I was lucky enough to be there on Pentecost and the church was open when I was there. Classical singing was being played and at first I felt like I had walked into a service.
The church, like most churches here in Greece, is full of beautifully coloured murals and many statues. Everywhere, I also see the small iron plates hanging with limbs or people on them. These are used to ask the God for help in some area of life.
Town hall ‘Eparchio’
Eparchio town hall is a striking building in Pigadia. Good to see from the harbour and I was sitting opposite the town hall in the Hotel Atlantis and so had a view of it. The town hall was built by Italians between 1926 and 1936. It is an imposing building with beautiful subways and arches that give vistas. It seems deserted and I did not see much movement there. In the evening, Alexandros Papagos square in front of it is always busy with local youth and/or parents with small children cycling around and playing.
Archeological museum Pigadia
The archaeological museum is also in the adjacent building. It is not so noticeable at first but if you look on the left side you will see entrance. It is located on the beach side. By the stairs as you go towards the beach you can get behind the building. A small terrace with lovely views over the sea.
It is a small museum with many archaeological exhibits. You can read about the island’s history and how people used to live on the island.
Stadium – Poseidonion
It is located to the right of the town hall, overlooking the harbour. Lovely to sit there for a while, in the shade and with a nice cool breeze on a hot afternoon. You have a view over the whole harbour and the life that goes on there.
Hiking to the highest spot of Pigadia
If you look towards Pigadia from the harbour, you will see a rocky point with a flag on it. It’s a nice walk you can do quickly, passing two little churches along the way. It takes half an hour to an hour. So I wanted to walk there of course. The first time I tried it from the village itself. I went up too early from the shopping street. I ended up walking into a dead-end street.
There I asked a resident and he pointed down another street. The most convenient way is if you go up from the harbour, on the far left or between the last restaurants you can also go up. It’s just one street up and follow it to the left. This will take you to the first church with cemetery overlooking the sea, all the way to the tip. Then you can continue up the mountain there and get to the other church.
From the second church, you can just walk further up the mountain. Vaguely, you do see a path of other hikers who did the same. And then you are eventually rewarded with this beautiful view.
Hiking to the church Agia Kiriaki
I did find this a really nice route to walk. When I just arrived in Pigadia, I already read that this is a route to do when you are in Pigadia. The first time when I was on my way to Agia Kiriaki, it started raining. The second time, on my last day on Karpathos I decided to try it again. Now I started the other way round. So up from the village, into the nature reserve and straight across the mountain so you get right to Agia Kiriaki. Really, what cool views! So when you walk up, you have to look back every time!
If you navigate from Pigadia on this GPS then you can walk up from there to the right so you get the view below.
Maps.me will also use this route if you use it.
After Agia Kiriaki, the paved road begins. I also found this nicer walking downhill than the way there would be, all loose stones. The first stop down was the nice viewpoint opposite the Panagia Larniotissa monastery. That monastery was not accessible but the viewpoint was nice!
There I met a Swiss who was also travelling alone. Handy to take a photo of each other. (Later that week I met her again and we had a cup of coffee together)
Onwards again you come across a memorial and then a little later another little church. The first time I had come to this church, St Zachariah’s Church. That’s half an hour’s walk from Pigadia. If you then walk further again you come across the Chiesa Greco Ortodessa church. This is a small church and was closed when I was there. Here you can still descend to a small beach, Agios Petros Beach is called it on Google Maps.
Shortly after this, you walk back into civilisation. Opposite the large resort (Sound of the Sea) that sits there, you can go up another flight of stairs. There is also a nice little church there but this too turned out to be inaccessible. The fence was closed.
Hike to mountain village Menetes
You can also book the walk through the valley at Art and Walk so you don’t have to walk alone. I also did this on my first day in Pigadia. This so I got a bit more insight into what the island looks like and how the walks are marked out. Also, I could then ask any questions I still had to Swedish Thom, the guide and owner of Art and Walk, together with Dutch Renate.
This walk is also easy to do yourself if you turn on the app maps.me and look carefully where the unpaved roads are. To start, you can walk to the beach at the town hall, where you will soon find the first sign for walkers.
Menetes is about 6.5 km from Pigadia and can be walked in 2 hours. Make sure that if you go via dirt roads you turn left in time so that you enter Menetes walking on the left side. The route in maps.me runs via the right side but it is no longer accessible.
GPS where you no longer have to follow maps.me and turn left.
I spent a week on the island of Karpathos, and of that, almost 4 days in and around Pigadia. I only explored a small part of the island of Karpathos. Read my blog about the 3 days I hiked on Karpathos. Maybe you too are planning a trip to this island on your next trip to Greece. I could easily stay here an extra week or 2 to visit some more villages. I found the atmosphere super nice on the island.
Stay in Pigadia
The days I was in Pigadia I stayed at the Atlantis hotel. Right opposite the town hall and therefore between the harbour and the beaches. I thought it was a perfect place. And a plus is that they had a nice little pool. I had a room there at the back and at the front with balcony and but also a room by the pool. All the same rooms. Disadvantage of being by the pool is that there are people sunbathing on your ‘terrace’. So privacy is a little less at the pool.
There is an airport on Greece’s small island of Karpathos. Most flights go with a stopover in, say, Athens but I saw that Tui flies there directly from The Netherlands. Of course, that’s totally super! It’s a 4-hour flight from Amsterdam to Karpathos.
Harbour Karpathos – Pigadia
I came in by ferry from Rhodes (2h) and I continued on to Crete (4h) after this island. Of course, this is also a fine option if you are staying a bit longer on one of those islands. As a getaway from another island just a few days to Karpathos and do some nice challenging hikes.
What does surprise me about Greece is the following. I had not been to Greece for over 20 years but very many innovations have not been made it seems.
What I do find typical of Greece…
When I was there more than 20 years ago, we were not allowed to flush toilet paper down the toilet. It still is. There are signs and texts everywhere saying that Greece’s sewers still can’t handle toilet paper. I thought this was an Asian thingy still and nothing else.
Also I think the hotels and restaurant are all pretty neat, but it is sometimes like stepping back in time. I always have that in Germany or Austria too but have a more modern feeling/idea. Here, everything is really dated but tidy.
The plastic era hasn’t end here yet
What I also noticed is that there is still a lot of plastic. Nowhere did I get an alternative straw …almost everywhere I was offered a plastic straw. Also, if you order coffee to take away, you get the plastic lid on it, you can’t choose not to take it as is usually the case with us. By the way, they put the sugar in for you here too. In supermarkets it is still quite normal if you need a plastic bag. They don’t ask but they are there for you to grab.
On the other hand, you can pay with pin and contactless everywhere. Only in the small villages this can sometimes be a bit tricky. But I had no other problems with that. I did make sure I kept some euros in my wallet just in case.
What to do in Pigadia – Karpathos, Greece
I had a wonderful time there.
If you also have plans to visit Karpathos then save these tips in your favourites.