Posted by: Delfini Studios - Diafani, Karpathos | June 3, 2018

Discover Karpathos: A Hiker’s Paradise and So Much More

Walk to your heart’s content If there is a hiker-paradise in the Aegean, it must be on Karpathos. Centuries-old cobblestone paths lead to forgotten ancient sites, roadless villages without electricity or other mod cons and breath-taking views. The hiking trails crisscross the island but are best in the north. Read more about the hidden gems of Karpathos…

https://www.discovergreece.com/en/greek-islands/dodecanese/karpathos

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Posted by: Delfini Studios - Diafani, Karpathos | March 17, 2018

From Alpha to Omega: Your Travel Guide to Greece

Everything you’ll need to know before, during, and for your return trip to Greece. Read it here: http://delosvacations.com/Travel-Guide-To-Greece.pdf

Posted by: Delfini Studios - Diafani, Karpathos | January 23, 2018

Travelers visit Greece. Adventure-ers go to Karpathos!

Forbes has included the island of Karpathos among the best budget places to travel in 2018, based on the preferences of tourism experts. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

DIAFANI

Photo of Diafani, Karpathos

Posted by: Delfini Studios - Diafani, Karpathos | July 2, 2015

Welcome to Karpathos: Relax, have fun and enjoy the ride!

Publication2
Featured article in The Jerusalem Post 07/01/2015

Posted by: Delfini Studios - Diafani, Karpathos | May 20, 2019

Lonely Planet’s Pick – Karpathos!

Discover the lesser-known Greek islands that will be on your radar this summer

Karpathos’ quiet, tumbling villages are well worth exploring.
Overview of hillside village of Olympos.Olympos, Karpathos is pictured above. Image by Matt Munro/Lonely Planet

Posted by: Delfini Studios - Diafani, Karpathos | April 3, 2019

Wall Street Journal’s “The Alluring Remoteness of Karpathos”

The Alluring Remoteness of Karpathos

Among the southernmost islands in the Dodecanese chain, the Greek island offers crystalline waters and endless bays

A quiet harbor on Karpathos ALAMY

Karpathos, Greece

SNORKELING A METER above the seabed, an excited 7-year-old is tugging on my ankle. I twist to see my son act out an aquatic pantomime of agitation, eyes bulging behind his mask, a finger stabbing down through the seawater to point at…What?

The water is so clear we can make out distant swimmers churning their legs on the opposite end of the cove. A school of blue-lined sardines sweeps around us, startled by my son’s splashing to slip away over the rocks like a lady’s scarf caught in the wind. A lone bright silver sea bream streaks off into deeper blue, its black half-moon tail slicing the water in a burst of energy. Dentex and rainbow-colored wrasse snuffle the white sand below, stirring up a meal, while tiger-striped gobies lay among the rocks, waiting to snap the smaller fish up in turn.

Any one of these could capture my attention. What, exactly, has captured his?

We were exploring a cove in Amoopi Bay, one of several limestone-lined turquoise pools of water on the Greek island of Karpathos, which feels as if it were destined to showcase them. Among the southernmost islands in the Dodecanese chain, it is deep in the heart of the Aegean Sea. There is no way to stumble onto Karpathos; you have to make an effort to get here.

The distance from the rest of the world, however, is part of the island’s distinct charm. Karpathos has an international airport, but there is rarely more than one plane parked there at a time, and reaching the island by ferry from Athens is a 20-hour, 415-kilometer affair.

Whitewashed windmills overlooking the sea. GETTY IMAGES

In addition to fewer tourists, more privacy and relatively low prices, there were few signs of the turmoil investing the rest of the country during our visit to Karpathos in August. When Greek Prime Minister George A. Papandreou set stringent economic austerity measures in place earlier this summer, the island has remained essentially free of the strikes, protests and widespread social unrest that have plagued other parts of Greece.

While the turmoil has taken a toll on stores and supermarket shelves, nearly everywhere want was met with a shrug and a smile. On an island where almost everyone speaks workable English, a rapid-fire “it’s O.K.” has become a sort of island mantra. There’s no coffee on the shelf? “It’s O.K. It’s O.K. It’s O.K.,” responds a clerk in a single breath. “Next week.”

Geographically, Karpathos comprises mostly coastline — a thin, 47-kilometer long sliver of mountains jutting up out of the Mediterranean like an exclamation point. Fewer than a dozen small, brightly painted towns dot its arid hillsides, and none is more than a few minutes’ drive away from a beach.

In Pigadia, the island’s capital, only a handful of small fishing boats are docked at the port, as well as bigger vessels, with names such as “Vasily’s Love Boat” and “Private Karpathos Pleasure Cruise” that for €7 to €20 will take you on a day tour to popular beaches.

Part of the reason so few boats berth in its waters is the meltemi, a constant summer wind so strong it bends pine trees over permanently into bonsai-like sculptures. This strong wind makes mooring along the island’s coast difficult at best, but keeps temperatures generally lower than on other Greek isles. During the third week of August, when most of Greece was in the grip of a heat wave, the meltemi died down and temperatures on Karpathos promptly shot above 40 degrees centigrade during the day. “We never have heat like this,” complained Nina Ekizoglou, owner of Nina’s Studios, a restaurant and hotel complex in Amoopi. “Without the wind, we’re all suffering!”

A priest walks through the town of Olympos. GIJS DE KRUIJFF

The coast itself is a collection of water-worn escarpments, creating an endless succession of individual coves and bays. There is a beach for every flavor, from the small, rocky and abandoned for people in search of privacy, to broad, sandy and serviced for sunbathers who like to people-watch. Our tourist map showed 68 official beaches. Adding the unmarked and unnamed beaches would easily push that number into the hundreds.

But whether deep and craggy, smooth and sandy, level and rocky, or vast and shallow, these beaches all have one thing in common: extraordinarily crystalline water. Snorkeling the coast of Karpathos is like swimming in liquid glass.

Sabrina Locatelli, 39, a tourist from Monza, Italy, and an experienced scuba diver, was on her first diving trip to Karpathos. “There are some marvelous rock formations here, including underwater caves and grottoes,” she says. “You don’t have the variety of sea life you’d find at a tropical destination, but the water is crystal-clear and there’s still plenty to see. Best of all, there are so few tourists that most of the time you’re alone.”

Despite its beautiful waters, Karpathian culture is concentrated on land rather than the sea. Evidence of this can be found in the food served in its restaurants, where meats such as lamb, chicken and pork play a leading role. Tender spiced skewers called souvlaki, feta-cheese-stuffed hamburgers called bifteki and a range of oven-roasted meats with potatoes, green beans, eggplant and tomatoes can be found on every menu.

Seafood dishes are walk-ons, limited to the rare grilled octopus, fried calamari, tiny Karpathian shrimp or sardines, and occasional fish fillets, more often than not accompanied by little asterisks that lead to small print reading “some ingredients may be frozen.”

During our two-week-long stay, we ate several meals at Nina’s Taverna, which specializes in traditional Karpathian meals. We enjoyed classic Greek salads, tzatziki, a traditional dish made with yogurt, cucumbers and garlic, as well as tender pork roast lined with grape leaves and filled with fresh sweet Karpathian goat cheese. Like at almost all restaurants on Karpathos, there were makarounes, a whole-wheat pasta dressed with fried onions, olive oil and aged feta, and saganaki, a pan-fried fresh goat cheese.

Nina’s Taverna is run by Apostolis Ekizoglou, 30, while his brother Leftekis, 26, oversees the kitchen. Both moved back to Karpathos after studying and working in large hotels in Athens. “I like it much more here. Life is easier, no stress,” says Apostolis Ekizoglou, gesturing out from the restaurant terrace to the vast blue Amoopi Bay below. “We serve the traditional foods, but my brother studied as a chef in Athens, and he likes to surprise people.” The surprise that evening was a delicious lamb stuffato, cinnamon-flavored roasted lamb served on a bed of pinoli-shaped pasta.

7-year-old Michelangelo Maines builds a sandcastle on Michaliou Kipos beach. AARON MAINES

Two days later we took an afternoon to drive up to Olympos, a mountain town in the north of the island, where centuries-old traditions still reign supreme. The 27-kilometer road leading up to the town was all dust, gravel and potholes, but cranes and massive construction machines parked along the roadside spoke of asphalt to come.

In the town square, Massimo Oneglia, 39 years old, a lawyer from Milan, Italy, mused about the changes he’d seen the island make in just a few years. He returned to Karpathos this summer with his wife after an initial visit in 2005, and found it surprisingly modernized. “You can drive almost everywhere now,” he said. “When we first came here none of the secondary roads were paved. We had to rent a motorbike just to get to beaches like Apella and Agios Nikolaos.”

In Olympus the surroundings remained reminiscent of a time long ago with its whitewashed cement walls — common to many of the Greek isles — and an elegant bell tower cupola outlined in blue, bright red geraniums and fuchsia bougainvillea. Elderly women dressed in traditional garb of black, billowing dresses with crisp white shirts and vests of colorful cloth, skillfully sold handmade olive oil and honey soaps that the island is famous for to interested tourists.

A visit a few days later to Menetes, a hilltop town located at the center of the island, coincided with Panagia, an annual religious festival. In keeping with tradition, tourists were genuinely treated as honored guests and pressed by locals to accept thick slices of home baked bread, the crusts constellated with sesame seeds and fragrant anise, then roasted bell peppers, black kalamata olives, white wine and cloudy, iced glasses of ouzo. When we returned to the town the following evening to dine at a restaurant that had caught our eye during the festival, we found it still full of life, with children chasing each other up and down the town’s narrow alleys, and old men drinking ouzo and arguing about soccer outside the cafe in its main square.

The streets leading to Menetes were all paved, and satellite dishes sat atop almost every house. For all its modernization, there was nothing cynical about Menetes, no hint of the commercialization of Karpathos we’d found in Olympos.

Nevertheless, the greatest delights lay down below, off the coast and underwater.

In the bay in Amoopi, my son finally managed to direct my attention to what he’d seen: a dark green, black-speckled Mediterranean moray eel coiled near the edge of a vast rocky plateau barely a meter beneath us.

We followed the moray as it swam out over the edge. The plateau dropped dizzyingly away to white sand and seabed at least six meters below, where every individual rock, urchin, seaweed and seashell was clear in the bright sunlight. With a kick of our feet we’d flown off a mountain’s edge and out over a vast aquatic valley, no seatbelts required.

Returning to the surface to clean our masks, my son’s face was radiant. “Dad!” he exclaimed, “it’s just like flying, but in the water!”

ON THE ISLAND

Where to stay

The Apolis features luxury accommodations including a beautiful terrace restaurant and pool overlooking the bay. During peak season, double rooms range between €100 and €120 per night, including breakfast.

+30-22450-81200

www.apolis.eu

Nina’s Studios provides studio apartments with kitchenettes — traditionally a popular solution across Greece — and is located just above picturesque Kastelia Bay. Double rooms from €50 per night, including breakfast at Nina’s Taverna, which serves a variety of Greek and Karpathian specialties.

+30-22450-81006 studios

+30-22450-81044

tavernatavernanina@hotmail.com

The Aegean Village provides both full hotel services and independent suites with kitchenettes, and is located directly above Amoopi Bay. Double rooms start €90 per night, including breakfast.

+30-22450-81194

www.aegeanvillage.gr

A plate of makarounes, a traditional Karpathian whole-wheat pasta dressed with fried onions, olive oil and aged feta at Nina’s Taverna. AARON MAINES

Where to eat

Rina, a restaurant located on the main road between Amoopi and the airport, is famous for its excellent Karpathian dishes such as makarounes and roast lamb.

+30-22450-91051

In Menetes, Pelaga Taverna serves excellent Karpathian fare at tables set up outside on the main square.

+30-22450-81135

What to do

In Pigadia, the Karpathos Diving School provides training courses, tours and equipment to divers.

www.diveinkarpathos.gr

On the southern tip of the island, Club Mistral Karpathos provides windsurf stations, training and equipment.

www.windsurfing-karpathos.com

 

Posted by: Delfini Studios - Diafani, Karpathos | April 3, 2019

Rock Climbing in Karpathos

Read a rock climber’s experiences in Tampuon (Tampuan) in Cambodia, Akha in Laos and Hmong in Vietnam. His next stop? Karpathos! Read more: https://explorersweb.com/2019/03/31/ethnic-and-climbing-travel-across-the-continents/

Adia – the biggest climbing sector in Karpathos Island. 

Photo: Lukasz Bartoszewicz

Posted by: Delfini Studios - Diafani, Karpathos | June 18, 2018

Germany Launches Direct Flights to Karpathos

Read more here

Posted by: Delfini Studios - Diafani, Karpathos | March 24, 2018

Wonder Women

Yiayia and my sis

Have you seen the movie yet?! I thought it was pretty amazing. My sister and I planned a month ahead of the premiere to see it. I even took the day off from work to be in New York with my sister. Priorities, ya know?

Being that March is women’s history month and we celebrated International Women’s Day a few weeks ago (yes, of course it’s everyday…), I’d like to dedicate this post to my Wonder Woman: Yiayia Kalitsa

Yiayia’s Utopia

She opened the first bed and breakfast in Diafani, built it brick by brick with my grandfather. She was the reservationist, the housekeeper, general manager, food and beverage manager, accountant, saleswoman, owner… every guest’s new best friend and the person they’d never forget. There are hundreds of postcards, letters, photographs and gifts sent to her over decades from all over the world to prove it.

I remember summers in Greece with my grandmother–getting to know guests from all over Europe. Listening to her speak fluent Italian always amazed me. She was joyful and generous.

Amazons

A matriarchal society, Diafani, really resembles the Amazonian society. My grandmother was a force of nature: fiercely protective of her family and a great provider. She was and still remains the hardest working person I’ve ever known. She never finished elementary school yet she was an entrepreneur and successful business owner all in her own right. Nothing could stop her from selling those “rooms, mor’e, rooms, rooms” and nothing compared to the warm and inviting environment only she could create.

The Heroine & connecting the dots

My grandmother’s life was extended 12 years because of successful surgeries that only The Johns Hopkins Hospital in the U.S. could perform. It was within those 12 years that I truly got to know her, love her and realize by her example what dignity meant. Years later, I worked at Hopkins and helped patients just like her.

After she passed, I was able to recognize other wonder women. I’d see her positive qualities that I admired in them and would connect those people with my yiayia. My sister especially. The first time I read Proverbs 31, I cried because those verses were my grandmother. I still do because she was exceptional.

The last battle

She was strong. She’d hide her suffering. As evident as her physical suffering was, she didn’t want anyone to worry about her. When she had greeted me at the port upon my arrival, she was so weak and thin that she fell forward from the wind. The strongest person I’ve ever known wasn’t strong enough to walk me to the port and see me off as she did every summer. She asked my maternal grandmother to come from Olympos to do so in her place. I always saw that as a passing of the torch.

The Lasso of Truth

Not too long ago, I told someone that I thought her dad would have been so proud of her – I was so taken aback by her reaction when she got teary eyed. I didn’t really get it at that moment, but after a long while it clicked… if someone ever told me my yiayia would have been so proud of me, that would be my reaction too. If I can make a Proverbs 31 Wonder Woman proud, I know I’m doing something right.

-k.e.l.

Posted by: Delfini Studios - Diafani, Karpathos | July 8, 2015

What Crisis?

What Crisis

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