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My Favourite Planet > English > Europe > Greece > Dodecanese > Kastellorizo
Kastellorizo, Greece Activities on Kastellorizo   page 4

Kastellorizo island at dawn

View of the north of Kastellorizo at dawn from the Turkish resort of Kaş.
Kastellorizo is a small island, and although this limits the activities available, there are plenty of things to see and do for those who are active, curious and not content with just sunbathing, eating and drinking.

Possible activities include:

• walking and sightseeing

• caving

• swimming and snorkling

• boats and cruises around the island, to the Blue Grotto
   and the islands of Ro and Stroggyli

• eating and drinking

You can also make daytrips the nearby Turkish resort of Kaş.
For ferry information see Kastellorizo page 3: getting there.

See also our Kastellorizo photo gallery with 260 pages
of photos and detailed commentary.

Travelling around Kastellorizo

Roads on the island are limited to the north coast around the main town, the smaller harbour Mandraki, to the northeast corner at the cape Megalos Niftis and to the airport 3.5 km southwest of the main town. Otherwise there are a few dirt tracks and several paths over the rocky landscape.

Around the town itself, the quay which curves around the main harbour is cluttered with the tables of bars and restaurants and the drying nets of the fishing boats. The backstreets are narrow and often stepped. A wonderful traffic-free haven.

It is therefore pointless to take a vehicle unless you live in it. Bicycles and motorbikes are equally useless here beyond the main settlement, even for adventurous bikers.

A taxi and minibus serve the public transport needs of the island, mainly to carry passengers to and from the airport. Some remoter parts of the island can be reached by boat.
National Greek flag at My Favourite Planet

Kastellorizo photo gallery at My Favourite Planet

photo gallery

with 260 pages
of photos and
detailed commentary.

Detailed maps of Kastellorizo island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

maps of

including a large
detailed map
of the island.
Walking and sightseeing  

Walking around the built-up areas around the main harbour of Kastellorizo is a delight, especially in the morning or late afternoon. Some of the sights, including the ancient monuments and two museums, are listed on page 5: sights on Kastellorizo and featured in the photo gallery.

The mass of the island is a triangular clifftop plateau south of the main town. It is hilly, rocky and can be hard going in the summer heat. To the northwest is a 2.5 km long, hilly peninsula, with a dirt track built by the military to the chapel at Cape Agios Stefanos. Along the way are a couple of tiny beachy coves which are much easier to reach by boat than by foot. See photos on gallery pages 11 -14.

Sturdy shoes are a must if you intend to explore on foot, and since there are no other villages or surface water, take plenty of water with you. A good flashlight is also recommended in case you don't make it back to town before dark.

The plateau can be reached either via the steps up the cliff south of the town, or from the road which leads to the Paleokastro (old castle) and Mount Vigla (270 metres, the island's highest point) southwest of the town.

The island is dotted with chapels, traces of ancient ruins, old farms, abandoned vineyards and entrances to deep subterranean limestone caves (see caving below). Goats wonder the hillsides, spiders weave huge webs among the trees and bushes, butterflies flutter by and seagulls screech high above. Although we neither saw or heard any, other birds and critters presumably inhabit the hinterland. Vegetation is sparse and generally scrubby, but there are some pine and olive trees, various bushes and wildflowers according to season.

The landscapes are raw and the views over the Mediterranean spectacular. The views across to the Turkish Lycian coast are particularly dramatic as the massive landmass of Anatolia and its Taurus mountain range end abruptly in high cliffs which plunge into the sea.

As yet we have found no detailed maps or walking guides to the island, but a good walking guide for the harbour, "Kastellorizo - Harbour/Limáni Walking Guide" (see page 8: further reading), published by the Australian Friends of Kastellorizo, is available from the tourist information booth at Kastellorizo harbour.
  goats on Kastellorizo island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Swallowtail butterfly Kastellorizo island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Young seaull on Kastellorizo island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Sunset on Kastellorizo island, Greece at My Favourite Planet
Apart from the two sea caves on the east coast of Kastellorizo, the Parasta Sea Cave (the Blue Grotto, see Sightseeing) and the Kolones Cave, the island has several deep subterranean limestone chasms. Exploring them is a dangerous business, requiring specialist knowledge and equipment, and best undertaken as part of a caving club.

The Greek caving club SELAS explored many of the caves in 2006 and have published a report on their website: (in Greek only)

Link to SELAS report   Word document in Greek with photos and illustrations.
Opens in a new window.

Inside a cave after
the flashlight
batteries run out
Swimming and snorkling  

The sea around Kastellorizo really is crystal clear. There a couple of tiny beaches which are difficult to access, but most swimming is done from rocky ledges, harbour quays or boats. The island's main town is so relaxed that you can sunbathe and swim from the main harbour quay, and you are never far from the next cool drink or a snack.

The harbour is deep, and beyond it the sea descends to below 300 metres within a kilometre of the coast. A good swimmer could make it to one of the islets of the north coast, though beware of currents and passing speed boats.

For snorklers, the water is full of a variety of fish, octopuses and other submarine creatures. Dolphins, monk seals and loggerhead turtles (carreta carreta) also haunt these parts. Both the latter species are rare and endangared, particularly the monk seal, of whch there are presently only an estimated 300 couples in the world.

Watch out for sea urchins on the sea bed! Stepping on their spines is an extremely painful experience.

The best locations for snorkling can be reached by the local cruise boats (see boats below).

There are no diving schools or facilities on Kastellorizo, although it is a booming business over in Kaş which has shipwrecks and a sunken city on its doorstep.
  Swimming and snorkling on Kastellorizo island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

The crystal clear Mediterranean Sea around Kastellorizo island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Sea urchin near Kastellorizo island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Messing about in boats

If you are lucky enough to have your own boat, or are able to charter one, the waters and coast around Kastellorizo and Lycia are enchanting and fascinating. In July 2009 there was hardly a lick of wind, and all sailing boats were under motor power, but when you can get the sails up it must be even more bracing. Keep your eye out for the innumerable islets and rocks along the way.

Daily boat cruises around Kastellorizo island, to the Blue Grotto and nearby Ro Island start around 20 euros per person. Private and group bookings are also negotiable. There is also a water taxi service to good swimming and snorkling spots such as Agios Georgos Island, Plakes and Cape Stefanos.

The poster (right) advertises the Barbara and Saint George Boats, which normally depart at 9 am. We were assured that there are later departures for day trippers who arrive on the ferries from Turkey at around 10.30 am.

Barbara and Saint George Boats
Further information from Captain George Karagiannis.
Anyone around the harbour can tell you where to find him.
Or phone: +30 6977 855 756
  Private sailing boat in Kastellorizo harbour, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Daily boat cruises from Kastellorizo, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Cruise boat in Kastellorizo harbour, Greece at My Favourite Planet
Eating and drinking  

Yes, we consider eating and drinking to be activities. Not as strenuous as rock climbing or paragliding, perhaps, but all that finding the right restaurant, table and waiter, deciphering the menu, not to mention chewing, conversation and people-watching... It all keeps you busy for at least an hour or two.

For such a small village Kastellorizo actually has a lot of places to eat and drink, all catering for the tourist trade. Most of the restaurants and bars are around the harbour front where it can get get quite crowded on summer evenings.

As you would expect, all the usual Greek dishes are on offer, including a wide variety of locally caught fish plus a few local specialities.

Some visitors complain that Kastellorizo is quite expensive, while the Kastellorizians argue that just about everything has to be imported to the remote island. This is the case in many of Greece's small islands. Generally, Greece has become a much more expensive place to visit since the introduction of the Euro, and eating and drinking out can be as dear or even dearer than in northern Europe. It is ironic that it is generally cheaper to eat in a Greek taverna in Berlin than in a comparable eatery in Greece itself. But as the Greeks say, "etsi einai zoe" (that's life).

We noticed that none of the grocery stores on the island ever seemed to be open. Do you have to make an appointment to buy potatoes here? Or is this a sneaky way to force tourists into the reastaurants and bars?

Although we were staying in an apartment with a kitchen, we had nothing to put in the fridge (apart from bottles of water) and nothing to cook on the cooker. Not that we wanted to anyway, but . . .

Luckily the local municipal bakery (demotikos fournos) was open and offers a variety of fresh, tasty wares. We found their excellent spanakopitas (spinach pies) to be lifesavers as we explored the island. Otherwise sweets and drinks can be bought at the gift shops on the harbour quay.

Those who spend a couple of days or more on the island will quickly find their own favourite place to eat and drink - a place that suits their palate and wallet. No doubt the location, the view, the atmosphere and the personality of the waiter / waitress / owner may also play a part in where you choose to park your hungry frame.

If you want to get away from the harbour front there are a few places you could try:

We can recommend The Olive Garden (Elaionas), around 50 metres away from the quay in the centre of the town. Run by a couple, Monica (from Germany) and Damien (Australian Greek), the Garden has a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, good food and reasonable prices. Excellent breakfasts from 11 am. The multilingual pair also have an excellent sense of humour, for which they get extra bonus points.

Photos and further information on gallery pages 119 - 121.

Meanwhile, over in the Horafia district evenings are relatively quiet. The Mediterraneo Taverna, on the square near the Agios Georgos Tou Horafiou church (Saint George of the Fields), is a down to earth kind of place which serves good basic Greek fare.

The taverna is named after Gabriele Salvatores' 1991 Oscar-winning Italian war film Mediterraneo which was filmed on Kastellorizo. The film's popularity draws a lot of tourists here, particularly Italians. The inside of the taverna is plastered with autographed posters and other memorabilia from the movie, and the term "cashing in" springs to mind. Quite harmless really - as long as everybody is having a good time.

They didn't have a menu, but the owner recited what was available that evening. As is customary in Greek tavernas, you are invited to go into the kitchen see what's on offer. The wine comes in the usual red aliminium litre or half litre carafes (the Greeks say kilo and half kilo - miso kilo, as if they weigh the wine), and the beer is either Mythos or Amstel *. The food, service and prices were acceptable, and the quiet atmosphere of the square, surrounded by illuminated churches, is a relaxing change from the busy seafront.

* Curiously, on the island Mythos beer is served in 0.5 litre bottles, while Amstel was only available at the smaller 0.3 litre size, which works out more expensive. Both beers are produced in Greece. A waiter told us that these are the only volumes that the suppliers deliver and that local outlets have no choice in the matter. Very strange business, don't you think?
  Quayside restaurant table in Kastellorizo harbour, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Fish on a dish in a Kastellorizo restaurant, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Drinks store in Kastellorizo, Greece at My Favourite Planet

The Nea Agora market hall, Kastellorizo, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Estiatorio Restaurant, Kastellorizo harbour, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Restaurant guests, Kastellorizo harbour, Greece at My Favourite Planet

The Elionas Olive Garden estaurant, Kastellorizo island, Greece at My Favourite Planet
Further information about Greece can be found in our introduction to Greece.
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except where otherwise specified.

Additional photos: © Konstanze Gundudis

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See also
The Cheshire Cat Blog
photo essays and articles
about Greece:

Athens 1 (street life)

Athens 2 (Aristotle's Lyceum)






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