Kastellorizo’s inhabitants are a resilient bunch. Even the island’s heartbreaking final chapter of World War II did little to shake them.
Since then the town has enjoyed a renaissance as itinerant yachtsmen have discovered its azure waters. But the island’s residents haven’t lost their sense of humor or laid-back charm.
Traveling to Kastellorizo is easy – there are daily flights from Rhodes operated by Olympic Air. If you prefer to take a ferry, Blue Star Ferries operates direct routes from Symi to Kastellorizo every Tuesday and Thursday. The trip takes around four hours. Make sure to arrive at the port at least a half an hour before departure. The ship will dock for about 15 minutes while passengers disembark and those departing board. Be sure to charge your mobile phone before boarding!
Once a small fishing village, Kastellorizo has blossomed as a tourist destination since a 1991 Oscar winning film called Mediterraneo introduced the world to its beauty. Today the island supports a strong tourism industry and is also home to a lighthouse and a Greek military base.
The most famous thing to do on the island is visit the spectacular Blue Cave, which produces a dazzling light blue effect when sunlight hits the water and rich collection of stalactites. Other than that, you can enjoy a stroll in the main town of Horafia to see the island’s impressive architecture and two museums. The side streets are lined with colourful neoclassical houses and the town’s castle is a striking site with its ruins, minaret, and awe-inspiring panoramic views.
Those who want to explore more of the island can hop on a boat to visit the islet of Ro or the southwesternmost part of the island. The islet of Stroggyli is also a popular day-trip as it was once the home of Despoina Achladioti, “The Lady of Ro” (1898-1982).
The cosmopolitan island of Kastellorizo is a place where you can indulge in all kinds of pleasures. Go shopping in the boutiques, eat your way through the delectable restaurants or just relax with a cup of coffee in the main square.
The most famous attraction is the Blue Cave, a natural phenomenon known for its light blue colour and rich collection of stalactites. This stunning formation is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world, and it is a must-visit for all!
Other highlights include the small, but fascinating museum, housed in a former Ottoman mosque. It reflects the island’s diverse history and the unique artistic influences left behind by the different populations that ruled it.
The town itself is charming, with its narrow, stepped streets and picturesque buildings. There is also a good choice of restaurants and seaside taverns, where you can sample the fresh fish that Kastellorizo is so famous for.
If you like to walk, it is possible to explore much of the island on foot. Just make sure to carry comfortable shoes and take water with you. You can also visit the monastery of Agios Georgios Vounou, which is located on a hill at the top of the town and offers magnificent panoramic views. Also, be sure to experience the island’s custom of ‘water of silence’, which takes place on the first day of May. It is a tradition whereby girls of the island carry jars of water to the town and then are not allowed to speak on the way back.
The crystal clear water of Kastellorizo is the perfect backdrop for a variety of seaside attractions. Sandy beaches and rocky cliffs make for cozy bathing locations, while the island’s strangely shaped bays provoke active travelers to explore them.
Families with kids will find plenty to do on the island, including outdoor activities like hiking and swimming in safe waters. Couples in search of a romantic escape will enjoy Kastellorizo’s serene ambiance and picturesque landscapes.
History buffs will be fascinated by the rich cultural heritage of Kastellorizo, and the many restored neoclassical buildings and other landmarks in the island’s villages and towns. The Museum of Riddles is also worth a visit, as it is home to a fascinating collection of puzzles and brain teasers that span over four centuries of Greek history.
Kastellorizo is a great option for an island-hopping adventure in the Dodecanese, as it is well-connected with other Greek islands via ferry. Check out Ferryhopper’s Map of ferries to see all the different options available, and book your trip to Kastellorizo online! The best time to go is from May to October, when the weather is warm but the summer crowds have thinned out. During the winter months, from December to February, the weather is cooler but still pleasant. You can also find discounted ferry tickets to Kastellorizo during this period.
As one of the most quaint islands in Greece, Kastellorizo charms you with its nature and cultural heritage that blend traditions from both Eastern and Western worlds. It may not have the most action-packed attractions, but there are still plenty of things to do and see on this tiny island. Take a trip to the island’s biggest underwater cave, admire the neoclassical houses of Ro and taste the fresh fish at the seaside taverns in the harbor of Mandraki. You can also climb up to the Monastery of Agios Georgios Vounou to enjoy panoramic views of the island. Another interesting custom that you can experience is the Water of Silence, where the girls of the island carry a jar and go to fill it with water outside of the town and do not speak on their way back. This water is believed to bring good luck to the family.
Although mass tourism has not yet reached Kastellorizo, there are still plenty of hotels and rentals that will help you have a comfortable stay on this small island. Check out my 3 best areas to stay in Kastellorizo to find a place that suits your needs.