Karpathos tour: fit for godsKarpathos, Greece
Karpathos: Fit for Gods Tour is a fascinating self-guided audio tour in Karpathos. Discover credible and original stories about this gifted island, once believed to be gods’ residence, written by top local professionals after extended research. Take your tour now and enjoy it instantly on your smartphone device.
The tour explores the natural wonders and rich folklore traditions of an island long considered fit to be the abode of gods. The locals loved their island so much that they stole the gods from Mount Olympus and brought them here. The gods may no longer roam the countryside but the island retains its spectacular wild side and a treasure trove of traditions unique in the Mediterranean. This tour invites you to walk, sail, and drive the breadth and length of Karpathos in search of a unique experience.
First stop: Pigadia. This is the capital and main port of the island and the ideal place for an introduction to the rich folklore traditions of the islanders. You will learn about the use of manure on the floor of traditional houses and the significance of the number “seven” in the lives of newborn children. A few miles to the south is the famous beach of Amoopi, combining the azure waters of the Aegean Sea with a welcoming assortment of taverns, where you can restore body and spirit over traditional Karpathian fare.
Next comes Olympos. Not the famous mountain where the twelve gods enjoyed a life of leisure and pleasure but the quintessential village of Karpathos, a place where time seems to stand still and centuries-old traditions give meaning to local life. This is a community where women rule and cursing is a fine method to get some payback, achieve justice and address wrongs. Do not be surprised if you hear someone invoking both God and Devil to assist them.
The tour comes to an end at the rugged, arid, and totally enchanting Tristomo at the north coast, a haven for the varied and rare wildlife of Karpathos. This is a place best enjoyed on foot, so bring your hiking boots and a pair of glasses and try to find the rarest species of seagull, the rarest species of seal, and a falcon made famous by a 14th-century female judge in Sardinia.
1. Island explorerThe main town and the villages of Karpathos offer many surprises as you try to discover a past still very much alive in the local traditions, the old houses, and the voices of the elderly women.
2. A land where first-borns ruleOn the slopes of Mount Olympos (the second of his name) time seems to stand still and life preserves its traditional rhythms nested in an unforgettable landscape.
3. An isolated paradiseNorthern Karpathos is nature-lover’s paradise, as it lies on the migratory path of birds escaping the winter in northern Europe. Many rare species of birds, plants, and mammals populate the local slopes and coves.
Island explorerOn the seventh day after birth the Fates are called upon to decide who will be the child’s patron saint. Friends and relatives come to the house with delicacies and (usually) gold presents for the baby. The boy is wrapped in his father’s best suit; the girl in her mother’s best dress. The infant is placed on a bowl in the middle of the room and seven jars of honey are placed around it. Seven candles, each named after a patron saint of a neighbouring church, are stuck in the honey, blessed and lighted. The first candle to go out reveals the Fates’ selection. It will be a sacred relationship that will last throughout the individual’s life.
Local beauty rules
A land where first-borns ruleWomen had their own beauty rules and foreign girls often found themselves in trouble with their mothers-in-law over the way they looked. Local women did not pluck their eyebrows, they did not wear makeup and preferred women with dark hair. Blue-eyed girls and those who did not feel overly enthusiastic about wearing the local costumes were treated with open contempt. The dislike for brides from other lands was made explicit in local curses directed by mothers against sons who married alien girls: “My curse upon you, for marrying an alien. That shameless ragamuffin, you fool!”
An isolated paradiseEleanor of Arborea was a famous 14th-century female judge in Sardinia. She was known for her love of falcons, and Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae) honors this passion. This species of falcon spends the winter in Madagascar and returns to Karpathos in April in search of nesting grounds (coastal cliffs facing NW) and a mate. The eggs hatch in late summer and the falcon changes its diet from large insects to small migratory birds returning to Africa. The hunting birds can be seen engaged in spectacular aerial combats with their potential meal.
The team behind the stories at Clio Muse consists of a dedicated long-haired art conservator, an inquisitive bespectacled historian, a passionate feminist curator, and a gifted graphic designer with a permanent tan.
|Starting point||Limenarchio Karpathou, Karpathos|
|Finishing point||Tristomo, Karpathos|
|Areas||Pigadia, Lakki, Olympos, Tristomo|
|Opening hours||Free and accessible throughout the year.|
Why take a self-guided tour?
This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.
You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.
After downloading Clio Muse app, you can access this tour and activate it any moment you wish and also repeat it any time. To best enjoy our multimedia self-guided tour (comprising maps, video, audio and text) we recommend the use of headphones.