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Discover Karpathos Through Ecotourism

Karpathos is arguably one of Greece’s best kept secrets. While Mykonos and Santorini draw in hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, just 233 km/ 145 miles northeast of the island of Crete, Karpathos lies untouched with some of the world’s best beaches to snorkel in and enough rugged trekking cliffs to keep your adrenaline going. Karpathos is the perfect place to discover through ecotourism experiences, bringing you closer to the island’s untapped nature and its enduring traditions and rich cultural heritage.

Ecotourism promotes the conservation of nature and the well-being of the local people, a principle that runs deep on the island. Taking part in ecotourism experiences on Karpathos is the perfect way to explore the island, while also contributing to its sustainable development.

Here are a few examples of the activities that Karpathos has to offer.

Trekking and imagining the old way of life
Upon arrival to Karpathos, you don’t have to go far to venture into the wild wilderness of the island where shepherds once lived off the land. Exploring Northern Karpathos and its Natura 2000 protected areas is far out of the ordinary. Here you can trek by foraging goats and sheep to the uninhabited town of Argos passing by secluded caves and breathtaking viewpoints by the sea.

Low impact activities
A visit to Saria Island, a short speedboat ride from the mainland of Karpathos, is a can’t miss opportunity. Karpathos is home to some of the best water visibility on earth, making snorkeling in Palatia bay’s glittering blue waters a great option for ecotourists looking for a low-impact activity. Wild donkeys roam the land and limestone cliffs, attracting adventure tourists to the island’s steep hills, but the biggest treasures of the island lie under the sea. Snorkelers or divers will find an array of marine life including trumpetfish, sea urchins, grouper and even dolphins close to shore or hiding in the bay’s magnificent underwater caves.

Marine conservation
The beaches in Karpathos like those all around the Mediterranean suffer from the effects of plastic pollution, which is harmful to its unique and vulnerable biodiversity. After spending time in the water, find spots where you can help pick up litter and other non recyclable waste leaving Karpathos a little cleaner than when you arrived.

Tradition, Culture and Food: Community of Olympos
To get a peek into traditional Greek life, look no further than the village of Olympos. In Olympos you can expect to see locals in traditional clothes hard at work making hand-made Greek-style pasta known as “makarounes' ' or selling hand picked herbs. With a plethora of local vendors located in the village, Oympos is a great place to purchase an authentic souvenir, for instance from custom jewelry-maker, ND Creations, who sources their gems from the nearby beach.

The variety of ecotourism experiences available on Karpathos make it the perfect destination for those looking for adventure and responsible travel in a place that is untouched and full of beauty.

MELISSA NOVOTNY | Sea Going Green

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