Karpathos is an island of soaring mountain ranges and charming quiet beaches, with breath taking scenery and tranquillity. Situated to the east of Crete it is less well developed than neighbouring Greek Islands in terms of tourism, and it has predominately been regarded as a windsurfing Island. However from 2010 sport climbing areas have steadily been growing and there are now around 250 routes across 24 different sectors. If you like the climate and climbing on Kalymnos but dislike the crowds, then Karpathos is an excellent choice.
The rock on Karpathos is limestone with a wide range of shapes and colours. There are huge overhangs with tufas that can be found at either Leonidio or Kalymnos, vertical walls with small edges, and slightly overhanging, steep walls with slopers. The rock is sharp in places, and because climbing is new to the island there is no polish on the routes.
The two largest climbing areas on Karpathos are Adia and Yvonne, with 4 smaller ones being Kastello, Achata, Pigadia and Afiartis, as shown on the map opposite. These 6 main crags are split into 24 sectors with around 250 routes across a wide range of grades from F3’s to F8c+.
Adia is by far the largest crag on the island with many routes between F6a and F7c. Access is easy with some of the sectors being off the beach, and is therefore an ideal location for families with children.
Yvonne is the second largest area and it also has the greatest potential for opening new routes. Here there are routes across a wide range of grades including 1 sector with an amazing 30m section of overhanging tufas.
Karpathos has its own airport with regular scheduled flights to Athens. During the tourist season there are also regular charter flights from other areas of Europe. Alternatively it is possible to fly to a neighbouring island such as Crete or Rhodes and then get a ferry to the capital Pigadia.
The best time to climb at Karpathos is in the spring and autumn. It is possible during the summer though it does get very hot and climbing is limited to early mornings or late afternoon where shade can be found. During the winter months it can get cold and often there is rain.
The definitive guidebook is called the Karpathos Rock Climbing Guidebook that describes nearly 250 routes with; 65 routes between F3 to F5c+; 112 routes between F6a and F6c+; 56 routes between F7a and F7c+; and 4 routes between F8a and F8c+.
Rock climbing areas on Karpathos
|No||Crag||Total No. of Routes||Number of Routes in Grade Range|
|F5c+ and Under||F6a to F6c+||F7a to F7c+||F8a and above|
Read an article about sport climbing on Karpathos by the guidebook author.