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AEGEAN ISLANDS

Aperi

Aperi is divided in five quarters. Many of its two-storey and three-storey houses with their well looked after flowery courtyards still maintain elements of the relatively modern Dodecanesian architecture. Aperi was the island’s capital until 1892 (besides the name of the settlement means capital in Turkish) and the seat of the bishop of Karpathos and Kasos. It is still not visible from the sea. The ravine divides the settlement in two but there are bridges connecting its neighborhoods. About two thirds of the village’s population is immigrants (the largest percentage on the island) and maybe that is the reason why the village remained the cultural centre of the island even after it stopped being its capital. It was here, specifically in Vatses, where the first elementary school opened its doors in 1806.   
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Arkasa

An extensive pedestrianization of its centre was enough to make Arkasa stand out from all the other settlements of the island. Being merely 16km away from Pigadia, this settlement’s location is as unique as the peninsula where the ruins of ancient Arkesia are situated. A dried up river, called “Ryaki”, divides the village in two neighborhoods (the “Pera” and the “Poe” neighborhood, as the locals call them), but there are bridges connecting the one with the other. It’s not a matter of luck that Arkasa is particularly favored by tourists, as you can feel its unique energy either by having a swim at the Agios Nikolaos beach or by having lunch at one of the tavernas of the nearby Finiki settlement. Even in winter, Arkasa doesn’t lose its lively atmosphere as many of its residents live there on a permanent basis.   
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Volada

Volada is a quaint village with a population of approximately 300 residents located at an altitude of 450m between Aperi and Othos at the Lastos plateau. The view from the hill at the highest point of the settlement is amazing. The feast day of the church of Panagia Plagia, the protector of the village, is celebrated every year on September 8.   
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Diafani

Diafani is the port of Olympos, the gateway to the sea, the starting point for the Steno-strait, the islet of Saria, the ancient Vroukounta and Tristomo. Tourists who want to visit Olympos without the trouble a road trip would entail arrive from Pigadia to Diafani on day-trip boats and get on a bus heading uphill. You should pay a visit to the dolphin fountain created by the famous folk artist Vasilis Hatzivasilis and his sons. Next to it you will also see the statues of women from the Olympos village looking at the sea…    
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Lefkos

Lefkos is one of the resorts of the central part of the island that are favored by tourists. However, if someone were to start digging, there would be no end to what they would discover hidden underground! Let’s start our journey from the church of Agios Nikolaos, located on the road of the settlement that leads to Mesohori. This part of Lefkos is not visible from the sea. Its architectural style is rare and externally the church has five domes. The temple has two apses and two layers of murals, the older of which dates back to around 1300AD. 
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Menetes

Looking at the village from afar you get the sense that it is stuck on the arid slope of Profitis Ilias, under enormous rocks, like an eagle’s nest. It is the only village of the island that is visible from the Rhodes Sea. Some of the best instrumentalists of the Dodecanese were born here. The holy rock with the church of the Assumption of Mary on top stands out. It was built in 1845 at the same spot where three other temples had been built. It features the miraculous icon of Panagia Vrefokratousa and some columns from the Agia Anastasia church of the Arkasa village. Everyone has a different story to tell about the holy rock and Holy Mary. However, all of them are about people that fell off the rock and were saved. The church’s arches that are covered with roof tiles can be seen from afar and the view from its big courtyard is splendid. The small church of Jesus Christ, which is over 500 years old, and the small byzantine temple of Agios Antonios are two of the things that are worth seeing in this village.   Info You can also visit the website of the Menetes Residents Association www.menetes.org
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Mesohori

This is one of the villages that are usually disregarded because few things are known about them. In Mesohori, which was founded during the Byzantine era by residents of the village of Lefkos, you will climb uphill and downhill many times. The only place you will come across any vehicles is the parking lot, as there are no streets for cars in the village. You will understand that you are standing on the southern border of the settlement when you reach the church of Jesus Christ and on the northern one when you arrive at the church of Panagia Vrysiani. Neighborhoods like Atrapiri, Badias, Potamos, Sikini and Christothei are filled with white houses, many of which are examples of traditional Karpathian architecture waiting with their doors wide open for you to gaze upon. This village also has a nice surprise in store for you: one of the biggest and most beautiful squares of the Dodecanese, the Skopi Square.  
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Othos

This village is located higher than any other on the island. At an altitude of 510m, Othos, sometimes, gets lost in the clouds! If you come to Othos, you must visit the wood carving studio of the Lyra player Giorgos Kostetsos. He makes the famous Lyra of Karpathos and other elaborate objects amid the chips and his exhibits. Giannis Hapsis, a Lyra player and mantinada teller was a significant person of the island that may not exist anymore, but the pictures he painted during the last years of his life are priceless works of art that are definitely worth checking out.   Ιnfo  The folk museum of the settlement features a fully equipped traditional Karpathian house as well as a kitchen with its utensils and a fireplace. Opening hours: every day, 10.00-13.00. For further info please call: +30 22450 31460.  
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Piles

The village has a clear view of Kasos and the mountains of Siteia and it is the least populated village of Karpathos. Its first residents moved to this location in the 17th century because their seaside settlements were no longer safe. The locals have various interesting theories regarding the reason why the village got this particular name. According to one of them, there used to be gates (“piles” in Greek) in the village or the village functioned as a gate connecting the villages of the northern part of Karpathos with the rest of the island. According to another theory, there used to be – and there still is – plenty of clay (“pilos” in Greek) in the area. According to a third one, there used to be caves (“spilies” in Greek) in the area and that is how the name of the village became Piles. The central church of the village is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. It was built in 1859. In 1917, a gynaeceum was added to the church and in 1945 the church manor and the church olive press were built.
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Spoa

Spoa is almost halfway through the road to Olympos. The village’s charm is once again its playful hide and seek with the clouds in a place where the wind never stops blowing, nor does it want to. The natural harbor of Agios Nikolaos lying at its feet is an ideal spot for all those looking for a relaxed vacation destination that reminds them of Greece in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The Eftabatousa Church is counting the centuries as they pass for Agios Nikolaos to hear. A 2km long dirt road will take you to the small church of Ai-Giannis located inside a cave, the openings of which are carved by erosion and gape like open mouths in the rock.  
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Finiki

Finiki is located almost opposite to the village of Fri and the small Buka harbor of the island of Kasos. It is the marine communication point between the two islands. The small taverns of the village offer fresh fish and there are plenty of facilities with rooms to let. Finiki is considered a safe natural harbor. The Phoenicians, from whom the village’s current name derived, had the same thought and used the village as Arkasa’s (the ancient Arkesia) harbor during the 11th century. Today, fishing boats are tied at its cement dock and right before the beach you can see the effigy of the “Immacolata” ship that set out in 1944 from Finiki with a crew of 7 brave men to convey the message of Karpathos’s rebellion to Alexandria and the Greek government.     
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