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For a Greek island, and one of the Dodecanese group, Kastellorizo is really close to mainland Turkey - just 2kms offshore from Kaş.There is a very different feel - far more Eastern with a minaret as well as pastel coloured houses and a ruined fortress. Most of the best places to stay on Kastellorizo are in the main port and largest town, Kastellorizo, which stretches colourfully around a bright turquoise bay.
Kastellorizo is known for being friendly and arid - some people say it reminds them of Symi, but without the price tag and yachts hogging the harbour. It’s also know for the Blue Grotto, one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. There are plenty of charming things about this island and its history, one of the nicest being that its official name is Megisti, meaning greatest or largest, but it’s actually the smallest island in the group. That might be part of the reason the name Kastellorizo has been used since the 12th century. Though the island supported a limited community in antiquity as it has no natural source of drinking water.
Once home to around 9,000 people, the island has suffered regular catastrophes, including an earthquake, occupation by the Venetians, Turks, French, Italians and the English - and then sustained bombing by German forces in WW2 when the Allies were leaving. But this hasn’t lessened the effect of arriving on the island, it’s a really special experience, where it feels like all the island’s treasures are laid out in front of you to clearly see.
What Not to Miss
- The Blue Cave/ Grotto, which is much larger and more impressive than its namesake on Capri. Kastellorizo has a number of impressive sea caves, but this is the most impressive. Because of the lack of water there’s not much in the way of plant life on the island and the limestone has been eroded in some dramatic and beautiful ways.
- Agios Georgios is another beautiful bay worth taking a sea taxi to. The water is crystal clear and there’s a small taverna and a fortified monastery with an incredible view.
- Off-shore are some lovely islets also worth a visit, Ro has a little sandy beach and St. George has a charming chapel.
- The Castle of the Knights of St. John, also called the Castello Rosso, is a 14th century ruin just a short hike up the eastern side of the harbour. As well as the remains of the wall there are parts of two towers, a large covered cistern and some Doric carvings and inscriptions.
- Also on the eastern side of town is the Church of St. George which has a Byzantine dome and three beautiful naves.
- To the west of town is the old castle and the ancient acropolis. Fortified and rectangular the remains also include several cisterns.
- The Museum of Kastellorizo is housed in an historic, listed building and is worth visiting to better understand the island’s history.
As with many small islands that are popular the best places to stay on Kastellorizo are quickly snapped up. So do plan ahead and book early.
The Best Places to Stay on Kastellorizo
- Mediterraneo is a colourful boutique hotel in a spectacular spot in one of the least visited corners of the Dodecanese. You can bathe in the sea just years from the hotel and the local dock has a boat which will take you to the Blue Grotto or on a day trip to Kaş.
For an Apartment or Villa
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- Most people either travel to Kastellorizo from Rhodes, or from Kaş. The ferry from Rhodes takes close to four hours, and the catamaran takes about two and a half. From Kaş the ferry takes only 20minutes. Rhodes Airport has some international connections, mostly European, but also to several Russian destinations. Kaş is midway between Dalaman Airport and Antalya Airport, so might require more transfers. But one of Kastellorizo’s charms is that it’s difficult to get to, and one of its pleasures is arriving.
- If you want to hire a car we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
- As far as the weather is concerned the best time to visit Kastellorizo is between May and October. But this is actually one of the sunniest places in Greece, so even in the cooler months they get plenty of sunshine.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Kastellorizo
Mediterraneo from $91Kastellorizo
Colourful, friendly boutique hotel in a less visited corner of The Dodecanese. No pool but sea bathing yards from the hotel, a tranquil, relaxed base.Sights nearby - Take a boat trip to the island's famous Blue Grotto. Or pop on a boat to Kas for the day - just a few miles away.Remote - One of the least known islands in the Dodecanese, just 20 mins by boat from Kas, Turkey.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Hideaway - Tranquil and intimate.