Kastellorizo (Kastellorizoi, Megisti) or Castellorizo is a Greek island and municipality located in the southeastern Mediterranean. Kastelorizo island fringes of the Dodecanese, this tiny island is fiercely Greek but infinitely hospitable. This perfect gem of an island lies just 800m from the Turkish coast, but it is ineffably Greek. On the map, it appears a mere speck in the Mediterranean, yet for eons it lay on the crossroads of all the major civilisations.
Where is Kastelorizo island
Kastelorizo, the smallest of the Dodecanese islands, is the most eastern island of Greece, barely one nautical mile from the Turkish mainland.
How to get to Kastelorizo island
In summer Olympic Air offers every day flights except Thursday. The plane is a DASH 8 with 37 seats. It leaves Rhodes and the duration of the flight is 25 minutes.
All the ferries come here from Rhodes harbor every Monday and Friday and it take around 4 hours. Even the ones that come here from Piraeus pass by Rhodes island. You can travel with Blue Star direct from Piraeus to Kastellorizo and take a cabin.
It prospered, too, as you will see from the impressively restored mansions that line the port and only town, and from the red castle nearby that gave the island its name. Most important, Zeus, the god of hospitality, still reigns here and the locals will make sure your holiday is memorable. Welcome to Kastelorizo!
Things to do and see in Kastelorizo
Kastelorizo, the setting for Mediterraneo
This is where the 1991 Oscar-winning film Mediterraneo was shot, catapulting the island from obscurity to world fame. Audiences were entranced, not only with its beauty but with the open-heartedness, laid-back ambience and positive energy that shone through on celluloid. Kastelorizo has a viral power: stories and legends pass down from generation to generation and from country to country. And the backdrop is always the same: the deep blue of the Aegean. When you leave, you’ll also want to share your impressions of the island of the Red Rock.
The harbour: a technicolour amphitheatre
Lined with handsome old houses, Kastelorizo’s little harbour could be an advertisement for Dodecanese architecture. Two-storeyed, painted with vivid colours – not white – they climb the hill behind it like tiers in an amphitheatre, with the sea as the stage. Its different neighbourhoods – the Centre, Pera Meria (or Palameria), Kavos – still retain the atmosphere of a century ago.
Small island, long history
A stroll round to the older part of town is equivalent to an intensive history lesson. In Kastelorizo you’ll find a plethora of significant sights and attractions. Start at Kastello Rosso, where the castle erected by the Knights of St John on the russet hill, takes you back to the 14th century.
Climb the narrow iron staircase to where the Greek flag flutters for a wonderful view of the harbour. Below the castle is the beautifully preserved Lycian tomb, in haut-relief carved out of the rock. East of it lies the picturesque port of Mandraki and above it is the church of St Constantine and St Helen, the island’s cathedral with gothic features built on the site of an early Christian basilica.
A trip to the Blue Caves
Some say this is the most stunning grotto in the Mediterranean. Arriving here by boat, you may agree. By some magical means, the sunlight reflected at the back of the cave paints the water an unbelievable shade of Aegean blue, which can be neither described nor captured in photos.
Beaches of Kastelorizo island
There are a few beaches here, and it is a good idea to take a walk and find your own little bay. The only way for a swim is diving from the cliffs, platform and even the harbor. A good solution are the boats that can take to to the few beaches of the surrounding islands (Ro, Agios Georgios and Stroggyli).
At Pharos, where a small pier allows for boats to approach as well as at Plakes, within 20 min. walk to the north. At Mandraki, a narrow stripe of sandy beach. More beaches to be found at the islands of Ro – two concave stripes of sand – Aghios Gheorghios and Strongyli. For the daredevils: swimming within the Blue Cave (alias Cave of Phokialis), accessible by boat.
- Ro (West Kastelorizo): On Ro islet lies the only worth-while beach of the entire area.
- Mandraki (East Kastelorizo): A small beach with little sand and pebble next to the harbor.
What to do in Kastelorizo
Wuthering heights up at Ai Giorgi
275, 276, 277… only a few more steps to go. You’re climbing the steep path from Horafia to the top of a high hill for a reason. Not only will you be rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view but you’ll also find yourself at the fortified monastery of Ai Giorgi tou Vounou (St George of the Mountain).
The Lady of Rho, a legend in our times
The islet of Rho (also called Agios Georgios or Rhopi) lies to the southwest of Kastelorizo. For Greeks it has special, symbolic importance thanks to a remarkable woman, Despina Achladioti, who lived there completely alone for 40 years. What started as a patriotic act of resistance during the Nazi Occupation continued until her death. Every morning she raised the Greek flag on this remote outpost and took it down every evening as the sun set. Any would-be invader would have to contend with her first.
Ancient Museum of Kastelorizo
You’ll find a remarkable collection of artefacts from ancient and Byzantine times here, as well as pieces of local craft that will initiate you into the traditions of the island.
Where to stay in Kastelorizo island
Kastelorizo Hotels, Kastelorizo is a secluded island in Dodecanese Greece, considered an alternative destination of the Aegean Sea. Look and search Kastelorizo accommodation, rooms, hotels apartments, studios and pensions.