A Travel Guide to Kastellorizo, Greece
Although Kastellorizo has no source of potable water or fertile soil, there is some evidence that the tiny (it's less than 10 square kilometers!) Greek island has been inhabited since the Neolithic times. However, most of its history is significantly more recent.
- The Red Fortress (for which the island was named) was built by the Knights of St. John in the 14th century.
- A Lycian rock tomb, perhaps one of the oldest "structures" remaining on the island (4th century BC) lays at the foot of the red stone castle. It is believed to be the only Lycian tomb in the Greek islands.
- The Paleokastro includes the ruins of several churches and is believed to date to around the 3rd or 4th century AD.
- The monastery of St. George of the Mountain sits high above the harbour, and is connected to the town by a path / stairway of 401 steps.
- Colourful, classic Greek houses with wooden shutters and balconies face the harbour. There used to be more of these traditional homes in the town, but the island was bombed during World War II and the traditional wooden structures were destroyed in the resulting fire.
Once prosperous, the island never really recovered after World War II. However, a 1991 Oscar winning film called Mediterraneo introduced the world to the beauty of the eastern-most Greek island and tourism has been on the rise ever since. In addition to tourism, Kastellorizo supports a small fishing industry and a Greek military base.
Kastellorizo is accessible by air or by sea. The island has a small airport (KZS) offering direct flights to Rhodes several times a week. Ferries connect the island to Rhodes (2 or 3 times a week during the summer) and Kaş (daily during the summer). And of course, several Turkish businesses offer daily boat trips and charters to the islands throughout the tourist season.
Due to its composition of razor-sharp, limestone cliffs dropping steeply into the sea, the island has no real beaches for swimming and sunbathing. But the beautiful clear water in the region is home to abundant marine life, making the area popular with scuba divers and naturalists. The island's rocky shoreline is dotted with sea caves, including the famous Blue Grotto – a gigantic, stalactite -filled cavern which is home to monk seals. The cave measures 75 metres long, 40 metres wide, and 35 metres tall, but access is via a small gap just big enough for a small dinghy or rowboat - and only when the sea is calm!
The charming island of Kastellorizo, Greece offers visitors the chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy spectacular views of the Mediterranean in peace and quiet. We always enjoy our visits there, and are confident you will too!
Explorer's Map of Kastellorizo, Greece
Our explorer's map does not list bars, restaurants, and hotels on the small Dodecanese island. (They surround the main harbour and you don't need a map to find them.) Instead, it focuses on Kastellorizo's sites of cultural and historic interest, including nearly a dozen churches and shrines on the Greek island. (If you prefer a hard-copy, a free, downloadable copy of the Kastellorizo map is available for printing on A4-sized paper.)
Click to enlarge.
Kastellorizo: A Photo Gallery
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Great Sources of Additional Information about Kastellorizo (Meis), Greece
- The Slow Travel Guide: The Forgotten Treasure of the Greek Islands - Kastellorizo
- Meis: The small island with the big story
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