At the south easternmost edge of Greek dominion, spreads out the calm and beauty of Kastellorizo. The islands lies 72 miles east of Rhodes, 328 nautical miles from the port of Piraeus and only 2 km from the Turkish coastline. Its total surface is 9 sq. km, its coastline is 19 km and it has a population of 450 inhabitants.
On this small island that beholds a glorious past, you will truly feel you are standing right on the trade crossroad of Europe and Asia, as the Asian coastline is only 2 nautical miles away. Kastellorizo is an island with a rich nautical tradition that explains the noble air about the island that reflects its part glory and prosperity.
Kastellorizo is the harbor and only settlement of the island and it is said that it is the best natural port of the Mediterranean. All of the islands inhabitants are gathered here, in the little districts of Pigadia, Chorafia and the little picturesque port of Mandraki.
The painted in vivid colors two and three story renovated mansions, spread along the harbourline offering an unrivalled amongst other islands beauty. Just behind them lies an impressive red rock that gave the island its actual name (Castello Rosso, Castellorizo). On this little hill lie the remains of the deserted now ancient castle of the island. The island has been proclaimed to be a preservable settlement and it offers the visitor the beauty of an idyllic landscape and the nostalgia of past glory.
Due to the lack of any other settlement, there is no public transport on the island. You will visit the island of foot via by following the natural footpaths, or by boat, which is a good alternative transport means. Nearby the island’s port there are coasts ideal for swimming (Faros, Plakes, Mandraki) – the coasts of the little islets of Ro, Aghios Georgios and Stroggili are also very nice. For those of you who are visiting the island with your own boat, there is a gas refuel station on the port.
The castle of the order of St. John
It was built in the 14th century on the edge of a small slope right above the port, on a reddish rock (Castello Rosso) from which the island got its name. Today, only parts of its exterior walls and of some of its towers are still intact.
Stone-hewed Lycean tomb
It is a perfectly preserved tomb of the 4th century B.C. hewed in the stone at the foot of the Castle. It is worth mentioning that Lyceans was the name given to the inhabitants of Asia Minor because they worshipped “Apollo Lycios” where “lycos” stands for the Greek word “wolf”.
On the western side of Kastellorizo is the most ancient and important sight of the island – Palaiokastro. It is an ancient settlement with a lot of remains of buildings and water cisterns.
On its Doric Acropolis of the 3rd century B.C. there is an inscription that mentions the name of Megisti. In the area, in the location of Limenari, there are remains of the Cyclopian Walls.
It is located close to the remains of the castle and it has exhibits of great value from different periods of time as well as objects of folk art.
Do not miss to visit it.
Monastery of Saint George “tou Vounou” (of the mountain)
Having walked along the cobbled lanes of the port, it is worth walking up the 401 steps that lead to the monastery of St. George Tou Vounou.
It is situated in the area of Palaiokastro and huge natural stones surround it. Inside the monastery there is a catacomb and Saint Charalambos.
The famous aqua colored cave of Kastellorizo is one of the rarest geological phenomena and one of the most amazing formations on earth; Kastellorizo is worth visiting just for this cave.
Also known under the name of “Parastas Cave” or “Fokiali” – due to the seals (fokia in Greek) that live inside it – it is the largest and most beautiful caves of Greece while it is also considered to be the most phantasmagoric cave of the Mediterranean Sea. It is situated at south of the island, it is 75m long (inside), 40m wide and 35m high, and the entrance has the height of a small boat that can just pass through the mouth when the sea is calm at dawn.
The calm waters of the cave look like an immense blue-green mirror with plenty of iridescence, which seems to illuminate this enormous fairy-like palace, the numerous stalactites and the thousands of wild pigeons, with various colors.
Located on the SW side of the island is the islet of Ro that you can only visit by boat. Well known for its ‘Lady of Ro” who was its only inhabitant, and who for decades rose the Greek flag every morning. Still, you may visit the islet of Stroggili on which is the nautical lighthouse – the island’s only inhabitants are its lighthouse keepers. Both islets (Ro and Stroggili) offer crystal clear waters and are ideal for a swim.
At last, the visitor should know that Kastellorizo has many important feasts and celebrations. The most important one is on July 20, for the celebration of Prophet Elija. On this day the locals dive into the waters in honor of the saint.
Also, on the 13th of September there are celebrations for the Day of Independence of the island.