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A Pretty Little Island at the Edge of the Aegean

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Discover Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo is a pretty little island at the edge of the Aegean, just 800 metres from the coast of southern Turkey, and is the easternmost part of Greece. It became world famous after the film “Mediterraneo”, which was shot here, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Picture in 1992.

The island’s only settlement, built beneath the Castle of the Knights of Saint John, stands out for its superb architecture, with pastel-coloured neoclassical mansions.

It is a place of untouched natural treasures, with open-hearted people and a cosmopolitan atmosphere, which suits anyone looking for a quiet vacation in an environment of discreet elegance.

A favourite sailing destination but also a popular day trip from Turkey, Kastellorizo is emerging as one of the most enchanting travel spots in the Mediterranean.

3 memorable experiences on Kastellorizo
  1. Taking an excursion boat to the remote island of Ro, a lush green idyll with crystalline waters southwest of Kastellorizo. It is best known for the iconic Despina Ahladioti, the “Lady of Ro”, eventually its sole resident, who hoisted the Greek flag here every day for 40 years, from the period of the Nazi occupation of Greece until her death in 1982.
  2. If you choose one of the itineraries to Kastellorizo, ​​don’t miss the opportunity to make a day trip to the Turkish tourist resort of Kaş (ancient Antiphellus), to stroll around and haggle over prices at the bazaar. Make sure you have your passport with you before you go.
  3. Climbing up to the Monastery of Saint George of the Mountain, following the stone-paved path from the square in the Horafia neighbourhood. It is perhaps the most charming trail on the island.
Beaches of Kastellorizo

The island is renowned less for its beaches than for the transparency of its waters. For an unforgettable swim, choose:

  • The rocks next to the natural harbour, which you can jump off for an enjoyable dip in its refreshing emerald waters.
  • Mandraki, the only sandy beach on Kastellorizo, situated in the scenic harbour of the same name, where you can follow a swim in the crystal-clear waters with a splendid seafood meal at one of its famous fish tavernas.
  • The platforms and jetties in the areas of Faros, Kavos and Plakes.
  • The Blue Grotto, the island’s most fantastic swimming location. Floating in the tranquil waters of its vaulted cavern with stalactites hanging down from above and the blue-green sea sparkling in the sunlight is an unforgettable experience.
  • The nearby islets of Ro, Saint George, and Stroggili, which provide unique opportunities for exploration. The sea at the sandy beach of the verdant Ro is impressively like a swimming pool. Saint George combines swimming in turquoise waters with good food next to a pretty church. In Stroggili, diving into the blue-green sea with the lighthouse in the background is a special experience. All three are easy to get to by boat, with scheduled daily trips from Mandraki.
Postcards from Kastellorizo: 8 things not to miss

Kastellorizo Town
The beautiful capital of the island, a protected settlement, wins visitors over as soon as they set eyes on its unique seafront with its colourful early-20th-century mansions. It is worth discovering architectural treasures such as the Town Hall and the New Market, two jewels from the period of Italian rule, and the Santrape Boy’s School, a neoclassical building from 1903 modelled on the University of Athens. Now a primary school, it shares a wonderful pebble mosaic courtyard with the cathedral.

The Castle of the Knights of Saint John
The best part of the island to enjoy the view of the port and the the beaches of Asia Minor. Built in the 14th century on top of the red rock (Castell Rosso), the island's once imposing castle is alive through its gleaming ruins.

The Monastery of Saint George of the Mountain
This 18th-century fortified stone monastery dominates the hill leading up to the Castle, and there are magnificent views from its courtyard. The church is decorated with an early-Christian mosaic floor, while in the catacomb is a fresco of Saint Charalambos that dates back to the 18th century.

Kastellorizo Archaeological Museum
Housed in the historic “Konaki” building, an architectural jewel in the picturesque “Kavos” neighbourhood, the museum reveals the history and culture of Kastellorizo through finds dating from the ancient, Byzantine and modern periods, as well as craft items and traditional costumes.

The Blue Grotto
The largest underwater cave in Greece is a spectacular sight with its huge, vaulted cavern, numerous stalactites, and deep turquoise sea. It is also known as the “seal cave”, as it is often visited by Mediterranean seals.

At the citadel of the island’s ancient settlement, which dates from the 3rd century BC, the fascinating ruins of ancient buildings and water cisterns can still be seen. Inside the archaeological site is the Church of Saint Marina, a good place from which to watch the sunset.

The Church of Constantine and Helen
This impressive church of 1835 is particularly notable for the twelve granite columns supporting its roof. These are architectural members that were transferred here from the temple of Apollo, in Patara of Lycia (Asia Minor).

The Lycian Tomb
Carved into a rock below the Castle, this iconic 4th-century burial monument testifies to the island’s contact with the Anatolian region of Lycia, where the god Apollo was worshiped as a wolf.

Tastes of Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo is a gastronomic paradise for lovers of fresh fish and seafood, with an array of fabulous dishes including fried shrimp, octopus balls, and linguine with slipper lobster.

Other favourite specialities of the island include salantourmasi (onions stuffed with rice), goat with bread stuffing, and chickpea fritters.

If you choose one of the ferries to Kastellorizo, don’t forget to try katoumaria (pastries with cinnamon and sugar) and strava (a kind of local baklava), two traditional handmade delicacies. Cool off with a soumada almond drink.

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