Apella beach, Karpathos © Kostas Limitsios
From Rhodes it is a short ferry crossing to the hospitable island of Karpathos where the clock has stood still in the delightful village of Olymbos in the south. Here the locals go about their business much as they did in Homer's time, wearing their traditional costumes and preserving their language and culture, partly with the aim of attracting tourists but also because they are proud of their heritage and want to preserve local customs. They are particularly proud of their unique houses, built of carved stone and decorated inside with gorgeous embroidery and other colourful folk art décor. The island has great beaches and unspoilt villages and is a pleasure to explore, with a picturesque bay and a monastery at Kyra Panagia, the Diafani village on a promontory to the north, and forested mountains. Karpathos is also renowned for its feast days and weddings. Visitors who happen to catch one in progress will usually receive a warm invitation to join the festivities. Just four nautical miles from Karpathos is the smaller island of Kassos, linked by ferry, which has a tiny community of fishermen still living the way they have for centuries.