Olymmos (Olymbos) Karpathos island

Olymbos is located in the north of Karpathos, one of the most northern villages in the island. For centuries Olymbos was isolated from the southern part of Karpathos, and it was not accessible by asphalt road until the last decade. For a long time the only connection with the outside world and with the other villages of Karpathos was the port of Diafani! From the southern parts of Karpathos (for example from Pigadia) the trip takes to Olymbos more than one hour, because the road is quite winding, and passes through a very mountainous area.

One of the most beautiful part of the village is its exceptional location. The houses of Olymbos were built on the top of a mountain and its slopes, amphiteatrically to the west and to the east both. Due to its location the village is filled with steps and narrow alleys, and the vehicles must stay on the outskirts. There is a large parking lot where cars and scooters can park, and the buses also stop there. 

Olympos photos and guide in Karpathos

Olymbos village

Traditional Olympos in Karpathos

History of Olymbos

Olymbos was founded in the 7. century A.D., when the inhabitants of the ancient Vrykounda were frequently attacked by the pirates. Vrykounda was situated in a small bay in the north, and the ruins of the village can still be seen between Avlona and Tristomo (a hiking trail leads there from Avlona). The inhabitants were leaving their land and moved into the high mountains, far from the coast. The new village was much safer from pirate attacks, but it was closed off from the world - Olymbos had no direct exit to the sea, the village left without a port. 

Olympos history of Karpathos

After the founding of Olymbos the residents lived in a much better protected place, and they preserved their traditions, customs, and dialect. These traditions came from the ancestors, the ancient Doric people. The village expanded slowly both towards the west and the eastern side of the mountain, and became most important settlement of the area. The inhabitants began to use the port of Diafani for maritime trade, and even today it is the largest port nearby. The population of the village is nowadays approx. 400., and the inhabitants live in Olymbos in the most time of the year.  

Traditions in Olympos village Karpathos

Traditions and folklore of Olymbos

The traditions are visible in every street of Olymbos. Residents dress in traditional costumes, especially women wear the precious clothes of their ancestors, which is unique not only in Karpathos island, even in Greece! There are two type of these clothes: one is for weekdays, a black coloured apron and a simple scarf around the head. If they are celebrating, the women of Olymbos wear colorful clothes and a double row of gold coins. The residents of Olymbos are very proud of their ancient traditions. Because of these interesting and very old traditions, many people said that Olymbos is a living folklore museum. 


Olymbos Karpathos

The local traditions are very important in Olymbos

In the main pedestrian street of Olymbos there are several souvenir shops with clothes, laces, t-shirts, handmade wooden utensils, with taverns and coffee bars as well. Its worth to explore other narrow alleys of the village, because there are many amazing viewpoints and picturesque views to the sea! The beautiful bougainvilleas and geraniums next to the houses, and the contrasts of the sea and the village are simply breathtaking. Sunsets in Olymbos are also unforgettable, when the sun slowly falls below the horizon. 

Best views in Karpathos, Olympos

One of the best views in Karpathos island

Karpathos best views in Olympos

Panoramic views and charming streets

Olympos traditions and folklore Karpathos

The main church of Olymbos is called the Assumption of the Virgin, and it was built in Byzantine style. The interior of the church is covered with frescoes dated from the years of the Turkish rule. Inside the curch there are many precious icons, wood carvings, and gold plated sacred objects. Olymbos is far famous from other chapels and churches also, there are a lot of religious buildings everywhere on the heights and in the valley next to the village.

The name of the settlement is known to many as 'Olympos', but the correct name is actually 'Olymbos'.

Main Church of Olympos, what to see in the village

Unfortunately today some houses in Olymbos are uninhabited because of immigration, but other houses (mainly in the center) are in pretty good condition, many of them are renovated.

On top of the surrounding mountains there are many unused windmills, because Olymbos was one of the largest producers of flour some decades ago. Most of these windmills are in ruined condition, and the residents use these buildings mostly as lumber rooms. 

Olympos windmills in Karpathos island

Windmills in Olymbos village, Karpathos

Karpathos Olymbos guide

What to see in Olymbos

  • Traditions of the village and the local folklore
  • Breathtaking panoramic views
  • Nice sunsets
  • The churches and tiny chapels
  • Family taverns of the village

Where to stay in Olymbos / recommended accommodation

Aphrodite Hotel (up to 2 - 3 guests)

Olymbos Archipelagos (up to 4 guests)

Anemos Guest House (up to 3 guests)

Kalliopis Studio (2 guests)

Irene's House (up to 4 guests)

Nacros Villa (4 guests)

Villa Nisiria (up to 4 guests) 



Olymbos views 
Exceptional views from the top of Olymbos 

Olympos village from above with windmills and best sights

Olymbos additional info

  • location: 45 kilometers to Pigadia
  • coordinates: 35.738999, 27.175382
  • can be accessed via asphalt road

View to Olympos village

Olymbos is a true hidden gem in Greece, Karpathos island

Olybos (Olympos) Karpathos traditional village


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