Why I Fell In Love With Kasos Island In Greece

Kasos is one of the Dodecanese islands in Greece. Here is everything you need to know about this little paradise on earth!

An introduction to Kasos island Greece

Have you ever heard of Kasos island in Greece? If you have, you definitely belong to a small minority!

Kasos belongs to the Dodecanese group of islands in Greece. It’s located between Crete and Karpathos, and is the southernmost island in the Aegean Sea.

Kasos island Greece

Its remote location, combined with its small size and relative absence of tourist infrastructure, make Kasos feel like a place from another era.

I’m Vanessa from Athens and I’ve been to over 60 of the Greek islands. Kasos was love at first sight for my partner and I, and I’m glad we got to spend 10 days there! Here is my guide to Kasos island.

Kasos: A small island with a lot of soul

Kasos, also known as Kassos, is a relatively small island. It occupies an area of 66.4 sq kms (25.6 sq m), which means it’s much smaller than other Dodecanese islands such as Rhodes, Kos or Kalymnos.

At first sight, the landscape in Kasos is rocky, dry and barren, with sparse vegetation. Look closely, and you will discover lots of bushes, flowers, capers, and many olive trees, which have all adapted to survive in the local weather conditions.

A windmill in Kasos Greece

The population of the island stands at about 1,200 people, many of whom are seamen or sailors. Others are farmers, often following the family tradition. In addition, there are hundreds of people of Kasiot heritage living in the USA, and visiting their homeplace during the summers.

The Kasiots are friendly and welcoming. They are very proud of their unique history and cultural heritage, which is intrinsically linked to the sea and naval tradition. They all seem to love their amazing island, and I don’t blame them at all!

How to get to Kasos

Kasos island has a ferry port, known as Fry. There is also a small airport, which is located very close to the port town. 

Ferries connect Kasos with Piraeus port in Athens and many of the islands. For example, there are connections with Santorini, Heraklion and Sitia ports in Crete, Karpathos and Rhodes.

A ferry at Kasos port

As an indication, the ferry from Rhodes to Kasos takes around 6.5 hours, whereas the ferry from Sitia in Crete takes just 2 hours. The closest island to Kasos is Karpathos, which is just over an hour away on the ferry.

You can check ferry routes and book your ferry tickets on Ferryscanner

Another option is to fly to Kasos. There are short flights from Karpathos, or you can book a flight from Rhodes with a quick stop at Karpathos. Total flight time from Rhodes is usually about 1.5 hours.

As the local planes to Kasos are very small and have limited seating, you should book your tickets well in advance. Depending on the time of year, this route is offered by either Aegean / Olympic Airlines or Sky Express.

Things to do in Kasos

As you’ve realized by now, Kasos is a very remote and quiet place. Here, you won’t find 5-star hotels, beach bars, swimming pools, gourmet restaurants and all sorts of tourist activities.

Sheep in Kasos island Greece

Instead, you will find a few small villages, a handful of beaches, a small number of tavernas and kafeneia, the friendly Kasiots, and about 12,000 sheep and goats. You will also find a sense of tranquility which is becoming more and more difficult to come across.

If you are intrigued, here are the best things to do in Kasos.

1. Relax and unwind

This probably sounds like a bad and worn-out cliché. Yet, Kasos is a fantastic place to relax, unwind, and not worry about how to fit several activities in one day.

Kasos is a perfect, tranquil place to get away from it all. Go to the few tavernas and cafes on the island, have a Greek coffee or a drink, and just watch the world go by!

Greek coffee in Kasos

Or, even better, strike a conversation with one of the old seamen. You will recognize them by their tanned arms and faces, and the countless tattoos on their forearms. They are many – and you will keep seeing them everywhere you go.

2. Explore all the villages in Kasos

Kasos only has a few villages – Fry, which is the main port town, Agia Marina, Arvanitochori, Panagia and Poli village. They are all well worth visiting!

Fry village is the port town and capital of the island. Here, you will find a few tavernas, kafeneia and a couple of cafe-bars, and most of the grocery stores on the island. There’s also a small bakery that sells several local treats.

Bouka in Fry port town Kasos

Walk around Fry at all times of the day, and you will get a good glimpse of local life in Kasos. Make sure you enjoy the evening views to Bouka Bay, the old pirate harbour with the pretty fishing boats.

By the way, the village’s name is pronounced more like Free rather than Fry. It comes from the Greek word Freedi (φρύδι), which means an eyebrow. Apparently, the small town is shaped like an eyebrow.

A house door in Kasos Greece

Agia Marina is the largest of the main villages in Kasos. Walk around, and take your time to explore its narrow alleys and old stone houses. There are a couple of places to eat here, as well as a market and a bakery. 

Arvanitochori is another pretty village with an incredibly local feel. Go to Kafeneio I Maroukla, in the main square, at around 15.30 or 16.00 in the afternoon. You will see the local men getting ready for a game of cards and perhaps a bit of an argument!

Local men in Arvanitochori Kasos

Panagia is a small settlement where you can see some beautiful old houses. This is the place to head to for the panigiri of Virgin Mary on August 15th – more on that later.

Finally, Poli is a mountainous village with amazing views towards Fry. A winding road leads up from Poli to the monastery of Agios Mammas, one of the windiest and eeriest spots on the island – you will feel like you are on top of the world!

3. Enjoy the local food in Kasos

Kasos may only have a small number of local tavernas, but they ALL have great food!

Apart from the well-known traditional dishes of Greece, you will also find a few local dishes as well as various types of local cheese.

Best dishes in Kasos

The best known dish from Kasos are the dourmaes, best known as dolmadakia, stuffed vine leaves made in Kasos. And while you can find some version of dolmadakia everywhere in Greece, the ones from Kasos are very special, as they are tiny and take many hours to prepare!

Kasos dolmadakia

Apart from those, here are some of the best dishes and local goodies we had in Kasos:

Sitaka – a soft, creamy local cheese which goes very well with bread, or rusks

Kouloura – a dry rusk from Kasos, which contains anise, sesame seeds, and black sesame seeds

Local cheese and rusk from Kasos Greece

Makarounes – pasta cooked with the sitaka cheese and topped with fried caramelized onions

Makarounes local Kasos dish

Pilafi – rice cooked in tomato and onion sauce, and seasoned with cinnamon

Pilafi rice from Kasos

Dishes including seafood, like for example soupiopilafo, rice cooked in cuttlefish ink

Cuttlefish ink rice from Kasos

In Kasos, you will also find lots of fresh fish that aren’t so common elsewhere in Greece, such as tuna fish, ray, and even lion fish. If you are feeling adventurous, ask around for the day’s fresh seafood, which is often eaten raw.

Also, look around for the local thyme honey, and for all the local cheeses, some of which are produced by the Vonaparti family in Agia Marina. You can find their products at the small deli shop in Fry.  

Beehives in Kasos island

Where to eat in Kasos

Our favourite place to eat in Kasos was O Mylos, a taverna overlooking Fry port, which operates year-round. We went there 5 (!) times and had many different dishes that were all amazing! In my opinion, it beats many of the best restaurants in much more famous islands!

Another place we liked in Fry was Meltemi, which is tucked away on one of the back streets. They use their own vegetables and other local ingredients, and offer some creative fish and seafood dishes that I’ve never seen anywhere else.

We also loved our meal at Kafeneio I Maroukla in Arvanitochori. As a bonus, we enjoyed looking at the locals playing a few card games, and arguing about everything.

Kafeneio Maroukla Kasos

All in all, Kasos was one of the few places we’ve been where every single meal we tried was way above average. Authentic Greek cuisine at its best – and at very reasonable prices, with most meals costing us 25-35 euros in summer 2023.

4. Explore the beaches in Kasos

I’ll be honest: Kasos doesn’t have the most visually stunning beaches in Greece. There are only a handful of beaches, and none of them are the white sandy beaches that many visitors are after.

Most of the beaches in Kasos are wild and pebbly, with shingles or larger rocks, and some of them look almost desolate. As we like natural, quiet beaches, we really enjoyed spending beach time in Kasos!

Remote Avlaki beach in Kasos

If, like me, you enjoy snorkelling, you will love the island, as there is lots of marine life. At the time we visited, there were quite a few people who went spear-fishing.

Best beaches in Kasos – North coast

One of the most popular beaches in Kasos is Emporios beach. This is a small sandy beach located to the east of Fry, where many of the locals go for a swim. There are a few sunbeds and a couple of tavernas which operate during summer.

Right on Fry, you will find the small, rather non-descript port beach which the locals call Kofteri. There are some large pebbles, but you can sit on a sunbed and get a drink from the nearby bar.

The beach in Fry town Kasos

Ammoua is another small beach, to the west of Fry. It’s shallow and has a mix of sand and pebbles. There’s a canteen which operates until early September.

Antiperatos beach is located a few kms west of Fry, past the airport. Here, you will find a few small pebbly beaches and coves, which are all affected when the meltemi wind blows. If you come here, bring everything you need with you, including shade.

Kasos beach Antiperatos

Best beaches in Kasos – South coast

The nicest beaches in Kasos are located on its south coast. To reach them, most people will need some form of transportation, though some visitors are happy to walk there and back.

The most easily accessible beach on the south coast is Helatros beach. It’s located 14 kms south of Fry, and the road leading here is entirely paved. A canteen operates there during the summer season, and closes at some point in early September.

Kasos Chelatros beach

If you are looking for more seclusion, head to Avlaki beach, which is also on the south coast of the island. Apart from taking the hiking path, you can actually get to Avlaki by car, after driving on a dirt road for a while.

My favourite beach in Kasos was Chochlakia beach. This is very close to Avlaki, and it has large pebbles, which makes sitting painfully uncomfortable. Swimming and snorkelling here was delightful though, and the landscape is really awesome.

The remote Chochlakia beach in Kasos

Tip: Google maps doesn’t show a route to Avlaki or Chochlakia, but it exists. As you are heading towards Chelatros on the paved road, pay attention, and you’ll see a small handwritten sign pointing to Avlaki. From there, it’s about a 10-minute drive down the dirt road to the two beaches.

Dirt road in Kasos

The road was fine when we visited in September 2023. However, as the condition of dirt roads often changes after the winter season, ask the locals to find out the latest information.

5. Take a day trip to the uninhabited Armathia island

When in Kasos, you can also take a boat trip to the uninhabited Armathia island nearby.

Here, you will find one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dodecanese. It’s a long, wild and unspoiled white sandy beach called Marmara. The sand is really like powder and will remind you of tropical countries!

Sandy beach in Armathia island Kasos

The boat that takes you to Armathia is called Kasos Princess. In summer, it departs from the port of Fry at 13:00, and returns at 16:00 – 16:30. Ticket prices vary according to the number of passengers. In 2023, the cost of the return trip was 20 euros for adults.

You will need to take everything you need with you, such as water, snacks, a hat and sunscreen. Walking sandals are also a good idea – I swear by my Teva sandals!

Make sure you wear all-weather shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting wet. As there is no dock on Armathia island for the boat to moor against, a smaller boat takes you as close to the shore as possible, which means that you will need to walk in the sea for a few meters.

Kasos Princess - Day trip to Armathia

You should also know that Marmara beach has very little shade. You can bring an umbrella if you want, but you won’t be able to set it up on a windy day.

For more information on the Armathia day trip, you can ask the travel agency at Fry, or get in touch through their FB page.

You can get a better idea of Armathia in the video below!

6. Join the traditional panigiria in Kasos

One of the best things to do in Kasos is to attend one of the local panigiria, the traditional Greek celebrations where religious worship meets local culture!

Every panigiri in Kasos is an occasion for locals and visitors to get together, eat, drink, and celebrate one of the saints of the Greek Orthodox church.

Candles in a church in Kasos

According to tradition, men cook the meat, fries and pilafi rice which are served at the panigiri, whereas women prepare the famous dolmadakia. The food is offered for free to visitors, but you can make a donation if you want. 

When it’s time to serve the food, people form a chain and pass the plates on to the next person. And this is how the plates get all the way from the kitchen to the tables!

Local panigiri in Kasos

After everyone has eaten, it’s time for traditional music and singing! The musicians play traditional instruments such as lyre and lute, and several men sing in turns.

And then, out of nowhere, dancing begins, and goes on until the early morning hours!

Here is some more information about Greek celebrations and panigiria.

The best panigiria in Kasos

Here are some of the most popular summer panigiria in Kasos. If you are on the island on any of those dates, ask around about the exact times, and make sure you go!

  • 23 April – Monastery of Agios Georgios at Chadies
  • 21 May – Agios Konstantinos
  • May / June – Church of Agia Triada
  • 17 July – Agia Marina village
  • 6 August – Sotiros
  • 15 August – The Dormition of the Virgin in Panagia village. This is the biggest panigiri in Kasos and most of Greece.
  • 27 August – Agios Fanourios
  • 1 September – Monastery of Agios Mammas
  • 7 September – Panagia of Elleros
  • 14 September – Stavros at Agia Marina. Celebrations begin on the previous night, and go on for the whole day on the 14th!

Local panigiri in Kasos Greece

People often visit Kasos from nearby islands, such as Karpathos or Crete, just to attend the panigiria. So if you want to visit around those dates, it’s best to book your accommodation in Kasos well in advance. 

7. Explore the beautiful churches in Kasos

And what if you are visiting Kasos outside the dates of the panigiria? Well, this doesn’t mean you can’t go to the churches. There won’t be a merry atmosphere, but you can still explore the island in search of the most beautiful churches and chapels, and see the incredible views.

Agios Konstantinos church is the best place in Kasos to see the sunset from. Seeing the sun setting right in the Aegean Sea is really something!

Sunset from Agios Konstantinos church Kasos

Driving up to the monastery of Agios Mamas is an experience you won’t forget for quite some time! This part of the island is really barren and mountainous, and the views are out of this world.

On the way back from Agios Mammas, you can head to the small church of Agia Kyriaki. Watch out for the numerous sheep, and take your time to look at the view towards the Aegean. Don’t forget to sign the visitors’ book!

The church of Stavros in Agia Marina is truly magnificent. We visited during the panigiri, where it was all lit up and decorated!

The six churches in Kasos Greece

Just outside Panagia village, you will see a series of six churches, one of the landmarks of Kasos. According to tradition, locals built these churches in order to fend off the fairies that used to live in the area. The patron saint of one of these small churches is Agios Nikolaos, the protector of seafarers.

And of course, you can’t miss Agios Spyridon, the biggest church in Fry and one of the landmarks of Kasos.

There are many more churches on the island. Many of then are lit at night, and are really pretty to see! 

Agios Georgios church Kasos

8. Hike the Kasos trails

Like most of the Greek islands, Kasos is great for hiking. You will find seven hiking paths that connect the various villages, churches, monasteries, beaches, and other points of interest.

As you arrive at the port, you will see a large sign with all the Kasos trails, and there are more around the island. In fact, the trails in Kasos are very well signposted compared to many other islands I’ve been to.

Hiking paths on Kasos

For more information, you can also check the official Kasos trails website. There is also a free map that you can download here.

Using those trails, you can get to two caves in Kasos, Ellinokamara and Stylokamara. We were planning to go to both (honestly!) but, well, after a couple of days we were way too relaxed!   

In addition to the hiking trails, Kasos has a few cycling routes that you can explore on two wheels. Due to the mountainous terrain, not all of them are suitable for beginners. You can find rental bikes right at the port.

A chapel in Kasos

Bonus: Visit the museums in Kasos

Finally, when you are in Kasos, you can visit the small local museums and find out more about the rich history of the island. There are an archaeological museum and a maritime museum in Fry, as well as a folklore museum inside a traditional house in Arvanitochori.

I hate to say it, but we somehow never managed to visit any of the museums in Kasos! We never made it a priority on our first days, as we knew we had lots of time, and then we somehow missed the opening hours. Duh! At least it gives us something new to do on our next visit!

To be fair though, I learnt a lot by reading various books and articles on the long naval history of Kasos.

A few monuments have been raised in honour of the island’s long gone seafarers and warriors who were involved in the Greek Revolution and the Kasos massacre in 1824.

A monument in memory of the victims of the Kasos massacre

And, as any old sailor can confirm, some of the most fearsome pirates roaming the Aegean during the times of the Ottoman Empire came from Kasos! At least, this is one of the stories I was told at the local kafeneio

Where to stay in Kasos

Kasos has a relatively small number of hotels and rooms to let. Most of them are located in or around Fry, the port town.

We stayed at the lovely family-run Fantasis Hotel, a 5-minute walk from the port. Super quiet location, and one of the best rooms we’ve ever had on the Greek islands!

The owner, Vassilis, his sister, Lela, and their sweet mother, Pothiti, are all fantastic people!

Fantasis rooms are run by Vassilis and Pothiti

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet the father, but he must be quite a character. The family produce all sorts of dairy products and honey, which we were offered for breakfast every day – heaven!

Other well-located rooms are Galanou, and also Fotini & Dimitrios. Or you can also stay at Hotel Anagennisis, right on the main square.

Main square in Fry Kasos

If you are thinking to visit Kasos in August, which is the busiest time, it’s best to book a few months in advance. Generally speaking, it’s best to book ahead, as rooms can get filled up quickly.

How to get around Kasos

Kasos is ideal for anyone who likes walking and hiking. If you base yourself in Fry, you can easily visit a few of the northern beaches, and walk to most of the villages.

In addition, there’s a free local bus departing from Fry and going to all the villages a few times per day. Routes vary according to the season. 

Free public bus in Kasos

You can see the current bus itineraries on the electronic board which is at the entrance of the port. Paper versions are also attached on various announcement boards, outside the post office and most grocery stores.

As of summer 2023, no taxis operate on Kasos. However, a local company called Kasos Tours operates a private van – you can get in touch with them for transportation and activities on the island.

If you want to explore the whole island, you can always rent a bicycle, motorbike or car.  Your hotel can definitely help, or you can get in touch with Fragiskos Oikonomou – Oasis at +30-6974-594486, +30-6977-998676, or by email at [email protected].

Landscape in Kasos Greece

Finally, if you have your own yacht or sailing boat, you can explore Kasos and the nearby uninhabited islands by sea!   

Final thoughts on Kasos

By now, you will have realized that Kasos is not for everyone. This is a Greek island for people who like nature, appreciate traditional architecture, and can adapt to a slower pace of life.

If you’re looking for plenty of activities, wild nightlife and a choice of souvenir shopping, there are many other islands that you will enjoy a lot more.

Vanessa and Dave in Kasos

But if you are in search of a tranquil place with crystal-clear waters, simple, delicious local food, and lovely people, you will definitely fall in love with Kasos – just like we did 🙂

FAQs about Kasos

Here are some questions my friends asked when they found I was going to Kasos!

Which other Greek islands are close to Kasos?

The closest islands to Kasos are Karpathos and Crete.

How to get to Kasos?

The quickest way to get to Kasos is by plane from Karpathos or Rhodes. There are also various ferry connections with several islands, including Santorini, Crete, Karpathos and Rhodes.

Where to stay in Kasos?

The best area to stay in Kasos is Fry, the main town in Kasos. Here, you will find most of the hotels, rooms to let, tavernas and cafes on the island.

Can you rent a car in Kasos?

Yes, there are some car rentals on Kasos. If you are going during the high season, it’s best to book in advance.

What is Kasos best known for?

Within Greece, Kasos is best known as a remote island with a rich naval history. Besides that, the stuffed vine leaves from Kasos are quite unique due to their tiny size!

More guides about the Dodecanese

Here are a few more guides to some of the quiet Dodecanese islands:


Vanessa from Real Greek ExperiencesHi! I’m Vanessa from Athens and my aim is to visit all of the Greek islands. I really fell in love with Kasos, and though it’s a very long journey from Piraeus port in Athens I’m sure I’ll go back! Follow my FB page for more photos and tips about Greece. 


Kasos Greece


  

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