The little island of Kastelorizo, just off the coast of Turkey, is so far out that it doesn’t even appear on most maps of Greece. Getting here by plane is an experience. The short landing strip is near the top of the mountain, with steep drops at both ends. It only accommodates small planes, and they can only land when the weather conditions are ideal.
A municipal minibus will take you down to the ‘town’ of Kastelorizo (or Megisti, its official name). It feels like arriving at a movie set (which it has been indeed; the Oscar-winning movie Mediterraneo was shot here). There is something unreal about the perfection of the place, with charming two- and three storied neoclassical houses – some are small hotels and B&Bs – set amphitheatrically around the harbour; there is not a single architectural faux-pas. Most houses were destroyed during WW2 bombings, but by now almost all have been restored and painted in cheerful colours. It’s infinitely pretty.
Holidays in Kastelorizo
Everything about the island is quiet and peaceful (even when I was there the first week of August); people are friendly; the atmosphere is magical. There are no beaches to speak of; instead people have sun beds in front of their houses and waterfront hotels and dive into the sea practically from their doorsteps. You can take boat trips around the island and stop for swims at nearby islets; make sure you don’t miss the caves on the south-west side of the island.
Try and include a Friday in your holidays in Kastelorizo. This is the day fishermen take people across to Kaş in Turkey to do their shopping at the open street market. You will have the day to do some shopping – in addition to the obvious carpet and handicraft sellers there are some lovely boutiques where you can find great towels, bathrobes, bedspreads and cotton wear – and of course have some kebab.
Small hotels and other special places to stay in Kastelorizo