Arkasa, on the southwest coast 9km from Menetes, is one of the oldest settlements on Karpathos. The original village centre, just up from the water, is now complemented by a burgeoning beach resort below. A waterside track leads 500m to the remains of the 5th-century Basilica of Agia Sophia, where two chapels stand amid mosaic fragments and columns, and to an ancient acropolis on the headland beyond.
The best beach hereabouts, sandy Agios Nikolaos Beach, stretches south from the acropolis, but to reach it by road you have to turn left from the village itself.
Arrayed along a neat little south-facing crescent bay, picturesque Finiki stands just 2km north of Arkasa. White-and-blue houses, interspersed with a peppering of tavernas, front its sleepy harbour and small grey-sand beach. The best local swimming is at Agios Georgios Beach, a short way south towards Arkasa.
This is the largest but also the prettiest of the low-key west-coast resorts, 20km north of Finiki and a 5km detour down from the main road. Lefkos is here for a very good reason – its curving sandy beach is absolutely delightful. This is the kind of place where two weeks can vanish in gentle wanderings between beach and brunch.
While Lefkos is connected by bus with Pigadia, it’s definitely worth renting a car or scooter through Lefkos Rent a Car while here.
Buffeted by mountain gales, the tiny village of Menetes sits high in the cliffs above Pigadia. Climb to the church at its highest point before exploring its narrow whitewashed streets.