Can this Greek island’s hidden treasures lure travelers?


Karpathos, overlooked even by Greek travelers, balances rising tourism with sustaining its ancient traditions.

Locals travel by boat to Diafani, a charming coastal settlement on the north side of the Greek island of Karpathos. Locals seek to make sure they can welcome tourists while also preserving their traditional way of life.

Rolling her sleeves up past her elbows and tying a full-length apron around her waist, Evangelia Agapiou is ready for her next cooking class. Today, she’s making makarounes, the traditional pasta of Karpathos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea halfway between Crete and Rhodes. There are only two ingredients in these inch-long curly shells: flour and water. But there’s a whole lot of work—and history—behind what makes them so special.

Which is exactly what Agapiou wants to show the island’s visitors. “Many people think that pasta comes from the Italian occupation, but we had makarounes long before the Italians arrived,” she explains. Italy first invaded Karpathos in 1912, occupying the island for nearly four decades.

Speaking to a small group of travelers, Agapiou peppers her cooking instructions with a history of the island, its traditions, and the locals’ deep connection to the land and sea.