Kasos Island is the southernmost island of the Dodecanese chain. It is small, wild, remote, and – above all – proud. Kasos island is a rugged and pure experience of Greece – unspoiled by tourism, and untouched by time.

Kasos Greece – An Authentic Dodecanese Island to Connect with

The authentic Greek Island experience that the traveler dreams about is getting ever more elusive in reality. Kasos is the antidote to that, and the reason is the people.

The people of Kasos exemplify the cardinal Greek virtues: they are strong in faith, and rich in courage. Their role in the history of Greece serves as a powerful testament to their character.

Kasos is also famous for another defining Greek trait – hospitality. The Kasiots love having visitors – on Kasos, you’ll find the Greek hospitality of legend, warm and sincere. But rather than change their way of life to adapt to tourism, the Kasiots invite visitors to share in the life they have always known.

Kasos delivers an authentic Greek island experience. You’ll find excellent and unique indigenous cuisine, traditional festivals, and a way of life that has remained largely unchanged over the decades.

The people of Kasos exemplify the cardinal Greek virtues: they are strong in faith, and rich in courage.

Where is Kasos?

Kasos is the southernmost island of the Dodecanese – a quiet corner of the South Aegean. Its nearest neighbor is Karpathos, about 10 km to the east. To the west is the eastern edge of Crete, with the port of Sitia about three hours away by ferry. Rhodes is a little over 5 hours way by ferry, which is how we arrived. It was a beautiful and comfortable journey, with enough time for playing cards and admiring the ports of Halki and Karpathos en route.

How to Get to Kasos

The ferry from Rhodes arriving in Fri, Kassos
Kasos is a 5-hour ferry ride from Rhodes, or 3 hours from Sitia, Crete. It’s just a short hop from Karpathos.

Most people reach Kasos by flying either to Sitia or to Rhodes, then taking the respective ferries. You could also fly to neighboring Karpathos and then take the short ferry ride of about an hour and a half. People who really love a ferry journey can travel from Piraeus – the trip takes about 22 hours.

Kasos is not the easiest island to reach. And that is what makes it all the more enchanting. The reward for the journey is an exciting sense of remoteness and discovery that is becoming ever harder to experience. You’ll find it still in Kasos. Along with that, you’ll also find an exceptionally warm welcome – even by Greek standards of hospitality. The people of Kasos appreciate that the visitor travels far to seek them out especially, and this makes for a very personal Greek island experience.

Getting to Know this Rugged Beauty

Drystone walls sculpt the landscape of Kasos
Drystone walls sculpt the landscape of Kasos

Kasos covers just over 65 square kilometers – the island is 17 kilometers long and 6 kilometers wide. It’s easy to get the know the whole of the island. The landscape is arid and rocky, with an uncompromising, stark beauty. Kasos is mountainous, with its highest peak Mt. Prionas, at an elevation of about 600 meters. The thrillingly rugged terrain is inhospitable to agriculture – like other Greek islands with a similar landscape, one of the notable features of Kasos are the countless kilometers of drystone walls traversing the island, sculpting terraces along the mountainsides and maximizing agricultural space.

The Travel Bloggers Greece team - our friends from SteMajourneys captured us enjoying the windswept drama of the Kasos landscape.
The Travel Bloggers Greece team – our friends from SteMajourneys captured us enjoying the windswept drama of the Kasos landscape.

Kasos’ terrain is, however, hospitable to goats, who love the rocky mountainsides and the abundance of wild herbs that grow on them. Consequently, Kasos has superb cheeses.

Several small, uninhabited islands also belong to the municipality of Kasos. The largest of these are Makronisi and Armathia. Armathia is famous for its white sandy beach, Marmara. Some say it among Greece’s finest. The high winds prevented our planned trip to experience it for ourselves – one of many reasons to return to Kasos.

The Villages of Kasos

There are five villages on the island – Fri, Agia Marina, Poli, Panagia, and Arvanitohori. In visiting them all, you gain insight into the island’s identity – from its neolithic origins through its ages of seafaring glory, into the present.

Fri, the Port of Kasos

Fri, Kasos’ picturesque port town, is the second largest town (population: about 350), and is now the capital of the island. West of the port is the snug harbor of Boukas, once a pirate refuge. The cafes at Boukas are the most pleasant place to start your day, with a view of the colorfully painted fishing boats coming and going. If you’re early enough, you can take a look at the catch of the day. Boukas has a special place in the heart of Kasiots, as it was from era the sailors would depart, and be welcomed home again. The poignance of departure and a separation by sea is a defining aspect of the island soul.

Other features of Fri include the Nautical Museum, the small and charming Archaeological Museum, the beautiful neoclassical Library, and the Church of Agios Spyridonas – patron saint of Kasos – with its marvelous bell tower.

On the west side of the port is Emborios, a tree-lined beach in a partially enclosed bay right in town, with excellent waters. There’s charming cafe of the same name at the beach’s edge, if you want to enjoy a frape in your pareo.

What’s remarkable about Fri, and Kasos in general, is that you’ll find no chain supermarket or coffee shop. This adds tremendously to Kasos’ unique and personal character.

Panagia

Lovely Panagia (population: a little over 30) is the hillside “suburb” of Fri – just a kilometer away from the harbor. The Theoxenia Apartments where we stayed are in Panagia. We enjoyed the splendid views and sea breezes. Panagia is a 10 minute stroll from Fri. the “Exi Egklisias” – “Six Churches” are an unusual

Arvanitochori

At the base of the mountains, and just another 2 kilometers up the road from Panagia, is Avranitochori. With around 170 inhabitants, this is the third largest settlement on Kasos, and where you will find the Folklore Musuem. The church of the town’s patron saint, Agios Dimitrios, is at the village’s edge and is known for its very fine bell tower.

Agia Marina

Hilltop beautiful Agia Marina is Kasos’ largest town, with a population of approximately 450. July 17th – the celebration of patron saint of its homonymous church Agia Marina – is one of the island’s largest and most important traditional religious festivals – an excellent time to visit Kasos. Whenever you visit, do go inside the church, which features a splendid mosaic floor of sea pebbles, a feature of traditional Dodecanese architecture.

Poli

East of Agia Marina, Poli is the oldest settlement of the island, its ancient capital which was referred to by Strabo as Kasos. Poli is the site of the ancient Mycenaean citadel. Since the neolithic era, Poli has been inhabited nearly constantly, as indicated by pottery shards and other archaeological findings from the late neolithic/early bronze age (4th and 3rd millennia BC) through the early Christian era. Fewer than 100 people now live in this ancient town.

The Beaches of Kasos

There’s a great variety of beaches on Kasos, for whatever your taste – wild and remote, or with cafes or cantinas, sandy or dramatic and rocky, protected in coves or windswept for watersports.

Ammoua Beach and Antiperatos Beach

Just a little west of Fri on the northwestern shore of the island is Ammoua (“ammos” = sand). This wild and flat beach is often swept by winds. Just a little further west is Antiperatos Beach – a series of individual bays forming four solitary beaches, beautiful with their colored pebbles. At all of these beaches, the waters are spectacularly clear and glitter like jewels.

Emboreio Beach, Kasos

Emboriou Beach in Fri, Kasos
Emboriou Beach in Fri, Kasos

In Emporios (Emborios) – the little cove just to the right of the port as you face the sea (east of the port) – there is a shady beach with lovely waters. There’s a charming cafe right at the beach that’s perfect for breakfast or a relaxing afternoon freddo cappuccino.

Helatros Beach, Kasos

Helatros Beach, on Kasos' southwest shores, is a remote and secluded paradise.
Helatros Beach, on Kasos’ southwest shores, is a remote and secluded paradise.

Helatros Beach is probably the most famous beach of the island. But don’t worry – famous on Kasos does not mean crowded (one of the best things about the island). On the southern edge of Kasos is a snug natural harbor enclosed by cliffs. Helatros harbor was used by the Minoans and then other seafarers ever since, including the fishermen of the island today.

Helatros Beach offers a perfect combination. The cliffs shelter the beach so the waters here are always calm, yet just outside the harbor is a windy sea – perfect for windsurfing. It’s also the right mix of wild and civilized – pristine, remote, but with just a touch of civilization, in the form of a terrific cantina for refreshments and home-cooked snacks.

Maramara Beach, Armathia

From Antiperatos, you have a good view of Armathia, one of the wild and uninhabited islands around Kasos. Here, you’ll find a dreamy white sand beach (“marmara” = marble). Some say it is one the loveliest of the Aegean, with extraordinary turquoise waters. Having to take a boat to it sharpens the experience – perfect for those seeking something truly wild and private.

While on Armathia, you can also visit the beaches Karavostasi (“karavi” = boat -“place where the boat stops”) and Apopantoula.

Giaouli, Agali, and other Remote Beaches of Kasos

Much of the rugged and beautiful coastline of Kasos can only be reached by boat, meaning there are many secret coves and beaches to discover. Ask the fishermen and other locals for their favorite spots. Giaouli and Agali are among these wild and wonderful beaches.

Weather in Kasos

Kasos has a temperate Mediterranean climate, with some of the mildest winters in the country. It’s also one of the driest islands of Greece. High winds can sweep the island in drama – especially the famous and exhilarating Meltemi, appearing in late summer. If you plan on boating, heed the advice of experienced locals. The dramatic topography of the island can shape and further intensify the powerful winds.

Where to Stay

Part the reason that Kasos feels so untouched by tourism is the style of accommodations. There is one very small family hotel, and the rest of the island’s accommodations are scattered here and there – in private homes and small serviced apartments. They are integrated into the texture of the villages. We stayed in such an apartment – the Theoxenia Kasos. The modern, beautifully appointed apartments were built in the traditional style of the island.

There are just 300 beds for visitors to Kasos. Even at when Kasos has reached its maximum capacity, at the peak of the high season, you will feel you have the island to yourself.

The History of Kasos

A Greek flag flying in the wind at sunset, high above the sea in Kasos
Kasos has a proud history and played a bold role in the founding of Modern Greece.

Kasos has a definite character. The people of Kasos have a proud and ancient history, dating back millennia to traces of the Minoans and Mycenaeans of the Bronze Age. Its ancient names were Achnis, Astrabe, and Amphe.

Kasos in the World of Ancient Greece

The island’s prominence at sea has shaped its history. Homer mentions Kasos’ contribution of ships to the Trojan War. It was a member of the Delian League. Kasos was at this time an independent state, but by the middle of the 2nd century BC the island had become part of the Rhodian state, using Rhodian coinage.

The Early Christian Era

Throughout its history until then, the people of Kasos had settled primarily on high ground, away from the coast, in the area of Poli. During the Roman and early Christian eras, the settlement moved to the coast, around what is now Emboreio Bay. Ruins of elegant early Christian public buildings attest to Kasos’ prosperity.

The Venetians, already occupying neighboring Crete, took control of Kasos in 1207. The island remained under the control of the Republic of Venice – with a brief interruption from the Knights of St. John – until the arrival of the Ottomans in 1527. Under Suleiman the Magnificent, Kasos was granted a measure of autonomy, as long as they paid an annual tax.

The Role of Kasos in the Greek War of Independence

Kasos became a great power at sea. Masters of both shipbuilding and trade, they gained wealth and fame. With their massive fleet – 700 ships strong – their wealth, and most of all their extraordinary bravery they joined the cause of the revolution against the Ottoman Empire for a free Greece. Kasian ships were converted from merchant vessels to war ships. They patrolled the waters, keeping Turkish ships away or even capturing them. The Kasian fleet defended neighboring Crete with valor. They seriously damaged the Turkish / Egyptian fleet, sustaining heavy losses in the process. Cretan command and 600 Cretans were transferred to Kasos.

The Holocaust of Kasos

A monument to the Holocaust of Kasos, in Fri
A monument to the Holocaust of Kasos, in Fri

But there was a devastating retaliation. In June of 1924, Ismail Gibralter of the Egyptian navy arrived with a large and powerful fleet, furthered strengthened by 3000 Albanians. For three days, the Kasiots and the Cretans held the island. Finally the island was taken. 2000 people of Kasos were massacred, while another 2000 – women and children – were captured and sold as slaves.

A monument by the harbor in Fri is dedicated to the heroes and martyrs of the Holocaust of Kasos, as essential stop on your visit.

Kasos after the Greek War of Independence

The island slowly recovered from the devastation of the Kasos massacre. The island was initially deserted. Survivors gradually retuned to the island in the second half of the 1920’s. Under the terms of the London Protocol of 1830, Kasos – like many islands of Greece and the mainland territories of the north – remained under Ottoman rule.

Their shipbuilding industry also gradually recovered. Kasos’ merchant fleet numbered 75 ships. The shipping industry was not able to withstand the competition of the introduction of the steamship, however. The wooden shipbuilding industry declined, and the prosperity of the island along with it.

Beginning in the mid 18th century, the people of Kasos started the emigrate. Initially, in 1859, many went to Egypt to help build the Suez canal, with another wave of emigration in 1866. Others then went to Istanbul, South Africa, and the United States. By the 1920s, the diaspora was greater than the population of the island itself. Of over 2000 homes, just 400 were inhabited full time.

In the Italian – Turkish War of 1911-1912, after what was called the “battle of Cassos,” the island was occupied by Italian sailors. Then, in the treaty of Lausanne of 1923, Kasos became part of the Italian Aegean Islands. Finally Kasos – like the other islands of the Dodecanese – joined the Kingdom of Greece in 1947.

The People of Kasos Today

Any story about Kasos leads with the people – their character, bravery, and warmth. In Kasos, you experience true Greek hospitality. This is an island where people will open their homes to you, literally – the daughter of a sea captain invited us to their family home, which was filled with treasures from afar. The Kasian people share will share their life stories, their heritage and traditions.

Kasos has preserved its cultural heritage beautifully – through music, cuisine, and its festivals of particularly traditional character. This is a joint effort, between the full time resident of Kasos – who today number just over 1000 – and its large, deeply connected diaspora. This diaspora has spread the culture of Kasos across the globe, returning to island to celebrate it and maintain their deep connection.

On Kasos, there is a beautiful, poignant custom that expresses of the theme of departure and return – so fundamental to the soul of the Kasian people. It was shared with us by our new blogging friends Stema Journeys who had witnessed it. A procession, complete with musicians, accompanies the departing Kasiots to the port. This custom dates from the era when the people of Kasos made their voyages to far continents by sea and returns to the island were therefore far less frequent. Now the diaspora travels by ferry and airplane, but the custom persists still.

What to Eat in Kasos

A Traditional Kasos Breakfast, with "Sitaka" and Thyme Honey
A Traditional Kasos Breakfast, with “Sitaka” and Thyme Honey

With eastern Crete just a couple of hours away, we anticipated that the cuisine of Kasos would be something similar to Cretan cuisine. But no – the cuisine of Kasos is entirely unique, a soulful expression of its rugged terrain and its adventurous seafaring heritage. On Kasos, we enjoyed some of the finest authentic culinary experiences we have had in all Greece. Owing to the , on this tiny and remote island you’ll find one of the most sophisticated cuisines of Greece.

The Famous Dairy and Cheeses

The goats and sheep of Kasos love scaling the the mountainsides and grazing on the fragrant wild herbs – resulting in milk of unusual fragrance and purity. The shepherding tradition of Kasos has put this to use, creating some excellent cheeses. These include meriareno – a buttery and spicy graveria-style cheese of sheep’s and goats’ milk that is matured for 12 months, myzithra – a fresh, soft cheese, elaiki – myzithra that has matured in butter for a couple of months, classic graviera with the addition of wild thyme, almirotiri (“salty cheese”), drilla – a sour cream of goats’ milk, and Kasos’ signature dairy product sitaka, among more. Sitaka is a slightly sharp and tangy spread – something between butter and cheese, made from fermented goats’ or sheep’s milk. Sitaka is an integral part of Kasos’ most famous dish – makarounes.

Across the mountainous landscape, you’ll see mitata. A mitato is a traditional shepherd’s hut – for decades, mitata have been used for making the traditional cheeses of Kasos. Today, the modern commercial dairy – Bonapartis – produces all the traditional cheeses and dairy products of Kasos and exporting them throughout Greece. You can visit the dairy by arrangement, and buy all of the products at the delicatessen next to Pizza di Kasos.

Classic Kasian Dishes

Kasos has some unique versions of classic Greek dishes. Each island, for instance, has its own pasta. On Kasos, they make thick, short, hand-rolled makarounes, a deliciously chewy and rustic pasta. These are classically served with golden caramelized onions and melted sitaka. We even tried our hand at making them with a practiced expert – they need just a practiced flick of the fingertips to take their sauce-grabbing shape – like oblong orchietti. Kasos Tours arranged a wonderful culinary experience – making makarounes by hand, and dining on goat and pasta from a wood-burning oven. For dessert, we had tiganites – a light, crisp dough puff fried over an open fire. These were smothered in luscious local honey.

The fact that a pasta dish – makarounes – plays such a defining role reflects the influence of Italian cuisine. This came through the Venetians initially, then through the tastes acquired by the sailors of Kasos and brought home to the island. Also, in the years between the Ottoman occupation and ultimately joining the Kingdom of Greece, Kasos was again under Italian control. The Italian influence is seen not only in the signature makarounes, but also the combinations of pasta and legumes and dishes like fakorizo – lentils with rice. These grain and legume combinations are more common in Italy than in Greece.

Stuffed vine leaves – dolmades – are another dish popular throughout Greece. But nowhere do they make them like on Kasos: tiny, cone-shaped dolmadakia (little dolma), or sometimes dormaes, are the dolmades of Kasos – delicate, meaty, and bathed in a rich, lemony sauce, they’re served warm. The dolmadakia of Kasos are less than a fourth the size of those you’ll eat elsewhere in Greece – a testament to the patience and skill of the cooks of Kasos. They’re the finest stuffed vine leaves you’ll eat anywhere.

These dormaes belong to a whole large category of intricate stuffed items, linking the cuisine of Kasos to other areas of the Eastern Mediterranean that prize elaborate stuffed vegetables and meats. “Kolokithapoulia” (“little birds of zucchini”) is another; this is the charming name for stuffed zucchini blossoms.

Other references to the cuisine of the eastern Mediterranean are more apparent. The chicken pilaf of Kasos comes with a very generous pinch of cinnamon, giving it a distinctively eastern fragrance.

Other dishes specifically reflect the culinary dialogue between Kasos and Egypt. When the Kasiots left in large numbers to build the Suez canal, they acquired some Egyptian tastes. These were incorporated into the cuisine of Kasos. Other dishes on Kasos that show a North African influence are molohia (mulukhiyah, molokheyya, molokhia or mulukhiyyah) – type of cooked green, and tahinia – a creamy sauce made of tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin.

In the sweets of Kasos, we also see influences from abroad. The moschopoungia – popular in the Dodecanese – are phyllo pouches filled with almonds, sugar, and rosewater – classic tastes of the eastern Mediterranean. In the sweet cheese tourtes of Easter on Kasos, one sees the ricotta pie so popular for Easter in Italy, and Sicily in particular.

Where to Eat in Kasos

We had the most extraordinary food in Kasos. We enjoyed most of our meals at Pizza di Kasos. The chef and owner George Kambouris is a strong supporter of local artisanal products and the classic flavors of the island. Here, the pizza is topped with the best cheeses and wild herbs of Kasos. Additionally, this is where you can taste many of the traditional home-style dishes of Kasos.

What to Buy

The cheeses of Kasos are all now commercially packaged and can withstand a journey. The beekeepers of Kasos produce honey of wild thyme, which we hear has an elite following. Traditional bakeries have freshly-made pies, rusks, and cookies

The Sights – What to See and Do in Kasos

The Road to the Mycenaean Excavation, Kasos
The Road to the Mycenaean Excavation

The natural wonders of Kasos, like the fantastic beaches, and the churches of Kasos are more than enough to fill your time on this wonderful and wild island. But there are also some cultural and historic sights. These include a fascinating excavation of the Mycenaean era, folklore museums, an archaeological collection, and a historic library.

The Mycenaean Acropolis, Poli

On the northwest of the island is a magnificent ruin of the Mycenaean era, complete with Cyclopean walls. This rarely visited site, with little intervention, maintains a great sense of reverence and mystery.

This is one of several sites on the island that reflect Minoan and Mycenaean habitation.

Elena of Passion for Greece and I, as we walk along a rocky path to the Mycenaean excavation.
Elena of Passion for Greece and I, as we walk along a rocky path to the Mycenaean excavation.

Captains’ Houses – Agia Marina

Many of the loveliest traditional captains’ houses are in Agia Marina. Although they are privately owned and are not officially public, the owners are proud of their family heritage and have such a welcoming and generous nature that you may well be fortunate enough to see inside one of them.

The Archaeological Collection of Kasos, Fri

This small museum is in the former town hall, a lovely building with a pebble mosaic courtyard – such courtyards are traditionally called “chochlaki,” and you’ll see many of them on Kasos. Here are findings from all of the historic eras of Kasos.

Folklore Museum, Arvanitochori

In the folklore museum, you can learn about the traditional way of life of Kasos. Exhibits include agricultural tools, olive presses, and other essentials of an agrarian lifestyle, plus looms for weaving intricate cloth, traditional clothing, and other household essentials.

The Churches of Kasos

There are over 100 churches on devout Kasos. Some - like this one - communicate directly with the heavens and the seas
There are over 100 churches on devout Kasos. Some – like this one – communicate directly with the heavens and the seas

The churches of Kasos are a defining feature of the island, serving as an extension of the purity and stark beauty of the landscape.

There are just over 100 churches on this small and devout island. Many of them are remote churches high on the cliffs and mountaintops, with great sweeping vistas of the island and the Carpathian Sea beyond. It’s a view that lifts the soul. But more than that, these clifftop locations reinforce the connection between the islanders and the sea, and the role of faith that is so essential to a seafaring people.

Many of the churches on Kasos share a similar typology. They share the clean lines and simplicity of form that characterize the stark purity of the churches of the Greek islands. However, the churches on Kasos depart from the classic white and the blue color scheme that we have come to associate with many island churches of Greece. They do have have pure white walls, but their barrel vaulted roofs are a deep terracotta red, rather than blue. A senior of the island and fine ship builder – Kyrios Manolis – elaborates: this color scheme is true to tradition, as the red echoes porphyry – the color of royalty, and therefore the color of the Holy Virgin. The effect is far more startling than that of the many churches with blue roofs. The red roofs and white walls stand in beautiful contrast against the cloudless Aegean skies. The color red also echoes the rich earth tones of the soil and the rocks, uniting the churches of Kasos harmoniously with the surrounding landscape.

An Elegant Village Church on Kasos
An Elegant Village Church

In addition to these simple island churches, there are also some more elaborate churches on Kasos. These date from the second half of the 19th century, when the Kasian merchant fleet was at its height.

Here are some of the notable churches of Kasos:

Saint Spiridonas, Fri

Agios Spyridon is the Patron Saint of Kasos. This church dedicated to him, with its four domes and exquisite iconography, overlooks the harbor of Boukas.

Agia Marina, Agia Marina

This wonderful church is in the town of the same name. The feast of Agia Marina, on the 17th of July, is one of the highpoints of summer on Kasos. The mosaic floor – of black and white pebbles smoothed from the sea – is splendid.

Saint Dimitrios, Arvanitochori

Agios Dimitrios with its bell tower
Agios Dimitrios with its bell tower

At the edge of the village of Arvantiochori is the main church. It’s one of the largest of Kasos, with a very tall bell tower.

Panagia tis Potamitissas

Panagia tis Potamitissas means the Virgin of the River – and indeed this unusual church is right by a riverbed. The church is built into a natural cave, where a shepherd is said to have found a miraculous icon.

Vaftisi tis Theotokou – the Baptism of the Virgin – Panagia tou Emboriou

This 19th century church in Emboriou incorporates elements of the original paleo-Christian temple on the same site.

Church of the Assumption, Pera Panagia

This church is famous for both its fantastic carved wooden iconostasis, and for its grand celebrations of the Assumption of the Virgin each August 15th – one of the most significant days of the Greek Orthodox calendar and an important holiday on Kasos.

Exi Eglisias – Six Churches – Panagia

"Exi Eglisies" - Six Churches - Panagia, Kasos
“Exi Eglisies” – Six Churches – Panagia, Kasos

This unusual church is actually six connected churches, built to combat six malevolent spirits. The churches are dedicated to Agios Charalambos, Agios Antonios, Agia Kara, Agia Varvara, Agios Ioannis and Agios Nikolaos – one saint per spirit.

The Monastery of Agios Mammas

A pebbled mosaic floor, a carved wooden iconostatis, and an endless view of the Aegean sea make this a special place to visit. There is a great celebration honoring the saint each September 2.

Monastery of Agios Giorgios – Hadies

In the southwest of the island, you’ll find this secluded and serene monastery.

When is the Best Time to Visit Kasos?

A poster for an evening of Mantinades
A poster for an evening of Mantinades

One of the things that makes a holiday in Kasos truly special is the authentic character of the island’s festivals. All of the Greek Islands celebrate the patron saints of their villages and churches. In Kasos, the traditional celebrations are truly something special. This is an opportunity to get in touch with true Greek culture, unchanged for countless generations. At a Kasian festival, you’ll experience the music of Kasos, including their talent for Mantinades – the rhythmic recitations of verse, 15 syllables each, to the accompaniment of the laouto and the lyra. And speaking of the lyra, here you will find the special traditional lyra of the Dodecanese, played with a kounia – a bow with bells – and now found only here and in neighboring Karpathos and Halki. Traditional dances, such as the zervos and the soutsa – a dance of ancient Geek origins that is particularly popular in the Dodecanese – carry the celebrations late into the night.

Kasiots welcome visitors warmly to these festivals. You will feel like a local in no time. Participating in a traditional festival is an extraordinary and authentic cultural experience.

Devout Kasos has a very full calendar of Saint Day festivals, many of which fall in the summer months. But one of the fall or winter religious festivals also makes an excellent occasion to visit, keeping in mind the warm winters of the southern Aegean.

Here is a calendar of the Church celebrations of Kasos:

  • Agios Giorgos – April 23rd – in Hadies
  • Agios Konstantinos / Agia Eleni – May 21 – in Ammoua
  • Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) – This holiday moves according to Orthodox Easter, falling usually in late May, early June – in Poli
  • Agia Marina – July 17th – in Agia Marina. This is one of the biggest festivals of Kasos.
  • Christou tis Lakkas – August 6 – in Agia Marina
  • Pera Panagias – August 15 – Panagia. The festival of the Assumption of the Virgin is one of the biggest religious holidays across Greece
  • Agios Fanourios – August 27 – in Hathistres. Saint Fanourios is famous for heling find what is lost. He is celebrated with a special cake, called a “Fanouropita.”
  • Agios Mammas – September 1 and 2 – Lyristis/Thyra
  • Panagia Elerou – September 8 – in the mountains of Kasos, at a monastery with a traditional mitata
  • Timios Stavros (Holy Cross) – September 14 – in Agia Marina
  • Agios Dimitrios – October 26th – Arvanitochori
  • Agios Spyridonas – December 12th – Fri – This celebration of the Patron Saint of Kasos is, along with Agia Marina, one of the main festivals of Kasos.
  • In addition to these religious festivals, the Holocaust of Kasos – June 7, 1824 – is commemorated with a three-day festival each year.