The Untouched Heart of the Greek Islands

Welcome to the Regional Park of Northern Karpathos, Saria and Astakidonison

This package was coordinated by MEET project parnter MedPAN and created by the managers and the people of the protected areas of Northern Karpathos.

The tour is provided by the local tour operator Holiday World Travel. 

This test tour is a result of the MEET project’s objective to develop an integrated strategy to settle an Eco-Tourism Development Model for the Mediterranean Protected Areas that boosts a better seasonal distribution of tourism flows. By participating in this tour you will be part of a small group contributing to the development of a new sustainable travel concept which aims to support conservation and benefit the local communities…

Prepare for the unexpected in one of the last unspoiled islands of the Aegean sea; away from mass tourism and large hotels. Live an authentic Greek culture experience, travel respectfully and help contributing to the conservation of Karpathos Marine Protected Area.

NOTE: Travelers seeking soft adventure, unique natural and cultural experiences with mid-range budget and medium fitness levels (snorkeling, 3-5 hour hikes).

Welcome to Greece!

With its beautiful architecture, wild nature, friendly people, delicious food and wonderful history, Greece is more than a beautiful country!

Traveling to Greece is a life-altering experience. The unique culture and the beauty of the spectacular landscapes, alone, are enough to amaze you. Add on the rest Greece has to offer and prepare yourself for a long-lasting experience that you will remember forever. Greece is the place where wonderful experiences never end. There is always more to explore, to discover, to see, to taste, to feel.

Expand your senses in a place where the elements of nature offer countless possibilities. Perfect climate conditions allow every visitor to enjoy each season across the country. Not too hot but not too cold, Greece delivers the ideal climate that offers everyone the opportunity to enjoy memorable holidays with a wide range of activities.

Visiting Greece at least for one time in your life because in Greece you can Meet… the World!

Karpathos & Saria Regional Marine Protected Area

The Marine Park covers more than 300 km2 of land and sea alongside the isolated shores of Karpathos, the second largest of the Greek Dodecanese Islands. Its particular geographic location has given rise to a varied and quite unique biodiversity, in addition to a rich tradition, history and culture.

LOCATION

Biodiversity & Conservation in Karpathos & Saria Regional Marine Park

Karpathos and Saria Island has been geographically isolated for over 2 million years, which has resulted in the presence of a very large number of endemic, rare, or endangered flora and fauna to the area. The highlights of the area of North Karpathos and Saria island include the Mediterranean Monk Seal, Karpathos Frog and various unique plant and bird species.

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According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the Regional Marine Park of Northern Karpathos, Saria and Astakidonision hosts:
– one of the largest populations of the critically endangered mammal, the Mediterranean seal, Monachus monachus
– the critically endangered Karpathos Frog Pelophylax cerigensis, an endemic with a small and scattered population found only in Northern Karpathos
– the vulnerable salamander, Lyciasalamandra helverseni, endemic to Greece
– the endangered plant Silene holzmannii, endemic to small islets in the Aegean Sea, as well as other 8 red listed plants
– 117 bird species
– 11 mammals including 5 bats all listed as least concern
– 7 arthropods and 14 molluscs

The biodiversity of the region is significant and includes numerous species of plants and animals which are protected by international conventions and the Greek legislation. It is an area of great archaeological and cultural importance. The area is included in the Natura 2000 network, as a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area (site code GR4210003) designated respectively under the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive. It is an important nesting space for birds of prey such as Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata), the Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae), the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and the Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus).

Conservation Threats & Opportunities

The natural park faces many conservation issues, such as the marine debris from the whole Mediterranean that accumulate onshore the beaches and gulfs, such as at Tristomo Gulf. The Management Agency is working intensively to face this problem, whose source is the whole Mediterranean.

Contribution of MEET to the Protected Area 

The importance of MEET in the protected area is imperative since it provides the park with the means to face these environmental problems via the benefits generated through tourism. Every year, in Tristomo gulf, tons of plastic and glass garbage gather from all over the Mediterranean due to sea currents. A portion of funds from the sales of MEET ecotourism products to the Regional Marine Park of Northern Karpathos Saria and Astakidonision will be invested in cleaning up the area, as well as to installations (e.g. nets) so as to prevent incoming debris. Large recycling bins will also be put in place for plastic and glass in order to make guests contribute to responsible waste disposal.

These conservation efforts will help to ensure that the rich and unique biodiversity of Karpathos Island will be at reduced risk of human impacts and will remain and prosper on the islands.

The ultimate purpose of this tour is to make the participants feel like a part of local community and not just observer. We believe this is the best way to understand traditional life and feel the need for nature protection.

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Who will you MEET during your trip?

One of the most important features of this tour is the inclusion of local communities, and how willing they are to open and share their lives with MEET guests, who will have the opportunity to socialize with and get acquainted with the local customs and culture.

Read more about the Characters of Karpathos on the MEET Blog.

PRE DEPARTURE GUIDE

Before you depart, please consider the following:

Visa requirements

European Citizens whose country is under the authority of the Schengen Treaty may enter Greece with nothing more than a valid identity card or passport.

Citizens from all other countries must show their passport on the border; where a visa is required, this must also be presented to the border authorities and must indicate the length of the holder’s stay and his or her destination. Visa applications – specifying the reason for the trip – must be made to the Italian Consulate in the applicant’s country of residence, and are generally issued 90 days after the application is made.

Passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area (Six months recommended).

Currency

Currency in Greece is EuroGoogle Currency Converter

Weather Conditions

Mild temperatures 20 -25o C. More info here.

Clothing tips

Autumn time clothing, trekking boots, swimming suit, snorkeling equipment (optional)

Insurance, Health & Safety

An insurance covering each participant during transportation and all activities which are part of the program, is provided. Participants are also advised to take out their own personal travel insurance.

The tap water is drinkable. Each guest will be provided with their own ecological bottle.

Electricity/adaptors

The electrical current is 220 volts AC (50 Hz).

ON ARRIVAL

Download the tour itinerary of your MEET Experience in Karpathos here.

Transportation

Please check flight connections to Karpathos, as they do not always run daily.

Accommodation

Separate single rooms and bathrooms for each participant throughout the trip, apart from one overnight in a shared dormitory and bathroom.

Food

Some of the typical dishes you may have a chance to try while on this trip include:

  • Makarounes – traditional pasta
  • Greek souvlaki with pork or chicken meat
  • Goat meat with home fries
  • Greek salad with local cheese
  • Tzatziki
  • Fresh fish

Shopping & Local Products

You will have the opportunity to shop at local markets which sell different products such us local bread, variety of pies, local herbs, spices, oil, soap, and handmade embroidery, shoes and woodcrafts. Spending responsibly allows you to give back to the local communities.

Important Cultural & Religious Considerations

The main denomination in Greece is Christian Orthodox.

Tipping

Although tipping is a tradition in many countries, try to avoid doing this in Crete. People can be very insulted and upset if you offer them money as a way of saying thank you. It is much better and appreciated if, instead of giving money, you offer them a gift. It can be something small and of no money value but it will be more personal than money and thus more important.

Your MEET Tour Leader

Your MEET tour leader will meet you upon your arrival and be with you until your departure. They will be the connection between you – the traveller – and the local people & territory, sharing their local knowledge and advice on how best to enjoy your unique experience. Their role is to ensure that all aspects of your trip run smoothly. It sometimes happens that unexpected situations may occur, in which case your leader will keep you well informed and may require your cooperation and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns at any point, they are there to assist you, so don’t hesitate to ask!

USEFUL PHRASES IN GREEK

Basic greetings:

English Greek
Hello Gia (Γειά)
Good evening Kalispera (Καλησπέρα)
Goodbye Antio (Αντίο)
See you tomorrow Ta leme avrio  (Τα λέμε αύριο)
Please Parakalo (Παρακαλώ)
Excuse me / sorry Signomi (Συγγνώμη)
Thank you Efharisto   (Ευχαριστώ)
You’re welcome Parakalo (Παρακαλώ)
Have a good day Kali synehia (Καλή συνέχεια)
Enjoy your meal Kali orexi   (Καλή όρεξη)
Cheers Is Igia  (Εις Υγεία)

 

Introducing yourself:

English Greek
Hello, my name is… Gia, me lene….   (Γειά, με λένε….)
What is your name? Pos se lene? (Πως σε λένε?)
How are you? Pos isai?   (Πως είσαι?)
Nice to meet you Harika (Χάρηκα)
I come from Italy, Spain, Germany.. Imai Italos, Ispanos, Germanos… (Είμαι…)