The island is located about 30 miles south-west of Rhodes, in that part of the Mediterranean which was called, after it, the "Carpathian Sea" (Carpathium Mare).
Its main town is Karpathos town, also known as Pigadia, which holds the island's largest port. The island has many villages, some of which are Aperi, Menetes, Arkasa, Othos, Volada, Pyles, Spoa, Mesochori, Diafani and Olympos. Olympos is especially known to visitors as it is the only place in Greece where people still wear traditional clothing.
The latest estimate of the island's permanent population is around 6000 people. This number more than doubles in the summer months as many Karpathian immigrants with their families return to the island for their vacation. Also, taking into consideration the number of tourists that visit, there can be up to 20,000 people on the island during the peak summer months.
It was both in ancient and medieval times closely connected with Rhodes; it was held by noble families under Venetian suzerainty, notably the Cornari, from 1306 to 1540, when it finally passed into the possession of the Turks. From its remote position Carpathus has preserved many peculiarities of dress, customs and dialect, the last resembling those of Crete and Cyprus.