Overview of Astypalaia
Butterfly-shaped Astypalea is “torn” between the Dodecanese islands –where it belongs geographically- and its charming Cycladic looks (whitewashed cube houses, rugged landscape). Luckily, it combines the qualities of both complexes. It is one of the most atmospheric, authentic and stylish Greek islands, favored by sophisticated vacationers, camping aficionados and alternative tourism fans (hiking, climbing and diving are very popular activities on the island).
Despite its small size, Astypalea features numerous bays and coves – a remarkable coastline of principally secluded, difficult to access but absolutely rewarding beaches, plus a few organized ones. The island remains faithful to high quality aesthetics, regarding its moderate touristic infrastructure, traditional settlements, as well as the eating, shopping and lounge nightlife hang-outs. Astypalea also boasts one of the most photogenic Choras found in the Greek islands – it looks truly spectacular (and especially romantic at nighttime), with its dominating castle at the top, maze of alleys, windmills and houses in white & blue.
As for the other settlements on the island, they also promise and deliver low profile, cheerful vacations. The small port of Pera Gialos (also known as Skala), the coastal resorts of Livadi, Maltezana / Analipsi, Vathy and Marmari (featuring the island’s camping site) are some of the most popular spots on the island. Astypalea is a wild beauty, relaxed, hospitable and honest. It awakens your senses – all you have to do is follow them all the way.
Photo gallery of Astypalaia
Things to see & do
: They are two of the most beautiful beaches on Astypalea, preferably accessible by boat from the port of Pera Gialos. Kaminakia is pebbly, with crystalline blue waters, a few sun beds, umbrellas and a couple of taverns. Vatses is similar but longer, surrounded by rocks and exposable to winds. Near Vatses, you can also visit the well-known cave of Negro, associated with the island’s history and legends about pirates and treasures. 9.0 : Sandy, with lovely waters and the basic amenities (including a tavern), this beach offers serene moments by the sea, plus a wonderful rugged landscape. 8.0 : From Livadi you walk a path to the north and reach this lovely, small pebbly cove, ideal for swimming and relaxation. It is also the island’s non official nudist beach. 8.0 : A very scenic spot, located at the narrow piece of land that divides the island into two parts. It is actually two sandy beaches (Mikro/small and Megalo/big Steno), with shallow waters, a few tamarisk trees and amenities available at the village of the same name. 8.0 : A secluded, non organized cove with crystalline blue waters, located at the mouth of the gorge of Agios Ioannis. You can access it either by crossing the gorge (1 hour hiking) or taking a boat. 8/10 8.0 : One of the few fully organized beaches on the island, it is very popular, situated at the bay of the homonymous settlement. Water sports facilities are also available here. 7.0
: Chora, Greek cuisine. 9.0 : Maltezana, Italian cuisine. 9.0 : Maltezana, Greek cuisine and seafood. 8.0 : Livadi, Greek cuisine. 8.0 : Chora, Greek cuisine. 8.0
: From Pera Gialos, you can take the boat that leads to these two small uninhabited satellite islands. They are a must-see and highly recommended for swimming in their pristine, exotic beaches with aquamarine waters. 10.0 : The trademark Venetian castle that sits at the hilltop is the number one attraction in Chora. The grey stone wall fortifications contrast marvelously with the whitewashed houses below, while the churches of Panagia tou Kastrou (Evangelistria) and Agios Georgios stand out inside the castle’s settlement. Also in Chora, you can see the series of picturesque, preserved windmills, a real gem of the settlement. Close to Chora, at the area of Kylindra, lies the island’s ancient infant cemetery, said to be the largest in the world. 9/10 9.0 : Visit the well-known cave of Drakos with impressive stalactites and stalagmites, a former pirates’ haven according to the legend (preferably accessible by boat, close to the area of Vathy). You can also check out the Baths of Tallara (5th c AD roman baths with fabulous mosaics, located at Maltezana). If you fancy more action, you can chose between hiking, climbing, boat excursions, water sports, diving and spear gunning. 8.0 : The island’s major 3-day traditional feast takes place on 15th August at the church of Panagia Portaitissa (Astypalea’s top religious centre, also famous for its exceptional architecture and ecclesiastical Museum). On the other hand, the annual, popular and acclaimed Astypalea Festival, organized by the island’s municipality, hosts, among other events, notable music performances by Greek and foreign artists. 8.0 : Astypalea is famous for its high quality honey, fresh fish, chlori cheese and the tangerine syrup sweet. The island’s specialties include spaghetti with lobster, balls with octopus, rabbit, goat meat stuffed with rice and spices, radista (lentils with grated pasta and vinegar), as well as pougia (cheese pie with honey) and honey donuts. 7.0
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