Astypalaia Island

The Butterfly of the Aegean

Destinations / Astypalaia Island

Astypalaia belongs to Dodecanese island complex and is situated on the west side of the Aegean Sea. Among the islands of Kos, Anafi and Amorgos with its butterfly shape joins Dodecanese and Cyclades as it combines elements from the both isles groups. The island has a long history (dating back to the Protocycladic times) and the most beautiful villages in the Aegean. Especially its Chora, amphitheatrical built on the cliff, is considered the most beautiful Chora throughout the Aegean islands.

Astypalaia is an excellent destination for family holidays, couple or friends’ vacations that offers a peaceful and romantic atmosphere on its natural beauty. Is by itself a distinctive discovery. Archaeological sites, naturally beautiful landscapes, clear sea waters, domestic food and sports satisfy the expectations of the most demanding visitor. It hosts many rare species of flora and fauna. The eastern part of the island and the 12 small islets around it, are included in the NATURA 2000. Astypalaia island has been acknowledged as Landscape of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There is a variety of lodgings. In the island’s traditional villages like Chora, Castro, Gialos, Livadi, Maltezana (the fishing village),etc. Either be a traditional hotel, a furnished room or a traditional house to let or an organized camp, all of them offer services of a high quality. Besides that, the people of Astypalaia are well known for their hospitality.

It is worthwhile visiting the Roman Baths (late Roman period 30s – 40s BC) of Talara (in Analepsis) with marvelous mosaics of the Hellenistic Era., the early Christian Basilica of Ag. Varvara, the infant cemetery (Geometric period-750 B.C) which is unique in the world., the archaeological museum of Astypalaia where one can admire exhibits from the Prehistorical Era up to the Middle Ages period like silver coins, mycenean tools, jewelry, pottery and many others that were found all over the island.

At the central park of Chora you find eight traditional windmills, some cafes and a memorial cemetery. The half of the mills are reconstructed and in use. One of them hosts the municipality office, other a library, another one holds a travel agency and the last one is used to host exhibitions or events every time the festival of Astypalaia takes place. These windmills are the lovely place of tourists and walkers. They especially like sitting on their low stone walls and gazing at the sky during the August nights.

The two castles the Venetian Quirine Castle and St. John’s Castle and its three caves Vatses, Vathi and Analepsis. The Negro’s cave in Vatses with exceptional stalactites and stalagmites. You can go there by vehicle up to a point and then you must follow the dirt road that gets started from Chora. Otherwise you can take a small boat from Pera-Gialo. If you like hiking, it takes only 45 minutes to get there.

The Dragon’s cave in Vathi on the north side of the island. The access is possible by a small boat or by car up to a point and then on foot. Be careful though as this route is dangerous and very difficult.

The Panagia Poulariani cave in Analepsis which is built onto the highest mountain of the island, in Castellano, It seems like that the rock of the church forms the Mother Mary holding the Christ in her arms.

It is worthy to pay a visit to the churches of Panagia Portaitissa (with the gorgeous belfry) and Ag. Georgios both 18th cen. in Castro, at its entrance in place Rhodia and at its edge, respectively. The monastery of Panagia Flevariotissa (a part of it is built into the cave) and Ag. Ioannis (which is built near the ruins of a castle) where you will be astonished with its splendid waterfall and sea view.

The island is full of beautiful organized or deserted beaches. All of them are naturally arranged. Some of them pebbled and some others sandy. You can go there by car or by sea. There are a few beaches that are shallow thus are suitable for childrens’ swimming or for doing water sports safely. Some large beaches like Livadi the cosmopolitan beach, Pera Gialos where during the summer period there are daily boat departures to the small islands (there are over twenty islets near Astypalaia), to Vastes beach, to Kaminakia beach (sandy, with turquoise waters and tamarisk trees) and to Ag. Ioannis beach which is accessible only by sea. Kaminakia beach even more, Ag. Konstantinos beach, Steno, Psili Ammos and smaller ones like Tzanakia (a nudist beach) and Plakes.

For day trips one must visit the remote exotic beaches to the small uninhabited islands Koutsomitis and Kounoupes, which are accessible only by boat to swim or dive deep into the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Aegean-sea.

You’ll never get bored, there are numerous of activities you can do, routes for hiking to take, or try trekking for those who want to explore the island by walking on engraved paths or going down high peaks as well as rock climbing on mountain crags and beach cliffs of the island. Those who adore mountain biking or climbing (there is a network of walking paths like the field “Ftera”) can enjoy not only the charted and photographed caves but the wonderful views and flavours of the countryside. The boat trips on the other hand offer the opportunity for happy and interesting daytrips. Scuba diving and snorkelling are marvellous ways to explore the beautiful and unknown underwater world of Astypalaia’s island.

In the restaurants and fish taverns that are always at the seaside, one can taste the local meat, fresh fish, sea fruits, lobster, domestic food and delicacies, deserts, fresh vegetables and other raw materials cultivated on island’s soil. After lunch or dinner, one can enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, raki or any other drink, a sweet like waffle or crepe at traditional pastry shops or café bars.

You want to join the local Astypaleans and participate in their folklore festivals, religious feast or even attend a traditional wedding that last for 3 days long? We can air charter you there directly from Athens International in less than 45mins. Happy holidays.

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