The most Cycladic of the Dodecanese, Astypalaia combines the charm of the distinct architecture and wild landscapes of central Aegean, with the open temperament of Dodecanese inhabitants and the off-radar virtues of one of their furthest destinations. A timeless choice of the most sophisticated travellers, but with charm capable of enticing the youth too, the island is captivating visitors with the unparalleled beauty and harmonious coexistence of the human element and natural landscape, while boasting about its exquisite campsites, sophisticated nightlife and its idyllic beaches.
Picturesque Hora is the island’s diva, with its whitewashed houses perched on a rock that advances into the sea between the bays of Pera Gialos (the old port) and Livadia. From the gap with the windmills and the hangouts of the square, to the Venetian castle and the winding alleys leading to the churches of Panagia Portaitissa (the most beautiful of the island, dating back to the 18th century, with wood carved, gilded iconostasis) and Megali Panagia (a complex of five temples at the basis of the Castle, with a magnificent pebbled floor and a great sea view), Hora will monopolize your afternoon strolls. Maltezana resort and Schoinontas promenade with its seafront restaurants have a beauty of their own.
The deep bay of Livadi with the Castle in the background and the beach cafes and tavernas are a best seller for families, pebbled Tzanaki is attractive to nudists, Magazaki located at the end of a downhill path, brings together youngsters, while towards Maltezana one can find the distinctive Plakes beach, the tiny Mple Limanaki and the sandy beach of Steno. Easily accessible with tamarisk trees and fish tavernas is the Schinontas beach, while the creeks in the neighbouring Kareklia are ideal for more private swimming. From Pera Gialos depart boats for the best sandy beaches of the island, Vatses, Kaminakia (where there are tavernas) and Ai-Giannis but also for the turquoise waters of the uninhabited islands of Kounoupa and Koutsomytis.
Dodecanese specialty and a traditional dish on Easter Saturday, the stuffed lamb (Labriati) stays at the island’s menus also during summer grand festivals with violins and utes – the most famous festival is the one of Portaitissa where the population of Astypalaia collectively take part in the preparation of local delicacies and specialties.
Red and fragrant, the island’s saffron is harvested every November from the slopes of the island, flavouring the cheese pies and yellow rusks that the island’s traditional wood-fired ovens daily prepare.
Useful phone numbers
Tourist Police: 2243061207
Port Authority: 2243061208
Radio Taxi: 6975706365
General Hospital: 22430 61222