A blend of Cycladic architecture and Dodecanesian grace
Located at the westernmost tip of the Dodecanese, the Aegean butterfly literally stands between the Dodecanese and the Cyclades. Astypalea, Astropalia as it is otherwise called, has a pureness like which you can hardly find. Almost isolated from anything "touristic", the island features crystal clear beaches, islandic white-n-blue alleys, a combination of Cycladic and Dodecanese architecture, taverns by the sea and of course, a wealthy and fruitful land. With this irresistible combination of characteristics, Astypalea can not but enchant you.
Traditional and at the same time modern, Astypalea constantly offers picture perfect sceneries. There are eight traditional windmills with redish roofs, which are considered iconic landmarks and what is mostly impressive is that some of them operate by the Municipality, either as a library or as an information center. The imposing Venetian castle that dominates in Chora is also remarkable, since it is located at its highest point. To reach it, you walk around charming alleys and among local houses, traditional cafes and delightful shops. The whole route is a true pleasure: impressive bougainvilleas embrace the long-established mansions, hanging laundry fluttering in the streets, all-white bell towers with the Aegean blue as their only background. Images that take you back to another Greek reality, purer and untouched. That of people who live simply, with modesty and humility.
Natural environment and settlements
Steno, as it is also called, is a strip of land in the center of Astypalea that separates the eastern part, or else Mesa Nisi, from the western part or else Exo Nisi. The whole eastern part of Astypalea and the surrounding islets from protected habitats of Natura 2000, while the whole island has been recognized by the scientific community as an ecologically important area, as it hosts many rare species of flora and fauna. Apart from Chora, which is considered as the capital, there is another village called Analipsi, or Maltezana for locals, situated ten kilometers from Chora. Here is where the island’s airport is. Livadi is a seaside settlement next to Chora that comes to life during summer while Vathi is located in the northeast of the island, offering an impressive natural scenery.
The very well preserved windmills and the impressive Castle of Astypalea or Castle of Querini, with the impressive church of Panagia Portaitissa are considered the most iconic landmarks of the island. Impressive and worth visiting, the three caves of the island, rich in stalactites and stalagmites are the cave of Negros located in Vatses, the cave of Drakos in Vathi, or dragon cave, and the cave of Panagia Poulariani, found in Analipsi. In Chora, there are visitable ruins of a cemetery for infants and toddlers, which is characterized worldwide-unique, and the Archaeological Museum with several exceptional exhibits. In the square of Chora, visit the Narkissios Municipal Library, which includes plenty of books and rare publications.
The shores of Astypalea are basically rocky, with countless coves and crystal clear waters. In the southeast there are several small islands, between which are Kounoupi and Koutsomytis, where you will undoubtedly find the most beautiful beaches in the area. The turquoise waters will enchant you! You may visit them with daily ferry boats departing from the picturesque port of Pera Gialos. From Tzanaki you will enjoy the best view of Chora and the Castle, while in Agios Konstantinos you can also relax under the shade offered by the perfectly lined tamarisk trees gazing at the Castle. In Steno you will appreciate the ease of access and in Mple Limanaki and Plakes, the ease of isolation. Vatses and Kaminakia are found at a longer distance and in order to reach them you need to drive off-road. However it will be worth your while as the road will lead you to impressive rocky landscapes, ones like you have never seen before. Psili Ammos is the right place for those who appreciate golden sand and shallow, emerald-blue waters.