Take a ferry to Astypalea and spend a few days on this beautiful island that has an unspoiled charm and laid back atmosphere, ideal for relaxation!
In ancient times, it was also known as Ichtyoessa which means that probably the island had a lot of fish. According to Greek mythology, Astypalaia was the daughter of Phoenix and Perimidis and the sister of Europa that was seduced by Poseidon and had two sons with him, the King of Samos Ancaeus and the King of Kos, Eurypylos. The first inhabitants of the island were the Kares who named the island Pyrra ( means fire in Greek) because of its rocks that have a red color.
Astypalea is the westernmost of the Dodecanese but highly influenced by the neighboring island of the Cyclades. The island uniquely combines elements from both island groups.It has a Cycladic architecture with cubic whitewashed houses with blue windows, narrow alleys with bougainvilleas, wooden balconies and picturesque chapels.
Thanks to its secluded location Astypalaia has managed to remain untouched by mass tourism and has emerged as one of the most alternative destinations in Greece, ideal for relaxing holidays. The island is often also called the butterfly of the Aegean as on the map Astypalea looks like a butterfly. An island with a rich history, unique images and tradition. Astypalea is divided into the Inside and the Outside island with a sandy strip and if it were not for this strip Astypalea would be two different islands.
Book your tickets to Astypalea in advance and spend your summer vacations on this ideal island that offers tranquility and coolness.
Reaching Astypalea by Ferry
Astypalea is an island of wild beauty,mostly famous for its venetian castle on the top of a hill in Chora and the butterfly shape of the island. There are many ways to reach the island. Visitors can travel to Astypalea either from the port of Athens, Piraeus or from ports of some popular Greek Islands in the Dodecanese and Cyclades, like Rhodes, Naxos and Paros.
Piraeus to Astypalaia Island
There is a quite regular ferry connection between the main port of Athens, Piraeus and Astypalea at least 4 times a week. The route is served by a conventional ferry and the duration of the sailing is approximately 8 hours.
Astypalea ferry port
The island has two ports, the new port and the old port which is located close to Chora and is mainly used by sailing boats. The new port is located in the area of Agios Andreas, a small fishing village, 2km away from Chora, the capital of Astypalea. Next to the port is the sandy beach of Agios Andreas and on the hill slopes of the village stands a small church which is one of the oldest remains of Agios Andreas. There are no developped tourist facilities/amenities around the new port as most of them are located around the old port of the island in Pera Gyalo.
Astypalea has intercity buses connecting the port, Chora and the other villages of the island. Please, check Astypalea Bus for further details.
There are a few taxi stands in central spots of the island like Chora. To schedule a taxi transfer, you can call the number +30 22430 61204.
Astypalaia Airport To Astypalaia Port
The Astypalaia Island National Airport “Panaghia” operates only during the summer period and receives flights from the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. The Astypalea Airport is located in the center of the island about 10km away from Chora. A public bus circulates between the airport, the town and the port but only during summer period.
Sights and attractions of Astypalea
Astypalea is full of hills and rocks, picturesque villages and beautiful beaches that invites the visitor on a unique trip to the blue Aegean. This small butterfly-like shaped island boasts a peaceful atmosphere offering the perfect setting for those who seek for some peace and privacy. This is a great place to enjoy relaxing moments at the beach, swimming and diving in blue waters, long strolls, hiking trails, natural attractions and good food.
For your convenience please find below some of the best things to do and see in Astypalaia:
The Venetian Castle
It was built in the 13th century by the family of Querini on the ruins of the Byzantine castle, on top of the hill in Chora town. It was made with black stones which creates a unique contrast with the two beautiful whitewashed churches of Panagia Portaitissa and St. George, built inside the castle.
Hellenistic Baths in Maltezana
In the area of Maltezana visitors can visit the baths of Talaras, from the hellenistic era with the beautiful mosaics and primitive representations of the zodiac or the seasons.
Ancient Infant Cemetery
Located in the Kylintron with amazing views of the bay of Livadi, the cemetery is the first and only one in the world. The first findings were discovered in 1996 by a group of scientists that found clay pots containing bones of infants. More than 2.500 pots have been discovered.
Archaeological Museum of Astypalea
Located in Pera Yialos with findings from prehistoric to medieval times including jewelry, clay pots, silver coins of the classical era, statues, tombstones and votive reliefs of the hellenistic times and a very large collection of bronze and tone tools from rich chambered tombs of the Mycenaean era.
Windmills of Astypalea
Around the main square of Chora, there are 8 traditional windmills, next to the war memorial, with an amazing view of the night sky and the old picturesque port of Pera Yialos.
Drakos Cave (Cave of the Dragon)
A beautiful trekking destination, close to the village of Vathi, a cave decorated with impressive stalactites and stalagmites of many colors. According to the legend, drakos cave was a place where the pirates were hiding their treasures.
Cultural Festival of Astypalea
Organized during summer with live music and traditional delicacies.
Tips: don’t miss the opportunity to try the local honey, the local cheese and some of the the many traditional recipes that Astypalaia has to offer like: poygkia (sweet or savory pies with cheese), makarounes (local pasta), kitrinokoyloyra (local cookies),lampriano (stuffed lamb) and kserotigana( flatbreads)
Astypalaia Hotels & Accommodations
The best location to book an accommodation is the town of Astypalaia, the only village of the island, as there are many tourist facilities like shops, bars and taverns. Other hotels and studios are found in Livadia,just 1 km away from the town and more secluded hotels are found in other areas around the island like in Analipsi and Pera Gialos. You will find a variety of accommodation options like hotels, apartments, villas, studios and airbnb houses.
Please find below some of the best rated hotels and accommodation for your Astypalea booking:
- Oneiro Suites
- Astypalaia Palace
- Aphrodite Studios
- Popi Studios
- Infinity Blue Suites
- Caldera Studios
- Astra Studios
- Tholaria Boutique Hotel
- Dolphin Studios
- Poseidon Studios
Beaches in Astypalea
Astypalaia beaches are abundant, so there is one for every taste. From organized to completely remote beaches. All of them are famous for their clean waters and in comparison to other Greek islands, Astypaea´s beaches are much quieter and secluded. Most of them don't have any amenities so make sure you carry whatever you might need.
Please find below a list of the best beaches:
- Plakes: located 8km north east of Chora. A rocky outcrop with an untouched landscape and blue waters
- Kaminakia: located 8km south west of Chora. A party organized windless beach with crystal clear deep waters
- Pera Gialos: located 1km south of Chora. An easily accessible beach, in a walking distance from Chora, a long sandy and pebbled beach with many taverns around
- Tzanakia: located 3km northeast of Chora. A nude friendly pebbled beach with deep crystal clear waters
- Agios Konstantinos: located 7km south of Chora. A partly organized pebbled beach with amazing views of Chora and the castle of Astypalea
- Vatses: located 8km south west of Chora. Vatses is a beautiful, secluded beach accessible by dirt road
- Psili Ammos: located 10km northeast of Chora. A non organized, quiet and secluded beach ideal for swimming