ASTYPALAIA (Astypalea). Astypalaia is a small mountainous island whose name literally means "old town.” When you look at the map, Astypalaia looks like it consists of two smaller islands, connected to each other with a narrow strip of land.
Although Astypalaia is a Dodecanese island, it’s actually located between the Dodecanese and Cyclades, it could so easily have been a Cycladic island. The capital of Astypalaia is Chora, a small town built amphitheatrically on a hill. At the top of the hill you see the castle (Guerini castle) from the Venetian era.
As you approach the port of Astypalaia you’ll have a beautiful view of the typical white houses on the slopes of the hill and beyond to the castle. The port is called Pera Gialo, and is located at the bottom of the hill of Chora.
The attractive traditional whitewashed buildings, the landscapes and the architecture are quite similar to those in the Cyclades. One of the most beautiful churches is the church of Panagia Portaitissa, which is just below the castle. Take a pleasant walk through the streets and alleys of Chora.
The Greek cafes are quaint and the atmosphere is lovely. At the harbor itself there are nice restaurants and pretty terraces. Most accommodations on the island are located near the port.
Just like all other Greek islands, on Astypalaia there are many beautiful beaches. The beach Livadi is the most well known and is situated near Chora. One can take a boat to visit other beaches.
Visit the narrow strip in the middle of the "islets," where it is very green and the water is very shallow. At Vathi you can visit the Cave of the Dragon where very striking stalactites and stalagmites have grown.
Astypalaia is connected by ferry with the ports of Piraeus (Athens), Amorgos, Donoussa, Kalymnos, Kos, Naxos, Nisyros, Paros, Rhodes and Tilos.
Text: Yorgos and Wendy Nikolidakis - Text edited by Katrina Butzer