Astypalea (or Astypalaia) is often called "the butterfly island", due to its particular conformation. Seen from above, it really has the shape of a butterfly and in Steno (στενό) which means "narrow", the distance between the two coasts is only 100m! This island is halfway between the Cyclades archipelago and the Dodecanese one. It has a strong character and is an island not completely modified by tourism. Indeed, the paved road ends in Livadi. From here, if you want to reach some of the most beautiful beaches on the island, you will have to drive on the dirt road.
The panorama of the Chora of Astypalea will be printed in your eyes: it is undoubtedly among the most beautiful visited in numerous trips to Greece. Perched on a small promontory overlooking the sea, it is adorned on the top by the remains of an ancient Venetian castle. In this regard, the choice of the hotel has its importance. The structure that hosted us, the Andromeda Resort, has a perfect view and from your balcony you can immortalize the beauty of the Chora at any time.
On the island you will find different types of beaches, with pebbles or sand, equipped and free. The one that struck us most is undoubtedly Kaminakia, which can be reached in 30 minutes by car from the Chora, with most on dirt route, but easily passable. This beach, thanks to the path to reach it, is not very crowded. Sun beds and umbrellas are available (€ 7 per day) and part of the beach is free, shaded by some tamarisk trees. Behind the beach, there is a tavern. Here the water is absolutely crystal clear, with a backdrop of small pebbles: a marvel for the eyes. We liked it so much that we ended up going back for two days.
We also took a look at other beaches on the island, there are various possibilities, from rocky beaches to small deserted coves, but they did not fully convince us. With this holiday in Greece we have become even more demanding and we are not satisfied with little!
The other beach where we have been and that we would like to recommend is Steno Beach. Also here you can choose between the free beach (here too there are some tamarisk trees for a bit of shade) or two equipped parts. We stayed in the one on the left, more characteristic and also equipped with a swing in the water (€ 10 per day). Here the beach is sandy, but the clean water and the gently sloping seabed make it ideal for families with children.
The absolutely unmissable sunset is logically the one on the Chora. The panorama becomes even more intense, with the sky that is tinged with different shades ranging from orange to pink. In August, the show starts at around 7pm. Make yourself comfortable and observe how the first lights of the houses come on at dusk, transforming everything into a splendid life-size nativity scene.
The Chora is undoubtedly the strongest point of Astypalea. We observed it from our balcony at every hour. At dawn, the rising sun on his left dazzles with a warm and golden light, while the center begins to wake up very calmly (6:30 am in August).
Qui abbiamo fatto delle colazioni deliziose, più che colazioni le definirei brunch, ricche di prodotti locali e diverse ogni giorno. Erano il modo per iniziare carichi di energia ogni giornata.
It is worth taking a walk to the Kastro, which dates back to 1413. Reaching it will be a challenge, walking through the labyrinth of narrow streets between the three-storey houses of the Chora. In the past, the houses were built in this way precisely to protect the castle from pirates, making it an even safer shelter for the local population. Along the way, you will find postcard corners, absolutely to be immortalized.
The earthquake of 1956 visibly damaged the structure of the castle, which was restored in 1990 thanks to a recovery project. Although still partially damaged, the Kastro retains its charm, with two small churches with a typical blue roof.
In addition to the photos of the Chora that we have shown you, it may also be worth taking a walk to the port of Pera Gialos where there are several restaurants and a few shops.
Before your trip
- How to reach the island? Astypalea is not easy to be reached. It is possible to arrive by flight from Athens or Rhodes (only with Skyexpress), or by ferry. Some of those departing from Athens terminate right here
- How many days? We have dedicated 4 days to it, perfect for experiencing the island without haste. We would also have had a day to organize the day trip to the islets of Kounoupi and Koutsomiti, which they say are unmissable. Unfortunately, the boats do not leave in case of rough sea and therefore we had to give up for the Meltemi always present during our stay. We will definitely consider them for a next visit!
- How to move around the island? The best choice is to rent a car. We have chosen Vergoulis, the service is impeccable, the cars are brand new and we picked it up comfortably at the port and returned it to the airport
- Where to stay? We stayed at Andromeda Resort (web site). We were pampered from the first day, when they welcomed us with a small snack and all the useful information to discover the island. Map in hand, they showed us what not to miss, from the beaches to the tastiest restaurants! The room is modern, spacious and equipped with all comforts. There is also a small kitchen with an induction hob and impeccable kitchenware! The strong point, which makes it the right choice for visiting the island is the splendid balcony, with chairs and table, where you can enjoy the best view of the Chora at any time
- Where to eat? One of the specialties that you cannot miss on the island is spaghetti with lobster! We chose to try them from Astropelos. Even if we have always being skeptical in eating the pasta abroad, we absolutely had to change our minds! Well cooked pasta and with a really tasty sauce, they are a treat that is worth taking. The price, although not cheap, is certainly much lower than Italy. Expect around € 70 for two large portions and remember that lobster must be booked in the morning
- Unusual place: on the way from Chora to Steno, we found a goat pasture with unusual guests