ASTYPALAIA

It belongs to the Dodecanese islands but also manages to inspire in a rather Cycladic way. It can and does have it all...

1.

The Venetian castle of Querini, at the highest point of the main town Chora, built on the ruins of the Byzantine castle and the ancient citadel of the island. It was constructed by Giovanni I Querini in 1207 and was completed in 1413 and used for defence purposes. Within the castle and in the neighborhood of Karai near the town hall, you can also visit the two churches which both have elaborate wooden temples. Insider Tip: It is simply worth the visit just to witness the amazing view from up here. Open daily. Free entrance.

 

2.

Astypalaia Archeological Museum in the area of Pera Yialos. It first opened in 1998 and there you will see findings ranging from the pre-historian times up to the medieval era. Take a special look at the marble Querini blazon, jewelry and tools from the Mycenaean graves, silver coins from the old epoch, engravings and pottery from the Roman times.  Open daily except Mondays between 09.00-15.00. Entrance fee €2/ person. (Skala area, tel. 22430 61500, www.culture.gr)

 

3.

Kylindra Archaeological space, in Chora. It is one of the largest cemeteries for infants in the world, which operated between 600-200 BC and the infants were dedicated to the female Lieutenant Artemida (protector of new mothers). Extra Info: On the island you will also see a plethora of post-roman findings such as the post-roman bath of Maltezana.  

 

4.

The Monastery of Panagia Portaitissa (Virgin Mary) -right outside the castle- which constitutes the religious center of the island. Its construction began in 1762 and it was a female monastery with numerous cells. You will be thrilled by its architectural style - royal with a dome – and by its belfry which was built in 1880 and it counts among the most impressive in the Greek islands of the Aegean sea. You can also visit the church of St. George for its rare Byzantine wall paintings. Open daily between 09.00 and 15.00. Free entrance.

 

5.

The truly unique beaches of the island. Keep in mind that the island of Astipalaia has the advantage of being constantly protected by the strong winds, characteristic to the Aegean, making them resemble swimming pools! You will definitely find a beach to suit your tastes whether you are into golden sands or pebbles or even a wilder version with rocks.

In more detail: Very close to Chora you will find the well organized beach of Livadi with numerous interesting beach bars and tavernas to suit every taste. The most ideal beach for a family is that of Pera Yialos very close to Chora and where the harbor was previously located. Very easily accessible and with shallow waters for toddlers. At around 500 meters from Fildisi Boutique Hotel you will come across Tzanakia beach, small but very beautiful which used to be a favorite of nudists in previous decades and possibly still is especially in the months of May and September when it’s not too crowded. If you do like the strong winds and a coast of tiny pebbles, then there is a sole beach for you and its name is Vatses. Prefer it also for its crystal clear waters and its hip beach bar. From then on continue towards the area of Kaminakia to find the island’s most “shockingly" beautiful beach. Thin sand and bright white pebbles. What an amazing setting for lunch! Two of the most known tavernas are located here, that of Lindas and Michelis where the owners serve whatever they produce privately transforming your typical lunch to an amazing experience.  

On the eastern side of the island you will find peaceful Maltezana beach at 7 km from Chora. Prefer it for its shallow waters, a nice setting of trees reaching right down to the sea and numerous tavernas for fresh fish. The beach of Steno is also very well organized and an ideal choice for families due to the shallow waters. Worth of your visit are also the picturesque Ble Limanaki in Maltezana, Plakes for its amazing sea bottom and quiet Shinonda for its many tavernas right next to the sandy sea shore.  

 

TOP SECRETS: Very close to Tzanakia you will find the beach of Mouros and if you take the little path towards Vatses and Kaminakia you will reach the beach of Papos for a unique wild natural setting.

The little islands opposite, Koutsomiti and Kounoupas have really beautiful beaches too.

Alternatively you can catch the public boats on a daily basis from the little port of Pera Yialos to visit the smaller islands around. (For info call Yiannis Mantakas, mob. 697 4436338. Departure 11.00 in the morning and return at 18.00. Trip duration 55 minutes. Price: €15/ person). Depending on weather conditions the boat trip includes a visit to St. John Makris where only few people know that parts of the film “Big Blue” were shot!  

At the port you can also rent your own boat (for 2 persons and without needing a license) and take it along the south coast and to the islands opposite.