Located in the beautiful Aegean Sea between Cyclades and the Dodecanese island groups, Astypalaia (pronounced as ‘asti–pa–le-a’) is the idyllic island characterised by its unique butterfly shape and distinctive character combining Cycladic and Dodecanese architectural elements. With little more than 1,000 residents, Astypalaia is the westernmost of the Polynesian group of the Dodecanese. Despite its surface area spanning less than 100 sq. km., the island possesses several attractive locations for a relaxing and refreshing summer holiday. These include Chora, Pera Gialos, Livadi, Maltezana (Analipsi) and Vathy.
Whilst geographically belonging to the Dodecanese, the Cycladic influence on the island is evident. This includes the white cubic houses with courtyards and colourful flowers, paved streets and whitewashed alleys, the blue shutters, the quaint whitewashed churches and last but not least, the traditional windmills.
The island has a rich history and tradition dominated by the Venetian castle of Querini, built in the traditional local dark stone, flanked by white houses on the top of Chora. The impressive Chora, built on a high rock, is considered one of the most beautiful capitals of the Aegean that charms every visitor with the way the white cubic houses spread with blue doors encircling the castle and churches. In the evenings the view of the enlightened Chora, is appealing even to the most discerning visitor.
Astypalaia has a spectacular coastline with many tortuous shores where one finds beautiful beaches with crystal clear blue waters. A small strip of land of about 100 meters in width, almost separates the island into two parts contributing to its unique shape – that of a butterfly. Combined with its unique natural beauty and rich history, Astypalaia has special and rare flora and fauna. Another characteristic of the island is that there are no snakes. It is thought that this is due to the large number of storks inhabiting the island who hunt and feed on snakes.
The coastline of Astypalaia is rocky with bays and beaches. There are several small islands nearby, such as Aghia Kyriaki, Hondros, Kounoutes, Koutsomitis, Ofidousa, Pontikousa, with access by boat. The capital of the island is Chora.
The most well-equiped beach in the island is Livadi, where the “Aegean Sea Villas” are located. Other beautiful beaches for visitors is the Mikro Steno, Megalo Steno, Aghios Konstantinos, Schinontas, Kaminakia, Tzanaki, Vatses, Chrysi Ammos, and Saint John. Most beaches are accessible by paved road, whilst some require driving or walking through a dirt road, or for the more adventurous holiday makers, hiking or a short boat trip.
Livadi is approximately 1 kilometre from the main square of the Chora and is the most fertile valley of Astypalaia. This is where the dam of the island is also located. From the beach of Livadi to the dam, one meets crops of any kind which, in conjunction with the dam ecosystem consisting of a number of rare bird species create a beautiful natural landscape.
By the Livadi beach, there are multiple taverns, cafes and mini-markets, where you can enjoy not only swimming, eating, drinking coffee and relaxing but also obtain a beautiful views of the island’s Venetian castle.
Astypalaia every year wins the admiration of many visitors and is now considered one of the most beautiful and idyllic places for holidays and relaxation. The crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches, history, architecture, gastronomy, and warm-hearted hospitable people combined with the tradition of the island satisfy even the most discerning guest.