The butterfly, as it is called due to its shape, is literally in the middle of the Aegean. You will think you are in the Cyclades, but you are actually In the Dodecanese. There is a special energy about this simple, yet elegant bougainvillea clad island. There are windmills, sparkling beaches and great fresh food. But it’s the Hora – often called the most beautiful in the Aegean- that attracts the most attention: Whitewashed and amphitheatrically built, it is crowned by a Venetian castle, and the only way up is to walk through narrow uphill alleyways that often feel like a maze. Who knows, you may see Astypalaia herself, who according to Greek Mythology, was a woman abducted by Poseidon in the form of a winged fish-tailed leopard.
DID YOU KNOW?
Astypalaia is the first ‘smart & sustainable Mediterranean island. With the support of the Volkswagen Group, Greece is implementing a ground-breaking project, aiming to transform Astypalaia into a model location for e-mobility, smart mobility and Renewable Energy Sources.
Take a day trip to the nearby uninhabited paradise called Kounoupes island. Famous for its double beach, it boasts crystal clear, sparkling, turquoise waters and even has a small canteen. Deserted Koutsomitis island, is equally exotic and jaw dropping.
Green – blue, deep, crystal clear waters dominate the island. Access to the beaches is not often easy, thanks to the limited road network. For those seeking an organized beach, Livali, Steno and Kaminakia never cease to amaze. For off road adventure seekers, head to Vatses or nearby Aghios Ioannis, or to the East to Ble Limanaki or Plakes. Wild, yet unique, they all make for an amazing exploration – just make sure you come fully equipped as there is no shade.
EAT & DRINK
Herbs fill the air with mesmerizing aromas. Beekeeping thrives, and so does dairy farming, its most famous produce being the ‘chlori’ cheese, often used to make delicious baked goods. Fishermen catch fresh fish daily. One must however look out for the local delicacies like makarounes (home made pasta), ardista (stewed lentils with trachanas), labrino (lamb/goat roast stuffed with rice and liver) and of course the folded and fried pastries called xirotigana. A gastro-destination in its own right.
The best time of day to enjoy the castle is at dawn or dusk when the air is cooler. Go through the only entrance (on the southwest side) and pick a spot, preferably by one of the two churches, to enjoy the panoramic view. Take in the silence, the energy and the warm rays of the sun. Or just read a book.