Although Astypalaia (Astypalea) island belongs to the Dodecanese complex, it has an intense Cycladic character. This is a small island and its shape looks like a butterfly. On this page you may find where is Astypalaia island, how to get there, things to do and see, what to do in Astypalea, beaches and villages, where to stay, hotels and accommodation and more.
Tourism is not much developed but tourist facilities are enough to cater for the limited number of visitors. Astypalaia island looks very charming with the picturesque architecture of Chora, the Venetian Castle on top of the hill, the traditional windmills and the relaxing beaches. Few beaches close to Chora are organized, but as you drive away from the capital, you will find totally secluded places to enjoy privacy. Astypalaia Greece is an ideal place for families and romantic couples, as nightlife is lounge on the island.
Astypalaia Island: It’s been dubbed “The Butterfly of the Aegean” partly because of its peculiar shape and partly because of the beauty of the landscape. For those willing to travel off the beaten track, it’s love at first sight. In the southeastern edge of the Aegean, in the Dodecanese (not the Cyclades as some may think), there is an island rich in imagery and emotions. Many stay forever devoted to this island of white light, with its crystal-clear water, sun-drenched beaches, historical heritage and hospitable residents.
Where is Astypalaia
- 117 seamiles from Athens / Piraeus
- 23 seamiles from Kos
- 97 qkm (the whole archipel 114 qkm)
- about 3000 inhabitants
- 482 m highest mountain
- 5 villages (Astypalaia, Livadi, Analipsi, Vathi, Pera Gialos)
How to get to Astypalaia
The airport of Astypalaia is small and works only in summer. Astypalaia receives only domestic flights from Athens. The flight time from Athens to Astypalaia is 50 min. The airport is located in the centre of the island, at the region of Maltezana. After they arrive, visitors can take a taxi to their hotel.
There are ferries to Astypalaia from Piraeus, the main port of Athens, 3 times per week. This ferry trip is long (about 9 hours) and connects Astypalaia with many other Greek islands, such as Naxos, Amorgos, Paros, Donoussa, Rhodes, Tilos and more. The port of Astypalea is found at the region of Agios Andreas, 4 km from Chora. After they arrive, visitors can then take the bus or taxi to their hotel.
Transportation in Astypalaia
Astypalaia is a picturesque island, not affected by mass tourism. Despite its size, there do exist several options for you to choose and discover this little butterfly-like shaped gem of the Dodecanese island group!
Astypalea is a small island, so it has a limited public transportation, yet sufficient. Local buses link Chora with other major places, like Maltezana, Livadi and Agios Andreas, the port of the island. The bus routes are quite frequent during summer and they are carried out almost every 30 mins.
Car and Motorbike rentals
With a car or motorcycle, you can explore the island at your own pace and gain access to the most secluded spots! In case you don’t have your own vehicle, it is an excellent idea to rent a car for your sightseeing trips! As the biggest part of the island consists of dirt roads that are hard to access, it is recommended that you hire a motorcycle or jeep. You will find car rental spots in Chora.
What to do in Astypalaia
It looks like a traditional Cycladic hora, even though it’s part of the Dodecanese. Its famous castle, majestic views of the Aegean, windmills and whitewashed homes make up a remarkable traditional settlement. Hora, or Astropalia as the locals call it in their dialect, is the island’s largest town, offering a variety of choices for food and fun.
Castle on a hill
At the top of the hill, the famous stone castle of Astypalea towers over Hora is a special attraction. Erected by the Quirini family in the 13th century, it was a typical fortified settlement, built for protection from pirates. But as the island’s population grew, their homes overflowed beyond the castle and onto the slope and today reach as far as the edge of the hill and the port of Pera Gialos.
Beaches, pure and seductive
Astypalea’s beaches may not have a cosmopolitan vibe, but they offer something else: translucent water, relaxation and tranquility. The most beautiful beach on the island is Kaminakia, but Vatses, Livadi, Steno and Psili Ammos are also lovely.
The Virgin Mary in the shade of the castle
Founded in 1762 by Saint Anthimos, Panagia Portaitissa is one of the most beautiful churches in the Aegean. Whitewashed, with an impressive bell tower and silver dome, it is located right below the castle, in Rodia, a poetic place whose name is derived from the pomegranate tree (rodia) that once grew nearby.
In the island’s garden
Livadi is a fertile valley with citrus groves and vineyards. The homes are awash with flowers and are spread along the length of a stream that ends in one of the most beautiful and populated beaches on the island, filled with coffee shops and restaurants.
Nightlife in Astypalaia
Astypalaia is a quiet island of the Aegean Sea, a great place for relaxation. Nightlife in Astypalaia is a lounge and it is restricted in few bars in Chora. Enjoy your drink at the many cafe bars in the central square or the paved streets of Chora listening to soft music. For even more peaceful nights, you can have a long dinner at the many taverns around the island.
Things to do and see in Astypalaia
Hellenistic bath houses
In Maltezana (Ascension) you’ll find the famous Baths of Talara, with their trademark blue tiles and mosaics from the Hellenistic period. Experts have singled them out for their unique composition, which depicts the seasons and the symbols of the zodiac.
The stalactites at Negrou
The Cave of Negrou at Vatses has impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations that are interwoven with myths about pirates and the treasures they buried there. From the beach you can hike (45 mins) to the cave, or you can also reach it by boat.
Rock climbing in Astypalaia
Give yourself an adrenaline rush. There’s a climbing site at Ftera, just 20 minutes outside the island’s hora. The relief of the limestone rocks has created two climbing sites, offering some 20 routes of varying difficulty. Are you up for it?
Villages of Astypalaia
All villages on Astypalaia are small and most of them are found on the seaside. They have a few permanent inhabitants that deal with agriculture and fishing. Meanwhile, some of the locals also engage in tourism. The capital of the island is Chora and the most tourist spot is Pera Yialos.
Beaches of Astypalaia
All beaches in Astypalaia have clean water and they are much quieter than beaches in other islands. Some Astypalaia beaches are easy to access while you need to take the bus to go to some others, which are secluded and frequented by naturists. Most popular Astypalaia beaches are Pera Gialos, Agios Konstantinos, and Livadia. You will find below a list with the best beaches in Astypalaia island.
List of all beaches in Astypalaia
- Agios Konstantinos, map
- Livadi, map
- Pera Gialos, map
- Maltezana, map
- Marmari, map
- Pachia Ammos, map
- Agios Andreas, map
- Plakes, map
- Psili Ammos, map
- Tzanaki, map
- Vathi, map
- Vatses, map
- Ai Giannis, map
- Agios Ioannis, map
Where to stay Astypalea
Astypalaia Hotels: Look and search island of Astypalaia hotels, accommodation, rooms, apartments, studios and pensions.
Astypalaia Chora Hotels
- Andromeda Resort, Booking.com
- Kallichoron Art Boutique Hotel, Booking.com
- Mariakis Luxury Studios, Booking.com
- Atlantic, Booking.com
Astypalaia Pera Gialos Hotels
- Chrysalis Boutique – Adults Only, Booking.com
- Paradissos Hotel, Booking.com
- Akti Rooms, Booking.com
- Vithos Seaside Aparthotel, Booking.com
Astypalaia Hotels Between Chora and Livadi
- Pylaia Boutique Hotel & Spa, Booking.com
- Tholaria Boutique Hotel, Booking.com
- Kalderimi Traditional Houses, Booking.com
- Mouras studios, Booking.com
Astypalaia Livadi Coast Hotels
- Mouras Resort, Booking.com
- Astypalea villas, Booking.com
- Gerani Studios, Booking.com
- Parathinalos Beach House, Booking.com