Astypalaia, a lesser-known gem in the Aegean Sea, is a must-visit for anyone seeking a unique and tranquil experience. This island is brimming with Venetian history, quaint towns, and beautiful beaches. So, if you’re looking to escape the crowds, Astypalaia should be on your radar.
Main Town:- Chora, the main town, is home to the Venetian castle, which was constructed by the Venetian Querini family in the 13th-16th centuries. While only the walls remain, the castle is still impressive. The 8 windmills on the way to the town add to its charm. The Monastery of Saint John, located 12 km from Chora, offers breathtaking views from the hill, and there’s an old castle nearby. The Archaeological Museum, with prehistoric and medieval exhibits, is also worth a visit. Don’t forget to stop by the beautiful 18th-century Church of Panagia Portaitissa, located just below the castle in Chora. And if you’re looking for a laid-back vibe, head to the quaint town of Per Gialos, where you’ll find many cafes, shops, and restaurants.
Beaches:– Livadi Beach is the most famous, with a view of Chora and the castle. Kaminakia Beach boasts turquoise waters and is filled with sand and pebbles. Agios Konstantinos Beach is superb too which even has a small church on a nearby hill, and Steno Beach is the easiest to access, with crystal-clear waters.
Villages:- The coastal village of Maltezana is the second-largest town, with several beaches to explore. You’ll also find delicious restaurants and cafes here. Vathi, another remote village on the eastern side of the island, offers a peaceful escape with its tranquil atmosphere and tavernas. On the way to Vathi, you can visit the Panagia Poulariani church.
Activities:- Astypalaia offers a wide range of activities, from diving and hiking to fishing and stargazing. The island is a heaven for sailors, and you can also take a cooking class to learn about the local cuisine. Driving around the wild landscape is another must-do.
Island Hopping:– Every morning, scheduled departures from Pera Gialos port to the islet of Kounoupes, the beach of Koutsomitis, and the Red Rock are available. Three boats do the same route, and the trip lasts for about 7-8 hours, costing around 20€.
Getting to Astypalaia:- From Athens, you can reach Astypalaia by ferry, which takes about 8 hours. The island is also well-connected to other Cyclades, such as Amorgos and Donoussa. There are daily flights from Athens to the island as well.
In summary, Astypalaia is a hidden paradise waiting to be discovered. From its historical sites to its stunning beaches and tranquil villages, there’s something for everyone on this charming island.