Astypalaia or Chora

This is the capital and port of the island built on a hill protruding into the sea thus forming two bays: the port - Pera Yialos -and Livadi Bay. The peak is dominated by the fortress built of dark local stone from which one can see the glowing white domes of the Evangelistria and Aghios Georgios Churches sticking out. Around it are white houses with blue doors and windows and wooden railings on the balconies. Among them are churches and domed chapels. On the saddle of the hill are eight windmills, a unique jewel adorning Hora. Slightly further on is the traditional coffee house and further still is the Town Hall from whence the two main roads which lead up the hill to the Fortress begin. Each leads to a well known church, the Monastery of Panaghia Portaitissa on the Livadi Bay side and the Megali Panaghia Church on the Pera Yialos side.




Analipsi or Maltezana

A seaside village spread out along a small valley in Exo Nisi with a beautiful sandy beach. The second name 'Maltezana' makes reference to the pirates who pillaged the Aegean and found refuge in the island's sheltered bays. The village hugs the bay with a long jetty at which fishing caiques moor. The orchards and vineyards go right down to the water's edge. Tour boats can take visitors to the island's beaches and the islets of Hondro, Ligno, Aghia Kyriaki, Koutsomytis, Syrna and Kounoupi.



A seaside village spread along a fertile valley on the inlet of the bay with the same name. Livadi is the island's flower garden. The gardens with mandarin trees, orange trees, vines, and houses bedecked in flowers are spread along the entire length of the stream which terminates at a beautiful beach.



Vathi resembles are lagoon. The bay is almost completely closed off with an opening of just 50m. There are two small villages at Vathi: Exo Vathi which is at the mouth of the bay with its small jetty at which caiques moor and Mesa Vathi on the inlet of the bay with fields, a few trees and vineyards. Visitors can reach Vathi by road along a passable dirt track or by boat. There are regular sailings from Vai Bay.

Other islets

To the southeast are the islets of Hondro, Ligno, Aghia Kyriaki with a church dedicated to that saint, Koutsomytis with its charming beach and Kounoupi. Further out are Adelfi, Syrna and the Tria Nisia. To the west are the islets of Ktenia, Pontikoussa, Ofidoussa and Katsagreli. To the north is Fokionisia.

You can start your "sea & beaches" tour at the beach at Pera Yialos. From there by boat or car visit the beaches at Livadi (with sand and pebbles), Tzanaki, Moura, Pappou and Aghios Konstantinos (7km away).

More remote beaches are to be found at Vatses (8 km), Kaminakia (11 km), Aghios Ioannis (accessible by boat), Panormos (17 km) and Pachia Ammos (accessible by boat).

There are also beaches at Marmari B and C, Schinonda, Karekli, Vrysi, Plakes (a beach with rocks), Steno and Psili Ammos.

You can start your ``sea and beaches`` tour at the beach at Pera Yialos. From there by boat or car visit the beaches at Livadi (with sand and pebbles), Tzanaki, Moura, Pappou and Aghios Konstantinos (7km away). More remote beaches are to be found at Vatses (8 km), Kaminakia (11 km), Aghios Ioannis (accessible by boat), Panormos (17 km) and Pachia Ammos (accessible by boat). There are also beaches at Marmari B and C, Schinonda, Karekli, Vrysi, Plakes (a beach with rocks), Steno and Psili Ammos



History of Astypalaia

According to Greek mythology, Astypalaia and Europe were the daughters of Finikos and Perimidis. From the union of Astypalaia and Poseidon, god of the water, the Argonaut, Agaeos was born and so was first settled by the Kares who named her ``Pyra`` for the red colour of her soil. Because of her many fragrant flowers and her fruit, the Ancient Greek called her "the Gods Bank".

Astypalaia has gone through the Occupation of Crete, the Minoan Era and later on became Greek because of settlers who came from Megara.

During the ancient years, the island must have shown a significant climax as can be witnessed by the various findings, mainly coins which were found during excavations and from the frequent references in texts of ancient writers. The findings are on display at the Archaeological Museum which is open to the public at Pera Yalos and where the visitor can begin to understand the life of Astypalaia.

During the Hellenistic Era, it was a port (a station of Ptolemy of Egypt) and during the Roman Period, it showed a great development owed to its abundant, natural ports which resulted in starting points against the pirates. During the Byzantine Ages, the escalation of piratism brought about changes to the architectural structure and location of the houses of the island, such as the decline of the coastal dwellings and the movement of the population within the constructed walls of the castle for protection. This era marks the construction of the Castle of Agios Ioannis, situated on the southwestern coast of Astypalaia, whose remains can be found up to today.

The Romans, who appreciated each countrys food most of all, called Astypalaia ``fish-bearing`` because of the great amount and high quality of fish the island has.

However, the period with the most significant mark, the Castle, which has survived up to our days, is that of the Venetian Conquest after the destruction of the Byzantine Empire by the Franks in 1204, and after the creation of Doukatos of Naxos, Markos Sanouthos, the Venetian founder, conceded Astypalaia to the nobleman, John Querini, also of Venetian descent. He was the founder and its first owner of the lodging which consisted of the center of todays settlement. The Venetian stayed in Astypalaia from 1207 to 1269 during the time which the Byzantine ruled. However, in 1310, John Querini the second, governor of Tinos and Mykonos and the descendant of John Querini the first, conquered Astypalaia again with the help of Markos Grimanis. The Querini family remained the rulers of the island for about 300 years.

Each in his rules, renovated and added to the Castle. Stone plaques with the family emblem of the Venetian nobility who built and dwelt in the Castle.

They are built into various points of the walls and stand memory to their splendor of long ago. One of these plaques has survived up to our days and is built in a part of the Castle where it can be admired by the visitor.

It was placed there in March 1413, the day which was dedicated to their patron Saint Querini, John Querini the fourth, ``Count of Astypalaia`` and his wife Isabetta. The Venetians lost Astypalaia in 1537 when Barbarosa the terrible, took over the islands.

During Turkish rule, Astypalaia had reserved privileges and so she remained self-governed. Astypalaia took part in the Greek Revolution of 1821, but, like the rest Dodecanese, she was not included in the provisions of the free Greek Nation. She remained under Turkish Rule until 1912 when the Italian rule followed.

Along with the Dodecanesian islands, she was finally united to the rest of Greece on the 7th of March 1948.
The rugged coastline of Astypalea is nothing more than an endless game between land and sea. In the middle of the island approximately, the land narrows so much that a strip just 10 m wide connects the two sections. The Steno, as it is known by locals, divides Astypalea into the eastern Mesa Nisi (middle island) and the western 'Exo Nisi' (outer island).



Traditional Cuisine

Poungia (cheese pie made from kopanisti cheese and honey)
Preserved fruits (quince, fig, bitter orange, bergamot orange), turnovers
Rantista (lentils cooked with finely grained dough and vinegar)
Stuffed vine, cabbage leaves or courgette flowers
Various local cheeses such as ladotyri, myzithra,chlori
A type of yoghurt called xyalina
Lobster with spaghetti, octopus balls, fish, goat stuffed with rice
Liver finely chopped and cooked with spices known as lambrianos
Yellow bread rolls kitrinokouloura with chlori cheese and saffron and pies known as lambropittes
And least but not last the out of this world, "the honey of Astypalea" smelling thyme and taste amazing.


Useful Information

Locomotions in the interior
Buses or small ships connect the villages, the beaches and the around islets.



Air tickets

Ferry tickets







Νέα δρομολόγια για την Αστυπάλαια, χειμερινής περιόδου 2017-2018.