- Category: route
Astypalea is the bridge that connects the Cyclades to the Dodecanese. Due to the abundance of fragrant flowers and fruit, the Ancient Greeks called this island the "Paradise of the Gods". In Greek mythology, Astypalea was a woman abducted by Poseidon in the form of a winged fish-tailed leopard. Today, the island is famous for exceptional honey and high quality fish. The island was developed in Hellenistic times due to the fishing activity of its inhabitants. In Roman times, the island was used by the pirates as a regular base of operations. Afterwards, the island was conquered by many different races, such as the Venetians, the Turks, and the Italians, until finally united with the Greek State in 1948.
The island of Astypalea has four miniscule but picturesque villages: Chora, Analipsi (or Maltezana), Vathi and Livadia. The most unique aspect of Astypalea are the numerous churches that are spread all over the island. The most famous is the church of Panagia Portaitissa, painted all white, with a beautiful wooden iconostasis and a large bell tower. Life on Astypalea is rather quiet and peaceful. There is certainly some nightlife in Chora, but you will mostly find seaside coffee shops and traditional taverns.
The beaches of Astypalea are small and sandy. Some are a bit challenging to get to but offer an unmatched level of peace and privacy. After all, the whole island radiates a vibe of peace and tranquility. One of the best beaches is found at Sterno, a thin strip of land that divides the island in two. A few more sumptuous beaches can be found at Agios Konstantinos, Livadi, Schinontas, Maltezana, Marmaria and Plakes.
Chora, which also happens to be the main harbor, is one of the most picturesque villages in the Aegean Sea; defined by a multitude of capes, thickets and tranquil sandy bays. A Venetian Castle stands proudly on the hill above the town. Other inhabited settlements that exist today are Livadi, Analypsi, and Maltezana; but for the most part, island life is concentrated in Chora.