Category: ROUTE 10
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.
Category: ROUTE 10
Anafi is a small island, located to the east of Santorini. Largely triangular in shape, the rugged terrain is mostly rocky. The island, because of its size and location, hasn't been developed as a tourist destination, so it is the perfect place for those seeking peace and quiet. According to Greek mythology, Anafi rose from the sea to provide shelter for the Argonauts from the wild sea. Anafi consists of a semi-mountainous structure with Vigla, Kalamos and Agios Ioannis Theologos being the highest peaks.
Anafi is also blessed by a number of lovely beaches, some carpeted with fine soft sand, some pebbled. The port of Agios Nikolaos, where we drop anchor, is the busiest part of Anafi. It provides the basic facilities a tourist would need, such as tavernas and rooms to rent. From there, you can take a small boat around the island and visit secluded beaches. Otherwise, the island can be crossed on foot or via mule. There is one local bus available but the itineraries are rather limited. The village of Chora, capital of Anafi, is built on a natural amphitheatrical site in the center of the island. It is located 2 km from the port.
Chora is characterized by a number of small churches, its white houses and paved roads. The 18th century Monastery of Panagia Kalamiotissa is an important religious center for the island. Anafi is a great for sightseeing and getting a taste of unspoiled Greek culture.