Astypalaia belongs to the Dodecanese islands, although it has a more Cycladic character. This charming island with the picturesque Chora, a Venetian castle sitting on top of the hill, traditional windmills, and relaxing beaches. Away from the capital, one can find secluded beaches to enjoy privacy. Ideally, this island is for families and for romantic couples, as well. Some beaches on the island offer lounge chairs and umbrellas and others are remote and naturist friendly.

Towns of Astypalaia

All villages in Astypalaia are small and located on the seaside. The capital of the island is Chora.

The Chora was built amphitheatrically on the hill slope below the Venetian Castle known as Querini Castle. The castle, with its two whitewashed churches, overlooks the entire village and is one of the most famous attractions in Astypalaia. The churches of Panagia of Castro (built 1853, the Holy Virgin of the Castle) and Agios Giorgios (built 1790, Saint George). 

The white houses with blue windows, wooden balconies, and outdoor stairs, a unique architecture strongly influenced by the Cycladic Islands, give the Chora such traditional charm. Beautiful red flowers contrast the vivid whites and blues in the whitewashed yards. 

Pera Yialos is a small fishing village within walking distance from Chora. It has most of the tourist facilities on Astypalea. Hotels, taverns, and beach bars can all be found here. This used to be the island’s main port, and today it serves as a launching point to many attractions, long, sandy beaches.

Livadi Village Is a delightful seaside village only 2 kilometers west of Chora. The excellent sandy beach attracts many tourists with its appealing turquoise water. And the great poet Homer described this pleasant valley as the “Table of Gods.”. On its western hills, many windmills form a beautiful pattern. Livadi offers many cafeterias, traditional taverns, and local bars where one can indulge in fresh fish and classic Greek cuisine.

The northeastern side of Astypalaia is located in Vathi, a serene and charming traditional fishing village. It also has a harbor where ferries dock when the wind is not suitable in the port of Astypalea. Mesa Vathi (Inner Vathi) and Exo Vathi (Outer Vathi) offer calm beaches and crystal-clear water. Enjoy fresh, locally caught fish in the traditional tavernas. And several ouzo bars are open until late at night. While in Vathi, make sure to visit the two ancient limestone caves. 

Sights to See in Astypalaia

The cave of the Dragon has terrific stalactites and stalagmites; the second is the Cave of the Negro.

The butterfly shape of the island of Astypalaia separates the charming village of Analipsi. Maltese pirates used this village as their base. The village lies on a small fertile plain. A visit to the Chapel of Analipsi and the Agia Varvarawhich, a chapel built on the site of the Ancient Temple of Artemis, is worth a visit. The temple’s ruins can still be found, and some beautiful mosaics from the third century are in the chapel.

Astypalaia Beaches

All beaches on Astypalea have crystal clear water and are much quieter than beaches on many other islands. In addition, naturists can be easy to access or secluded and frequented. The most popular beaches are Pera Gialos, Agios Konstantinos, and Livadia.

  • Agios Konstantinos Beach is located south of Chora. Lovely, long, with a sandy cove and sparkling blue water, surrounded by a mountainous and rocky landscape with a few scattered orchards.
  • Livadi Beach is sandy, and lounge chairs and umbrellas are available; however, without tourist facilities.
  • Pera Gialos is a long sandy beach with pebbles interspersed. Surrounded by many seafood taverns and small hotels.
  • Due to its soft sand, Maltezana is one of the most popular beaches on Astypalea and a popular attraction to many tourists. 
  • Tanaka, a nudist beach, reached on foot from the coast of Livadia.
  • Pachia Ammos is a secluded beach on the island’s northwestern side where one can enjoy all the privacy you need.

Livadi Beach is one of the few organized beaches on Astypalea, which offers various watersport activities. However, the most popular activity is swimming on the wonderfully secluded beaches.

  • Hiking the long stretch of virgin beaches in rich natural surroundings
  • Rock climbing at Ftera. Two climbing sites offer twenty different routes of various difficulty.
  • Cave of Negrou at Vatses has impressive stalactites, and stalagmite formations fuel the imagination about pirates and hidden treasures. It is a 45-minute hike from the beach.
  • Visiting the Baths of Talara with their blue tiles and mosaics from the Hellenistic period.

Festivals and Cultural Events on Astypalaia

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  • July 26th – The day to honor Agios Panteleimon.
  • August 6th – The feast for the Transfiguration of Christ.
  • August 15th – The Holy Virgin Mary is celebrated in the monastery of Portaitissa, at the top of the hill. With local treats, traditional music, and food.
  • September 4th – The litany of Virgin Portaitissa. The remains of Osios Anthimos, the blind builder of the church, are taken around the Chora.
  • Summer nights on Astypalea present theatrical works, book fairs, and musical presentations with contemporary Greek singers.

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