Astypalea is a harsh island with high cliffs, small bays and and clear
waters, Astypalea is a traditional Greek island which is a good alternative
for those who want to escape the more touristy islands but still want a bit
The people of Astypalea live off fishing, agriculture and stockbreeding ,
but since it is quite a popular island amongst Greek holidaymakers, the
locals have been able to earn more out of tourism.
Because Astypalea has some terrific settings and views, this has become an
increasingly popular island amongst artists.
History: Astypalea was the sister of
Europa, and she had two sons with
Poseidon: Anceus, king of Samos and one of the
Argonauts, and Eurypylea, king of Kos. The island was first inhabited in
the 2nd Millennium BC by the Carians, who then called it Pyrra ("fire")
because the soil was red.
Later, the Cretans, Minoans, settled here. In classical times, there were
many temple on the island and it seems to have been a quite prosperous
place, since it paid high tributes to Athens. The ancient Greeks called it
the "Table of the Gods" since it was covered with fruit and flowers.
The Romans invaded Astypalea in the 2nd century BC, but in stead of using
the island as a place for exiles as in the case of many other islands, they
took advantage of its strategical position and made it a haven for their
ships. This protected the island from pirates, and during the Byzantine the
island kept flourishing.
The Venetians conquered the Aegean sea in the beginning of the 13th century,
and the defense started declining. Finally, the Turks took over in the 16th
century, and stayed on Astypalea until its liberation in the 19th century.
The island was again occupied by the Italians during World War II. In 1948
it was finally liberated.
What to See In Chora there is a
small archaeological museum, a few interesting churches and a citadel. The
remains of a Roman Villa is to be seen in the village Maltezana (Analipsis).
Here, there is also a monument over the perished crew of the French ship Bison
that sunk in 1827. In Vathy you can visit the Cave of the Dragon, Dracospilia.
What to Do : Swimming, snorkeling and relaxing. At Livadia beach there are jetskis
and canoes for rent. The island is great for windsurfing.
Beaches: The most
popular beach is Maltezana, which is also the most
lively. There are numerous little bays, and you can take
a boat to Moura and Parou. Most beaches on the island
are pebbled or rocks.
Nightlife: You'll find a couple of bars and
discos in Skala, Chora, Livadia and Maltezana. The
nightlife is quite varied, but not too wild.
Food There are many taverns on the
island. You'll find some in Chora, Skala, Livadia and Maltezana as well as
in Ag Andreas. Pougia is a local cheese-pie, and Arandista is a local dish
of lentils and vinegar. There are also many locals sweets.
Shopping:Apart from the usual
souvenirs like ceramics, hand-woven textiles and
jewellery, you can also buy some of the local honey and
Getting Around There is a
local bus that connects Chora with Livadia and Maltezana. A small boat
can take you to some of the beaches. You can also rent a vehicle.
Getting There: The airport has
almost daily flights to and from Athens. The ferryboats connect
the island with Piraeus, Naxos, Paros and Kalymnos and other islands of
|| Phone numbers*
| Size: 95 sq. km
||International code: 0030
|Population: about 1200
||Local code: 22430
|Cash machine: Yes
||Telephone company (OTE):
|Price rate: Average
||Tourist Information Office:
*The info displayed may be inaccurate. If changes have been made, please let us know.