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.
: 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.
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.
: You'll find a couple of bars and discos in Skala, Chora, Livadia and Maltezana. The nightlife is quite varied, but not too wild.
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.
:Apart from the usual souvenirs like ceramics, hand-woven textiles and jewellery, you can also buy some of the local honey and cheese.
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.
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 the Dodecanese.
Facts about Astypalea
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: