Astypalea is located at the western edge of the Dodecanese Islands. It is known for its tall cliffs and hills, as well as its beautiful beaches and picturesque villages. Its beauty invites all visitors to embark on a mesmerizing journey through the turquoise waters of the Aegean and the white houses of the island.
History of Astypalea
The initial inhabitants of Astypalea appear to have been the Carians, who called the island Pyrrha, possibly due to the red color of its soil. During the Minoan period, it was likely colonized by Cretans, while later Megarians arrived here. During the Classical period, according to ancient writers, Astypalea flourished and had many temples, a theater, and public buildings, the locations of which have not yet been revealed.
During the Byzantine period, Astypalea belonged to the Theme of the Aegean and, like many other islands, suffered from pirate raids, which led to gradual abandonment. In 1537, after the raids of the infamous Barbarossa, Astypalea fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Although it rebelled along with the rest of Greece in 1821, Astypalea remained under Turkish occupation until 1912 when it was occupied by the Italians along with the rest of the Dodecanese. The long-awaited union with Greece finally took place in 1948.
Beaches in Astypalea
- Kaminakia: This beach is considered one of the most beautiful on the island, with an extensive sandy shore and tamarisk trees that provide natural shade. The waters are crystal clear, with a turquoise color, and relatively deep, protected from the winds. The beach is organized with umbrellas, sunbeds, and a restaurant offering local cuisine. Access to this beach requires some careful driving on a dirt road. Alternatively, you can reach here by boat from Pera Gialos.
- Vatses: With an excellent view of the Castle and Chora, this long pebble beach offers deep and cold blue waters. There are tamarisk trees that provide natural shade, a few umbrellas, and some sunbeds. For hiking and exploration enthusiasts, the path leading to the Cave of Negros starts from here.
- Livadi: This is the most cosmopolitan and popular beach on the island, with excellent organization that includes umbrellas, sunbeds, and facilities for water sports. The coastline is surrounded by many traditional taverns and cafes for dining and entertainment. Stay here until sunset to enjoy the enchanting colors of the horizon as they wrap around the surrounding islets. The spectacle is impressive at nightfall, as the lights of Chora and the Castle across reflect on the sea.
Sights in Astypalea
- Do not miss following the route from Chora to the old port of Pera Gialos, descending through the picturesque alleys with aromatic courtyards filled with flowers. Enjoy the sunrise from the steps of the bustling square next to the eight restored windmills, at the "neck" of Chora above Skala.
- Make your night unforgettable at the famous bars in Chora, enjoying the beautiful view of the Aegean, the pleasant atmosphere, and endless company.
- Explore the island's unique paths that traverse the carved trails. Don't forget to visit Panagia Poulariani, located at the top of Mount Kastellano, and the chapel of Prophet Elias, surrounded by a beautiful courtyard.
Activities in Astypalea
- Hiking: Astypalaia offers ideal hiking routes with significant changes in elevation, and the sea almost always by your side to keep you refreshed. You will find themed trails with stories and events connected to the place. You can visit caves with stalactites and stalagmites, as well as remote areas with rich archaeological and ecclesiastical interest.
- Cycling: Astypalaia, with its butterfly-shaped figure, offers amazing cycling paths. There are routes that cater to all needs. With the help of cyclists, you can visit the rural areas of the island, learn about livestock farming activities, and experience the countryside of Astypalaia.
- Alternative activities: Astypalaia is a remarkable destination for experiential vacations, situated at the crossroads of the Aegean between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. It is ideal for activities in spring and summer. The untouched landscape and the unique morphology of the island turn your passion for action into an unforgettable experience.
- Sea kayaking: Sea kayaking is an activity that allows you to explore the hidden beauties of Astypalaia through the sea. By paddling with a kayak, you can visit the beautiful beach of Lignou Island, the shipwreck of World War II in Maltezana, and many other places.
- Boat excursions: As an island in the heart of the Aegean, Astypalaia is proud of its marine environment. With the island's traditional fishing boats, you can visit the most enchanting beaches on the islets of Koutsomitis, Kounoupas, and Agios Fokas. During this full-day activity, you will have the opportunity to swim in turquoise waters, engage in fishing, and enjoy seafood meze and ouzo.
How to travel to / from Astypalaia?
Astypalaia is connected by ferry to the port of Piraeus as well as the islands of Amorgos, Donousa, Kalymnos, Kos, Syros, Naxos, Nisyros, Paros, Rhodes, Tilos, and Kastellorizo. The ferry company that serves Astypalaia throughout the year is Blue Star Ferries. The route from Piraeus to Astypalaia operates year-round. Tickets for this route are available for both passengers and vehicles, including motorcycles.
The most frequently operated ferry routes to Astypalaia are as follows:
Piraeus - Astypalaia Ferry Routes:
- Departures approximately 4 times a week.
- Duration of the journey: Approximately 10 hours.
- Cost of a ticket: 56 €
Amorgos - Astypalaia Ferry Routes:
- Daily summer routes.
- Duration of the journey: 1.5 hours.
- Cost of a ticket: 12 €
Kalymnos - Astypalaia Ferry Routes:
- Usually 3 ferries daily.
- Duration of the journey: 2.5 - 3.5 hours.
- Cost of a ticket: 13 €
Naxos - Astypalaia Ferry Routes:
- Usually 1-4 ferries daily during the peak season.
- Duration of the journey: 3.5 hours.
- Cost of a ticket: 18 €
These are the basic pieces of information regarding the ferry routes from these locations to Astypalaia. Prices and journey durations may vary depending on the season and the ferry company, so it's a good idea to check the details in advance before your trip.
You can make your reservation for your trip to and from Astypalaia by ferry with ease and speed through our online ticket booking system. Using the booktickets online reservation system, you can instantly view real-time available prices and departures for ferries to and from Astypalaia and secure your tickets in just a few minutes.