About Astypalea

ABOUT ASTYPALEA

Astypalea in Greek mythology was the daughter of Phoenix and Perimede and the sister of Europe.

THE ISLAND

Astypalea (meaning “old city” in Greek) is the “bridge” between Cyclades and the Dodecanese, combining elements from both island groups. Covering an area of about 97 sq.km. and with a coastline of 110 km., Astypalea is the fifth biggest and the western most island of the Dodecanese. Astypalea is an island of significant historical heritage, wonderful traditional views, unparalleled natural beauty and very hospitable locals.

THE VILLAGES

Explore Astypalea

Chora

Chora is the Queen of the island and until the 19th century, it was the only settlement of Astypalea. It is built on a peninsula with the Venetian Castle of Querini standing proud on the top to oversee the boundless blue and the several islets that spread around Astypalaia. Until today, most of the island’s life is concentrated in Chora.

Livadi

Livadi village is the most fertile valley of the island and the summer resort from the locals. Citrus groves, pistachio trees, vegetable gardens, strawberry bushes and vines stretch the length of the creek running through the valley. The gardens and courtyards of the houses are filled with flowers of all kinds creating a palette with bursts of colour. It is a very fertile and beautiful area with an equally beautiful beach with various cafes and tavernas.

Pera Gialos

Pera Gialos As the centuries progressed, little white houses were making slowly slowly their appearance outside the walls of the Castle which covered the hill and reached the port of Pera Gialos. It is within walking distance from Chora and used to be the old port, before the port of Agios Andreas was built. In present days, it is hard to distinguish it from Chora due to the little houses covering the hill from the traditional windmills all the way down to the Boat Marina of Pera Gialos.

Maltezana

Analipsi or Maltezana is a seaside village in Outer part of Astypalea with a beautiful sandy beach and a long jetty for fishing boats. Maltezana is located 9 Km far from Chora and it was called "Maltezana" because it was first settled by Maltese pirates, who pillaged the Aegean and found refuge in the island's sheltered bays. The fearful Othman pirate Hayreddin Barbarossa, who secured Ottoman dominance over the Mediterranean during the mid-16th century, conquered the island of Astypalea in 1537 and was using the favourable position of the island and especially Maltezana bay for his naval victories.

Vathi

Vathi is an almost closed off bay with an opening of just 50m. Vathi consists of Exo Vathi which is at the mouth of the bay with its small jetty for fishing boats and Mesa Vathi on the inlet of the bay with fields, a beautiful church, a tavern, a few houses, and a few fishing boats at the small dock. Visitors can reach Vathi by road along a passable dirt track or by boat.

Useful Info

If you are afraid of snakes and other creepy crawlies, you will not find any on Astypalea due to the very high content of pyrite in the subsoil, which tends to irritate those animals.

So, you are free to enjoy the virgin nature without unpleasant surprises.

Must-visit beaches

Astypalaia has a very rich coastline, thus is surrounded by numerous beautiful beaches which are scattered all around the island. Beaches can be found almost all along the coast of the island, although some are more difficult to access by car. The crystal clear waters and the crystal clear blue of the sea will fascinate you and bring you closer to nature. Most shaded beaches offer little cosy tamarisk trees and small taverns with tasty, homemade delicacies. During summer months, small ferry boats sail daily from Pera Gialos and Maltezana to the nearby islets of Koutsomyti and Kounoupa, as well as to the distant beaches of Agios Fokas and Red Rock. Beaches worth visiting are: Livadi, Agios Konstantinos, Vatses, Kaminakia, Agios Giannis, Mple Limanaki (i.e. blue harbor in Greek), Schinontas, Tzanakia, Plakes, Chrysi Ammos (i.e. golden sand in Greek), Steno, Mamounia, Koutsomytis and Kounoupa islets.

Places to visit

The Venetian Castle of Querini Stampalia

It is the island’s most important sight. Situated on Hora’s loftiest point, on the remains of the island’s ancient acropolis and of the Byzantine castle, it was initially constructed by Giovanni I Querini in 1207 and completed by Giovanni IV Zanachi Querini in 1413. The castle offered protection, which resulted in an increase of its population, reaching 4,000 inhabitants. The strongly built castle with the narrow, cobblestone alleys also included two towers, one at the gate where the feudal owners resided and one with four storeys on the south side, the so-called “Sarai”. The abandonment of the castle began in 1830, when piracy was no longer a threat and by 1948 it was completely deserted.

Panagia Portaitissa

Near the Venetian castle of the island there is the church of Panagia Portaiitissa, one of the most beautiful in the Dodecanese. The church was built in 1762 by Saint Anthimos after nine years of construction and is the religious center of the island. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary of the Iberian Monastery of Mount Athos. During your visit, it is worth noticing the wooden Chancel Table and the wooden carved chancel screen dated back in 1766 as well as the silver-plated icon of Panagia Portaitissa. Near the church you will also find the Ecclesiastical Museum of Astypalea. The Ecclesiastical museum is located in Panagia Portaitissa monastery in Chora and exhibits precious and rare religious relics. Findings on display include a wooden, 17th century epitaph, a 15th century icon of Christ and rare heirlooms of unique craftsmanship.

Archaeological Museum of Astypalea

The Archaeological Museum is located at Pera Gialos village and housed at a ground-floor hall granted to the Hellenic Ministry of Culture by the Ecclesiastical Charity Fund of Astypalea. The museum was inaugurated in September 1998 and exhibits findings from prehistoric up to medieval times. According to the 22nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, some of the exhibits are: a marble coat of arms of the Querini, clay vessels, jewellery and tools from Mycenaean tombs, silver coins of the Classical Period, inscriptions from the island’s shrines, findings of the Hellenistic and the Classical period as well as clay vessels of the Geometric up to the Roman times.

Infantile graveyard excavation at Kylindra

The infants’ cemetery on Astypalea is the largest ancient children's cemetery in the world. According to the 22nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, this ancient cemetery was used from the Late Archaic up to the Roman times (600 b.C.-200 A.D.). As was usual for ancient Greek cemeteries, the dead infants were placed in clay pots. Once the baby or infant had been laid inside, the door was replaced and the pot was buried in a small pit. The area of the cemetery is still being excavated by 22nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. There have been excavated more than 2,700 burials to date and one such vessel is on display in the Archaeological Museum of Astypalea.

Tallara Post-Roman Baths

The Old Christian baths of Tallara situated in Maltezana, incorporates some of the excavations’ most impressive findings. More specifically, except for the baths, the visitors can see mosaics depicting the four seasons, the zodiac and Time holding earth in his hand. In Maltezana, you can also see the French officers’ memorial at Schinontas beach.

Astypalean Folklore Celebrations

The local festive celebrations of religious anniversaries give the visitors of the island a great opportunity to witness the true identity of Astypalea. Hospitable and openhearted by nature, Astypaleans will instantly make you feel welcome and at home. The main dates you should pin down are: Lady Flevariotissa on February 1st Prophet Elias feast on July 19th Saint Panteleimon feast on July 27th Christ Saviour feast on August 6th Lady Portaitissa greatest feast on August 14th-15th Saint John the Baptist feast on August 28th Religious procession in Chora of Osios Anthimos holy relics on September 4th Lady Poulariani & Lady of Thomas at Vathi feast on September 8th Saint Dimitrios on October 26th

Activities

Hiking and rock climbing at the climbing field of “Ftera” Cycling and mountain biking Caving Diving and snorkelling Sightseeing tours and picturesque promenades Boat trips Cultural Festival of Astypalea Local folklore religious feasts

Useful

How to come to Astypalea

You can reach the island either by ferry or by plane. There are direct, daily flights of about 1 hour long from Athens El. Venizelos airport and flight connections with the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Leros and Kalymnos, exclusively operated by Sky Express. The ferries regularly call at Agios Andreas port and on rare occasions due to adverse weather conditions at the port of Pera Gialos (or Skala). There is regular connection with the port of Piraeus, Syros, Paros, Naxos, Donousa and Amorgos, operated by Blue Star Ferries. Once per week, there is also ferry connection with the Dodecanese islands of Kalymnos, Kos, Nisyros, Leros, Tilos and Rhodes. All our guests at Evdokia’s Rooms enjoy free shuttle services to and from the airport and/or the port.

Useful Links

Municipality of Astypalea
(http://www.visitastypalea.com/)

Pardalo Katsiki hiking group
(https://www.facebook.com/groups/99251666825/)

Cultural Association of Astypalea
(https://www.facebook.com/groups/194269750592743/)

Archaeological Museum of Astypalea (http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/1/eh152.jsp?obj_id=3294)

Blue Star Ferries
(https://www.bluestarferries.com/en/)

Sky Express
(https://www.skyexpress.gr/en/)

Rent a bike at Kallichoron Art Boutique Hotel (https://www.bikehotels.travel/bike-hotels/kallichoron-art-boutique-hotel/)

Massage and Spa therapies by Mood Life Wellness at Kallichoron Art Boutique Hotel
(https://www.kallichoron.gr/en/accommodation-services)

Useful Telephones

Town Hall: +30 22430 61206 Tourist Information: +30 22430 61412 Port Authority: +30 22430 61208 Police Station: +30 22430 61207 Airport: +30 22430 61410 Medical Centre: +30 22430 61222 Pharmacy: +30 22430 61666 Sky Express office: +30 22430 61588 Paradise Travel (BS Ferries): +30 22430 59808 Astypalea Tours: +30 22430 61571/2, 61328 Taxi (Kiki): +30 6975 706 365 Taxi (Pantelis): +30 6976 256 461 Alpha Bank*: +30 22430 59890

*There is also an ATM of Piraeus Bank in Chora and Pera Gialos and an ATM of Ethniki Bank at Pera Gialos.

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