Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece 2024

February 16, 2024

Astypalaia, a jewel of the Aegean, invites you to explore its rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. With a history dating back to ancient times, this enchanting Greek island offers a captivating blend of archaeological sites, charming villages, and stunning landscapes. From relaxing on pristine beaches to indulging in delicious local cuisine, there’s no shortage of experiences to delight every traveler. Join us as we delve into the heart of Astypalaia and uncover its hidden treasures, vibrant culture, and unforgettable adventures.


History of Astypalaia

Astypalaia’s history unfolds as a rich tapestry woven with tales of ancient civilizations and enduring conquests. Initially settled by the Minoans during the Bronze Age, the island evolved into a strategic stronghold coveted by various powers over the centuries, including the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans.

The ancient settlements on Astypalea, evidenced by remnants of Mycenaean and Hellenistic structures, offer a glimpse into its early history. Subsequent Byzantine rule left a lasting mark, evident in the churches and fortifications that still stand today.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece

In the 13th century, the Venetians erected the imposing Querini Castle, a testament to their influence on the island. Later, in the 16th century, Astypalaia came under Ottoman rule, further enriching its cultural heritage.

Throughout the ages, Astypalaia has served as a crossroads of civilizations, each leaving its distinct imprint on the island’s landscape and culture. Today, visitors can immerse themselves in this rich history through the exploration of archaeological sites, museums, and architectural wonders scattered across the island.

Top Attractions and Things to Do in Astypalaia

Prepare for an adventure as we delve into Astypalaia’s top attractions and activities. From ancient landmarks to cultural experiences, this Greek island offers a diverse array of experiences to captivate every traveler. Let’s uncover the treasures waiting to be explored.

Querini Castle

Dominating the skyline of Astypalea’s Chora, Querini Castle is a must-visit attraction. Built by the Venetians in the 13th century, this imposing fortress offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and provides insight into the island’s medieval history. Explore its well-preserved walls, towers, and courtyards as you step back in time to a bygone era of knights and nobles.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
The historic Querini Castle

Panagia Portaitissa Church 

Nestled in the heart of Chora, the island’s main village, the Panagia Portaitissa Church is a spiritual and architectural marvel. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, this Byzantine-era church is adorned with intricate frescoes, ornate icons, and a stunning marble iconostasis. Take a moment to admire its beauty and soak in the tranquil atmosphere that permeates this sacred space.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
The Church of Panagia Portaitissa

Archaeological Museum of Astypalaia 

Delve into the island’s rich history at the Archaeological Museum of Astypalea. Housed in a traditional whitewashed building, this museum showcases artifacts spanning thousands of years, from ancient pottery and sculptures to Byzantine relics. Explore exhibits detailing Astypalaia’s evolution from prehistoric times to the present day, gaining valuable insight into its cultural heritage.

Windmills of Astypalaia 

As you wander through the picturesque countryside of Astypalea, you’ll encounter a cluster of traditional windmills dotting the landscape. These iconic structures, once used to grind wheat and other grains, now stand as symbols of the island’s agricultural past. Climb to the top of a windmill for breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and the shimmering Aegean Sea beyond.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
The Windmills of Astypalea

Drakos Cave

Discover the mystical beauty of Drakos Cave, located near the fishing village of Vathi on the northern side of Astypalaia. Trek through the rugged terrain to explore this natural wonder adorned with colorful stalactites and stalagmites. Legend has it that the cave was once a hiding place for pirates and their treasures, adding an air of mystery to your adventure.

Visit Traditional Villages 

Wander through the enchanting streets of Chora, Astypalaia’s main village, and immerse yourself in its timeless charm. Admire the striking Cycladic architecture, explore quaint boutiques and art galleries, and savor traditional Greek delicacies at cozy tavernas overlooking the sea.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece

Experience the laid-back atmosphere of Pera Gialos, a picturesque coastal village where colorful fishing boats bob gently in the harbor. Stroll along the waterfront promenade lined with tavernas and cafes and soak up the panoramic views of the Aegean Sea.

Step back in time as you wander through the historic village of Analipsi, nestled amidst olive groves and vineyards. Admire the well-preserved traditional houses adorned with colorful flowers and visit the quaint churches and chapels that dot the landscape. Don’t miss the chance to taste locally produced wine and olive oil at family-owned shops.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
The Village of Analipsi

Local Flavors: What to Eat in Astypalaia

In a place as authentic as Astypalaia, culinary tradition runs deep, passing down through generations and keeping local flavors alive.

Local Cheeses: Astypalaia is renowned for its cheeses, with varieties like chloro, ladotyri, anthotyro, chlori, and kopanisti. These cheeses, crafted with care, reflect the island’s rich dairy heritage. Whether enjoyed fresh or aged, they offer a taste of Astypalaia’s culinary legacy.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
Myzithra Cheese

Traditional Dishes: The island’s cuisine celebrates the marriage of savory and sweet flavors. Local dishes like pougiá (cheese pies), made with myzithra, kopanisti, and drizzled with honey, exemplify this delightful fusion. Don’t miss the chance to savor rantistá, lentils cooked with dough pieces, or the renowned lamb dish, lampríanos, stuffed with rice, offal, and fragrant spices, slow-roasted to perfection.

Thyme Honey: Astypalea’s thyme honey, renowned for its exceptional quality, adds a touch of sweetness to many dishes. Produced by local beekeepers who carefully tend to their hives, this honey boasts a bouquet of flavors and a distinctive amber hue, making it a prized local delicacy.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece

Zafοrá (Wild Saffron): Found abundantly on the island, zafοrá, or wild saffron, adds a unique flavor to Astypalaia’s cuisine. Used in recipes like koulourakia (twisted cookies), zafοrá imparts a subtle yet aromatic essence, elevating dishes to new heights.

Unique Pastries: Indulge your sweet tooth with local pastries like kitrinokouloura, flavored with thyme honey and saffron, or paximádia, crispy biscuits infused with thyme and herbs. These treats, steeped in tradition and crafted with love, are a testament to Astypalaia’s culinary artistry.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
Wild Saffron

As a visitor to Astypalaia, every local recipe promises to reward your palate, leaving you eager to savor its delights time and time again. So, take a culinary journey through the flavors of Astypalaia and discover a world of gastronomic treasures waiting to be explored!

Where to Stay: Hotel Recommendations in Astypalaia

Embarking on an adventure to the enchanting island of Astypalaia, one cannot help but be mesmerized by its unique architecture that whispers tales of a bygone era. Picture quaint, whitewashed houses with vibrant blue doors, narrow cobblestone alleys, and the iconic windmills standing proudly against the backdrop of the Aegean Sea. This architectural marvel is not just a feast for the eyes but a gateway to the island’s soul. But where to stay to truly immerse yourself in this picturesque setting? Let me introduce you to two gems that embody the essence of Astypalaia: Tholaria Boutique Hotel and GrandeMar Suites.

Tholaria Boutique Hotel, a name that evokes the quaint charm of Astypalaia’s villages, offers an experience that’s as close to the island’s heart as you can get. Each room is a testament to the island’s architectural heritage, blending traditional aesthetics with modern comforts. Imagine waking up to views of the azure sea, framed by the stark white of the Cycladic architecture. Tholaria is not just a place to stay; it’s a journey into the island’s warm embrace.

Tholaria Boutique Hotel
Stunning views from the balcony at Tholaria Boutique Hotel


Not to be outdone, GrandeMar Suites presents an equally compelling narrative. With its prime location and stunning vistas, it’s a love letter to the island’s beauty. The suites are designed to offer an unparalleled level of comfort while maintaining a strong connection to the local architectural ethos. Visualize sipping a glass of local wine on your private balcony, the panoramic views of the Aegean painting a picture of tranquility.

GrandeMar Suites
Breathtaking Aegean Sea vistas from every window and terrace at GrandeMar Suites


Why choose between comfort and authenticity when you can have both? Tholaria Boutique Hotel and GrandeMar Suites offer a gateway to Astypalaia’s soul, promising an unforgettable stay that’s as unique as the island itself. Ready to dive into the heart of Astypalaia’s architectural wonder? These havens of peace and beauty await your discovery.

Nightlife in Astypalaia

Dive into the vibrant Nightlife of Astypalaia, where the moonlit sea meets the beats of Aegean nights. This island may be tranquil by day, but as the sun sets, it whispers secrets of nocturnal delights waiting to be discovered.

Moonlight Meanderings

Begin your night with a stroll around Chora. The winding streets come alive with the soft glow of lantern-lit tavernas and the laughter of locals. It’s not just a walk; it’s an invitation to the island’s soul.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
Night in Chora

Taverna Tales

No night is complete without indulging in a traditional taverna experience. Picture this: a table brimming with fresh seafood, ouzo, and the warm company of Astypalaia’s welcoming locals. It’s where stories are shared and friendships are forged.

Bar Hopping Bliss

Seeking something a bit more upbeat? Astypalaia’s bars offer a cozy yet lively atmosphere. From rooftop spots with panoramic views to quaint beach bars where your toes can mingle with the sand, there’s a perfect corner for everyone.

GrandeMar Suites

Under the Stars

For the romantics and the dreamers, the island unveils beach parties and open-air cinema nights, where the stars are your canopy and the gentle sea breeze your dance partner.

Astypalaia’s nightlife might not rival the pulsating clubs of more famous destinations, but it offers something far more enchanting—a genuine taste of island life, where every night invites you to become part of its magic. 

Outdoor Activities in Astypalaia

Astypalaia, renowned for its alternative tourism, offers a plethora of choices stemming from its unique geographic position and favorable climate. From climbing fields to mapped caverns, the island caters to adventurers seeking a diverse experience beyond the ordinary.

Trekking through Astypalaia unveils its captivating essence, allowing exploration of ancient paths steeped in mythology and history. With each season painting the landscape in magnificent hues, walking tours provide an authentic encounter with the island’s traditions and culture.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece

For the outdoor enthusiast, Astypalaia offers revitalizing experiences through various activities. The climbing field of “Ftera” beckons climbers with its 20 routes, while guided adventures immerse visitors in the island’s natural beauty and historical wonders.

Embark on a thrilling rock climbing adventure amidst Astypalaia’s stunning scenery, where mountain crags and beach cliffs await to challenge and inspire. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you conquer traverses above the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece

Delve into the island’s rich history and mythology by exploring its caves, each echoing tales from ancient times to European history. Discover hidden chambers and marvel at the wonders carved by nature over millennia.

For those seeking an unparalleled maritime adventure, Astypalea VIP Yachting elevates the island experience with luxurious private yacht tours. Glide across the azure waters of the Aegean, discovering secluded bays and pristine beaches accessible only by sea. Tailored to your preferences, these exclusive voyages offer a blend of adventure, relaxation, and the opportunity to witness the island’s breathtaking beauty from a unique vantage point.

At the courtesy of Astypalea Vip Yachting

Experience Astypalaia’s countryside in all its splendor with a leisurely mountain biking excursion. Feel the gentle breeze as you pedal through picturesque landscapes, soaking in the sights and scents of this enchanting island.

Embark on an unforgettable journey of exploration and adventure in Astypalaia, where every outdoor pursuit promises excitement and discovery amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

Discovering the Beaches of Astypalaia

Explore the island’s stunning beaches, each offering its own unique charm and allure. From secluded coves to bustling bays, Astypalaia’s coastline beckons with crystal-clear waters, soft sandy shores, and rugged cliffs. So pack your beach essentials and prepare for a coastal odyssey like no other as we journey through the sun-kissed paradise of Astypalaia’s magnificent beaches.

Nestled along the northern coast, Agios Konstantinos boasts golden sands and crystalline waters, perfect for a relaxing day by the sea. Dip your toes in the gentle waves and soak up the sun while enjoying panoramic views of the Aegean Sea.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
Agios Konstantinos Beach

With its tranquil atmosphere and picturesque surroundings, Livadi Bay offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Lounge on the soft sandy shores or take a leisurely swim in the clear blue waters, immersing yourself in the beauty of nature.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
Livadi Bay

Vatses, a hidden gem on Astypalaia’s rugged coastline, offers a serene escape with its pebbled beach and crystal-clear waters. Surrounded by imposing cliffs, this secluded spot is perfect for those seeking tranquility away from the crowds. The natural beauty and peaceful ambiance make Vatses an ideal setting for relaxation and contemplation.

As one of Astypalaia’s most iconic beaches, Steno captivates with its striking rock formations and secluded bays. Spend the day exploring the natural caves and rock pools that dot the coastline, or simply unwind on the sun-drenched sands.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
Steno Beach

True to its name, Blue Harbour beckons with its azure waters and tranquil atmosphere. Whether you’re seeking solitude or adventure, this idyllic beach offers the perfect setting for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the beauty of Astypalea’s coastline.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
Blue Harbour or “Ble Limanaki” Beach

Situated on the southern tip of the island, Kounoupa Island is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Accessible only by boat or on foot, this secluded paradise rewards intrepid travelers with pristine sands and breathtaking views of the surrounding cliffs.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
Kounoupa Island

How to Get to Astypalaia

Astypalaia Island is accessible by air from Athens International Airport. Several airlines operate regular flights to Astypalaia Airport (JTY) throughout the week. The flight duration from Athens to Astypalea is approximately 45 minutes, offering a convenient and swift way to reach this enchanting island paradise.

For those who prefer a scenic journey by sea, ferries and high-speed boats connect Astypalea with other Greek islands and the mainland. Ferries depart from Piraeus Port in Athens and sail to Astypalaia, with a travel time ranging from 8 to 10 hours depending on the type of vessel and the route taken. High-speed boats offer a faster alternative, with travel times averaging around 6 to 7 hours.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece

Before embarking on your journey to Astypalaia, be sure to check ferry schedules and flight availability to coordinate your travel plans effectively. Whether you choose to fly or sail, Astypalaia awaits with its captivating beauty and warm hospitality, promising an unforgettable experience amidst the tranquil Aegean Sea.

Getting Around Astypalaia

One of the best ways to explore Astypalaia is by renting a vehicle, such as a car or scooter, upon arrival at the airport or port. This gives you the freedom to navigate the island at your own pace and discover its hidden gems. With well-maintained roads and scenic routes, driving around Astypalaia offers a memorable experience.

Astypalaia also offers local transportation options for those who prefer not to drive. Taxis are readily available and can take you to various destinations across the island, including beaches, villages, and attractions. Additionally, public buses operate on scheduled routes, providing an affordable way to travel between different parts of Astypalaia.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece

For a more active and eco-friendly way to get around, consider exploring Astypalaia by bicycle. The island’s compact size and picturesque landscapes make it ideal for cycling adventures. You can stroll through charming villages and cycle along coastal roads while soaking in the stunning views.

No matter how you choose to get around Astypalea, embrace the sense of adventure and spontaneity that comes with exploring a new destination. Allow yourself to wander off the beaten path, discover hidden treasures, and create unforgettable memories on this enchanting Greek island.

Island Hopping from Astypalaia

Embark on a thrilling island-hopping adventure from Astypalaia, the butterfly-shaped beacon of the Dodecanese! Astypalaia, with its spellbinding charm, serves as the perfect launchpad to explore the neighboring islands, each with its unique allure.

Set Sail to Serenity

First up, hoist your sails to the tranquil shores of Kalymnos, renowned for its sponge divers and majestic climbing spots. Imagine gripping the rugged cliffs as the Aegean breeze whispers tales of ancient mariners. Kalymnos promises an adrenaline rush with a backdrop of breathtaking vistas.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
The famous “Grande Grotta” in Kalymnos

Dive into the Blue

Next, dive into the crystal-clear waters of Amorgos. With underwater caves and vibrant marine life, it’s a snorkeler’s paradise. Picture yourself floating in the Big Blue, surrounded by schools of colorful fish, in waters as clear as the sky above.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece
Aegiali Village in Amorgos

A Gastronomic Voyage

No island hop is complete without savoring local cuisines. Naxos awaits with open arms and a table full of Mediterranean delights. From succulent cheeses to mouth-watering grilled meats, every bite is a journey through the island’s rich culinary heritage.

Discover the Best Islands in Greece

Capture the Sunset

Lastly, don’t miss the enchanting sunsets of Santorini. The caldera, with its picturesque white buildings and blue domes, offers a canvas where the sun paints its farewell in hues of orange and pink.

Discover the Best Islands in Greece
Stunning Sunset, Santorini

Each island tells its own story, inviting you to write your chapter in the Aegean’s tale of wonder. Ready to set sail?

Best Time to Visit Astypalaia

Astypalea boasts a Mediterranean climate, offering pleasant weather throughout the year. However, the best time to visit depends on your preferences and desired activities.

Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) are ideal for exploring Astypalaia without the summer crowds. During these seasons, temperatures are mild, ranging from comfortable to warm, making it perfect for outdoor adventures and sightseeing.

Insider Guide to Astypalaia, Greece

For sun-seekers and beach enthusiasts, summer (July to August) is the peak tourist season in Astypalaia. The island comes alive with vibrant energy, bustling beaches, and lively festivities. While temperatures soar during the day, refreshing sea breezes offer relief, creating an idyllic setting for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Consider your interests and preferences when choosing the best time to visit Astypalaia. Whether you seek vibrant summer vibes, tranquil winter escapes, or the perfect balance in between, Astypalaia welcomes you year-round with its timeless beauty and warm hospitality.