Astypalea is a sleepy Greek island on the far edges of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because the world prefers it that way. Astypalea has no airport, its port infrastructure meets the basic demands but is far from what you’d expect to see in places like Mykonos or Paros. And that’s precisely the point. Not everything has to be tailored to meet your demands. There’s no all- inclusives here, and if you’re looking for some alcohol fueled hedonism, well, you better think again. Astypalea bends its knee to no one, and that’s why it is what it is. One of the last vestiges of old Greece and the authentic Mediterranean lifestyle so coveted throughout the globe. Here, you’ll transport yourself to a different time and place altogether.
That much becomes immediately apparent once you start getting into view of the harbor and the craggy limestone peaks that pierce through the sky. This is Astypalea, folks. The focal point is the postcard pretty Chora and its Venetian castle standing sentinel over the pyramid shaped hill as cascading white cubed houses jut down to the sea. It resembles something between Santorini and Hydra. Astypalea resides well above sea level, and that makes for incredibly scenic views. This is most definitely a lover’s paradise.
And most definitely a beach island, too. Astypalea punches. Head over to Livadia or Pera Gialos if you’re towing kids. Agios Konstantinos and Maltezana are pretty, too, but then the clear blue waters and the sparse crowds are really what the whole fuss is about. And the beaches of Kaminakia, Vatses, Marmari and Tzanaki are desolate as they are gorgeous. As is the case with most island beaches in Greece, if the beach is inaccessible by conventional vehicles it’s usually a sign of how nice it will be. So, pack your water bottles and ombrellas.
The arid, mountainous and craggy hillsides are ideal for hiking and getting out into the open. Trails are aplenty and many lead to some of the most scenic beaches. Which is great because come evening tie, the tavernas on the island will reward you with some of the most delectable food in the Aegean.
Astypalea this summer, is just what the doctor recommends.