Greek Hidden Treasures 5: Astypalaia, relaxing holidays

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Astypalaia constitutes a unique island case; it’s geographical location places it between the island complexes of Cyclades and Dodecanese, resulting into an architectural style that incorporates elements from both regions. Astypalaia is easily accessible by ferry from Athens (Piraeus port) and also from other greek islands like Rhodes, Kos, Naxos and more.

Astypalaia is also known as “the butterfly of the Aegean Sea”, as the shape of the island resembles that of a butterfly flying across the blue. Its allure is unique as it is separated into two different regions, the western Mesa Nisi (the inner island) and the eastern Exo Nisi (the outer island) which are united by a thin stripe of land. If you are looking for an alternative destination this year, one that will give you the opportunity to experience a unique version of the greek summer, then keep on reading:

 

# What to see

Chora Astipalaia

Astypalaia has an amazing chora (capital) that is simultaneously the island’s harbor; it is uniquely picturesque and admittedly one of the most beautiful capitals of the Aegean. The chora unfolds between two bays and climbs upon the hill  where you will find the Venetian Guerini castle, which offers a spectacular view to the endless blue and dates back to the 13th century. The architectural style is mostly close to the typical cycladic one, with the colors of white and blue dominating. The stroll between the small backstreets will enchant you, while at the main square of the eight Windmills you can find many cafes, shops and markets. Maltezana (or Analipsi) on the Exo Nisi region is a picturesque village which attracts many visitors and is just under 9 kilometers from the capital while Vathy in Mesa Nisi is also a worth-visiting destination, with is spectacular “Chameni limni” (lost lake), a lagoon with amazing blue waters and stunning surroundings.

 

# Where to swim

Vatses beach in Astipalaia

Astypalaia has a variety of beaches to choose from, both in the western and the eastern region. Near the chora you will find the easily-accessible beaches of Livadi and Pera Gialos, both organized with bars and restaurants  and with crystal-clear waters, ideal for spenting the whole day relaxing. For the lovers of hiking, the famous Tzanakia are three successive small bays that offer a spectacular view to the castle, while the beaches of Vatses and Kaminakia are considered the most prefered ones. Mikro Steno’s location is amazing as it is placed in the region of the stripe that links the two parts of the island, while Mple Limanaki is a small beach near Maltezana that will amaze you with its picturesqueness.

 

# What to eat

Nightlife Astypalaia

The local products of Astypalaia are of supreme quality. The honey is known since the antiquity and has a distinctive flavor as it is produced by wild flowers, while the local cheese, “clorotiri”, can be used both in savor and sweet recipes (such as “glika pougia”, small sweet dough pockets). The rusks are also highly nutritious and very tasty, and can be easily taken back home to accompany your cheese plateaus.

Regarding nightlife, Astypalaia tends to be more relaxed than the known cosmopolitan islands such as Mykonos and Paros; however, it offers many opportunities for a fun night out. There are many restaurants as well as bars that combine relaxing atmosphere with quality service – most of the well-known bars also have an amazing view to the castle or the sea, making your night out an experience to remember!

 

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