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Astypalea, the Butterfly of Aegean Sea

Updated: Oct 31, 2022



Greece is awesome, Santorini is definitely amazing and not to be missed when visiting Greece. But if you arelooking for an island with charm and beauty, with a Santorini-esque landscape, but less crowded with tourists, then this butterfly shaped island known as Astypalea is your island.


It is an island of the Dodecanese with the charming of Cyclades. The combination is the astonishingly beautiful settlement of Hora of white-washed cubic buildings hanged on the steep hill till the ruins of the Venetian Castle on the top. It is not only the iconic symbol atop the town but it tells part of the story of the island. It was built out of necessity by the Venetians in 1413. At this time pirates ran the seas and attacks in the islands were constant and unrelenting. From the 16th to 19th centuries the Astypalea was part of the Ottoman Empire. Yet, they would still have to fight off pirates and work with them to survive during these years.


It is an island of the Dodecanese with the charming of Cyclades. The combination is the astonishingly beautiful settlement of Hora of white-washed cubic buildings hathe steep hill till the ruins of the Venetian Castle on the top. It is not only the iconic symbol above the town but it tells part of the story of the island. It was built out of necessity by the Venetians in 1413. At that time pirates ran the seas and attacks in the islands were constant and unrelenting. From the 16th to 19th centuries the Astypalea was part of the Ottoman Empire. Yet, they would still have to fight off pirates and work with them to survive during these years.


What separates the Astypalea Castle from others in the Mediterranean is that it wasn’t purely a military structure. Private residences surround the outside of the fortress forming a unique neighborhood. Now people still live in the houses around the Astypalea Castle from those years.


When you are there, try hiking up and explore the castle, from the top, you can view the beauty of Astypalea below. The first thing that sticks out is the red-topped windmills. These were as beautiful as any we’ve seen in the Greek Islands and take a good time admiring them. Beyond that is a beautiful beach, and many cafes and restaurants on the way.


Within a few hours, you will realize that there are so many fun things to do on Astypalea. It is filled with many hiking trails which are a great way to see the spectacular landscape. There is rock climbing activity for the more adventurous travelers. Sailing trip is one of the most fun things to do. This way you can get to all the best beaches and swimming spots, some of which can only be reached by boat. Ask your hotel or stop at one of the stores in the main port for more information. Astypalea has trails perfect for beginners and advanced riders to embark in mountain biking


The local food is so delicious. There are a number of good restaurants right in the main port as well as a local bakery that are a must-visit in the morning. There are several things that are unique to Astypalea that you shouldn’t leave without trying. Saffron is grown and harvested on the island which is extremely unique and has a massive influence on the cooking.


Stop into the bakery and get a bag of yellow cookies. They aren’t sweet but actually have a little kick from the saffron and other spices. Honey, olive oil, and thyme also have a large influence on the cooking here. Make sure to try the ravioli stuffed with local soft cheese and also the famous lobster spaghetti which Astypalea Greece is known for.


Don’t miss the chance to explore it.






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