Astypalaia (Greek: Αστυπάλαια, pronounced [astiˈpalea]), known in Italian as Stampalia and in Ottoman Turkish as İstanbulya is a Greek island with 1,334 residents (2011 census). It belongs to the Dodecanese, an archipelago of twelve major islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea.

The island is 18 kilometres (11 miles) long, 13 kilometres (8 miles) wide at the most, and covers an area of 97 km2.[2] Along with numerous smaller uninhabited offshore islets (the largest of which are Sýrna and Ofidoussa), it forms the Municipality of Astypalaia, which is part of the Kalymnos regional unit. The capital and the previous main harbour of the island is Astypalaia or Chora, as it is called by the locals. Located exactly where the Dodecanese meet the Cyclades, the island of Astypalaia boasts a centuries-old history, whitewashed villages and sun-drenched beaches. Embark on a fascinating trip where the deep blue of the sea meets the bright white colours of beautiful island houses…

Astypalaia, the westernmost island of the Group, is naturally separated into Mesa Nisi[the inner island] (western part) and Exo Nisi[the outer island] (eastern part) by a thin strip of land less than 100 m. wide.

The island was named after Astypalaia, the daughter of Phoenix and Perimede. In the old days the island was also called Ichthyoessa due to its abundant fishing grounds. It was first inhabited in prehistoric times. In 1204 it came under the Venetian rule enforced by the Guerini family until 1537 with the exception of a brief period in time (1269-1310) when the Byzantine Empire took over again. In 1537 the Turks occupied the island. As is the case with the other Dodecanese islands, Astypalaia remained under Turkish rule until 1912; it was then conquered by the Italians, the British, and the Germans until it was finally integrated in Greece in 1948. There are ferries to Piraeus and Kalymnos and flights to Athens and Rhodes Airports.

 

Geography

The coasts of Astypalaia are rocky with many small pebble-strewn beaches. A small band of land of roughly 100 metres wide almost separates the island in two sections at Sterno.

A new harbour has been built in Agios Andreas on the mid island from where now the connections are west and east with Piraeus and the other islands of the Dodecanese. Flight connections with Athens from the airport close to Maltezana.

Places

1.Chora
Chora is the island’s capital town and port. It is one of the most picturesque towns in the Aegean, perched on a rock that advances into the sea, forming two bays. On the top, you will see Chora’s castle towering over the town with the strikingly white domes of Evangelistria and Agios Georgios churches, visible over the walls. Around the castle lie Chora’s houses with whitewashed walls, blue doors and windows, and wooden balcony rails.

Town promenade

 

Trips around Astypalaia

West (Inner Island)

2.Livadia
Livadia is a seaside village with few residents, built in a fertile valley. There are citrus fruit groves, vineyards and houses overflowing with flowers, creating a delightful setting next to a lovely beach. Distance from Chora: 2 km SW.

Must see

East (Outer Island)

3.Maltezana(Analipsi)
Maltezana is a seaside resort that attracts most of the island’s tourism. It has been named after the Maltese pirates who made their hideout on the island. This is where the French Admiral Bigot set his ship on fire in 1827 so that it may not be captured by the pirates. Distance from Chora: 9 km NE.

Must see

  1. Vathy

Vathy looks more like a lagoon due to its protected inlet (having an opening of about 50 m.). It comprises two small communities: Exo [outer] Vathy at the inlet entrance with a small wharf for mooring boats; and Mesa [inner] Vathy in the nook of the cove next to cropland, sparse tree vegetation and vineyards. Distance from Chora: 21 km NE.

Must see

Nearby islands

From Maltezana cove take an excursion boat and visit Diaporia, Ligno, Chondro, Kounoupoi and Koutsomyri islands (SE) as well as Agia Kyriaki island and its beautiful beach (S). Farther away, to the NE of Astypalaia, visit Fokionisia; then Panormos and Katsagreli to the NW; Pontikousa and Ofidousa to the E; and finally Syrna, Katsikoulia, Tria Nisia, Meso, Stefania, and Zafora isles to the SE.

 

 

Events

Activities