A peaceful break in spring or summer visiting an island that is reminiscent of the neighboring Cyclades: discover Astypalaia in Greece. Part of the Dodecanese and set in the southeastern edge of the Aegean Sea, this island was named “The Butterfly of the Aegean” partly for its peculiar shape and partly because of the beauty of the landscape.
Named after Astypalaia, the daughter of Phoenix and Perimede, the island was also called Ichthyoessa due to its abundance of fish. During the Hellenistic Era the island was an important marine port and during the Roman Age become a base for military operations against pirates. In 1204 came under the Venetian and then was under the control of the Turks until 1912. Only in 1948 was integrated in Greece.
Characterized by the traditional Cycladic architecture with whitewashed houses, blue roofs and windmills, Astypalaia has stunning beaches with crystalline sea. The best beaches are in the south part of the island offering a quite and relaxed atmosphere to swim and enjoy the sun. The island also offers other activities like rock climbing and hiking routes.
The island’s largest town is Chora, a charming village with an imposing Venetian stone castle with a great view of the Aegean Sea, that was erected in the 13th century as a fortified settlement to protect from pirates. Hora offers to its visitors a variety of choices of taverns, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Photo credit: © DiscoverGreece.com, Mary Sellers