Floats like a butterfly, blends with the sea
You will fall in love with the sugar-cubed houses of the Astypalea's Hora and the crowning glory of the Venetian Castle
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Beautiful beaches, whitewashed houses, bougainvillea-filled patios and hidden treasures… Astypalea resembles the best of the Greece’s Cyclades islands, except that it’s one of the Dodecanese islands and has a unique character of its own

At the southeastern edge of the Aegean, in the Dodecanese island chain (not the Cyclades as some may think), there is an island rich in imagery and emotions. Astypalea is dubbed ‘The Butterfly of the Aegean’ – partly because of its distinctive shape and partly because of the beauty of the landscape. 

For those willing to travel off the beaten track, Astypalea is love at first sight. Many stay forever devoted to this island of white light, with its crystal-clear water, sun-drenched beaches, long heritage and hospitable residents.

What to do on Astypalea island

Explore the whitewashed wonder of Hora

Astypalea’s main town (Hora) looks like a traditional Cycladic town, even though the island is part of the Dodecanese. Its famous castle, majestic views of the Aegean Sea, windmills and whitewashed homes make up a wonderfully traditional settlement. Hora (or Astropalia as the locals call it) is the island’s largest town, offering a variety of choices for food and fun.

Visit the hill-top castle that crowns Astypalea

At the top of the hill, the famous stone castle of Astypalea, which towers over Hora, is a special attraction. Erected by the Quirini family in the 13th century, it was a typical fortified settlement, built for protection from pirates. But as the island’s population grew, their homes overflowed beyond the castle and onto the slope and today reach as far as the foot of the hill and the port of Pera Gialos.

Take a walking tour of Astypalea’s radiant Hora

Choose a beach and enjoy the best of the Aegean

Astypalea’s beaches may not have a cosmopolitan vibe, but they offer something else: translucent water, relaxation and tranquility… the perfect ingredients for relaxing swims in the Aegean Sea. The most beautiful beach on the island is Kaminakia, but Vatses, Livadi, Steno and Psili Ammos are also lovely.

Visit Astypalea’s iconic church, just below the castle

Founded in 1762 by Saint Anthimos, Panagia Portaitissa (dedicated to the Virgin Mary) is one of the most beautiful churches in the Aegean. Whitewashed, with an impressive bell tower and silver dome, it is located right below Astypalea’s castle, in Rodia, a poetic place whose name is derived from the pomegranate tree (rodia) that once grew nearby.

Take a drive through Astypalea’s fertile backyard

Livadi is a valley filled with citrus groves and vineyards. The homes are awash with flowers and are spread along the length of a stream that ends in one of the most beautiful and populated beaches on Astypalea, filled with coffee shops and restaurants.


Hidden gems of Astypalea island

The Hellenistic bath houses

In Maltezana (Ascension), you’ll find the famous Baths of Talara, with their trademark blue tiles and mosaics from the Hellenistic period. Experts have singled them out for their unique composition, which depicts the seasons and the symbols of the zodiac.

The stalactites and stalagmites at Negrou

The Cave of Negrou at Vatses has impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations that are interwoven with myths about pirates and the treasures they buried there. From the beach, you can hike (45mins) to the cave, or you can also reach it by boat.

Rock climbing in Astypalea

There’s a climbing site at Ftera, just 20 minutes outside Hora, where the relief of the limestone rocks has created two climbing sites, offering some 20 routes of varying difficulty. Are you up for it?

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Experience the best of Astypalaia

The emblematic windmills greet you no less warmly until you step through the vaulted doorway of the castle

A walking tour of Astypalea’s radiant Hora

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5 of the best things to do in Astypalea
If you’ve been lucky enough to feel the irresistible flutter of butterfly-shaped Astypalea, there are two notable side-effects. The first is the urge to keep the secret to yourself and the second is to want to return every year.
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The windmills of Hora

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If you’ve been lucky enough to feel the irresistible flutter of butterfly-shaped Astypalea, there are two notable side-effects. The first is the urge to keep the secret to yourself and the second is to want to return every year.