Astypalea belongs to the Dodecanese group and is an island of wild beauty, known for its butterfly shape and castle. Astypalea has recently been transformed into an eco-sustainable paradise, attracting an increasing number of visitors.
On this page, you can find information about holidays in Astypalea: beaches, sights, food, villages, and ferry routes. Book ferries to Astypalea at no extra cost on Ferryhopper!
The hills and majestic main settlement of Astypalea
Vacation in Astypalea
Astypalea is the westernmost island of the Dodecanese and that is why it has many influences from the Cyclades. It is often called the "butterfly of the Aegean'' because of its shape.
The main settlement of Astypalea, the island’s Chora, is one of the most beautiful and impressive island capitals in the Aegean. It is built amphitheatrically on a hill with windmills and white houses, while the famous and imposing castle stands at the top.
Holidays in Astypalea combine peace, relaxation, swimming, and diving in crystal-clear waters, as well as good food and fun in Chora. In the summer, takes place the Cultural Festival of Astypalea, as well as many “panigiria” with live music and traditional delicacies.
Traditional white church overlooking the Aegean
How to get to Astypalea
There are regular ferry routes from mainland Greece to Astypalea via the port of Piraeus in Athens, throughout the year. There are also frequent crossings to the island from many islands in the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. Find more information about ferry routes to Astypalea below.
In case you want to travel to the island by plane, Astypalea also has an airport, located near the village Analipsis and approximately 12km northeast of the main town of Astypalea.
What to do in Astypalea
Every minute in Astypalea is magical. The island has many beauties, wonderful beaches and wild landscapes, but also a rich history that has left its marks across the island.
Adventure lovers can explore an impressive seabed, hiking trails and natural attractions. The evenings in Astypalea are lively and there are many options for food, drinks and entertainment.
Beaches in Astypalea
The beaches of Astypalea are numerous and diverse, suited for all tastes. On the island, you will find rocky shores, sandy beaches with wonderful views, turquoise waters, and a beautiful seabed. Many of them don’t have amenities (umbrellas, etc.), so make sure you carry the essentials with you.
Here are some of the best beaches in Astypalea:
- Plakes: this windless beach has pebbles on one side and slabs on the other. It has a very beautiful seabed, so make sure you bring your swimming goggles with you. The beach doesn’t have umbrellas or other amenities.
- Tzanakia: one of the most beautiful beaches in Astypalea, easily accessible on foot. It has pebbles and deep crystal-clear waters, while the huge rocks near the coast offer some shade. The beach is also nude-friendly.
- Mple Limanaki: a very small, windless beach, accessible by dirt road. We suggest you get there early, as it is popular and can be crowded.
- Megalo Steno: an organized beach with blue shallow waters, ideal for families. It has sunbeds, tamarisk trees that offer shade, and a canteen. It is easily accessible by local transport.
- Vatses: it is a beautiful pebble beach for the most part, but it also has sand at the beginning. There are some umbrellas as well as some tamarisk trees for shade. Vatses has a beach bar and is accessible by dirt road.
- Kaminakia: one of the most famous beaches in Astypalea. It is windless, large, with sand and crystal-clear, relatively deep waters. It has 2 tavernas, sunbeds and tamarisk trees.
- Pera Gialos: the most easily accessible beach on the island, located in the old main port. It has umbrellas and tamarisk trees that offer shade. There are many tavernas, cafes and shops in the nearby area.
- Agios Ioannis: probably the most famous beach on the island. It is accessible either by boat or on foot starting from the homonymous church (30 minutes - 1 hour). Its amazing clear blue waters are worth a dive!
- Panormos: a beach of wild beauty with pebbles. It is windless but shade is hard to find. It is accessible by a relatively challenging dirt road.
- Agios Konstantinos: beautiful beach overlooking Chora and the castle of Astypalea. It has pebbles, deep waters, tamarisk trees, but also umbrellas. There is also a taverna and a beach bar.
The amazing emerald waters of Plakes beach in Astypalea
Sightseeing and activities in Astypalea
Apart from its impressive morphology and beautiful seas, the island also has a rich history and attractions that are worth seeing. Some of the sights of Astypalea that we recommend are:
- The Castle of Astypalea
- The windmills of Astypalea
- The Archaeological Museum of Astypalea
- The church of Panagia Portaitissa
- The Hellenistic baths in Maltezana
- The caves of Astypalea
- The ancient infant cemetery
If you are an adventure lover you can also try climbing in the ftera (wings) field, hiking or cycling in the amazing trails of Astypalea or diving in Livadi beach.
Another thing you can do is go on a day trip to the neighboring uninhabited islets of Astypalea. It is worth visiting Kounoupi, Koutsomitis and Plakida! Theor landscapes are pristine and their beaches are magnificent!
Nightlife in Astypalea
The nightlife in Astypalea is lively but not ideal for hard partying. Most visitors prefer the island’s tavernas for live music and ouzo, while others choose to enjoy peaceful moments at lounge bars with refreshing drinks and cocktails. Most of them are located in the Chora, Livadi and Analipsi settlements. The bar at the Astypalea camping site is a main meeting point for younger travelers.
Keep in mind that many “panigiria”, festivals with live folk music, food, drinks, and dancing, take place in the island’s villages all summer long!
Food in Astypalea
In Astypalea you will try delicious local products of top quality, such as fresh fish and delicious appetizers, in restaurants and tavernas overlooking the sea. We suggest you try the following traditional recipes of Astypalea:
- pougkia (sweet or savory pies with cheese)
- lampriano (stuffed lamb)
- rantista (cooked lentils with dough)
- makarounes (local pasta)
- local honey
- local cheeses
- kitrinokouloura (local cookies)
- kserotigana (flatbreads)
Chill seaside “taverna” in Astypalea
Villages in Astypalea
The Chora of Astypalea is the capital and the largest settlement of the island along with Pera Gialos, the old port. We suggest you also explore the other beautiful villages of Astypalea and discover their unique morphology and local flavor. We recommend you visit:
- Analipsi (or Maltezana)
The beautiful village and old port of Pera Gialos
Tips for Astypalea
- Astypalea is a peaceful and romantic destination, ideal for couples. Find out why choose Astypalea if you are traveling as a couple, especially if it is your first trip together.
- If you and you are traveling on a budget and like camping, you can choose to stay at the camping site of Astypalea and drive to Chora for a walk, drinks and lunch/dinner.
- The eastern side of Astypalea, including its beautiful Chora and a complex of 12 uninhabited islets, such as Kounoupi, Ofidoussa and Koutsomytis, are part of the Natura 2000 network. If you are a nature lover, these islets are definitely worth a visit by boat. Discover more on the Astypalea Natura-2000 site.
Useful information about Astypalea
Astypalea is a well-developed island that has recently been found in the center of tourist interest. In the settlements of the island, and especially in Chora, you will find most services, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, stores, gas stations, and ATMs.
Astypalea also has a Medical Center, located near the port. Regarding accommodation in Astypalea, there are many options, from affordable rooms to luxury hotels in Chora and the smaller settlements. The island also has an organized camping site, located between the port and Chora.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Astypalea
Some useful contacts for Astypalea are:
- Astypalea Port Authority: +302243061208
- Astypalea Medical Center: +302243061222
- Tourist Office: +302243061412
- Astypalea Police: +302243061207
- Taxi: +302243061204
- Pharmacy (Pera Gialos): +302243061444
- Astypalea Airport: +302243061410
Transportation in Astypalea
The distances in Astypalea are long, even if the island isn’t very large. Therefore, we suggest that you bring your car or motorbike with you or that you rent one there.
Beginning in 2020, the island began to take steps toward sustainability by introducing electric vehicles. A public-private partnership has resulted in a new fleet of electric vehicles, including cars, scooters, buses, and bicycles, that visitors can rent while on the island. These vehicles are not only environmentally friendly, but they are also an excellent way to explore the breathtaking scenery of the island.
While in Astypalea, you can download the astyMOVE app, a multimodal app that allows you to move around the island in an eco-friendly mode. Along with other services, you can take an electric shuttle ride with the ridesharing service ASTYBUS or book an e-car, e-scooter, or e-bike for a few hours with the vehicle sharing service astyGO to drive from the port to Chora and the villages of the island.
The island also has an airport, located near Analipsi, about 12 km from the capital.
Ports in Astypalea
Astypalea has 2 ports: the old and the new one. The new port is located in Agios Andreas, 2km from Chora, and in the island’s main port. The old port is located close to Chora and it is mainly used by sailing boats.
The traditional windmills in the Chora of Astypalea
Island hopping from Astypalea
Astypalea is located between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, so it is an ideal starting point for island hopping to popular destinations in the Aegean, such as Paros, Rhodes and Naxos. From the island, you can find direct ferry routes to:
On our interactive Map of ferries you can find all ferry routes from and to Astypalea. Visualize your trip and plan your island-hopping experience in the Greek islands in only a few clicks!
Astypalea ferry: schedules and tickets
Astypalea is well connected with Athens via the port of Piraeus all year long. Ferries from Piraeus to Astypalea run approximately 5 times a week and the trip lasts from 8.5 to 11.5 hours, depending on the vessel and intermediate stops. Ferry tickets start from €38.
An alternative way to easily reach Astypalea from Athens is to add another island to your trip and use Naxos as an intermediate destination. The ferry crossing Naxos - Astypalea is usually operated 4 times a week and has an average duration of 4 hours 45 minutes, with ferry tickets starting from €18.
Don’t forget that you can always stay informed about schedule changes and track your ferry in real-time with the Ferryhopper App!
The magical, illuminated Chora by night
Where to book ferry tickets online to Astypalea
Dreaming of a magical vacation in the “butterfly of the Aegean”? Book ferry tickets to Astypalea online on Ferryhopper, in just a few clicks! Organize your trip easily and as you imagine it!