What draws Greek travelers to Astypalea, the butterfly-shaped island that lies in the western corner of the Dodecanese, is its unique atmosphere. An island long identified with wild youth, even today it is mostly frequented by young people in their 20s and 30s who take over its one and only campsite. Those who spent memorable times in Astypalea back in the 1980s and 90s are still haunted by vivid memories that impel them to go back and book a room at one of the luxurious residences that have recently popped up on the island.
Astypalea’s particular energy and atmosphere, its magical evenings with the yellow moon rising above the castle of the main town Chora, the alternative rock music echoing from the bars scattered around the windmills and the infamous parties held at the campsite are what make the island an attractive travel destination. Having mostly embraced tourism as a blessing and as an opportunity to open up their homes and neighborhoods, locals are friendly and hospitable.
Astypalea, called Astropalia by its roughly 1,200 permanent residents, has also been hosting its own, alternative annual festival since 1999. With its combination of stunning beaches, good food, quality music, breathtaking views of the castle overlooking Chora and groups of eager young adventure seekers, the island has all a visitor could ask for.
WHERE TO SWIM
Livadi is certainly the island’s most developed beach, but Kaminakia, Tzanakia, Vatses, Chryssi Ammos and Aghios Ioannis are definitely worth visiting too. Access to most beaches often involves driving along dirt roads, while others can only be reached on foot or by boat.