My name is Thaleia Ioannou. I am a travel & food blogger, and I was born, grew up, and live in Athens, Greece. My passion for travel, food, and blogging was triggered by my internal urge to explore and discover new tastes, and hidden gems. This “germ” for exploration can be linked to a new destination, a new gastronomic quest, or both! And that’s exactly what makes me what I am today… a food-obsessed travel blogger.
On my recent trip, I stayed in Astypalaia for 5 days. However, that was my second time on the island. The first time, I was invited to participate in a gastronomic event, during which I had the chance to have a full immersion experience in the local gastronomy. This time I was determined to explore more of the island, and it’s amazing beaches.
Astypalaia is a paradise on Earth. It is an island that combines a bit of everything. Starting from breathtaking views, wild beauty, and tranquility, to mouth-watering food, amazing sea, and an amphitheater-shaped Chora of unique beauty. What more can a traveler ask from a Greek island?
Apart from the obvious places, being Chora, the Mills, and the Castle, my personal favorite spot was Koutsomytis. It is a special place of blue and crystal waters that managed to impress me at first sight! My love for the sea clearly sets the bar pretty high each time I am visiting a new island. Koutsomytis definitely got my attention! You can get to Koutsomytis from Pera Gialos by boat.
5 Best Things To Do in Astypalaia
- Walk your way from Chora up to the Castle of Astypalaia to enjoy unlimited views over the “Greek Blue” sea and sky – preferably at sunset time.
- Get to Vathi and head straight to “Galini” restaurant for fresh fish accompanied by Greek ouzo. The amazing thing about “Galini” is that it operates as a” self-service” tavern, and is managed by a single person, Mrs. Maria. The preparation of all dishes is done by Mrs. Maria herself (Girl Power!!!).
- Take a day trip to Kounoupes and Koutsomytis and let yourself get lost in the bluest of blues.
- Test your driving skills on the 4 km long dirt road to the beach of “Vatses”, and then on another 6 km dirt road stretch to the beach of “Kaminakia” (these are the best beaches you will find on the island).
- Hike your way to the beach of “Tzanaki” (you can only get there by foot).
All 5 experiences are equally “amazing” because they are important “elements” of what makes Astypalaia so unique.
Stunning Villages of Astypalaia
Likewise in most Greek islands, the villages in Astypalaia are small and picturesque. They are characterized by charming white houses with blue windows, bathed in the “Greek Light”. The permanent residents are around 1,300 which makes it quite easy to get a personal acquaintance with the locals throughout your stay.
In fact, getting to meet the “locals” in the places I am visiting is part of the whole travel experience. Not to mention that they are the best source of both inside info and local hidden gems!
Fabulous Gastronomy of the Island
As already mentioned, Astypalaia has the whole “package” for any single traveler. Gastronomy is, of course, an important element! In addition to the “Galini” tavern experience I have described previously, I highly recommend the cafes “Mills” and “Apanemia” in Chora, for Greek delicacies and ouzo.
In Pera Gialos, you will find “Kolokytha”, a place serving a delicious local cheesecake made with “chlori” (a local cheese). Chlori is the main ingredient for the pizza and pasta served in “Aiolos” restaurant, as well.
“Archipelago” is another favorite spot for enjoying (more) local sweets while overlooking Chora at sunset time. For a quick, yet delicious, bite while on the beach, the canteen “Steno” (located at Steno beach) and the “Crocodile” restaurant (located at Livadi beach) are your best shot!
Where to Stay in Astypalaia
When it comes to your accommodation options in Astypalaia, I would highly recommend either the Kallichoron Art Boutique Hotel in Chora or the Chrysalis Boutique Hotel in Pera Gialos. The location of both hotels is absolutely stunning (overlooking Chora), while they are serving traditional Greek breakfast made with local products.
My Best Experience in Astypalaia
I cannot help mentioning, for the third time so far, my experience in the Fish Tavern “Galini”. I was shocked by the innovative way Mrs. Maria was successfully managing her place. Operating on a self-service mode, you as the customer are expected to take the tablecloth straight from the kitchen and set your own table.
Then you will make a note of your order and hand it over to Mrs. Maria. When she is ready with your order, she will call you for picking it up again on your own! At the end of your meal, you will clean your own table and take your dishes back to the kitchen.
I have not encountered anything similar anywhere in the world. But what amazes me still is that everyone was cooperating and enjoying every single part of the process! If this is not the ultimate experience on the island, then what???
Need to Know Before you Go
A fun fact that is worth mentioning is that Astypalaia is well-known as the “butterfly” of the Aegean Sea. If you look at the shape of the island on the map, then you will instantly notice that it does resemble a butterfly!
When it comes to the logistics of your trip, you should bear in mind that it usually takes around 10 hours to get to Astypalaia by boat from the Port of Piraeus. Your alternative for a faster and more relaxing trip is flying there from Athens. Time permitting, I would suggest combining your visit to Astypalaia with the nearby island of Amorgos (only 1.5h away by boat).