Last week I introduced you to the wonderful hotel where I spent 10 days on the Greek isle of Astypalaia. Today I’m inviting you to join me on a virtual walk around the island of Astypalaia which is located in the middle of the Aegean. But be warned: This blog post comes with a record number of photos – it was hard to select with all the wonderful corner and sights I saw and captured on the way. So are you ready for a multitude of blues and whites and instant holiday feeling? If so, buckle up, here we go – final destination Astypalaia in Greece!
Why did I pick such an unknown island like Astypalaia? Well first of all I always wanted to go there as it is so off the beaten path when you think of Greek islands. In fact most people I spoke to have never heard of the island before so it adds to the intriguing story of discovering an unknown rocky island in the Aegean. Secondly, I wanted quiet days to unwind to the maximum – and Astypalaia in September is a perfect option for that!
Astypalaia is pretty small and has the shape of a butterfly. The main town is called Chora (like on most Greek islands) and is spectacularly tucked on a hill topped with a Venetian castle called ‘Kastro’. The intriguing story of the island’s ‘Kastro’ is that it was not merely a defensive structure but up to the 1930s most inhabitants of the town lived within the fortified walls – at high times up to more than 4.000 people! Incredible!
The island is pretty rocky and sandy beaches are not abundant. But most beaches have little pebbles and crystal clear waters as well as small beach bars for food and drinks. My two favorite beaches were Agios Konstantinos and Vatses – both beaches are only accessible with a car and the road is not paved. In fact when going to Vatses be prepared for an adventurous and bumpy ride through a rocky valley.
I spent my time mostly relaxing, reading, sleeping and – yes – eating. My favorite restaurants were the spectacular Akti with tables pinned on a steep rock overlooking the Aegean and with beautiful views of the ‘Kastro’. Akti is the place to go for fresh fish and seafood – I had an excellent swordfish steak. I also loved the family-run restaurant To Akrogiali on the beach of the old port – it is the kind of Greek tavern you have in mind – with the grandmother cooking in the kitchen and her family running the restaurant. I ate the island’s specialty there: delicious goat cooked in a tomato sauce for several hours. Another good place is a restaurant named Barbarossa just above the town hall with scrumptious meat balls in a tomato sauce, great Moussaka and a perfect chickpea salad. And a must-visit is the island’s most known tavern – Tou Mouggou. A really authentic Greek tavern with old men playing cards and an interior that has remained the same over the course of many years.
If you ever consider going to Astypalaia, make sure you are not planning party holidays or fancy clubbing. Go there if you prefer quiet days, secluded beaches, and a piece of authentic Greek island life. Have a happy new week!
Photography by Igor Josifovic