Difficult to get to, but worth the effort, this lovely “butterfly-shaped” island actually has a coastline longer that its mass, as the island is very narrow at its center, giving the appearance from afar as being two separate islands. Its size is only 97 square kilometers, with 110 kilometers of coastline; its population is around 1,400, mostly living in the main town, or Chora, sitting high atop the hill, now almost connected to the Peras Yialos port and crowned by an imposing Venetian fortress.
One surprise in store for visitors to this out-of-the-way destination is that Astypalea (alternative spellings are Astipalea, Astipalaia, Astipalaea, Astypalaia or Astypalaea - all in use!) is actually part of the Dodecanese island chain, but to all appearances exactly resembles a Cycladic island, with whitewashed, flat-roofed small houses, colorful balconies, and winding streets and alleyways.
Again, a strong Venetian influence is apparent here, and to add to the Cycladic scene is a row of windmills right in the town, a la Mykonos! The terrain of the island is also quite similar to the Cyclades in that it is rather barren and brown, with small oases of greenery appearing here and there ... Continue