stypalea is also known as the “Butterfly of the Aegean”, due to its butterfly-like shape: a narrow strip of land (measuring just 100m at its narrowest point) called Steno holds the two pieces of the island together. This beautiful island balances on the fine line between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, not so much because of its location (after all, it is the western-most island of the Dodecanese and the natural “bridge” between these two major island complexes), but also because architecturally and mentally it flirts with the Cyclades. Especially its Hora (aka Astropalia) is considered one of the loveliest Cycladic settlements. Astypalea has a very unique tempo, which resembles no other island in the Aegean (maybe Ikaria of at least 10 years ago, before it was “discovered”) and speaks of time in a very different manner; everything here has its own relaxed, tranquil and serene pace, everything is cool and easy-going, nothing and no-one is in a haste.

Truthfully, it’s the ideal place for relaxing holidays away from mass tourism and hordes of tourists rushing to do and see it all. Quite apart from the picturesque, amphitheatrical Hora, it features rugged and feral landscapes, beautiful sun-dried beaches, an amazing Venetian castle, breathtaking views and sunsets, delicious local recipes, hospitable and always-smiling people, a plethora of hiking paths and climbing sites, limpid deep blue waters and a great deal of positive energy.

All these await to reward travellers who choose to spend their holidays off the beaten track and visit this magnificent piece of land floating in the centre of the Aegean Sea.

Astypalea, the butterfly of the Aegean

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