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ASTYPALEA

Astypalea is the bridge which connects the Cyclades to the Dodecanese. On this island of the Dodecanese, one can encounter the special features which characterize both island groups. Because of the abundant, fragrant flowers, her fruit, the Ancient Greeks called her the "Paradise of the Gods". Today, Astypalea is also famous for her exceptional honey and the high quality of fish. The history of Astypalea starts in the prehistoric times and was named after the wife of the sea-god Poseidon. It was particularly developed in the Hellenistic times thanks to the fishing activity of its inhabitants.

In the Roman times, the island was used by the pirates as a regular base of operations. Then it was conquered by many different races, such as the Venetians, the Turks, the Italians, until it was finally united to the Greek State in 1948. The island of Astypalea has four small but picturesque villages: Chora, Analipsi (or Maltezana), Vathi and Livadia. The most typical feature of Astypalea is the small or bigger churches that are spread all over the island. The most famous is the church of Panagia Portaitissa, all in white, with a beautiful wooden iconostasis and a big bell tower.

Life on Astypalea is rather quiet. Do not expect lots of wild clubs there that play loud music all night long. There is certainly some nightlife in Chora, but you will mostly find seaside coffee shops and traditional taverns. The beaches are mostly short and sandy. Some of them are difficult to go but almost all give you the peace you may need. After all, the whole island gives this vibe of peace and tranquility. One of the best beaches the island has to offer is Steno, which divides the island in two. Other majestic beaches are Agios Konstantinos, Livadi, Schinontas, Maltezana, Marmaria and Plakes as well. Chora, one of the most beautiful towns in the Aegean, is outlined by numberless capes, thickets and sandy bays, tranquil, comely mountains seething with 365 picturesque churches and monasteries. A Venetian Castle stands proudly at the top of the town. Other settlements that exist today are Livadi, Analypsi, and Maltezana but, most of the island life is concentrated in Chora.