Karpathos island -

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Karpathos island HOLIDAYS

Astypalaia is situated west of Nisyros island (Dodecanese complex) and east of Anaphi (Cyclades complex) and is the natural boundary between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese islands of Greece. That is why Astypalea has the classic Cycladic architecture, with white-washed cubic houses, built very close to one another and very narrow lanes.

Its has an area of 97 sq. kms and a coastline of 110 kms with many natural harbours, bays and islets.  It is a rather mountainous island with important climbing areas and lots of trekking paths making it ideal for ecotourism.

It is characterized by its beautiful Venetian Castle and its two white churches Panaghia of Kastro (1853) and Agios Georgios (1790) and the nine windmills at the entrance of the island’s main piazza.

Astypalaia is known as the “butterfly” of the Aegean due to its shape.  A narrow strip of land known as the ”Steno” divides Astypalea in two - the Exo and Mesa Nisi (the inside and outside island) as are called the east and western sides of the island.

At Exo Nisi (SW) where the Monastery of Aghios Ioannis is located, visit the small waterfall of the island and the settlement of Livadi with its beach.  At the Mesa Nisi (NE), visit the settlement of Maltezana and in the northern part visit the lagoon “Hameni Limni” (Lost Lake in Greek) where the settlement of Vathi is built.  Hop on a caique heading for the Dragon Cave, the Negri Cave with stalagmites and stalactites and the Italian fortress Castellano.

Astypalaia has some of the most beautiful beaches amongst the Dodecanese islands – those closer to the maintown are organized but there are also many remote and secluded bays where you will enjoy privacy and even nudism.

Astypalaia is ideal both for family holidays and couples as nightlife is lounge on the island.



In ancient years the island was given different names such as Astypalia, Astropalia and Ihthioessa.  According to Greek mythology it was named after Poseidon’s wife Astypalea and was first colonized by the "Caraes" (who came from present day Turkey) and who named the island "Pyrra" (greek for "fire") after its reddish coloured and fertile soil. 
Fruits and flowers practically covered the whole island, which is why the ancient Greeks used to call it the Table of the Gods.

For centuries onwards the island was under the rule of the Minoan empire. The favourable position of the island captured the interest later on of the Romans who took control of the island to be followed by the Venetians who occupied it in 1207 and built the island’s impressive fortress-castle.

In 1537 the former pirate and later admiral of the Sultan, the fearful Barbarossa, gave a violent end to Venetian dominance and from then onwards the island followed the fortune of all the Dodecanese islands during subsequent Otomman and Italian rules, until its incorporation with Greece after World War II.


  • The Astypalaia Archaeological Museum in Pera Gialos (it contains artifacts ranging from the prehistoric period down to medieval times. Of particular note are grave offerings from two Mycenaean tombs that were excavated at Armenohori and a miniature bronze Roman statue of godess Aphrodite, excavated at Trito Marmari. The museum also contains a substantial collection of coins which were found during excavations.
  • The Astypalaia Ecclisiastical museum.

What to see

  • The Castle in Chora and the 2 churches within it: Panagia tou Castrou and Aghios Georgios
  • The Church of Aghios Ioannis (St John) and the Castle:
    The monastery is dedicated to St. John the Baptist and it is located in the western part of the island almost at the height of Pontikoussa. The scenery is great, the view of the sea and the neighboring islands is breathtaking and the surroundings of the monastery is beautiful . If you're feeling adventurous, looking at the sea from the monastery, see carefully on your right a rocky hill that rises imposingly. On the hill there are the remains of an old castle in where, according to tradition, the terrible pirate Barbarossa attacked and massacred all residents. It's hard to find the path that will lead you back to the village, so it is advisable to ensure you have a guide or specific driving instructions.
  • The church of Panaghia Portaitissa in Livadi celebrated on the 15th of August:
    The beautiful basilica with a dome, is located at the southern tip of Chora and was built in the 18th century. Next to the church is the Ecclesiastical Museum which is usually open in the afternoons. Panaghia Portaitissa is the most important religious center of the island.
  • Early Christian basilica of Agia Varvara in Maltezana with the 5th century mosaic.
  • The Megali Panaghia church in Pera Gialos
  • The caves of Astypalaia
Karpathos Villages

The island of Astypalaia has 4 small picturesque villages: Chora, Maltezana (or Analipsi), Vathi and Livadi.

{tab Chora}

Chora is the principal settlement of Astypalea and the main tourist attraction. The Venetian Querini Castle dominates the town as it stands on the hill overlooking the whole village. Within the Castle walls there is one of the most beautiful churches of the Dodecanese islands, the church of “Panaghia tou Kastrou" (The church of the Annunciation) and the church of Aghios Georgios (Church of Saint George). The white houses, which are spread around Querini Castle, with their blue windows, wooden balconies and colorful geranium flowers, give Chora a traditional charm. Over the centuries, the little white houses started spreading outside the castle’s walls until covering the hill and joining with the port of Pera Yialos. On the left of Chora is Pera Yialos and on the right is Livadi village.

{tab Pera Yialos }

Pera Yialos is a small settlement located within a short waking distance from Chora.  First, it was the port of the island and welcomed the island visitors, until the new port at Aghios Andreas was constructed.  It is quite developed and ideal for a short stay and swimming at the wonderful beach.  This is where most tourist facilities on the island are found, from hotels to cafeterias, taverns and beach bars. Today, it serves regural trips to the nearby beaches and sites that attract many tourists. Not to miss the beautiful sunset from Pera Yialos and the caique boats returning from their fishing full of fish.

{tab Livadi }

Livadi is a seaside village located 21kms southeast of Chora.  Livadi is a rich coastal valley that produces exceptional quality citrus fruits and vegetables and ends upon an excellent sandy beach. The great epic poet, Homer, had described this pleasant valley as the Table of the Gods because of its productive soil and rich fertility. On its western hills, there are large numbers of windmills forming a nice pattern and on the valley there is an artificial lake surrounded by trees and beautiful birds. There are many cafeterias, traditional taverns and local bars in Livadia where fresh fish and good food are served.


Analipsi or Maltezana lies on a small fertile plain on the northern side of the island and it has a beautiful sandy beach. Many fishermen moor their boats here and the daily cruise caiques depart from here. There are many sights to visit including the chapel of Analipsi, at the end of the village and the Agia Varvara chapel built on the site of the ancient temple of Artemis. The ruins of the temple can still be found at the chapel to this date. There are some wonderful mosaics from the 3rd century in the chapel. There is also the Panagia Poulariani monastery. There are some beaches around the village as well, at Vryssi and Shinonta. Makrigialos is a village adjacent to the village of Analipsi. Excavations in the region brought out a Minoan villa. A villa from the Roman period was also excavated in the region.

{tab Vathi  }

Vathi is the smallest and most remote village of Astypalaia. Vathi is a traditional fishing village and has a harbour which offers natural protection from the winds, where ferries dock when the wind is not suitable in the port of Astypalea.

The village of Vathi accommodates beautiful and calm beaches with crystal clear waters. One can also take pleasure in the fresh fish dishes and other local delicacies in the traditional taverns and ouzo bars available. Near Vathi, there are two ancient limestone caves, the Cave of the Dragon with deposits of stalaktites and stalagmites and the other one is the Cave of the Negro.

Karpathos Beaches

There are beaches at Pera Yialos, Livadi and Maltezana that you can also go to with the local buses. Further away, are the beaches of Agios Constantinos, Tzanaki, Papou, Moura and the wonderful beach of Kaminakia (with a good tavern), that can be reached by road or caique.

More remote are the beaches of Ai-Giannis, Panormos, Pachia Ammos and Vathi, while the daily excursion caiques also take you to the nearby islets of Agia Kyriaki and Koutsomitis.

The beach of Vatses is also very nice – it has a cantine and sun umbrellas whilst on the right and at a height of about 150m is the Cave of the Negro. At the northernmost point of Exo Nisi is the beach of Psili Ammos.


  • Livadi : Sand and tamarisk trees
  • Steno : Ideal for families with kids
  • Shinontas : Large pebbles and nearby taverns. Visit the Monument of the French Sailors which is nearby
  • Aghios Konstantinos : Enjoy swimming in the sea with a view of the Castle.

Easy Access

  • Plakes : Large stone beach with a small sandy beach
  • Karekli : After Schinontas 4 beaches offer isolation...
  • Blue Limanaki : Crystal clear waters, sand and fine pebbles
  • Tzanaki : Nudist beach
  • Psili Ammos : Turquoise waters and rocks carved by the saltiness and wind

To be discovered

  • Kaminakia : Sand and pebbles
  • Vatses : Difficult route with gravel road




General Info

  • Airport
  • Local bus service, Taxis, Car, moto, bicycle rentals
  • Health Center
  • Camping

Telephone Numbers

  • Tourist information : +30 22430 61778
  • Airport : +30 22430 61410 & +30 22430 61665
  • Port Authority : +30 22430 61208
  • Police : +30 22430 61207
  • Health Center :+30 22430 61222
  • Blue Star Ferries : +30 22430 61224
  • Olympic Airways : +30 22430 61588
  • Townhall : +30 22430 61206
Getting there

Astypalea has air and sea connection. Its airport deserves only national flights. The facility is located nearby the village Analipsis and approximately 12 kms northeast of the city of Astypalaia.

By air: Olympic Air (duration of trip 55’ from Athens Elefterios Venizelos airport). The Astypalea airport connects the island with Athens, Leros, Kos, Karpathos, Kalymnos and Rhodes islands.

By sea: Blue Star Ferries (duration of trip appx. 10 hrs from Pireaus port), from Kalymnos with “Nissos Kalymnos” every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Get around

You can get around by bus or by car or motorbike.

From Pera Yialos a bus travels every 30 minutes in July and August (four times daily other months) to Hora and Livadi (€1), and from Hora and Pera Yialos hourly in July and August (three times daily other months) to Analipsi (Maltezana; €1.50) via Marmari Beach.


Sailing & Yachting

The endless coastline of the Dodecanese islands and the fact that many of them are close to each other are ideal for visiting these islands with your own or a rented sail or motor boat. There are many sailing agencies that offer such options. The only Dodecanese islands that dispose of marinas are Nisyros, Rhodes, Kos, Tilos, Astypalaia and Leros.

Pera Yialos (main harbour): The island’s municipal marina provides secure berthing for around 30 yachts.  Water & electricity points installed.  Diesel via telephone from the nearby gasoline station via a small truck.

Agios Andreas: The new artificial harbor on the NW side of the island.  Max. 5 boats but well protected from winds (except SE winds). Livadia, Vathi and Maltezana are other well protected anchorages.

Yacht services/repairs/yards in Astypalea : None

Festivals & Events

  • Feast of Virgin Mary (August 15th). It is the largest and lasts three days. The first night, there is a feast in the church. On the day, they cook Lampriano (stuffed lamb). Invited are all summer visitors. The expenses are taken care by the municipality.
  • Traditional feast of Panaghia Poulariani (September 8th) in Maltezana.
  • Traditional feast of Saint Pandeleimon (July 27th) in Livadi.
  • The Astypalea Cultural, Music festival (every summer)

Excursions & Sports

  • A special experience is to rent in Pera Gialos a motor boat and take the island tour! No diploma required.
  • There are daily excursion boats departing from Pera Yialos and Maltezana ports that take you to the more remote western beaches of Agios Ioannis, Kaminakia and Vatses, or to the islets of Koutsomytis or Kounoupa. When the weather is good, they run longer round-island excursions. Tickets are bought on the boat.
  • You can enjoy water sports (bike, canoe, windsurfing) at Livadi beach!



Climbing: Astypalea disposes of a very interesting climbing field called “Ftera” with 20 climbing routes that are equipped with stainless steel M10 connectors and relays to an end. The rock is limestone and is generally quite good. The field is easily accessible from the townn of Chora (20 minutes by car in good dirt road).

Trekking: There is an important network of marked trails.

Caves: For the lovers of speleology Astypalaia has 2 mapped caves. The cave of the Negro, in Vatses with unique stalactites and stalagmites and the cave of the Dragon, in Vathi or else know as “Drakospilia” (recommended only for experienced climbers).

Island Hopping

Astypalaia can be combined with the Cyclades islands of Amorgos, Donoussa, Naxos and Paros and the Dodecanese island of Kalymnos.

Karpathos MAP
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