It has been a few weeks since our trip to Greece, and since we sat foot on one of the most special places I have ever been to, the Greek island of Astypalea. It hasn’t been long, and the memories of our time on the island are still very vivid in my memory and I’m sure they will still be in a few years from now.
I know a place will be special to me as soon as I get there, it was like this with the Galapagos Islands and with the Maldives. Funny enough they are all islands, maybe that’s because I have a thing for islands that I just can’t explain. This island, in the middle of the Aegean Sea has made to the list of my special places without any effort, and here are my 7 reasons to fall in love with Astypalea:
The beauty of the island
The turquoise waters that surrounds this little Greek paradise is simply breathtaking, but that’s not all. There are the perfect white-washed houses with colorful doors and windows, the traditional windmills, the beaches, the villages, the views, the Venetian Castle on top of the hill of Chora, the capital, and the untouched areas that make up for beautiful hikes. Isn’t the beauty of the island already enough to fall in love with her? Wait, there is more.
The kindness of the locals
How can the people be so nice? As W told me many times “they are not nice, they are too nice”. Indeed, they are. They are the kind of people who invite you to try their food, the kind that wants to make you feel welcome and share their lives with you, the kind that are in love and proud of their island, and the kind of people who you will never forget because they are simply too special to be forgotten.
Isn’t Greek food in general amazing? Well, in Astypalea it comes even more delicious, it is made with special care and love from the locals, prepared specially for you. Lobster, fried calamari, lamb, xerotigana (a sweet pastry with cinnamon and honey, one of the best things I’ve eaten in my life), the local cheese, honey, and much more will make you crave for more once you leave the island.
As most islands and especially Greek Islands, Astypalea is rich in history that goes all the way back to the middle ages, when it belonged to the Byzantines, then to Querini, a noble Venetian family, to the Ottoman Empire, to the Italians until in 1947 it became part of Greece through the Treaty of Paris. Uff! So, with these facts you might have an idea of how much history there is behind this butterfly-shaped island and its beautiful castle. Archeologists and historians keep on discovering more and more about the island, including an infant cemetery dated back to centuries ago containing bodies of over 2,500 babies and kids up to 3 years old.
Waking up early can make many people grumpy, but waking up early to a sunrise in Astypalea can make your day begin in a whole different direction. You will smile from the start and your day will be blessed with the energy of this place. I mean, how can you be grumpy with a scene like this?
The authenticity of a Greek island
Most of you know or have heard that many Greek islands have lost a part of their authenticity, mainly due to the large crowds of tourists, especially during the high season. Luckily, that is something you don’t have to worry about Astypalea, it might be because of the fact that it’s not easily reachable, or because it’s still not well known, but the island is still very authentic and I hope it will be kept this way. So if you are looking for the essence and to immersing yourself into the real life of a Greek island, Astypalea is the place to go.
A mix of the Dodecanese and Cyclades islands
Even though Astypalea belongs to the Dodecanese islands (group of islands to which Rhodes and Kos are also part) it’s impossible not to notice the Cyclades influence. The predominant blue and white colors, the architecture of the white-washed houses, the paved streets and the windmills are signs of this influence. Who are we to complain? Could this island be any prettier?
Already in love? Just wait to see it with your own eyes!
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We were on a press trip to Astypalea organized by the Municipality of Astypalea, Elementi Travel Agency and LifeThink. As always, views and opinions are my own and I only recommend what I like and believe my readers will like too.