Built around a rocky hill in the shadow of the imposing Venetian castle, the island’s capital is notable for the Cycladic style of its architecture. It is easy to forget that you are in the Dodecanese as you wander maze-like cobbled streets between whitewashed houses with wooden balconies and Venetian lintels. The stone windmills at the entrance to the town and the picturesque churches create a uniquely lovely setting.
The splendid fortress of the Venetian official Giovanni Querini, which dates from 1413, remains a breathtaking sight to this day. Inside are the brilliant white churches of Saint George (1790) and Our Lady of the Castle (1853), constructed out of materials reclaimed from Querini family buildings.
The Church of our Lady Portaitissa (Keeper of the Gate)
This church, which is among the prettiest in the Aegean, was built in 1762 at the foot of the castle and combines elements of local ecclesiastical architecture with neoclassical influences. Stop to admire the three-storey bell tower with its Ionian columns, blue dome, and decorative roof tiles. The baroque gilded icon screen and the frescoes of the Russian school are particularly outstanding features of its interior.
The Baths of Talara
These impressive late-Roman baths in the village of Maltezana are an important cultural monument. Their main attraction is the ornate mosaics (in blue and terracotta) depicting the signs of the zodiac and the four seasons.
This natural wonder has fantastic geological formations including stalagmites and stalactites. According to legend, it was once the hideout of an African pirate. Located near Vatses Beach, it is accessible by excursion boat from the town or Maltezana.
The Archaeological Museum
This museum in Pera Yialos offers a fascinating journey into Astypalea’s past, from the Neolithic era to the Middle Ages. The collection includes finds such as pots from Mycenaean tombs, parts of early Christian churches, votive inscriptions from sanctuaries, and Venetian reliefs.
The island’s trails
Astypalea’s terrain is well suited to trekking, which makes it particularly popular with hikers. The top of Mount Kastelano with the imposing Church of the Virgin Mary, the chapel of the Prophet Elijah with its marvellous view of Astypalea Town, and the Castle of Saint John are just three places of interest worth marking on your map.
Astypalea is a magnet for rock climbers. At Ftera, the stunning limestone terrain boasts two separate crags and 20 routes with varying degrees of difficulty. Only 20 minutes from the town, it is an extraordinary setting for adventure lovers.