Where to stay in Astypalaia
This is one of the most interesting and unique Greek islands, still unknown to the most.
It is located in the Dodecanese Archipelago, but it looks more like a typical Cyclades island, with whitewashed houses perched on a hill, including windmills and the characteristic castle.
It is quite a sizeable island and it comes as no surprise that you may be still unsure about where to stay in Astypalaia.
I wrote this guide to help you select the best area to book your accommodation based on your type of trip: with family, as a couple, or just for a relaxing break.
But without further ado, let’s dig into it
Best place to stay in Astypalaya – in a nutshell
Astypalaia is probably the most secluded and remote island south of Athens.
It’s a place that, even in peak season, is not crowded.
And that is not because the island is not that beautiful, on the contrary, it’s amazing.
So, what is the real reason?
Well, it’s not that easy to reach Astypalaia.
There is only one ferry from Athens/Piraeus, it’s not even daily and it arrives in the middle of the night.
There is only one daily flight from Athens (the airport opens and closes just for that) and it’s usually not that cheap.
But then there is the reward of an amazing island without any crowd. Indeed one of my favourite places in Greece (I lived in the country and I have been travelling there for the last 20 years almost every 6-12 months).
Below is a map with the best places to stay in Astypalaia.
There are mainly 3 areas although there are also accommodations scattered here and there, however, you would need a car for that and you usually do not have any restaurant or facility around.
Following are a few key points on where to stay in Astypalaia. I may use “Astypalaia Town”, “Chora” or “Old Town” to address the same place
- Best place to stay in Astypalaia for couples: in my post on the best Greek Islands for couples I have suggested Astypalaia Town as the best romantic alternative to Thira in Santorini, without the crowd and somehow madness of Santorini. I just love the old town, so full of character, so charming. Definitely, the best place to stay for couples, with its beautiful whitewashed houses in a maze of small lanes and steep stairs that will take you eventually either to the castle, on the peak of the hill, or down to the harbour and the beach.
- Where to stay in Astypalaia for families: there are two great destinations for families. If you are travelling with older kids I would suggest staying in Livadia, just 1 km from the old town, with a nice long beach, a few restaurants and a beach bar on the south end. With smaller kids, Analipsi may work better if you are looking for a very quiet place, with a nice shallow beach, just 2 minutes from the airport (the owner of the hotel usually comes to pick you up).
- Coolest place to stay in Astypalaia: Astypalaia Town is one of the most beautiful and preserved Chora (Old Towns) in Greece. What makes it even more intriguing is the lack of mass tourism. You can literally get lost in the maze of the whitewashed house without meeting anyone, maybe only a few local ladies chatting outside their homes. The Tholos House is one of the coolest places to stay, with even an underground private pool, really unique.
- Best place for nightlife: Do not expect Astypalaia an island to party. In saying that, there are a couple of cocktail bars in Astypalaia Town where you can spend the night, with local DJs that start the night with some chill-out music and then progress with more popular and dancing tunes.
- Where to stay in Astypalaia for the beach: if you want to totally disconnect, and unplug from the busy world, then Analipsi is the place to be. It’s a lovely beach village with a couple of cool restaurants where you can have your lunch and dinner. Livadia is also a nice beach, busier and a stone away from the Chora (1km), which means you can easily plan to spend the evening wandering around the castle, have dinner, and a few cocktails and then you can go back to the beach accommodation with a short taxi ride or a refreshing walk.
- Best place to relax in Astypalaia: this is a very chilled-out island, so you have a very wide choice. In saying that, I find Analipsi the best place to relax, absolutely quiet with a lovely boutique beach and a couple of cute restaurants right in front of it.
- Best area on a budget: Astypalaia Town tends to have most of the budget accommodations. You can find also a couple in Livadia, however, you need to book well in advance for that.
- Best place without a car: there are regular busses leaving Astypalaia Town to Livadi, the new port (on the north side of the island) and the airport/Analipsi. That’s pretty much it. The Old Town is the hub of the network and the best place to be if you plan to visit the island.
- Best area to stay in Astypalaia for trekking: once again Astypalaia Town is the place to be. From there you can start many walks. Besides exploring the maze of the Old Town, you can also walk down to Livadia Beach (the way up is more challenging), and trek to the small churches in the hills, like Agia Triada, with plenty of options.
- Best time to visit Astypalaia: as I previously said, Astypalaia is a very remote and still kept secret island. In June and September, you will share it with just a bunch of travellers, most probably all coming from Athens on a short weekend getaway. In July things get busier with European travellers who want to venture beyond the popular islands. August is peak season, you will need to book well in advance. The main square of the old town with windmills is very busy in the evening and you may have to wait for a table at the restaurant. In saying that it’s not crowded. By comparison, visiting Astypalaia in August is like visiting Santorini in April/May.
For more details on the destinations keep reading below.
Best place to stay in Astypalaia for couples
Unless you are uniquely interested in the beach, Astypalaia Town (commonly known as Chora or Old Town) is the best place to stay for couples, so charming and full of character.
It is the quintessential picture-perfect destination.
As previously said, Astypalaia Town is the best romantic alternative to Thira in Santorini, without its crowd and madness.
The Old Town is a maze of white lanes, whitewashed houses and white steps perched on a steep hill, in a typical Cyclades setup (although we are here in the Dodecanese).
Walk to the top to discover the Querini Castle where you will have a great view of the island.
As the sun is setting, people start populating the windmill square, the main centre of the island.
You can have your dinner with Ouzo at the Mezodopolio for a truly local experience, or take a table at the Grammi Restaurant, one of the most popular in Astypalai Town thanks to its amazing local food (it can be very busy in August though, go for another option if in a rush).
If you prefer lunch or dinner down at Astipaleas Beach then you should try the Safron Restaurant, with its spectacular view and lovely Greek dishes.
When it comes to sleeping, you will be happy to know that you can find in Chora one of the coolest and most unique accommodations on the island, the Tholos House.
This is a typical boutique whitewashed house with a newly refurbished interior including also a private pool in a small underground cave (see photos here).
Another option, more on a budget, is the Yalos Rooms.
It’s a simple, clean and spacious accommodation with a balcony and an outstanding view over the harbour (see photos here)
Where to stay in Astypalaia for families
Although Astypalaia Town has a beach, this is small and not as impressive as the ones in Livadia and Analipsi, the two destinations that in my opinion are the best places to stay in Astypalaia with kids
This is a lovely long and sandy beach, with a few pebbles here and there, but not the painful ones 🙂
It’s the perfect spot if you are travelling with grown-up kids as you will also be a stone away from the Chora (1km).
Just keep in mind that the walk up is quite steep (a taxi ride is around 5 euro).
For a cool day with some chill-out music too you may opt to take your sunbeds at the Island Beach Bar at the far end of the beach.
Gerani Restaurant is the hidden gem of Livadia, a family-run traditional tavern with delicious local food.
The Mouras Resort offers one of the best value for money 1-BR accommodations in Livadia (up to 4 people), especially considering there is a pool too.
The rooms are spacious and spotlessly clean and best of all, the outstanding breakfast is included in the price.
If you are travelling with only one kid you may also consider the Parathinalos Beach House.
This is a one-bedroom apartment facing the beach, literally 10 meters from the sea, so lovely (see photos here)
I would never suggest taking a hotel in a town so close to the airport (1km or less), but considering there is only one flight a day, arriving in the late morning, I do not see that as a big deal, in fact, it’s more of a fun moment for kids.
Analipsi is a small village, very very quiet with a lovely sandy back beach well repaired from the wind perfect for a swim or to play with the kids.
The main beach, much longer, in my opinion, is not as nice but still an excellent place for a walk.
You will find a bunch of restaurants, of which Astakoukos is surely my favourite, just across the back beach.