Astypalea Sights & Attractions
Astypalea is a small island of the Dodecanese. Tourism has been developed on the island over the last years only, however, there are enough tourist facilities for comfortable holidays. Expect for the Venetian Castle above Chora, there are not many sites on the island. This is a great place to enjoy long strolls at the town and relaxing moments at the beach. Astypalea has all kind of beaches: there are both organized beaches with beach accommodation as well as secluded beaches for naturists. In fact, two popular activities on the island are hiking and jeep safari to secluded beaches.
The Venetian Castle of Astypalea Dodecanese: The Venetian Castle of Querini in Chora town is a wonderful sight to see placed royally on top of the hill and made with black stones that show a strange contrast with the white-walled cluster of houses around it. The castle's history is entwined with the power struggle among the Venetians, Byzantine, and the Turk rulers.
The castle was constructed by John Querini, a noble Venetian family who had taken over the rule of Astypalea Island after the siege of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204. It was built as a shelter against pirates and other enemies. In 1310, John Quirini II renovated and modified the castle to a great extent. The Venetians ruled from the castle for more than 300 years and each ruler had made some or other modifications to the imposing structure.
Astypalea Traditional Windmills
The Windmills in Chora Astypalea: The picturesque windmills in Chora always impress the tourists on Astipalea. There is a total of eight windmills in Chora, on top of a hill, along with white houses and Byzantine churches. These preserved windmills that might have been built in the 18th or 19th century impart the stunning magic of an island to the overall panoramic landscape of the hill and the surrounding areas.
Situated on the saddle of the hill, the traditional windmills surely give a lovelier vibe to Chora and have ample space in the interior. Little further from the windmills, there is the traditional coffee house and further still is the city hall. On top of the hill, there is the imposing Venetian castle of Querini built of dark stones.
Astypalea Drakos Cave
The Cave of Drakos in Astypalea Greece, Dodecanese: A lovely natural attraction in Astypalea is the Cave of Drakos, whose name actually means the cave of the dragon. Located close to the fishing village of Vathi, on the northern side of Astypalea, this spot is nice as a trekking destination.
The cave is decorated with impressive stalactites and stalagmites of different colors which they have been formed over time when water, containing lime, runs off the roof. Depending on the mineral contents contained in the water, the stalactites take different colors. Drakos Cave was associated with marauding pirates as it was thought to be a place where the pirates were hiding their treasures. The cave can also be accessed by boat from Vathy.
Monastery of Saint John
The Monastery of Saint John is located 12 km west of Chora. Nestled between two steep slopes and offering a fantastic outlook at the islets of Ktenia, Pontikoussa, and Ofidousa, the monastery stands on a hill next to an old castle. Gardens and streams below the church further enhance the beauty of the landscape.
Church of Panagia Portaitissa
The church of Panagia Portaitissa stands beneath the Castle in Chora. It is all white and it is considered among the most beautiful in the Dodecanese. The church was built in the middle of the 18th century and next to it, there is a small ecclesiastical collection with old icons.