Astipalea is in reality two islands connected with a thin strip of land, which in its narrowest part is only 100 meters wide. The name is given to the island by King Minoas` mother and it means ??the old town`. Astipelea had been occupied for three centuries (1207ac-1522ac) by the Venetian family of Gouirini that left behind a beautiful castle with their stone coat of arm standing over the islands capital ??Chora`. The landscape is rocky and dry as in the most of the Greek islands but it generously enriched by the white and blue of the Dodecanesian style houses and the wind mils.
The underwater landscape is unique, the island is even until now days called as ??the bank of the Gods` and ??the table of the Gods` because of the numbers of the fish and the variation of marine life in the waters of the island, make sure that you will see the most of it by diving in different place every day, Maltezana, Vathi, Pahia amos, are highly recommended. You can also ask a local fisherman to take you to one of the deserted small islands that surround Astipalea, you can choose between Agia Kiriaki, Koutsomitis, Kounupia, Fidousa, Pontikousa, Ktenia or even swim to Glino and Hondro that lay very close to the shore inside Maltezana bay. If you dive near Fokionisia on the north of Astipalea or Syrna little further, you might be able to meet passing by, open sea species.
On Astipalea there are three small hotels (one C class and two D class) and plenty of ??rooms to let` which in my humble opinion are much cheaper. Hire a Scooter (Vespa) to curry your diving equipment around the island, it is cheaper, faster, and more practical.
Unfortunately no organized charter travels reach Astipalea but you can get the plane from Athens to Astipalea (six times a week) or take the boat from Pereaus to Kos and Astipale (every day). Astipalea is a dry island whith no water at all, do not forget to by some bottles of drinking water once you ll get on the island.
Try to be on Astipalea during one of the local Fiestas and you will not regret it, the dates are, 27th July, 6th August, 29th August and 7th September.
Before planning a dive expedition to Astipalea contact:
The local Coast guard office +0243-61208
The local tourist office +0246-61412
Oh – and take lot’s of film for your camera.