Butterfly-shaped Astypálaia, the most westerly of the Dodecanese, offers the perfect transition from the Cyclades. It has dazzling sugarcube houses spilling down from the citadel, but it also has a fertile, Dodecanesian valley called Livádi, which led Homer to nickname it ‘the Table of the Gods’.
The sheltered nooks and crannies of its wildly indented coastline sport average beaches but are full of seafood – in ancient times Astypálaia was called Ichthyoessa, ‘fishy island’. Now much of it goes straight to Athens, so much so that the fish at many tavernas is frozen.
Although you’ll need to book well in advance for a room in August, Astypálaia remains a jovial, very Greek island that moseys along at its own pace. A tiny airport offers the chance to skip the long ferry slog from Piraeus or hops from Kos.
Images by ER Bauer, FocalPoint, Henrik Berger Jørgensen, Kostas Limitsios, Soulape, Venetian Giacomo (Jacomo) Franco, Zde