If Mykonos is the blingest island of the 6,000 strong Greek Archipelago, butterfly shaped Astypalea is for those who, like Garbo, ‘vant to be alone’. On this blissfully private island you have 19 pristine beaches from which to choose a secluded spot, even at the height of summer
Atop the main town of Chora, a once mighty Venetian castle dominates the open lapis sea, which has for centuries provided fish and lobster to neighbouring islands. Dining at one of the family run restaurants is one of Astipalea’s delights. The cuisine is modern, sophisticated and light, with fresh ingredients locally sourced. Astropelos, along the charming bay of Livadi, is one of the best. If the menu of the day doesn’t suit, Maria’s husband will rustle something up for you. Perhaps the morning catch with a handful of island herbs and spices, a dash of olive oil on the barbecue? Some lemon and butter grilled baby squid or lightly pan-fried calamari with home made bread? Whatever you have, it will be memorable.
Our pick of the hotels on the island is Pylaia Boutique Hotel and Spa, 300 metres above Livadi, spread up and down narrow alleyways and white-washed steps replicating a Greek village. Comfort and simplicity converge in 27 rooms and suites with soothing white and aqua green interiors, offering all essential luxuries. The hotel also boasts an excellent restaurant, traditional Greek food with a bit of a contemporary twist. Don’t miss the crunchy roasted feta with sesame seed, thyme and honey crust on a bed of grilled vegetables and aubergine mousse. On this island of 1,200 good natured inhabitants, everything is done mindfully and with grace. pylaiahotel.gr/en