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Secret GREECE

While the northeast Aegean is off the main tourist routes, even in the well-known Greek island groups you can ?nd the odd place that’s little changed over the decades
Dusk falls over the hilltop town of Hora and the old port of Astypalea island

ASTYPALEA DODECANESE

WHY AM I GOING?

On the map, Astypalea appears to be a butterfly captured mid-flight between Kos and Santorini; the island’s two wings are linked by a narrow strip that’s also home to the tiny airport. This wayward member of the Dodecanese is conveniently overlooked by most non-Greeks, and development has been blissfully low-key. The prize view on the island is of hilltop Hora, the pristine white old town, seemingly flowing along a spur capped by eight defunct windmills, then down the slope until it reaches the harbour at Skala, Astypalea’s main settlement. The island’s beaches – mostly a mix of pebbles and sand – give onto vivid blue bays. The most eye-catching are actually a short boat trip away, to the neighbouring, uninhabited islets of Koutsomyti and Kounoupi. The latter’s beach is a ribbon that unites the two parts of the island, rather like an Astypalea in miniature (day trips from £13; astypaleatours.gr).

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