Astypalaia stands out for its combination of traditional Dodecanese and aristocratic Venetian architecture, with Hora, the capital, built amphitheatrically on the slope just below the Venetian kastro.
Astypalaia’s profusion of wildflowers and herbs produce its famously aromatic honey. Pougia, melekounia, loukoumades and kserotigana are all sweets made with or drizzled with this flavorful honey. Sample these as well as local saffron.
Fresh fish features in the island’s cuisine, especially sun-dried catch, along with spaghetti with lobster (astakomakaronada) and ‘meatballs’ made with octopus meat instead of beef.
Hearty traditional loaves are the perfect accompaniment for the soft, sharp kopanisti and other local cheeses like chloro, mizithra, and anthotiro. Chickpeas are ground, kneaded with other ingredients, shaped into small balls, and fried for golden brown revithokeftedes and zucchini is grated and mixed with cheese to form fried zucchini patties (kolokythokeftedes). Other popular local dishes are zucchini blossom dolmades and arantista made with lentils and flour.