Astipalea is a quiet island and most travellers are here to escape, either retired people or people getting some time off.
Encouraging reports regarding the possibilities for naturists here. Off season you can strip off on almost any of the beaches except the town beaches at Maltezana, Livadia and the Chora. However the roads are bad and if you hire a car a jeep is probably best. Yes, get a 4WD. There are just a few sections of road impassable by car and some sections very difficult. (added 2012)
Tzanaki Beach near Livadia
My contributor found one lovely little "official" naturist beach on the island. From Chora or the port catch the bus (only 2 a day in off season) or walk the 2.5km (from Chora) to Livadia (the main "resort beach"). Walk through Livadi beach and up the hill on the far side, then take a left turn around the 5th century small white chapel. Keep following the road past the next horseshoe bay (with the "No nudism or camping" signs) and past the house on the left at Pountari bay (between you and the sea) with the big swimming pool (can't miss it). Carry on for another 600 metres and you come to a fence line that runs at right angles to the road down a fairly steep slope to the sea. The side of the fence line has a well worn track going down and there is a pull off on the road next to it. At the end of the fence you will be directly above a ruined house with a stone threshing circle in front of it and will see part of the beach to the right. Simply follow the path at the side of the fence down towards the house. It takes 8 minutes to climb back up to the road and about 25 minutes in total to walk back to Livadi.
For more information about Astipalea try:
Astypalea.net (updated 2011)
The beach itself is azure and large scale shingle and about 75m long. The beach has a great location but it is only comfortable on the less rough pebbles by the water's edge and it is often not possible to sit there.
There is a second bay over some rocks to the south which is maybe 20m long but the sun vanishes about 3.30pm there. The beach is pretty much 100% naturist but an occasional textile may wander in (no problems). One local seemed to turn up for a swim and a look at about 3.00pm (probably end of work) but was no problem. Snorkelling quite good and water clarity brilliant. A really nice crowd on a very small beach. Bring all you require as no facilities here. It is such a small, nice, reasonably frequented beach.
Barefoot reporters who visited in May 2007 confirm the above but found it something of a hike to reach.
2011: The beach had a consistent covering of smooth large pebbles and it was equally comfortable to sit anywhere on the beach. During mid-August there was a small number of friendly nude and clad people until around midday when a large number of Italian (2 days) then Spanish (1 day) well and truly clad young people (25 to 35 years old?) filled the beach spoiling the atmosphere to some degree. Great beach otherwise. Also, after walking thru Livadia and up the hill and the left turn you will see a dirt track running along the shoreline, it is a much easier walk along this track to get to the beach. Stock up on supplies at the small friendly supermarket at Livadia Beach. Beyond the second beach there is also a smaller third beach you can swim to.
2012: After my short time on Astypalea (2011 entry) I returned and stayed for the month of June. Spent some time on Tzanaki almost every day. Most pleasant in the later afternoon. Not busy throughout June. The beach and water is very well protected when strong northerly winds are blowing so don't be put off going. There are actually nine little beaches to the right that you either walk or swim between. No one ever seems to go beyond the second and third so you could have one to yourself. Some are very small I admit!
Widely acclaimed as one of the best beaches on the island, with a great view towards the Chora, this beach may well present possibilities even in season, due to its convenient division into two parts. It is sandy and there is a seasonal taverna, loungers and parasols on the larger (righthand) side. In July 2011 The Independent described it as a nudist beach as well as Tzanaki.
2012: In June the beach had just a few people and the taverna was slowly being set up for business. A few of us nude people stayed nearer the northern end. Plenty of good shade under many trees. Easy drive and about 50 minutes walk at a leisurely pace.
Va (?Vai) Bay
Not having received reports from Astipalea for some time, the Captain was delighted to hear from a Barefoot reporter who stayed on the island in September 2004 and 2006 and discovered a beach which is in the neighbourhood of the airport, in the Va bay. When you go to the airport entrance from Maltezana, there is an unpaved road (bad, but accessible to both cars and motorbikes) starting at the right of the airport entrance. Drive about 2 km and you arrive at Va Bay with a large golden sandy beach at the terminus of the road.
From the chora, just as the Airport fence becomes visible there is a pull-in off the road with a bus stop sign. All the signs were were lying on the ground, or used as part of the fence and rusted when my reporters were there in May 2007. The path from here is easy to see, down to the sea. And slightly over a crest is this lovely little cove. [This description doesn't seem compatible with the previous paragraph or the photo - probably this refers to a different place, such as Plakes?]
My reporter happened to be there alone or with a few other people, mixture of textiles and naked (including young Greek people and Greek families). He found the beach very quiet and lovely and you can even walk nude in its beautiful surroundings. No facilities at all (no taverna, etc.) so do not forget to take fresh water and food with you. My intrepid reporter rated it 80%. Later Barefoot visitors had the beach to themselves: it was very hot but great, and rated 100%.
There are possibilities all over Astipalea. It is a bit windswept on the northern side and lots of sea debris. On the other hand a little bit of a walk will probably guarantee a secluded set of rocks. There are however strategically positioned chapels at almost anything that passes for a beach or bay but my contributors found 2 very lovely other spots for naturist plunging. Definitely hire a 4WD to go anywhere near any of the beaches outside of the one mentioned above, Livadia or the other town near the airport (Maltezana aka Analipsis). Most other roads are very hard on suspension and will kill a moped rider unless he/she has an anaesthetised posterior!