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).
2013: I would agree with the above comments about Maltezana and would include all the small coves that can be found close by. We set out to enjoy one of those coves on the spit of land that goes south from Maltezana bay on its western edge. We chose the west facing cove because it was secluded, could not be seen from the road and did not face the main town. We had the beach to ourselves first thing for an hour but were then joined by another three couples and one lone guy all textile. There was then a very unpleasant altercation with a German ex-pat and his wife who insisted we covered up because the locals did not like it. We put on costumes but stayed, they left shortly after and we apologized to the others on the beach who seemed to be completely unconcerned. Even though there was one more local male nudist with a textile girlfriend later on it left a rather unpleasant feeling. When we drove away later that afternoon we spotted a no nudity sign on the road along the spit that had fallen into a ditch.
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.
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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 through 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!
2013: My wife and I visited in September. There is a sign to Tzanakia beach on the road as you head south out of Livadhia past Vasilios beach and the road starts to climb. There is now a small parking area next to the sign and the path is obvious and fairly easy. It took us 5 minutes from the road. It is a quiet, safe and friendly environment to strip off. We were there for four hours in the afternoon and there were five of us spread out across both bays, at least one of which seemed to be a regular. The beach is pebbly, the water is deep blue and there are great views to Hora and the Quirini Castle.
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 (right-hand) 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.
2013 September: Deserted beach except for the Taverna owner and mother. Too cold for stripping off due to the strong onshore Meltemi wind that day but would have been easy on the north side of the beach.
Chrysi Acti or Golden Beach
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 passable 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%.
2013 September: I am sure the above descriptions and the photo are for Golden Beach (Chrysi Acti Beach). It is a lovely small cove reached by taking the airport road and then turning right 20 yards from the airport gate through the wire fence onto a rough road that crosses the plain in front and skirts to the left of a low hill before reaching some flat rocks just above the beach. The sands are slightly below road level and you cannot be seen from the road or parking area. We were there all day and had the beach to ourselves except for two inquisitive couples who came and left fairly quickly. There is a single tree for shade but no amenities. The water is deep blue and the beach is fine, golden sand. Bliss.
Kaminakia and Vastes Beaches
2013 September: My wife and I visited both these beaches. Take the road out of Livhadi that goes south past Tzanakia Bay and towards Agios Konstantinos Beach. Keep going until the road starts to take a valley away from the sea and you reach a small church. Both beaches are signposted to the right along a rough dirt road. The road to Kaminakia beach is a right turn shortly after this while the road to Vastes is straight on. Both roads are pretty rough but the beaches are worth the 30 - 45 minute drive.
Kaminakia Beach is sandy with shade from trees at the the north end with some beach chairs. There are a couple of tavernas and houses. There were two other couples when we arrived and everyone was on the sun beds. Everyone was covered until we stripped then everyone else followed suit and the beach was totally nude. I get the impression that if the beach had been busier nudists would have been forced to the southern side of the beach where there is no shade.
Vastes Beach is pebbly. There is now a small taverna bar at the north end, where there were a few beach umbrellas and trees for shade. Nudity was permitted but only at the south side of the beach well away from the taverna where there is no shade. It was relatively busy through the day with about a 50:50 mix of textile:nude across the beach.
Both beaches were lovely and relatively sheltered from the winds unless it's really gusty.
2013 September: We decided to take the long dirt road from Hora to the most north-westerly beach on the island suspecting it would be totally deserted. The road takes a sharp northerly fork off the road towards Livhadia at the top of Hora town and initially winds up to the windmill overlooking the entire island and well worth a stop to take in the views. The rest of the road was awful especially beyond the turn off to the Monastery of St John (Agios Ioannis M). At one point it goes through the middle of a goat farm and we thought we were completely lost. Overall it took an hour. However the mountain scenery was beautiful and there are great views of the Aegean to the west after the monastery. We were not disappointed with the beautifully curved sandy bay which we had to ourselves for most of the day until a yacht sailed in and dropped anchor. For those who like solitude and don't mind lousy roads this is a must.
We did stop off at the Monastery of St John en route and could see that there was another isolated beautiful beach beyond it. However it can only be reached on foot, the track is about 2 miles and there is 1000 feet of descent. We thought we would save this for another day.
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!