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Why Should I Visit Lipsi?

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Lipsi at a glance

In the south-east Aegean, somewhere between Leros and Patmos, lies a dazzling cluster of 24 tiny islands and six rocky islets called Lipsi. The heart of this miniature archipelago is Lipso, the only one of the islands that is inhabited, and the mythological home of Calypso, who detained Odysseus there on his journey back to Ithaca after the Trojan War.

A favourite summer destination for those who love the sea and the natural world, this floating speck of land may be small, but has landscapes of pristine beauty in abundance. It is an intoxicating mix of crenelated coastlines, small cedar forests, verdant vineyards, and enchanting churches, suffused with the aromas of Mediterranean plants and the sea breeze.

Lipsi is something more than a paradise for relaxation and meditation. As part of the Natura 2000 network, it is a magical gateway into a spectacular marine environment of inestimable ecological value, a place that celebrates the majesty of nature and is a welcoming haven for wild birds, dolphins, Mediterranean seals, and sea turtles. It is worth visiting by choosing one of the ferry tickets for Lipsi.

7 reasons to visit Lipsi
  1. To discover a tiny Aegean archipelago of unique beauty and incomparable natural wealth. From exotic turquoise seas and underwater treasures to cave formations, its ecosystem promises a spectacular marine experience.
  2. To wander the narrow, cobbled streets of Lipsi Town, the only settlement here, with its whitewashed houses, blue doors and shutters, and wonderful views of the harbour.
  3. To visit the historic monastery of the Virgin Mary of Haros (Death), built in 1600, which stands in a verdant area full of olive trees and vines east of Lipsi Town. Admire the antiquities surrounding the church, and inside, a rare icon of the Virgin Mary holding Christ on the cross.
  4. To walk around the archaeological site at Kastro, the highest point of the island, where you can see the ruins of the ancient acropolis.
  5. To look out over the Aegean from the Church of Saint John the Theologian above the harbour. Built of hewn stone, it dominates Lipsi Town with its blue dome and twin bell towers. Admire the wonderful carved wooden icon screen and the painting of the “dark” Virgin Mary, which dates from 1500.
  6. To take part in the three-day Wine Festival held every August to celebrate the island’s rich tradition of viticulture. Make sure you buy a special commemorative wine glass as a souvenir.
  7. To explore fantastic diving locations, including the incomparable area of open sea off the north coast, and the tiny North & South White Islands to the east, as well as the underwater caves of Makronissi.
The top 5 beaches

Katsadia: One of the most popular beaches in Lipsi, with a long stretch of sand, shallow azure waters, and large trees for shade. The beach has a view of Leros and is a favourite anchorage for sailing boats as it is protected from the wind. The quaint bar-restaurant with a laid-back atmosphere on the edge of the beach has its own special story.

Platis Yialos: Nestling in a small cove in the north-west of the island is a beautiful beach with golden sand and turquoise waters that become gradually deeper. It has no official tourist amenities but there is a taverna for food. When you go for a dip, expect to be joined by a few friendly ducks swimming alongside you. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit if you choose one of the ferry tickets for Lipsi.

Liendou: The island’s most famous beach is especially popular among families with young children, owing to its shallow crystal-clear waters. It is just 700 metres from Lipsi Town and has several choices of tavernas and cafés.

Kambos: A beautiful bay with a long sandy beach, transparent turquoise waters, and a few tamarisk trees for shade. It has no tourist amenities.

Papandria: Crystal-clear emerald waters and a sandy beach with small pebbles and reeds make this a wonderful spot. It is surrounded by a landscape of outstanding natural beauty overlooking the rocky islet of Lyra out at sea. The coastline to the west is good for walking and there are some idyllic little beaches to discover there.

Don’t leave Lipsi without…
  • Hiking some of the island’s beautiful trails. The route from the Church of the Dormition (at Kato Kimisi) along a 900-metre paved footpath to the church at Ano Kimisi is unforgettable.
  • Enjoying an afternoon stroll up to Aravi windmill, which stands on the highest point in Lipsi Town.
  • Walking round the ring-road at sunset for a panoramic view of the sea and the nearby islands.
  • Taking a trip to two exotic idylls of the Minor Dodecanese, enchanting Arki and magical Marathi.
Tasty experiences
  • If you choose one of the ferry tickets for Lipsi, go to a traditional bakery for a taste of aromatic sourdough bread with aniseed, nutmeg, or mastic, baked in a wood-fired oven.
  • Discover the island’s great winemaking tradition with two local varieties, the sweet red Fokiano and the dry white Viktoria.
  • Try the local cheese pies, pitaroudia (chickpea fritters) and bread rolls (barley, wheat, or “eptazimes” – kneaded seven times).
  • Dine out at the picturesque harbourfront tavernas and enjoy delicious seafood dishes such as stuffed baked calamari, black rice with squid ink, and whatever fresh fish the local caiques have netted that day.
  • Enjoy courgette flowers with rice, “orphan” yiaprakia (dolmades without rice), bean soup with orzo, goat in lemon sauce, lamb with potatoes or stuffed wild goat.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with xerotigana (fried strips of sweet dough drenched in honey), poungakia (filled filo “pouches”), patsavouropita (“rag pie”) and sweet tomato or grape preserve.

Lipsi has a long tradition in viticulture and winemaking. The island is part of the European network of wine cities, Recevin. During the Italian occupation, the local sweet wine, Anama, was exported to the Vatican and used in Holy Communion.

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