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Why Should I Visit Psara?

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Psara at a glance

An island of national benefactors and iconic figures of the Greek War of Independence, Psara’s glorious history has long been immortalised by poets and painters. Its maritime strength was out of all proportion to its size: this tiny and remote rock just a few nautical miles from Chios was, by 1821, the third largest naval force in pre-revolutionary Greece, after Hydra and Spetses. The island’s heroic past is commemorated by monuments at some of its most important locations.

For anyone seeking a generous dose of peace and relaxation, Psara is a true paradise. Whether they are on a day trip from Chios or here for a longer break in the clear blue seas of the north-east Aegean, lovers of pristine beauty and authentic hospitality will find that Psara offers unique opportunities for enjoyment.

Untouched beaches with crystal-clear waters, excellent seafood, and excursions to deserted islands of rare natural beauty are just some of the things that you can experience if you choose one of the ferry tickets to Psara.

7 reasons to visit Psara
  1. To wander the narrow streets of the picturesque Psara Town, walking between the beautiful stone houses with red-tiled roofs built around the island’s harbour.
  2. To gaze out at the Aegean from the historic Church of Saint Nicholas at the highest point of Psara Town. Built in 1793 with marble brought from Malta, Marseille, and other islands of the Aegean, the church stands at the top of a 60-step climb.
  3. To visit the legendary Monastery of the Assumption, which houses a valuable collection of historic artefacts, manuscripts, and holy texts printed in Moscow and Venice. An icon of the Virgin Mary painted by El Greco was once kept here before it was taken to Syros. From the monastery, the eye takes in the vastness of the sea from Lesbos and Skyros to Mount Athos.
  4. To make a stop at the site once occupied by the house of Constantine Kanaris. A bust of the great admiral and hero of the Greek War of Independence, who later became prime minister, now stands there.
  5. To climb the legendary Black Ridge Hill, topped by a monument commemorating the Holocaust of Psara and the sacrifice of the 120 islanders who, on 22nd June 1824, decided to blow up the small powder magazine and themselves with it, rather than capitulate to the Turks.
  6. To explore the archaeological site of Arhontiki and admire the ruins of the Mycenaean settlement and the ancient cemetery.
  7. To visit the adjacent island of Antipsara and swim at Psili Ammos, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. A sanctuary for rare seabirds, the island is part of the Natura 2000 network.
The top 5 beaches

Katsouni: The island’s most popular beach is in Psara Town itself. Sandy, with shallow waters, it is particularly favoured by families. A beach volleyball tournament is held there every summer.

Kato Yialos: A beautiful pebble beach below Black Ridge Hill with fantastic blue waters and views of the neighbouring island of Antipsara.

Lazareta: With fine sand, beautiful shells and shallow waters just one kilometre from Psara Town, this is generally considered the best beach on the island.

Lakka: The island’s longest beach is in St. Nicholas’s Bay, with a direct view of the rocky Nisopoula islets, and is distinguished by its white pebbles. It is well worth visiting if you choose a ferry ticket to Psara.

Limnos: A beautiful beach with coarse sand and crystal-clear waters on the south coast of Psara.

Don’t leave Psara without…
  • Admiring the imposing Lighthouse on top of Cape St George. Built in 1909 by the French Ottoman Lighthouse Company, it stands 78 metres in height.
  • Seeing the sun set from Black Ridge Hill.
  • Touring the islands around Psara by boat. See Antipsara, Ai Nikolaki, Daskalio, Kato Nisi, Nisopoula, and Prasonisi, and swim at the beaches of Avlaki, Englezaki, Isari, Kanalo and Limnonaria.
  • Hiking the island’s beautiful trails. One of the most attractive routes is from Psara Town to the Palaiokastro Peninsula, which has superb views of the entire island.
  • Visiting Spitalia, an imposing stone building with plain rooms and vaulted roofs that was originally used to place seafarers in preventive quarantine on their return from long voyages. It was acquired by the National Tourism Organisation in 1976 and converted into a restaurant by the top Greek architect Aris Konstantinidis.
Tasty experiences
  • Psara has one of the largest lobster-fishing grounds in Greece, and its lobster linguine is a speciality not to be missed.
  • Sample the excellent local honey.
  • Try stuffed goat, risotto with squid ink, and koufota (a kind of pasta).
Trivia

One of the most characteristic features of Psara is the 67 small churches scattered around its rocky landscape. Although they belong to the parish, they are maintained by the islanders, one per family. The chapel at the Monastery of the Lifegiving Fount has a unique icon screen by the famous icon painter from Chios, G. Louros, with designs from embroidery by local housewives.

MAP OF PSARA
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