lipsi island HOLIDAYS
Dives into the ultimate blue of the Aegean Sea, magical nights in one of the island’s ouzeries and no anxiety... is what Lipsi island has to offer to those who select if for their vacations!
Lipsi is the largest and only inhabited island from a cluster of islets that surround it (Makronissi, Kouloura, Asrponissia, Refoulia, Frango). It is located north of Leros and east of Patmos and it has a total surface of 16 sq. kms, 36 kms of coastline and a population of about 600 inhabitants.
It is an island where cars are almost non-existent and where most of the life takes place around the island's port. The island's unique settlement (Lipsi or Chorio) is located around the island’s well-protected port and it is covered with white washed houses and little churches with blue domes. On Lipsi you will enjoy swimming in beautiful beaches and bays, walking and watching the fishermen beat the octopuses on the quays that will be served later that night in one of the many ouzeries set on the tiny port.
The island's size is such, that you will be cover most distances on foot unless you want to rent a scooter to tour the island! Lipsi is ideal for a ‘farniente’ romantic holiday or for families with children as there are very few cars and the waters are warm and shallow....
lipsi | cultural INFORMATION
According to tradition Lipsos was the island of the nymph Calypso...
The history of Lipsi is inseparable from the history of the larger neighboring islands and especially that of Patmos. The name Lipsi is ancient and it is encountered as "Lipsia" on ancient inscriptions. Lipsi seems to have been inhabited from pre-historic times until today. Clay pots and inscriptions dating back to classical times, have been found on various parts of the island. In 1370 B.C. the Carians inhabit the island while 170 years later, the Dorians occupy the island around 1200 B.C. After them, Ionians take over the rule for several decades. Remains and various findings that were found on a hill, testify that around the 4th century B.C. there must have existed a small town up since the location was a natural castle. In 730 A.D. Lipsi becomes part of the then Byzantine state.
From there on and until the 11th century A.D. we lose trace of the island's history, because like many other islands of the Aegean sea, it was deserted. During the 11th century A.D. the neighboring island of Patmos is given over to St. Christodoulos (where he builds the Monastery of St. John the Evangelist and Theologician), along with the island of Lipsi. Only a few monks remained on Lipsi and they are honored today in different places of worship on the island. It will again be inhabited around 1669 under Turkish occupation until 1912 when it came under Italian rule until its incorporation with Greece in 1948 after World War II.
- The Ecclesiastic and Folklore Museum, right in the centre of the settlement of Lipsi, featuring religious icons fron the 16th and 17th century, crosses and gold-embroidered religious vestments from the 17th century , local costumes, traditional utensils and coins from various periods. Also on show at this museum is a minor collection of so-called random findings. Noteworthy is the fragment of a marble Ionian style capital from the 4th Century BC and certain oil lamps from the 3d Century BC.
- There is a lending library operated on the island of Lipsi, hosted and sponsored by UNESCO.
What to see
- On the island, monuments belonging to the early Christian period are of importance. These are a large three-chambered basilica with mosaic flooring and a baptisery, possibly of the 5th century, situated at Kouselio, remnants of walls, and architectural remains and mosaic floors at Katsadia, where the churches of St. Spyridon and St. Pandeleimon are located today.
- ‘Panagia tou Charou’ – The church takes its name - the Virgin of Death - from a remarkable icon it contains, in which the Virgin is depicted holding the dead body of the crucified Christ in her arms. Since 1943 the church has been renowned for what is known as the miracle of the lilies. It all began in April 1943, when the local people had placed in front of the icon some white lilies. A few weeks later the flowers, which had withered and died, suddelny began to revive and put forth buds. By the time of the festival of the Virgin on August 23 the buds had blossomed into full-grown lilies, just as if it were April again. The miracle has occurred regularly each year since then, and on August 23rd each year the faithful come to the church in droves to honour the majesty of the Virgin and to marvel at the miracle.
- Aghios Ioannis Theologos (the island's cathedral)
- Kimisi tis Theotokou (located in a little harbour named after the church)
- Virgin Mary of Kouselio church (built on the foundations of a pre-christian temple)
- The two churches of St. Nicholas located on either side of the harbour
- The church of St. Theologos of Moschato
- The church of Profitis Ilias
- The church of ST. NEKTARIOS
DO NOT MISS
- Dive into the natural pool formed in Makronisi, a geological wonder that brings out the splendor of nature.
- A ‘must’ is to take a stroll around the peripheral road of the island especially when the sun goes down. Ask locals to indicate you where the “Dexameni” is; from there you will have a panoramic view of the port and settlement.
- The island is full of churches and chapels, all whitewashed with blue domes. A stop worth making is at ‘Panagia tou Charou’ (Our Lady of Death), who is the beloved Virgin of the island celebrated with great festivities every August 23. Its name derives from the fact that it is the only icon of the Virgin where she does not hold the Christ as a baby but keeps on her lap the Crucified Christ.
- The most beautiful excursion you will take is to the nearby islands. Board on one of the daily excursion boats that you will find at the port, to go to Arki, Tiganakia, Marathi, Aspronissi and Makronissi.
lipsi | villages
At the center of the town is the impressive church of Ag. Ioannis Theologos (St. John the Theologician) with its blue dome and two bell towers. There, in a ground floor hall, is the archaeological collection of Lipsi, well worth visiting. One of the most significant old churches of the island is "Panaghia of Charos" (Virgin Mary of Death), built around 1600. The church was named after the original icon of Virgin Mary who holds the crucified Christ in her arms. The church celebrates the feast of the Virgin on August 23rd and for the locals this day is celebrated at the two squares of the village with traditional music and dances. Other settlements on Lipsi are those of Kouselio, Katsadia, and Platys Gialos.
lipsi | Beaches
There are no organized beaches : the beauty of nature is well preserved under the tamarisk trees... There is a mini bus that takes tourists to all beaches. Most of the beaches in Lipsi are sandy, some have pebbles. There is also a nudist beach at Monodendri.
- Liendou and Kambos are by far the most popular as they are the closest to the settlement.
- Elena and Christos - two lovely little pebbled beaches west of Lipsi town.
- Platis Gialos which is a delightful sandy stripe of land on the sea is considered to be one of the most beautiful of the island. There are wild ducks and a tavern!
- Sandy Papandria in the south, facing the island of Leros, offering a typical sight of reeds and a beautiful natural setting.
- Chochlakoura, widely celebrated for its pebbles, flat rocks and scenic caves.
- Katsadia beach – small sandy beach – a favorite anchorage for sailboats. Few scattered houses and one of the best cafe/summer spots of the island
- Tourkomnima, Xirokampos, Monodendri (lone tree beach) and Kamares, all of them remote beaches of wild beauty, definitely worth visiting.
- Municipal Mini bus
- Car/Moto rentals
- Health Center
- Gas station
- Tourist Office
- News stand
- Area code: +30 22470
- Post Office: 41249
- Harbourmaster: 41133
- Police: 41222
- Tourist Information: 41105 (all year ) & 41185 (summer)
- Municipality: 41209 - 41206 - 41333
- First Aid: 41204
Lipsi has no airport.
By air: You can fly directly to the islands of Kos, Leros or Samos and from there catch a ferry or a catamaran to Lipsi. The island is also connected to Rhodes and Mykonos.
By sea: There is a direct connection by large ferry from Pireaus (Athens central port) – duration of trip appx. 11 hours, once/twice a week. Information Blue Star Ferries (tel . 210 4119171 , 210 8919800) and ΑΝΕΚ LINES (tel. 210 4197430 210 3233119).
You can also reach Lipsi with the same large ferry but via the islands of Patmos or Leros from where you will take a local boat to Lipsi (duration 20’-60’ many times a day).
Lipsi is connected and can be easily reached from the islands of Samos, Kalymnos, Leros, Patmos, Rhodes, Kos.
- Lipsi Harbourmaster - 22470 41133
- Leros Harbourmaster - 22470 42222
- Patmos Harbourmaster - 22470 31231
The island can be explored on foot but scooters are also an option (there are moto rentals on the island).
There are two taxis and a municipal bus that runs to all beaches of the island.
lipsi | SPORTS & ACTIVITIES
Sailing & Yachting
The island’s natural port is safe; many boats moor here in the summer. There is a fuel and water refuelling station on the island.
Kouloura bay on the southern part of the island is also a safe refuge for boats. Platis Gialos on the northeastern coasts is also a good anchorage.
Festivals & Events
- The Wine Festival in August is undoubtedly the most important of festivities organized on Lipsi. Lispi has a long tradition in the production and export of wine; at the beginning of the century its excellent wine was supplied to the Pope during the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese. You will buy your glass and drink wine for free.
- Yet another important feast on Lipsi is the "Kleidonas", honouring St. John Thermastis - Amongst the many interesting customs practiced on such days, there is the ceremony of the "speechless water" (Amilito Nero) brought by the girls in jars positioned in the centre of the square by the girls before merry dancing and singing starts.
- A major celebration is organized each year on the 23d August (Eniamera tis Panaghias - dedicated to Virgin Mary) at the church known as Panaghia tou Charou, where many people converge on the afternoon of the 22d from Patmos, Leros and the surrounding islands. Pilgrims are handed out grapes and delicacies.
Weddings are celebrated in the traditional way, with festivities lasting for two days.
Excursions & Sports
- Lipsi has no organized water sports but windsurfers will love it for its mild winds!
- The 5 island cruise is a very nice excursion to the nearby islets of Makronissi, Aspronissia, Tiganakia, Arki and Marathi where you will have the chance to swim in beautiful sandy croves or in small caves with crystalline waters. In Marathi you get the chance to taste the local cuisine.
- During summer months there is daily connection with the neighboring islands of Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Patmos and Samos.
Trekking : The island is ideal for trekking. One of the most popular routes is a 960 meter paved path carved into the hill connects the upper quarters of Koimisi with the lower ones. Here, on top of the hill is the house of the ancient herimite of Lipsi. Other ones are 1. From Osiomartyres to Pano Koimisi 2. From Osiomartyres to Moschato 3. From Chorio (the main settlement) to Stavros 5. To Kastro
Springs : Fountani, alias Pikri Nero, in the area near Koimissi along with other minor springs also flowing in this region
Caves: The Cave of Ontas dominates the settlement. Other interesting geological formations of the kind may be found along the coasts as well as on the islands beyond the bay of the port.
Lipsi can be combined with :
- a one day trip to Patmos where you can visit the Monastery of the Apocalypse
- a one day trip to Agathonissi
- a one day trip to Leros where you will visit the castle and the villages, shop and enjoy beautiful beaches
- a one day trip to Arki – tiny fishermen island