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Lipsi Holiday Travel Guide

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Lipsi, or Lipsoi as it is sometimes spelt, is one of the smaller islands found at the northern end of the Dodecanese chain that runs along the west coast of Turkey.
It lies between the larger islands of Kalymnos and Samos and benefits substantially from a vast and deep natural harbour and also from being on a main ferry route.
Potential visitors can dismiss outdated reports of 'donkey-powered' Lipsi which suggest there is no motor traffic on the island.
Visitors are dodging scooters and cars, not donkeys after the island's roads were improved with generous dollops of EU cash.
The large harbour has undergone a major revamp to accommodate the many visiting summer yacht flotillas that now make Lipsi a must-visit stopover on any Greek boating holiday route.
Lipsi island itself is tiny – visitors can walk to virtually any of the beaches and back for a day's sunbathing.
The beaches are mainly shingle and sand, and all are no more than a narrow waterside strip, but all are within walking distance of the main port.
Lipsi has all the oodles of charm and the backwater atmosphere that many Greek holiday visitors expect from the smaller, out-of-the-way Greek islands.
If it's peace and tranquillity you are after or fancy yourself as a boat skipper, then Lipsi could be top of on your Greek holiday shortlist.

  • Expect peace on Lipsi, although new roads suggest it will soon be getting a lot noisier.
  • Trade from visiting yacht flotillas has prompted a rash of tavernas around the enormous harbour at Lipsi.
  • Regular ferries and the proximity of islands like Samos, Leros and Kalymnos make Lipsi an ideal base for island hopping.
  • Lipsi is for those seeking a quiet retreat where excitement peaks at the arrival of a ferry. Beaches are pleasant rather than outstanding.

Beaches of Lipsi

The tiny Greek island of Lipsi lies just south of Samos and has only one resort in Lipsi Town and a few beaches. A large harbour puts Lipsi on the main ferry route and makes it a favourite port of call for yacht flotillas. Access to most beaches is easy, with taxi services from the port should you need any. All beaches can be reached on foot although the going can be tricky at times.

Lipsi Town

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Laid back Lipsi is just the place to laze away a Greek Island holiday. The only access is by boat and visitors are greeted by a vast swathe of concrete circling a very large lagoon.
Fortunately, Lipsi has not lost all its charm despite some pretty drab architecture. The appeal is mainly down to an unsparing use of white paint, some lively splashes of colour and a string of shady tavernas around the long quay.
Villagers keep the place spick and span, and colourful boats are always moored up, their nets spread to dry on the cement quayside.
Lipsi is a favourite port of call for the yachting set, so it's not always quiet, but the crowds are occasional and easily avoided.
A mini market near the central square sells just about everything and up the steps from the children's playground is an excellent bakery.
A cash point on the harbour is suitably close to the taxi rank, and boats nearby offer day trips to local islands.
The blue-domed church of Agios Ioannis dominates the hill, and it's worth a climb up the steps for views over the harbour and to visit shops and cafes at almost every turn in the narrow alleyways.
Charming, peaceful and unhurried; Lipsi makes up in atmosphere what it may lack in character.

Beaches on the west coast of Lipsi

Lipsi harbour is reasonably central to the island in a sheltered bay. To the west is a ridge where a road snakes over to the north coast past the island's old rubbish dump, now landscaped, and to the beach at Platys Yialos. A coast road west has also been improved to give access to more beaches.

Liendou beach Lipsi

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Liendou is the Lipsi Town beach, and it's found over the brow of a small hill at the western end of the harbour just before the ferry jetty.
Set in a narrow bay, the coarse sand and pebble shelves gently into the sea with some roadside tamarisk trees behind for shade.
It is usually quiet but can get noisy with children when school closes in the afternoon. The seabed is stony at first but sandy further out and the water shallow for some distance, so it's safe for children.
There are no facilities here, but tavernas in the harbour are only a short distance away. Greek radio pop music sometimes wafts over from a nearby hotel complex, but it's not too intrusive.

Kambos beach Lipsi

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Before the road from Liendou climbs inland up the hill, it branches off left along a newly constructed road down to Kambos beach.
Remarkably similar to Liendou, with a few patches of sand on the narrow shingle shoreline, the Kambos sand is gritty and not as pleasant as at Liendou. A row of tamarisks edge the low stone wall but the trees are stunted, and visitors must crouch for shade. Litter may also be a problem here.
The water is clear, good for snorkelling, but stony underfoot. Goats often graze in the fields behind to an endless clonking of goat bells.

Elena beach Lipsi

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Further along the coast from Kambos is a solitary whitewashed chapel (easily visible from Lipsi Town) and, beyond that, the stone and rock beach of Elena, or Helena.
The narrow coastal track peters out well before the beach and its a tricky scramble over the rocky hillside to reach, mostly a case of tracing goat tracks through the rocks and scrub.
The beach is little more than a shower of rocks spilling into the sea and shade is hard to come by so Elena is only for the adventurous.

Kimisi beach Lipsi

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It's a two-hour walk to the tiny, but pretty, bay of shingle and rock at Kimisi, once the home of an octogenarian hermit and a sacred place for Lipsi islanders.
The beach is also home a pretty 16th-century chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary – Kimissi tis Theotokos – which is open to visitors.
There are two routes to the beach. One is along a narrow track, off the island ridge road and marked with red spots. The other leads past the chapel of St Stavros and the Church of the Five Martyrs then down into Kimisi bay along a narrow concrete staircase.
A red arrow on the route leads to upper Kimisi, another small bay of rock and pebbles. The way, although marked, is not an easy one and there are no facilities here.

Platys Yialos beach Lipsi

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The beach at Platys Yialos, or Platis Gialos, has the best sand on the island although there's not a great deal of it. A narrow strip of sand edges the end of a deep bay, south facing and with no shade.
The bay is long, shallow and sandy underfoot making it ideal for families and children. A shady taverna on the hill hasn't capitalised on its exclusivity and offers good food at reasonable prices.
It is reached up the hill by Liendou beach and along the ridge which offers panoramic views of the sea to Arki but less spectacular views of the scoured faces of inland quarries.
The beach is plainly seen at the end of the bay and visitors who don't fancy a walk back can ask the taverna owner to summon a taxi.
The bulldozed road from Platis Yialos leads to the pretty inlet at Moschatou after a 30-minute walk. There is no beach as such, just a bay of rock and stone with the tiny chapel of St Theologus adding colour.
The beach was suitable for clean swimming until a fish farm was set up in the bay and now visitors tell of waters muddy with fish waste.


Beaches on the east coast of Lipsi

Beaches east of Lipsi Town are a little more difficult to reach than those in the west as progress is mainly along unmarked paths and goat tracks. Beaches are primarily stone and shingle with little or no shade, but they do have dramatic settings and the stark, isolated beauty that many visitors crave.

Kamaris beach Lipsi

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A dramatic setting with sheer drops into the sea but not much else is found at this rocky cove backed by fir trees in the remote north-east of the island. It's a tricky route to Kamaris, or Kamares, beach too.
The main beach is 100 metres of pebble and large stones with fir trees at the southern end before ending at a headland with a rocky inlet. To the north are a couple of small coves.
The easiest, if longest, route is to take the road past the school out of Lipsi Town and turn right at the junction to the main island ridge road. On the ridge road is a track leading right next to a shed.
Beyond a quarry and an isolated chapel is a left fork along the path that keeps Aspronissi (White Island) directly ahead on the horizon.
The track turns into a goat trail before dropping down to the stony beach. The walk should take about 45 minutes.

Monodendri beach Lipsi

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The name Monodendri means single tree and that's what the visitor gets – one lonesome pine growing out of the flat sloping rocks on the end of a pebble spit.
There are in fact three beaches here. The most northerly has the single tree, the central one is just a small bay of large stones and the south beach has a short stretch of shingle.
There is no shade but the water is crystal clear and ideal for snorkelling. There are several coves nearby and all are small but visitors wonder at the brilliant blue of the sea.
To get there follow the road north from the harbour up the hill past the moped hire shop. At the top of the steep hill go straight over the crossroads then right along a wide dirt track.
You pass a house with an olive grove then through a couple of gates before a sign pointing left to a goat trail down to the sea. A taxi will reach the start of the track. The full walk takes about 50 minutes.

Tourkomnima beach Lipsi

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The beach at Tourkomnima lies north of the headland, back-to-back with Kserokambos and usually deserted.
The main beach is north facing and mainly stone with patches of sand. There is decent snorkelling on both sides of the bay and some trees for shade. A pretty chapel sits on the headland.
To get there head for Kohklakoura out of Lipsi Town but turn left at the fork and follow the path around the headland past Kserokambos. The walk takes around 45 minutes.

Xerokambos beach Lipsi

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Southeast facing, with islands offshore, Xerokambos has more sand than its neighbour Tourkomnima but not much.
There are smaller coves found further south along the shore and some splendid snorkelling around the offshore rocks.
To get there follow directions to Kohklakoura then turn left at the fork in the track and over the headland. The walk takes about 40 minutes.

Kohklakoura beach Lipsi

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There is a beautiful, deep beach of white pebbles at Kohklakoura but it suffers from the lack of shade. It can get very hot here on the sizzling stones.
To get there take the road east from the harbour and turn right at the school, past the priest's house with the blue neon light to the crossroads.
Carry straight on down the hill, past the chapel until the asphalt gives out then take the right fork and follow the track downhill to the beach. It takes about 30 minutes.

Katsadia beach Lipsi

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Katsadia bay and the nearby cove at Panpandria make a very popular anchorage for yachts and a largish taverna has sprung up to serve the yachting set.
It is a beautiful full bay with a very narrow shingle and sand beach and the islet of Limni offshore. The water is shallow and sandy offshore with the occasional large stone.
A small seawall provides seating beneath the shady trees along the back of the beach and the eastern end has an excellent taverna overlooking the sand with tables set among shady palms and car parking nearby.
To get there take the road to Kohklahoura but turn right at the crossroads and follow it to the headland and views of Lipsi harbour below. Take the left fork to reach Katsadia and the right to get to Papandria. The walk takes 30 minutes but a taxi will drop and pick up later.