Λειψοί – Dodecanese

A small and extremely peaceful island with very few tourists. But mind, there is nothing to do here but contemplation, walking to and from the various beaches (including swimming there of course), eating and drinking. The peacefulness may be (as of 1998+) somewhat disturbed by reconstruction of the whole harbour area, but that still seems like better spending of European Community money than the ubiquitous and unnecessary road building (and hence destruction of old paths) that is going on. No, not even Lipsi has escaped that phenomenon (I think King Crimson once wrote a song about this called “EC money”, remember?). Another problem with a place like this is that, as an independent traveler, you might feel a bit like an outsider. Everyone else seems to have stayed here for weeks and knows everyone on the island, and everyone knows them too.

Nudism does not seem to be so in on this island anymore. I walked to the “unofficial nudist beach” at Monodendri but no naked people were to be found. But then again, very few others, so it might not be a problem. But the first thing you see on the island when you disembark are a signs banning all nudism on the island. A clear disappointment. Even on Patmos all the signs banning nude (and topless) bathing seemed to be on vacation (a lot of them were relaxing in a heap in a back street of Skala, which may be how such signs spend their holiday, but in high season they could very well be back in business).

All the local food outlets seems to serve good stuff (at exceptionally low prices), although a menu might not be available. Instead you could be given a sightseeing of the kitchen to see what’s in the pots, what’s hidden in the oven etc. I must warn you against the local sweet red wine, though.

Selected walks:

For walks on Lipsi see Samos Patmos Northern Dodecanese by Dieter Graf (referred to below as “/Graf/”). On the web have a look at Lipsi Greek Island Holiday and Travel Guide by Foxy’s Island Walks.

•1 LIPSI TOWN – KIMISSI BAY (AND BEYOND): This is walk 41 in /Graf/. At my visit this book was not published yet, so all I had was the instructions in Lonely Planet – Greece.

The path as described here was easy to find and follow, and probably still is. When in doubt just follow the waymarks. The first wooden gate mentioned in the text are no longer in place (but you will find it broken on the ground 10m further ahead). Descending from the saddle after the Church of the Virgin of the Cross can be done in two ways. You can just follow the wide newly bulldozed dirt track, or hunt out the remains of a path on the hillside to the right. The entrance to the path is marked by a cairn at a point where the dirt track swings sharply left. The path is very faint and stony, but should be walkable. It did not look to go directly down to the bay, though, but appeared to rejoin the path continuing further west from the bay via some goat traces. I could not even spot it from the other side…

It is possible to continue further west from the bay on a narrow and stony path up to the “upper” Kimissi hermitage. An exhilarating walk around increasingly dramatic cliffs. If you are extremely sensitive to heights you may not like all of it, but it is very scenic, and should not be missed. Just wear good walking boots! The narrow path seems to come to a dead end by some trees just below the cliff where the church sits. But turn around to the right, and you will see the continuation of the path (behind you!) to get you up the last few meters. On the top is a very nice plateau where you can have a picnic before you turn back. The picture (above, right) seems to indicate that both the footpath and the track now has seen new development. /Graf/ confirms this so this entire path is now probably flag stoned.

• Good starting points: • Lipsi Town (the port village)

• How to get there: • By ferry from some islands • By ferry from the mainland • By hydrofoil from some Dodecanese and Northeast Aegean islands • By tour boat from Patmos

• More info: • Lipsi Island, Dodecanese, Greece (the official web site of Lipsi) • Lipsi Greek Island Holiday and Travel Guide by Foxy’s Island Walks

This page was last modified at November 1, 2009.