Lipsi are a cluster of islets in the south eastern Aegean and are found north of Leros and east of Patmos. Their collective name is taken from the name of the largest island Lipsi or Lipso, which is comprised of two land masses, joined together by a narrow 400 metre wide neck. The total area of the cluster is 17.3 square kms.
The name of Lipsi is a very ancient one. With the form of the name "Lipsia" it is encountered on ancient inscriptions.
The landscape of the island is comprised of low hills and small fertile valleys. Picturesque bays interrupt the rocky and precipitous coastline. Around the main island, 24 islets and 6 rocky peaks make up an impressive island group or "polynesia".
The history of Lipsi is inseparable from the history of the larger neighbouring islands and especially that of Patmos.
As are all the islands of the Dodecanese, Lipsi seems to have been inhabited continuously from prehistoric times until now. Inscriptions and clay pots dating from classical times were found in various parts of the island.
At the turn of the century the inhabitants numbered some 200 people. Today Lipsi has 606 people. The locals occupy themselves with agriculture, animal farming and fishing. All the local products are of exceptional quality. In the south of the island are vineries which produce the delicious local black wine. The main activity however is tourism, the infrastructure for which is satisfactory and is continuously being upgraded. Water is in short supply, however recent works including the sinking of wells, construction of a reservoir and a new water supply network, meet the needs of the locals and visitors.
Other settlements are: Kouselio, Katsadia, Panagia of Charou and Platys Gialos.
Today the island of Lipsi, together with the surrounding islets, constitute the municipality of Lipsi which is under the administrative jurisdiction of the province of Kalymnos.
Lipsi are an ideal place for anyone who wishes to spend their holidays peacefully, away from the urban centres and to enjoy the sun, sea and the company of simple folk. There are many very beautiful beaches on the island: Liendou which is a favourite due to its proximity to the main settlement, Kambo, Platy Gialo, Katsadia in the south of the island, Papandria, Hohlakoura, Tourkomnima, Xirokambos, Monodentro and Kamares.
The colourful town of Lipsi, with its whitewashed houses and blue shutters, preserves its island character. In the main square of the town visitors will find tavernas and cafeterias offering their fine local foodstuffs and beverages. In the centre of the town, north of the church dedicated to St. John the Theologian, is situated (in a ground floor hall) the archaeological collection of Lipsi. There the visitor will view exhibits of findings of clay pot pieces and inscriptions both on tablets and columns which are dated from the classical, Hellenistic and Christian periods.
It is worth the trouble to visit the picturesque Panagia of Charou, which was built early in the 17th century and the surrounding islets. Daily excursions and boat trips are organised where and walks along the paths which crisscross the island direct the nature lover to idyllic places.
Traditional foods, sweets and beverages:
Foods: cheese pie, lentil keftedes, kouloures (rye and wheat, kneaded seven times), kalamari (served with dark rice or stuffed), mezithra cheese, panfried pies, cheese in oil or brine, spinialo, goat with potatoes or pasta, olives (black, green), olive oil (made from koronaikes olives and of exceptional quality).
Sweets: pougkaki (fried or oven baked), xerotigano or dipla, moustalevria-petimezi (made from grape syrup), thyme honey, dried figs, syruped fruits (tomato, grape, quince). Beverages: fokiako sweet black wine, white wine or black which can be semi-sweet or dry (it is the private produce of individual wineries).
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Lipsi is connected by sea to the neigh- bouring islands of Patmos (information: 22470-31231) and Leros (telephone number for information: 22470-22224), as well as with Rhodes (information: 22410-22220) and Piraeus (information: 210-4226000).
The island has a satisfactory road network which together with the well preserved paths allows for easy access to all the sites worth seeing.
Rural Doctors Surgery: