1. Registration of companion animals. Read more >>> 
  2. Additional measures during the transportation of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) with passenger ships. Read more >>> 

The mythical island of the Dodecanese

{{bookingBarDictionary.mobSelectTripTitle}} {{bookingBarDictionary.mobSelectOfferTitle}}
The mythical island of the Dodecanese

The island where, according to mythology, Calypso kept Odysseus on his return to Ithaca, is a destination that still "captivates" visitors with its special charm!

Mythical Ogygia, inhabited since the prehistoric times, is today's Leipsoi, lacking in nothing! A small island of just 16 sq. km and a coastline of 36 km, the largest of a cluster of 30 islets, located between Patmos and Leros and promising unforgettable holidays.

Its exotic turquoise waters, white cliffs, cedar forests, blue-white houses and small sheltered coves will enchant you.

Routes & attractions

As soon as you arrive on the island, the sense of intimacy and relaxation will immediately overwhelm you. Relax in one of the picturesque cafes or tavernas at the port and take a walk in the picturesque settlement of Chora, amphitheatrically built above the harbour. Marvel at the narrow streets with the white houses with blue windows, the Town Hall square and the imposing church of Agios Ioannis Theologos, with its impressive blue dome and two bell towers, where the icon of Panagia of Mavri (1500 AD) is located.

Next to the temple is the Ecclesiastical and Folklore Museum,  with vessels of the Mycenaean and Geometric period, an inscription of the 4th century BC, ecclesiastical relics and many objects and historical information about the island.

Just outside Chora, visit the archaeological site of Kastro, where the ruins of the ancient fortified city are spread out. About one and a half kilometres from Chora visit the famous Virgin Mary of Charos, a monastery dating back to 1600, which hosts a very rare icon of the Virgin Mary, where instead of the Divine Child, Mary holds the Crucified Christ.

Walk to the Ancient Settlement of Kouselio to  discover impressive remains from the Classical era. Visit the settlements of Katsadia, with the beautiful beach and picturesque port. Just before arriving in Katsadia, it is worth visiting the church built in honour of Saint Spyridon and Saint Panteleimon.

Do not miss a boat trip to the surrounding islets, Arki with Tiganakia, Marathi and the dazzling Aspronisia. The tropical blue waters and the exotic landscape will enchant you. You will enjoy a swim as well as snorkelling, if you like this sport. The island has excellent scenery and a perfect seabed where you will see the Mediterranean monk seal (monachus monachus) swimming in its waters! You can also go diving in Makronisi, an island with wonderful seabed and caves or enjoy a mesmerizing sunset from the Snake Cave (Spilia tou Fidiou).

The smooth, welcoming landscape and short distances in Leipsoi will delight those who love walking! Follow the scented paths, full of the aromas of local herbs, cedar, thyme, savory, olives and figs. We recommend the beautiful passageway from the church of Kato Koimisi tis Theotokou to the church of Ano Koimisi and hike to the Mill of Aravi on the highest hill of Chora.

Leipsoi along with the cluster of surrounding islets, are included in the Natura 2000 network and have very rich flora and fauna, so you may come across sea-turtles or tortoises, rare, protected birds or the Mediterranean monk seal (monachus-monachus) that finds shelter here.

Beaches & Activities

In Leipsoi you will enjoy swimming in crystal-clear blue waters and stunning beaches, all at walking distance.

If you like sandy beaches, head to the settlement of Katsadia, a beautiful beach with an isolated small cove and natural shade, sheltered from the winds. There you can also find food and coffee. Near Chora you may enjoy the turquoise waters of Lientos beach which is very popular among families with young children thanks to its natural shade and shallow waters. Straight after that is Kampos with its transparent waters. Platis Gialos is a beautiful cove with turquoise waters, where you will find shade and food – and you may even see wild ducks! Another cove, more isolated, is Tourkomnima with its wonderful waters. Those who prefer pebbled beaches will find their haven in Chochlakoura with turquoise waters and an all-white scenery or in the wonderful bay of Papantria. If you are looking for some peace and quiet, the most remote beach of Xirokampos is perfect for you thanks to its crystal-clear waters. Of course, don’t forget to visit Monodendri, the characteristic location on the island where a tree stands alone on the rock. Reaching the beach takes some effort, but you will be rewarded with its wild beauty combined with emerald waters and white pebbles.

Tastes of Leipsoi

The island has a tradition in viticulture, olive oil production, winemaking and local cheese production, such as touloumotyri and myzithra. You should definitely try the local sweet red wine from the Fokiano variety that was the nama of the Holy Communion in the Vatican during the Italian occupation.

In Leipsoi you will find fresh fish and seafood, stuffed squid with rice, as well as stuffed lamb or goat. For appetizers try the aromatic fava balls and crispy pitaroudia, zucchini flowers with rice and yaprakia, accompanied by delicious, kneaded bread. Sweeten up with some xerotigana with honey, cinnamon and walnuts, local spoon sweets, sweet pies or patsavouropita.

Traditions & Events

Every day in Leipsoi is a celebration, as the sociable atmosphere of the island favours friendships and improvised celebrations! If you are on the island in August, have fun at the feast of the Transfiguration of the Savior on August 6th, which is celebrated in the bay of Christ, with access from land but also from sea. On the 15th of August, join the feast of the Assumption and arrange to be on the island on August 22 for the celebration of the Virgin Mary of Charos. People arrive from the surrounding islands to worship the miraculous image and a large three-day festival with local deserts takes place. In fact, rumour has it that the same miracle is repeated during these days: dried-out lilies bloom again! On June 24, do not miss the celebration of Kleidonas, dedicated to Agios Ioannis Thermostas, where the custom of fire-jumping is revived, as well as the custom of the "silent water" by girls in the central square of Chora.

Don't miss...

Participate in one of the famous Wine Festivals, that take place 3-4 times during the hot months and where you will enjoy plenty of local wine along with dancing and singing!

Useful Information
Newsletter Subscription
{{errorMsgs[0]}} {{successMsgs[0]}}