Tiny Islands of the Dodecanese: A Guide to Pserimos

The only village on Pserimos is like a distillation of the Greek island experience with rooms to rent, tavernas, a few shops and a long beach of fine sand.


WHITE AND BLUE: Greek flags are everywhere: fluttering in the wind or painted on walls and rocks. This shouldn’t surprise you; you’re on a proud tiny island that’s nearly as close to the shores of Turkey as it is to its neighbors Kalymnos and Kos.

THE CENTER OF LIFE: Avlaki is the port, the village and, all in all, the whole of Pserimos. Here are the rooms to rent, the tavernas, the single supermarket, and a long stretch of beach with golden sand and limpid waters. In August, it gets really crowded, so be sure that when the boats laden with day-trippers arrive from Kos, you’re already out of town and heading to…

THE REMOTE BEACHES: For relative seclusion, try those “around the back:” Vathis, Panaghia Grafiotissa and Marathontas have sand and fine shingle, lapped by blue waters, and it will take you half an hour to reach them from Avlaki, climbing up and down moderate hills. Another 15 minutes will get you to Tafos Beach, but make sure you have the right shoes, because you’ll be walking over craggy terrain, with just the goats for company. (Locals often tell you that, on Pserimos, you don’t need anything, even shoes, but don’t believe them.) Alternatively, the fishermen would be more than happy to take you there by boat.


  • Area: 14.6 sq. km.
  • Population: 80 (2011 census)
  • Distance: 177 (sea miles from Piraeus)
  • Highest Peak: 268m 

ROCK CLIMBING: This year, five new routes have been established on the rocks around the harbor. Make sure to bring your own equipment. 

TASTE: Pserimos’ tavernas are all-day haunts that also serve breakfast. Usually, this includes eggs, dairy products and honey – all local. The salads all come with delicious capers – the cliffs are full of them, and it is no coincidence that the island is also called Kappari (the Greek word for “caper”). For lunch or dinner, head to the family-owned taverna Manòlas. The owner raises his own animals, produces his own cheese and olive oil, and even catches a lot of the seafood he serves. 

FULL MOON RISING: It’s evening, and you’re sitting on the beach with a drink in your hand and the hiss of the surf in your ears, and from one of the tavernas there’s the distant laughter of a group of friends. Then the moon appears, and a general shout rises up all at once from everyone, especially if it’s a full moon, and a whole happy crowd hurries over to join you on the beach, staring up at the glorious spectacle.  

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