PILGRIMAGE: The Panaghia tou Harou (the Virgin Mary of Death) is a very special icon, kept in the Church of Aghios Ioannis Theologos. It depicts the Virgin Mary embracing the crucified Christ. According to tradition, every year on the eve of the August 23rd celebration honoring this sacred object, a small bouquet of lilies that was attached to the icon a long time ago comes back to life, sprouting new buds.
BEST BEACHES AND SWIMS: You won’t find beach umbrellas on Platys Gialos Beach but trees do provide natural shade. Pick a spot, open your book and just let time slip by. Pebbly Hohlakoura Beach, with its green waters and impressive rocks, is located in the southern part of the island. If you want smaller crowds and a better chance at solitude, visit Panaghia Koimisis Beach. Alternatively, take one of the small boats at the port that go to the little islets of Aspronisia, off the eastern coast of Lipsi. The tall shale rocks, combined with turquoise waters and smooth pebble beaches, create a uniquely exotic setting.
- Area: 16sq. km.
- Population: 790 (2011 census)
- Distance: 173 (sea miles from Piraeus)
- Elevation: 277m (Skafi)
THE WINERY: Visit the local winery, opened in 2010 by Manolis Vavoulas and Nikos Grillis, to taste excellent wines, made mainly from the local Fokiano variety.
SAY CHEESE: At the local dairy, which Alessandro Baldissera opened in 2016, you can try some goat’s cheese and Italian caciotta, made with milk from cows and buffalos. Ask for their signature cheeses – like their unforgettable spicy goat’s cheese with peppers.
WHERE TO EAT: For special meat treats, stop by Pefko in Gialos to try the local lamb shank with tomatoes, anchovies, smoked paprika and vegetables. Make sure to order the appetizer of baked beans with local sausage, onions, Florina peppers and fresh sage. Unexpectedly refined are the delicious dishes served by Christodoulos at Dilaila on Katsadia Beach. A good example is the salad with chickpeas accompanied by cantaloupe, cherries and figs, or the fresh tuna sautéed with local vegetables.
For tsipouro and seafood meze, visit Stis Vasos tou Aspraki, where Sivos makes delicious pickles and marinated anchovies, grilled octopus, and fritters made from locally grown zucchinis. A menu highlight is his mother Vaso’s meatballs, which are the epitome of simplicity: chopped beef, parsley and oregano. In August, you’ll undoubtedly run into some serious celebrations around the place in the evenings.