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A Small Historic Island

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Discover Psara

Psara is a small but historic island a few nautical miles west of Chios. Despite its size, in pre-revolutionary Greece it was the third largest naval power after Hydra and Spetses. It was also the birthplace of several iconic figures who distinguished themselves either in the 1821 War of Independence or as great national benefactors in the period afterwards. Today, its glorious history is commemorated in various locations.

Psara stands out for the rugged splendour of its landscape, its unspoiled beaches, and bright blue sea, and is a paradise for those seeking a quiet relaxing time and authentic hospitality. It is an ideal destination for a day trip from Chios, as well as a perfect base from which to discover unexplored idylls of unique natural beauty.

4 memorable experiences on Psara
  1. If you choose one of the ferry tickets to Psara, don’t forget to visit Cape St. George, dominated by the 14.5-metre Lighthouse erected in 1909 by the French Ottoman Lighthouse Company.
  1. Taking a boat trip around the Psara islands (Antipsara, Ai Nikolaki, Daskalio, Kato Nisi, Nisopoula, and Prasonisi) and swimming at the beaches of Avlaki, Engleziki, Isari, Kanalo and Limnonaria.
  1. Walking the path from the capital to Palaiokastro Peninsula, an attractive trail that offers wonderful views of the entire island.
  1. Discovering the 67 chapels of Psara, each of which is maintained and cared for by a local family. The one at the Monastery of the Lifegiving Fount has a unique icon screen by the celebrated religious painter from Chios, G. Louros, which incorporates embroidery designs by the island’s housewives.
Beaches of Psara

With more than 40 beaches, tiny Psara has plenty of options for visitors. The most popular are the stretches of sand on the west coast, while those on the eastern shore have rocks and pebbles that are perfect both for the more adventurous and for those who love seclusion. Whichever you choose, the crystalline blue sea is stunning. It is worth discovering:

  • Katsouni, near Psara Town, where there is a large expanse of sand and the sea is shallow, making it suitable for families with young children. It has a cosmopolitan atmosphere, while every summer it attracts large numbers of people who come to watch its famous beach volleyball tournament.
  • Kato Yialos, a dazzling pebble beach with limpid sapphire waters, overlooked by Black Ridge Hill. It is ideal for those wanting some privacy, and has a superb view of Antipsara.
  • Lazaretta, which for many is the best beach on Psara. It is about two kilometres from the capital, and has fine sand and gorgeous shells with clear blue waters.
  • Lakka, the island’s largest beach, with its pretty white pebbles and cool azure waters. Situated in Saint Nicholas’ Bay, it overlooks the rocky Nisopoula islets.
  • Limnos, on the south coast, a stretch of sand where the sea is crystal-clear.
  • Ftelio, with pebbles, deep crystalline waters for swimming in, and a seabed perfect for exploring with a mask and snorkel.
  • Fanari, the southernmost beach of Psara, which makes an immediate impression thanks to its beautiful landscape. The small church of Saint George, the cobalt sea and the imposing black rocks combine to make this a magical setting.
Postcards from Psara: 8 things not to miss

Psara Town
Spread around the harbour, the island’s capital is distinguished by its picturesque scenery of narrow lanes and lovely stone mansions with red-tiled roofs.

Saint Nicholas’s Church
Built between 1785 and 1793 at the highest point of the town, the island’s most important church is reached via a 60-step climb and has marvellous views of the sea. The marble used in its construction was brought by Psarian seafarers from Chios and other parts of the Aegean, as well as places further afield such as Malta and Marseille.

The Monastery of the Assumption
This historic monastery, dating from 1780, houses invaluable treasures such as manuscripts and religious writings printed in Moscow and Venice. An icon of the Virgin Mary by the great Renaissance artist El Greco, now in Syros, was once kept here. From outside there is a panoramic view of the Aegean, taking in Mytilene, Skyros, and Mount Athos.

The Home of Constantine Kanaris
The national hero Constantine Kanaris, a great admiral in the War of Independence and later prime minister of Greece, was born on Psara. He is commemorated with a bust on the spot where his family home once stood.

Black Ridge
The historic hill on the Palaiokastro Peninsula is a symbol of the heroic resistance of the islanders during the Greek struggle for independence. A simple monument at the top commemorates the Holocaust of Psara and the 120 men, women and children who sacrificed themselves by blowing up the powder magazine in the fortress that was under siege by the Ottomans. A stone path leads here, and it is worth making your visit in the evening to watch the glorious sunset.

This important archaeological site contains the remains of a Mycenaean settlement and an ancient cemetery.

The uninhabited island opposite the harbour is renowned for its outstanding beauty (it is part of the Natura 2000 network), and is a refuge for rare seabirds. Psili Ammos beach is among the finest in the Mediterranean.

This historic stone building was where sailors were placed in preventive quarantine on their return home from long voyages, and with its arched roofs and austere rooms it is still an impressive sight. It became the property of the National Tourism Organisation in 1976 and since its renovation by the great Greek architect Aris Konstantinidis has operated as a restaurant.

Tastes of Psara

If you choose one of the itineraries to Psara, you’ll have the chance to sample exceptional lobster linguine, as there is a large lobster fishing ground around the island. Also try delicious stuffed goat, risotto with cuttlefish ink, and koufota (a kind of pasta). Before leaving, sample some of the excellent local honey.

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