Psara is a tiny island with a heroic and cruel history. You will find it in the Aegean Sea a few kilometres northwest of Chios. Together with uninhabited Antipsara it forms the municipality of Psara. The only village of the island, named Psara has narrow streets with stone houses built around the harbour.
Psara has about 450 inhabitants and a small port linking it to Chios and other parts of Greece. The islanders’ sole source of livelihood has always been fishing, mainly for the locally abundant slipper lobsters, and shipping, with some tourist development in recent years. Psara and Antipsara have some amazing beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Best Things to do in Psara
- Boat trip to the beaches of Psara. Excursion boats operate from Psara harbour.
- Day trip to the Isle of Antipsara. The rocky island located 3 km from Psara is home to one of the most astonishing beaches in all the Aegean Sea.
- Kayak trip around Psara visiting some of the nearby islets, spending a night in a deserted beach. You can rent kayaks in Psara harbour.
- Hiking the inland of Psara.
- Enjoy the sunset from Mavri Rahi on the southern side of Psara Island.
- Spearfishing in the crystal-clear waters of Psara, known for its rich marine life, especially the lobsters.
- Taste the lobster of Psara.
- Buy some of the delicious Psara honey. The taste is divine.
- Hike your way to the Monastery of the Dormition of Virgin Mary. Admire the views towards other islands in the Aegean Sea, like Skyros and Lesvos.
Where is Psara Island?
Psara lies 44 nautical miles (81 km) northwest of Chios, 22 km from the northwestern point of Chios Island and 150 km northeast of Athens. The length and width are about 7 x 8 km, and the area of the island is 43 km². The highest point is “Profitis Ilias” with 512 m (1,680 ft).
Map of the North Aegean Sea
How to get to Psara Island?
If you come from Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” you can embark a ferry for Psara Island from Lavrio, one of the ports near Athens. The fastest way to reach Psara Island is travelling by boat from Chios. Chios has its own national airport, named “Omiros”, receiving domestic flights from Athens, Thessaloniki, Lemnos, Lesvos, Rhodes, and Samos all year around. Chios also have regular ferry routes from Athens and other places in Greece.
Psara Beach Guide
- Lakka beach – Due to its easy access from Psara village this long and sandy beach is very popular. It is located on the west side of the island.
- Psili Ammos – Extremely beautiful, long, sandy beach, located in the island of Antipsara. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Spitalia beach – Secluded, long, and sandy, on the southwest side of the island.
- Katsounis beach – One of the most beautiful beaches in Psara, golden and sandy, you will find it on the east side of the island.
- Lazaretta beach – Secluded and sandy, located on the south side of the island.
- Limnos beach – This sandy beach is popular due to its easy access from Psara village. It is located on the south side of the island.
- Kato Gialos – Secluded, long, and sandy, located on the southwest side of the island.
- Agia Kyriaki – Secluded and sandy beach, located on the east side of the island.
- Arhondiki beach – Secluded, sandy, and pebbled, located on the west side of the island.
- Fanari beach – Secluded, pebbled beach, located on the south side of the island.
- Ftelio beach – Secluded, long, and sandy beach, located on the northwest side of the island.
Activities in Psara
Hiking in Psara
If you love hiking, Psara is the right place to be. The most popular route starts from the village of Psara and takes you to the south coast of the island to the peninsula of Paleokastro and the hill of Mavri Rahi. Another great route (also from Psara village) leads you to the northern side of the island, where you find the Monastery of the Dormition of Virgin Mary.
Snorkeling and spearfishing
The crystal-clear waters combined with the rich marine life makes Psara a stunning underwater travel destination whether you prefer snorkeling or if you are a spearfishing enthusiast.
Sightseeing in Psara
The traditional village of Psara is the only inhabited settlement in the island. It has stone houses with red tiled roofs and narrow streets scattered around the harbour. Sights worth visiting are the Church of Agios Nikolaos and the House of Konstantinos Kanaris.
Archaeological Site of Arhondiki
The archaeological site of Arhondiki is near the beach by the same name. It shows traces of a Mycenaean settlement and an ancient cemetery. The findings are on display in the Archaeological Museum of Chios.
Ancient history of Psara
It has been inhabited since the Mycenaean period, its inhabitants relying on the sea to make a living as the island is a treeless and rocky with little shrubbery. Homer first referred to the island as Psyra.
Festivals and Events in Psara
- The Beach Volley Tournament is taking place every summer at Katsouni beach.
- June 22nd, the Commemoration of the Holocaust of Psara takes place on the island.
- The traditional celebration of the Assumption of Virgin Mary takes place on August 15th like in the rest of Greece.
Psara – Weather and climate
North Aegean Tours
TICKETS & THINGS TO DO:
Psara in the Greek War of Independence
Psara joined the Greek War of Independence on April 10, 1821. A noted native naval leader of the time was future Prime Minister of Greece, Constantine Kanaris. The island was invaded on June 21, 1824, by Egyptian forces under the command of Ibrahim Pasha.
“The Destruction of Psara”
On July 4, the resistance of the Psariots ended with a last stand at the town’s old fort of Palaiokastro. Hundreds of soldiers, women and children had taken refuge there when a Turkish force of 2000 stormed the fort. The refugees first threw a white flag with the words “Eleftheria i Thanatos” (“Freedom or Death”). Then, the moment the Turks entered the fort, the local Antonios Vratsanos lit a fuse to the gunpowder stock, in an explosion that killed the towners along with their enemies — thus remaining faithful to their flag to their death. A French officer who heard and saw the explosion compared it to a volcanic eruption of Vesuvius.
The survival of the few islanders
A part of the population managed to flee the island, but those who did not were either sold into slavery or killed. As a result of the invasion, thousands of Greeks have met a tragic fate. The island was deserted and surviving islanders were scattered through what is now Southern Greece. Theophilos Kairis, a priest and scholar, took on many of the orphaned children and developed the famous school the Orphanotropheio of Theophilos Kairis.
The poem of Dionysios Solomos
The tragic event of the destruction of Psara inspired the poet Dionysios Solomos — the author of the Hymn to Liberty — to write a poem about it called “The Destruction of Psara”.
On the all-black ridge of PsaraDionysios Solomos
Glory walks by herself taking in
the bright young men on the war field
the crown of her hair wound
from the last few grasses left
on the desolate earth