The village wears the white and blue colours of a classic Aegean Sea island village. Stroll along the alleys and visit its monuments. Next to the Town Hall, you’ll see the impressive church of Agios Ioannis Theologos [St. John the Theologian], its beautiful blue dome and the two belfries. Inside, look for the icon of Panagia Mavri (Virgin Mary) which dates to c. 1500. Visit also the Ecclesiastical and Folk-Art Museum, right by the church, where you will see ecclesiastical heritage items and the island’s archaeological collection. Take a trip to Panagia tou Charou, a monastery dating to the early 17th c. located only 1.5 km off Chora; there you will see a rare icon of the Virgin Mary holding the Crucified Christ, not the Divine Baby. Visit also Kastro, an archaeological site near Chora, where you will see the ruins of an ancient town.
Explore the island
The island is small enough for most people to be able to explore it on foot. The entire chain of islands is part of the Natura 2000 protected areas network. You will enjoy hiking along low hills, planes, and ravines, as the air is filled with the scent of oregano, thyme and savoury shrubs. The many coves hide beautiful beaches you can visit: follow the slab-paved Koimisis Trail and you will reach a beach of fine pebble and turquoise waters, on the SW part of the island, right below Koimisis tis Theotokou [Dormition of the Mother of God] Monastery. Those of you who prefer pebble over sand should also head for Chochlakoura and Ksirokampos beaches (SE), Monodentri, a large white pebble beach (E) and Papantria (S). For sandy beaches choose Lientou, near Chora, where you’ll find shallow waters and trees by the seaside – the ideal place for families with small kids. Kampos (right next to Lientou), Platys Gialos (NE) and Katsadia (S) are also shaded beaches washed by turquoise waters. Make sure you explore the neighbouring islets; at Leipsoi Harbour, board one of the boats that offer daily trips in the area and enjoy swimming in pristine waters, or follow your own route around on a private boat.
Fishing and farming are important activities for the locals. You will find delicious fresh seafood, you’ll taste locally raised lamb and goat kid meat and tasty cheeses like touloumotyri (soft white cheese with a slight piquant taste) & myzithra (a soft white cheese that resembles the Italian ricotta), and also other savoury dishes such as pitaroudia (crispy patties made with greens, eggs, tomato, cheese, and spices) and favokeftedes (fried split yellow peas patties). Your sweet options include the local must-try thyme honey on its own or as a topping on kserotigana with cinnamon and walnuts. Last but not least, try the sweet red wine made from the local Fokiano variety, which is bottled on the island.
If you visit the island in August, don’t miss on the three-day wine feast, check the dates! On August 23rd, join the locals from the neighbouring islands who visit to Panagia tou Charou monastery for the religious feast that takes place in the area.