Exploring Pserimos – The Beach and Beyond

Early mornings on Pserimos are glorious. The beach is quiet and you can go for breakfast in any taverna without a fuss or a wait. Without the hordes, you can go for a pleasant early morning swim or sit and absorb the essence of the island. Around 2000 visitors will arrive here daily in high season. The first batch of boats arrive mid-morning and their arrival is usually heralded by pumping dance music. Once docked each boat will give instructions on a loudspeaker as to what time they need to return by. After their hour’s stay, a horn or a gong will give them a pre-warning that they must make their way back to the boat in preparation for their next destination. By 5pm they have mostly all disappeared. Please don’t think that I’m being disparaging of the people that come on these boats. I was one once and it gave me a flavour to come back and explore further. ❤ Check out a before and after!

After catching a glimpse of just a small part of the 6700 olive trees on the island, I wanted to get a better view. So as the first of the tour boats began to arrive, we headed off along the road behind the Tripolitis to explore.

There are new developments in progress which is positive to know that investment is coming into the island. Looking out across the valley nestled between the low rolling hills and the beach are olive trees as far as you can see – all 6700 of them! Truly incredible. Giorgos from Manola’s Taverna had told us last night that the local municipality had offered the olive trees to the residents of Pserimos. Most residents will own their own clutch of trees and be responsible for their care and the harvesting. The land is owned by the municipality and not individuals so there is little opportunity to make a living apart from farming, fishing and of course, tourism.

Whilst up above the bay, we also get a good view of Pserimos Villas, an upmarket, gated hotel with a pool set back behind the village. This kind of place isn’t exactly my cup of tea but it seems quite popular. We would often see staff in shorts, polo T-shirts and baseball caps walking up and down the beach with their clipboards. During our stay, we saw plenty of people coming in and out of the complex’s gates. I heard one man say to the reception staff “Same room as last time?” so it must certainly have repeat customers.

Pserimos Villas also has another place in the corner of the beach called Nammos Sunset, both part of the H Hotels group and serviced by the same uniformed staff. I’m told that it had been another small hotel but was bought out and refurbished five years ago. From my observations, it’s in a good location and well tended by the cleaners who spend a lot of time sweeping the sand from the terraces. The three rooms on the top right of the complex have a shared terrace whereas the other properties have their own. I had watched a couple arrive at one of these rooms with a shared terrace and they refused to be checked in because of this. I’m not sure where they ended up – probably at the Villas.

One advantage of staying at one of the H Hotels properties is that you don’t need to hoik your cases along the beach. You are met by a vehicle that will transport your cases along the back road to the hotel. I’d noticed that the only vehicles on the island were utilitarian in nature such as pick up trucks and mini tractors that are only used to move goods from A to B. No leisure cars here.

As a resident of one of these hotels you can also take one of their sunbeds on the beach which are located in the only part with shade from the tamarisk trees. Of course, if you get there early enough, you still stake your place under a tree on the sand but it feels a bit – classist. There are only a few sunbeds so you don’t have to battle for shade unless you get there after the first tour boat.

Anyway, that was my bit of homework over and done with! Now back to exploring Pserimos. It is fair to say that along the beach in addition to the hotels and tavernas, there are a whole host of little enterprises geared up for the tourists. Crammed in between Anna’s Cafe and Sunset Cafe is an elderly lady selling shells and sponges. The shells are huge. I ask Niko one day where they come from. Surely they must be found deep out at sea as I’ve never stumbled across one like this on the beach. Thailand? he says with an Aussie intonation which left me wondering if he was guessing or making an affirmative statement.

Further along the beach there are other little ramshackle setups selling herbs or shells and an array of different nicknacks. The stalls are only manned (usually by elderly people) during the times when the tour boats are in. Amongst these small shops are larger stalls selling beachwear and trendy cotton dresses that wouldn’t be out of place in Plaka in Athens. These are located mainly by the port and then dotted around the back of the beach. In the far corner of the beach at the opposite end to the main port are two large tourist shops. The larger of the two on the very right is manned by a slight, elderly gentleman who’s quite the salesman. I noticed that he sold honey. I hadn’t managed to pick any up on Lipsi – I’d been told that they were just about to harvest it. Anyway, I always need to come home with at least a litre of honey so this may be one of my last chances to purchase some.

He had a large pot that had a sign on it saying Pserimos Honey. I’d seen the same tins on Kalymnos so asked him if this was genuine Pserimos honey. He picked up a small plastic container that had some small black things in it and shook it quickly in front of me before putting it back under the counter. I have no idea what he was showing me (or rather giving the illusion of showing me) but I get the sense that he was just after a quick sale and was using just one of his sales props on me.

I tried to tell him that we would come back later once the tour boats had gone, keen to impress upon him that we were staying on the island and therefore wanted the genuine article. As we made to move away he pulled us back with another distraction and before we knew it we had bought a litre of honey – wherever it was really from. I commented to Peter that I thought that this guy had done his training in the bazaars of Luxor!

One thing about this shop that I noticed and raised a few concerns for me was the amount of cheap plastic inflatables being sold. Having just come from Lipsi where they have really admirable green credentials, it seemed that maybe Pserimos had no such environmentally friendly ambitions. Fair enough, a family should be able to purchase beach toys for their children but often, these were left abandoned on the beach as the tour boats left. One evening we saw a plastic unicorn inflatable making its bid for freedom. We were taking an evening stroll along the harbour arm and saw the unicorn floating out of the bay towards the open sea. Every so often the wind would catch it and send it tumbling at speed before is settled back down again. A couple of teenage boys diving from the quayside made a swim for it. Just as one of them reached it a gust caught the unicorn again and it flipped head over heels several times and before we knew it, it was on its way to Mastichari!

One day we took a walk down the road that leads past the church and Pserimos Villas. It isn’t long before we pass various small holdings. There are many old stone ovens dotted about, some look as though they are still in use. It wasn’t long before I was beaten back by the heat.

Peter coming from an equally hot climate did take two longer walks over to the other side of the island. One day he walked to Vathy Beach, over the hill and on the east side of the island. After taking an old goat track, he found himself in this glorious deep bay with the most turquoise of waters. Here there is a small fish farm and only goats as another sign of life. I’d read that often dolphins can be seen here attracted by the opportunity to seek out fish. However, there are none to be seen here today.

A few days later Peter took a walk to Marathonda Beach which is on the north side of the island. It is a longer walk than to Vathy but still with that same dry and rocky landscape. Peter told me that it was much windier on this side of the island and at times the waves were quite high – not that you can from his photographs!

On the Sunday, we waited expectantly for access to our new sea-view room. We had guessed that whoever was currently occupying it, would be leaving on either the Maniai to Kalymnos or the Olympius Zeus to Mastichari. Both boats came and went and there was still a string of washing hanging from the balcony. Every so often we would swim along the bay to take a peak at the balcony situation and there were no signs of the current guests vacating the room.

I had noticed that unusually the Maniai had made two trips from Kalymnos today. At 7 o’clock, she appeared from around the corner of the bay and tooted her horn to alert the last clutch of people to make their way to the boat. At last, the drying swimwear was gone. The room will soon be ours! More tomorrow!

Similar Posts


  1. It’s 6 years since I visited Pserimos on one of the tour boats, it looks to have changed and not for the better. Too many tourist shops for my liking in one small area. It’s getting harder to find unspoilt places. I’d still like to stay there and hopefully find some quieter spots for sunbathing !!

Let me know what you think. ❤

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.