The island’s most prominent natural attraction, created by two enormous eruptions 25,000 and 15,000 years ago, which produced the caldera and about 20 craters on its surface. The largest of all is the remarkable “Stefanos” crater in the centre of Nisyros, a strange moonscape in shades of white and yellow. Exploring the crater, a living laboratory of bubbling mud with a strong smell of sulphur, is an extraordinary experience.
Choose one of the itineraries to Nisyros and visit the famed volcano, which will take your breath away.
Among the most authentically traditional villages in the Dodecanese, the island’s capital is a captivating maze of cobbled paths, pretty houses with brightly painted wooden balconies, and pebbled squares. Make a stop at the picturesque Ilikiomeni Square and the neoclassical Town Hall, which dates from 1831, before investigating the imposing walls of the Venetian Castle of the Knights of Saint John.
The Monastery of Our Lady of the Cave
Built on the 30-metre-high rock next to the Castle of the Knights, this impressive 17th-century monastery is an important place of pilgrimage. The monastery’s church, nestled inside a natural cavity in the rock, is decorated with an ornately carved iconostasis dating from 1725 and an icon of the Virgin Mary that is said to have miraculous properties. The 270-step climb to get here is an unforgettable experience.
Renowned for its oval shape, the main square in the village of Nikia dates back to 1923 and has been named one of the best traditional squares in Europe. Its pebbled surface is an exceptional work of folk art by the celebrated local craftsman Paschalis Paschalakis. It is overlooked by the striking Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Volcanological Museum: Housed in the old primary school of Nikia, this state-of-the-art museum offers an unparalleled guide to the history of Greek volcanoes through displays of rocks and other exhibits.
Among the most attractive villages on the island, boasting elaborate volcanic stone architecture and wonderful neoclassical houses with old doors and impressive lintels. Its highest point is dominated by the medieval Castle of Pantoniki with the 13th-century Church of the Archangels, where you can enjoy incredible views of the Aegean and the volcano’s caldera.
The Municipal Baths of Mandraki
The island’s old spa complex, just one kilometre from the capital, is now beautifully restored and has been designated a protected monument. When it was completed in 1912, it had 300 beds, baths, and a restaurant, and played host to well-known personalities from Greece and abroad. The baths are operating once more and offer therapeutic treatments to visitors and locals.
Built of black trachyte between the 6th and the 4th century BC, the acropolis of Nisyros is one of the most magnificent citadels in the Aegean. The astonishingly sturdy construction of its walls and towers means that the monument is still in excellent condition. There are also marvellous views from here at sunset.
The stone-paved paths
Nisyros’ footpaths attract tourists from all over the world. Along the forty marked routes that criss-cross every part of the island are monuments of folk architecture such as stone walls, farm buildings, old distilleries, and tiny churches.
The volcanic island opposite Nisyros is an amazing location thanks to the contrast between the pumice mines that operate here and the dense pine forest. The green trees, white rocks, and turquoise sea come together to create a landscape of wild exotic beauty that can be visited daily by excursion boat from Nisyros.