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Nisyros:
The Famous Volcanic Island

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Discover Nisyros

Nisyros is a small island situated between Kos and Tilos, and is famous for its volcano, owing its rugged beauty to the black volcanic rock from which it was formed many thousands of years ago. The locals believe that the mysterious energy of the volcano is responsible for the passion that visitors come to feel for the island, what they call "Nisyriasi".

Nisyros stands out for the unique diversity of its landscape. From black pebble beaches with deep blue seas to green hills, dazzling white villages, and pretty chapels perched on rocks, the volcanic island of the Dodecanese radiates charm and a rare authenticity. Perhaps this explains its emergence in recent years as a sought-after international film location.

A favourite destination for artists, nature lovers, travellers, and couples, Nisyros promises a different kind of holiday experience, where genuine Greek hospitality meets tradition and a “less is more” aesthetic.

3 memorable experiences on Nisyros
  1. Exploring the natural splendour of the nearby islets of Agios Antonios, Stroggili, Pachia, Pergousa and Kandeleousa, where an abandoned lighthouse stands.
  2. The island’s village festivals and traditional “summer wedding”, a three-day celebration open to all visitors to Nisyros.
  3. The panoramic view of the Aegean from the 698-metre Hill of the Prophet Elijah, the island’s highest point. To get here, follow the scenic path from the Monastery of Our Lady of the Annunciation.
Beaches of Nisyros

The island’s volcanic past is also reflected in its beaches, most of which have dark sand or pebbles. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover:

  • Choose one of the ferry tickets to Nisyros to enjoy Pachia Ammos, the loveliest beach on the island, with its stunning scenery of large dunes, green mastic trees, and dark fine pebbles. The sea is shallow but deepens sharply. The unspoiled beauty of the place, coupled with a lack of tourist facilities and relatively difficult access, makes it a popular spot for free camping and nude bathing.
  • Hohlaki, near Mandraki. It has large black volcanic pebbles and natural shade from its enormous rocks. It is located below the Monastery of Our Lady of the Cave and is arguably the most attractive place on the island at sunset.
  • Lyes, a paradise of small coves with dark sand, fine pebbles, tamarisk trees, and transparent thermal waters. There is a canteen on the shore serving snacks and soft drinks.
  • Paloi, long sandy beach of dark fine sand, shallow waters, and natural shade provided by tamarisk trees. It is not organized but in the village there are taverns and cafes for the necessary supplies.
  • The beaches of Yiali, the volcanic island opposite Nisyros, where you can go on a day trip by boat. The most famous beach of the island is located in the north and impresses with its all-white sculptural scenery due to the pumice mines that have operating for centuries on the island. The second one is located in the southern part of the island and is covered with red volcanic rocks.
  • The beach in the village of Avlaki. The unique natural pools, created by hot spring water flowing into the sea, are a great reason to visit this remote and deserted settlement of stone houses.
Postcards from Nisyros: 10 things not to miss

The volcano
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.

Mandraki
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.

Porta Square
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.

Emporios
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.

Palaiokastro
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.

Yiali
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.

Tastes of Nisyros

The island’s cuisine is full of delicacies such as boukounies (pork cooked with fat), kapamas (goat stuffed with rice), pitthia (chickpea fritters), skordalia (garlic dip) with almonds, and kaparosalata (caper dip). 

In Nisyros, there are also excellent cheeses such as krasotiri (“wine cheese”) and sakouliasti (a local soft cheese). 

For traditional treats, choose sweet tomato preserve, xerotigana and diples (strips of fried dough folded and rolled into different shapes), loukoumades (doughnuts), finikia and kourabiedes (types of cookies), moustalevria (a pudding made with grape juice), and pastellaries (split figs with almonds and sesame seeds). 

Don’t miss the koukouzina (local raki from grapes or figs) and natural drinks such as soumada and kanelada (flavoured with almonds and cinnamon respectively).

MAP OF NISYROS
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