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The “Holy Island”

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Discover Patmos

Patmos is the northernmost island of the Dodecanese and one of the most unusual in the Aegean. In 1999, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its great spiritual heritage and its position as an international centre of Christianity. It is the “holy island” of the Book of Revelation and has been described as the Jerusalem of the Aegean.

A volcanic island with a crenelated coastline and stunning beaches, Patmos promises unique experiences for anyone who enjoys exploring or relaxing in beautiful natural surroundings. It simultaneously combines an atmosphere of reverence with a cosmopolitan character, and a discreet secular lifestyle with metaphysical concerns. It is no accident that it attracts both celebrities and intellectuals from every corner of the globe.

The lovely Patmos Town, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is among the most expensive areas in Europe, while in 2009, the island topped Forbes Magazine’s list of the continent’s 10 most idyllic places to live.

3 memorable experiences on Patmos
  1. The Patmos International Sacred Music Festival, one of the world’s most iconic Byzantine and classical music events, held at the end of August.
  2. A day trip to the exotic paradises of Marathi and Arki, which are refuges of tranquillity and natural beauty.
  3. The magnificent view of the island and the Aegean from the Church of the Prophet Elijah on Patmos’s highest peak (269 metres).
Beaches of Patmos

If you choose one of the ferry tickets to Patmos, you will have the opportunity to discover unique beaches for all tastes.

  • Lampi: The northernmost beach on the island offers a perfect refuge for those who love tranquillity and high waves. It stands out for the colourful pebbles that shimmer in the sunlight. There is a taverna and a beach bar here.
  • Psili Ammos: Considered by many to be the loveliest beach on Patmos, it never fails to make an impression with its exotic scenery of golden sand, tamarisk trees, limpid turquoise waters, and fantastically coloured rocks. It is ideal for lovers of adventure and seclusion, as it can only be reached either by a 30-minute walk from Diakofti or by boat.
  • Petra: One of the island’s most attractive beaches, in a landscape of rugged beauty, with big white pebbles, the famous Kallikatsos Rock looming over the far end, and wild seabirds flying above. It has sunbeds and umbrellas. Lovers of adventure can swim from here to the islet of Tragonisi or climb Kallikatsos Rock to enjoy the view from above.
  • Kato Kampos: The busiest beach on the island is particularly popular with water sports enthusiasts, due to its excellent amenities. It also has umbrellas, sun beds, tavernas, and a bar. The sea here is always calm as it is sheltered from the wind, making it suitable for families with young children.
  • Livadi Geranou: Renowned for its idyllic landscape and calm waters, this beach combines the blue of the sea with the green of the surrounding hills. Protected from the wind and the waves, it is an ideal place for relaxation.
  • Vayia: A quiet pebble beach with tamarisk trees providing natural shade. The main feature here is the low temperature of the sea, which is always cool and refreshing. There are no amenities, but the cafe on the way here offers homemade pies and sweet treats.
Postcards from Patmos: 8 things not to miss

The Cave of the Apocalypse
The legendary cave where, according to tradition, the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation (the last book of the New Testament) lies half-way between the port and Patmos Town. The monastery complex also includes the church of Saint Anne, the chapels of Saint Nicholas and Saint Artemios, some monastic cells, and the ruins of the old Patmiada Ecclesiastical School.

Patmos Town
This atmospheric town of labyrinthine cobbled streets with vaulted stone passages, white mansions, and courtyards full of geraniums and jasmine was built around the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian between the 16th and 17th century. The island’s picturesque windmills are nearby. Admire the impressive 19th-century captains’ houses and the neoclassical Town Hall (1884), make a stop at the fashionable art galleries, and relax with the locals in the cosmopolitan Agia Levia Square.

The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian
Dating from the 11th century, this imposing monastery is among the most important places of pilgrimage in the Christian world. It has ten chapels, an ecclesiastical museum, a pottery workshop, and a library of priceless treasures. The monastery is fortified with a 15-metre-high polygonal wall.

The mansions of Patmos Town
Built between the 16th and 19th century, the renowned mansions of Patmos testify to the growth of the island’s upper middle class. They are notable for their distinctive architectural and decorative elements, with gothic and neoclassical influences. The most famous of them, from the 19th century, are known by the names of the wealthy sea captains and merchants who were their first owners. One of them, the stately Nikolaidis Mansion, now operates as a museum, and gives a good idea of what life was once like here.

Kalikatsou Rock
A major natural attraction of the island, the rock formation in Grikos Bay resembles a sculpture of volcanic stone. It is named after the local cormorants. According to legend, the carved circular cavities on its surface were “sacred seats” for hermits. Said to radiate a strange energy, it is a popular place for yoga and meditation.

The trails of Patmos
The island is famed for its unique culture trails that follow age-old routes. Don’t miss the fabled Aporthian Way, the stone path that connects Patmos Town with the port of Skala. It offers splendid views of the Aegean, Perdikari Valley, the Cave of the Apocalypse, and Skala.

The island’s commercial and recreational heart beats in its port and second largest settlement, which dates from the 17th century. At the Netia Boatyard you can see how traditional wooden caïques are constructed.

The ancient citadel of Patmos stands on a fortified hill overlooking the bays of Skala, Merikas and Hochlakas. The area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, and the well-preserved remains of the 4th-century-BC fortifications are clearly visible. It is a wonderful spot from which to see the sunset.

Tastes of Patmos

If you choose one of the itineraries to Patmos, don’t forget to try the island’s best-known speciality, the local cheese pie, a kind of large tart containing three types of cheese, cinnamon and sugar. A favourite traditional dish is fried aubergines with chickpeas (baked in the oven). You can also enjoy courgette flowers stuffed with rice or feta cheese, stiforadika (spiny chicory), stuffed squid (with rice, raisins and pine nuts), cod and calamari burger, octopus stifado (a stew with tomatoes and shallots), marinata (fish with garlic and rosemary), pork braised in wine, goat in lemon sauce, and stuffed rabbit.

The most famous treats on the island are achladakia (almond sweets in the shape of little pears) and poungia (fried “purses” of pastry filled with mazouni, a mixture of honey, almonds, walnuts and nutmeg).

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