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"Patmos appeals to the culturally inclined, the religiously motivated, the gastronomes and the sun-worshippers": that's what my friend Hope told me when she showed me the tickets she'd bought for me, her, my wife Leela and her husband Constantine to Patmos. It was June and it was about 3 years ago and I'm still not sure how this happened exactly. She just came up and told me "I have a surprise for you". I asked what it was and she showed me the tickets.

Now I'd already visited Patmos when I was 12 and I'd already made plans with Leela to visit Tinos that year, so Hope had to convince me. So, that's what she said. "Did you digest and encyclopedia again?" I asked right away and she replied "So says the walking book".

Well, to cut a long story short, about 30 witty comments later, I agreed to go to Patmos again and we called Constantine and Leela.

So, does Patmos appeal to the "culturally inclined, the religiously motivated, the gastronomes and the sun-worshippers"? I have to admit, it does. See, I'm culturally inclined and somewhat religiously motivated and a gastronome and a sun-worshipper and Patmos just had everything I needed to have a great vacation.

island of patmos - patmos map

Turismo Turquia - kusadasi

What does Patmos look like?

island of patmos - patmos port

Patmos has a volcanic landscape. Its strange rock formations create some sweeping views. The rugged interior is really full of fertile valleys. The island's port and main town, stretches around a wide sheltered bay, bright and glitzy. When the cruise ships depart, Skala turns to a normal and livable port town.

Are there any places I should not miss in Patmos?

I just read back to what I've written so far and I'm surprised I haven't mentioned the main attraction of Patmos so far. See, Patmos would have been doomed to remain a beautiful, yet unimportant Greek island if it weren't for Saint John.

st john patmos - cave of the Apocalypse patmos greece - st john monastery

So, let me start with the Holy Cave of the Apocalypse. That's where Saint John saw a vision of fire and brimstone and dictated the book of Revelation to his disciple. You can see the rock where the book was written, along with some 12th-century wall paintings and icons from 1956 of Saint John and Christodoulos.

patmos - monastery life

Then there's the Monastery of Saint John, one of the most important places of worship among Orthodox and Western Christians. Built in 1088 by a monk, the Blessed Christodoulos, in honor of Saint John the Divine, this monastery is one of the richest and most influential monasteries in Greece. Its towers and buttresses make it look like it's a fairy-tale castle, but they were built to protect the religious treasures which are now the star attraction for the thousands of pilgrims and tourists.

The Zoodochos Pigi Monastery will be a pleasant visit as well. A nun's convent with two churches in its courtyard, it's decorated with icons of the 16th-18th century, icon stands, carved wood icons screens and valuable ecclesiastical vessels.

Finally, there's Simantiris Cave, which is preserved as a Folk museum. Built in 1625 by Aglainos Mousodakis, a wealthy merchant, it still has the original furnishings and contains objects from Mousodakis' travels, such as Russian samovars and four-poster beds.

What about the archaeological and historical sites of Patmos?

Well, I'm pretty certain that the Monastery and the Cave I already mentioned above qualify as archaeological or at least historical. Other than these there's no other place I can think of though.

What about Patmos' beaches?

The most impressive beach in Patmos has to be Psili Ammos, there's no doubt about that. It's the only sandy beach. The waters are clean and clear and usually there are even some waves.

island of patmos - vagia beach

Then there's Agriolivado, a beach with sand and pebbles. It's well organized, with facilities for the sunbathing and the athletic crowd. Kambos is a mostly shingle beach that becomes sandy once you're in the water, with beach chairs and water sports, depending on what you're in the mood for.

Vagia is a pebble beach. It's deserted, shaded by trees and with deep, clear water. Kakoskala is more ideal if you're looking for seclusion, though: two pebble beaches with trees, divided by a promontory.

Finally, Livadi Geranou is not a particularly good beach, but it's opposite two islands and you can swim to them in the company of ducks and geese.

Where should I eat in Patmos?

There are several restaurants where you can have a decent meal in Patmos. One of them is The Patmian House, a very "in" place that attracts the international jet-set. The dcor is traditional and the specialties are local, but finding a table might be a little too hard.

Benetos is one of the best on Patmos, with original Mediterranean recipes and a very pleasant setting with sea view. The service is impeccable. It's a bit pricy though.

patmos - patmos greek restarant

Hiliomodi Ouzeri has excellent, fresh fish. It serves seafood, seafood-based mezedes and. ouzo. Grigoris Taverna is a very popular one, with delicious dolmades and a great range of grills and mayirefta.

Loukas Restaurant serves tasty grill dishes in a leafy, shaded garden. As for Pantelis Taverna, it's one of the most picturesque tavernas in Patmos. The service is efficient even though it's always busy and the street dining is atmospheric.

What about Patmos' nightlife?

patmos greece -  patmos nightlife

Nightlife on Patmos is concentrated in the Hora and Skala, but don't expect to find anything great.

Skala's nightlife, for example, revolves around a scattering of bars and the odd club or two. Aman is a popular spot, with a tree-shaded patio and relaxing music. Consolato Music Bar is popular as well and open year-round.

Stoa Caf is a beautifully decorated place with tables for an early drink. Houston has a 60's atmosphere. Arion is patronized day and night by locals and non-residents. As for Selini, it's where the night-owls find refuge.

How do I get to Patmos?

One good idea is to get by plane to Samos, then take a hydrofoil and get to Patmos. If it seems too complicated though, you can go directly by sea. Ferries connect Patmos daily with Piraeus, Kalymnos, Leros, Kos and Rhodes, 4 times per week with Samos, 3 times per week with Ikaria and Agathonissi, twice per week with Arki and once with Naxos, Paros, Syros, Chalki, Karpathos, Nissyros and Kassos. There are also regular hydrofoil summer services to Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Lipsi, Kalymnos, Ikaria and Samos.

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