Patmos is an island where you feel a sense of peace as soon as you arrive. With the old town, the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, and the Cave of the Apocalypse, all named UNESCO-protected monuments, Patmos not only attracts those seeking a rich spiritual and cultural experience but also those who want to holiday on an authentic Greek island with a cosmopolitan feel.
Local and international artists, authors, fashion designers, business people, academics, and thousands of pilgrims arrive here each year to take in the natural beauty of the island, as well as its laid-back yet chic style. Although it’s located in the Dodecanese it features a Cycladic look with its whitewashed mansions, pretty beaches, and lots of lovely spots to wine and dine.
Here are the Top 12 Things to Do when visiting Patmos
1. There are around 360 churches on the island, and you can definitely sense the island’s unique spiritual energy as soon as you step off the ferry. Patmos is known around the world as the island where around 95 AD Saint John the Baptist wrote The Revelation, in a cave that can now be visited in the island’s Holy Monastery of the Apocalypse. Also make sure to check out the Monastery’s museum next door, containing a number of ancient texts and religious items dating back hundreds of years.
2. Patmos’ capital and main town Hora, is filled with charming alleyways, beautiful chapels, and lush courtyards. If you walk through the small streets you will come across whitewashed homes and mansions that belonged to very wealthy families, including the Nikolaidis Mansion, which has now become a museum. Hora also offers gorgeous boutiques, and a wide range of restaurants, taverns, bars, and cafes to suit all tastes.
3. Also spend time at Skala Town and the charming village of Kampos, which both have a unique beauty and are perfect places to bump into locals who make visitors feel welcome. The port town of Skala is where most people head to at night, as soon as Hora goes quiet after a certain hour. Skala is filled with lots of shops, tavernas, and all-day cafes and bars, where you can grab a drink and enjoy the town’s squares and charming little streets. Among the many sights of Skala are the ruins of the ancient acropolis and the convent of Zoodochos Pigi.
4. It’s definitely worth making your way around the bay of Skala to the 18th-century Monastery of Panagia Koumana, one of the Holy Seats (or Kathismata) of the island, serving as hermitages for monks. This one was built against a rock on of a hermit’s cave.
5. Swim at Agrio Livadi, Psilli Ammos, Plaki, or the pretty little bay of Vagia. Then head to Lambi, which has a great little tavern right on the beach. Livadi Kalagorion is perfect for a peaceful swim as well as Livadi Geranou. Make sure you also add Kambos and Petra to your list.
6. When it comes to eating, there are plenty of options from casual eateries to fine dining. We recommend Apocalypsis Restaurant, Astir, Ostria Taverna, Oklaca Italian Restaurant, Kyma for seafood, Pernera for great vegan and for something sweet make your way to Glykaki Patmos. If you have time also try Pandelis on Marathi islet (you can only reach by boat) and Giakos Pantheon.
7. For an after-dinner drink head to Thalami, Stoa Bar, or Koukou.
8. For a very special evening, make a reservation at Nautilus and watch the sunset while sipping on your favourite beverage and tasting some modern Greek flavours.
9. Get up close to Patmos’ iconic windmills, which have been operating for the past four centuries. The one windmill is a museum. Organic flour is ground there, with the milling process open to the public. The second windmill turns wind power into electricity. A contemporary use that benefits the island, for sure! And the third windmill focuses on water. Ever since they have been the true power of the island and its people.
10. Explore the Nunnery of the Annunciation, a convent that started off as a small chapel with a hermitage until 1613 when Nikiphoros, an abbot from the monastery of St. John the Divine, renovated the building and dedicated it to Luke the Evangelist. The nunnery is home to over 40 nuns who always pray for and support their local community. The sisters also grow their own vegetables and herbs, make honey and create Byzantine embroidery called the”spitha” (spark).
11. Make a note of visiting the gorgeous nearby islets Makronissi, Aspronissi, Tiganakia, Arki, and Marathos that are all visitable by boat. From Skala, boats leave daily for all the isles. They are quite remote but offer good taverns, crystal clear water, and beautiful coves to swim in.
12. If you are looking for some Greek jewellery, sandals, or art, head to Ivli, Thanos, White Greek Designers Store, Kapopoulos Art Gallery, or Tourlou Art Shop.
There are some great accommodation options on the island and for some wonderful villas check out Patmos Eye, for boutique-style hotels head to Petra Hotel Suites to Patmos Aktis Hotel. And the beautiful range of historic houses by Chora Patmos 360 is a wonderful choice that is sure to make your stay here extra special.
Patmos does not have an airport and is reachable only by an eight-hour ferry boat trip from Piraeus port, which departs Athens about 3 times a week. Patmos is also connected by ferry with Rhodes, Kos, Leros, Lipsi, and Kalymnos.