Destination Spotlight: Patmos

Renowned for its religious history, Patmos is a picturesque Greek island that boasts hidden beaches, untouched landscapes and an authentic atmosphere.

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If your idea of heaven is a peaceful island that’s blessed with unique beauty, calm beaches, and an unpretentious cosmopolitan vibe, Patmos will not disappoint. Otherwise known as Greece’s Holy Island, Patmos is a versatile vacation destination and a top choice for hiking, nature-spotting and utter relaxation. It’s also a foodies paradise and the perfect place to go for a slice of authentic Greek island life. Although small, Patmos is a crowd-free gem that offers many delightful experiences you'll want to relive again and again.

 

Situated in the Aegean Sea, Patmos is where Saint John had the visions that inspired the Book of Revelation. For this reason, the island has been famous since early Christian times and is still a major pilgrimage destination. It is believed that Saint John wrote his book in what is now known as the Cave of the Apocalypse, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s open for visits and located on the hillside halfway between Skala and Chora. Another significant cultural attraction is the Monastery of Saint John, which sits high on the hill and is home to chapels, pretty courtyards and a fascinating array of religious treasures. Founded in 1088, the monastery was originally built to look more like a fortress to protect the island from pirates and invaders. It’s still an active monastery and an important place of worship, boasting incredible architecture and gorgeous views of the whole island and beyond.

Chora, the capital of Patmos, is built around the towering monastery and has lots of inviting cafes, bars, and restaurants, as well as charming shops and boutiques. When wandering along the narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets, you won't be able to take your eyes off the whitewashed houses, magnificent mansions and adorable flower-covered courtyards. Another highlight of visiting Chora is the Folklore Museum, which is housed in the aristocratic Simantiri family mansion and features an interesting collection of furniture, paintings, photographs, family heirlooms and a number of items that date back as far as the 14th century. Chora is also where you’ll find the three historic windmills, two of which were constructed in1588 and the third in 1863. The windmills played a pivotal role in the local economy but were abandoned when flour production ceased in the 1950s. Thankfully, not only have all three windmills been restored but they're functional again and open to the public as a wonderful museum.

When it comes to beaches, Patmos is blessed with a wide selection of sandy shores and solitary coves. If you prefer organized beaches or water sports activities, Agriolivadi Beach is not far from the main port of Skala and is ideal for beach lovers of all ages. In addition to being a closed bay with shallow waters, this beach is fully-equipped with umbrellas, sunbeds and a snack bar. Other decent organized beaches include Skala, Kampos and Livadi Geranou. Patmos also offers lots of secluded beaches, such as Lambi, Meloi, and Loukakia to name just a few. Psili Ammos is often described as one of the island’s most beautiful beaches and, although non-organized, attracts many visitors because of its fine golden sand, tamarisk trees, sweeping dune sand taverna that serves delicious fish and homemade food.

The first area you’ll come across when you reach Patmos is Skala, the island’s only port. It offers everything you would expect to find in a buzzing port, such as bars, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and souvenir shops. It’s quite different from Chora and its sophisticated boutiques, but you can purchase all kinds of lovely trinkets, novelty items and even some rather elegant gold or silver jewelry. Skala is located right at the center of the island and is full of sightseeing opportunities, with the ruins of an ancient acropolis, Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, and Church of Agia Paraskevi of Cavos being among the most popular. And even though Patmos is not known as a party destination, the port area of Skala does have some bars and nightclubs that stay open until the early hours of the morning.

If you want to explore the stunning scenery and discover all of the wonderful things Patmos has to offer on foot, the island has a fantastic network of walking and hiking paths for complete beginners and hiking enthusiasts. It’s also worth mentioning that the Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage collaborated with the Municipality of Patmos to create the Paths of Culture, a series of walks that are clearly signposted to help you discover the island’s many monuments, natural sites and forgotten paths in an eco-friendly way.

 

When you visit Patmos, you’ll quickly understand why it’s a magnet for artists, celebrities and even royalty. It’s an island that allows you to reconnect with yourself and truly escape everyday life, regardless of whether you chose to spend most of your time hiking, relaxing on the beach or visiting the main attractions. Still described by many as the secret gem of the Aegean, now is the best time to discover it.

 

Dreaming of an escape to Patmos and some other amazing Greek islands and hotspot destinations? Turn your dream into reality by joining us on one of our Iconic Aegean Cruises.