Patmos travel guide 2024: Dodecanese, Greece

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PATMOS

My Patmos travel guide 2024

I have been visiting Patmos ever since I was a child. Situated in the Dodecanese archipelago, Patmos is a cosmopolitan blend of spiritual history, natural beauty, and cultural richness that beckons travelers from around the globe. This serene Greek island, known for its significant religious heritage and dramatic landscapes, offers a unique journey into both the past and present. Whether you’re drawn by the allure of sacred sites, the charm of Greek island life, or the tranquility of secluded beaches, Patmos is a journey filled with discovery and enchantment. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore 10 things you must do when visiting Patmos Island, ensuring you fully experience of the heart and soul of this extraordinary destination.

Table of Contents

1.Why visit the island of Patmos

 

2.Patmos religious heritage

 

3.Chora, a UNESCO World Heritage site

 

4.Scala the port of Patmos

 

5.Eating out

 

6. Going out

 

7.Beach

 

8.Take a boat tour

 

9.Hike the trails of Patmos

 

10.Shopping

 

Planning your trip

 

Tips for your trip to Patmos

 

Conclusion

1 .Why Visit the island of Patmos

Patmos is not just another dot in the Aegean Sea; it’s a place where history, spirituality, and natural beauty converge to create a truly unique atmosphere in a cosmopolitan setting. Known as the “Island of the Apocalypse,” Patmos is where Saint John the Theologian penned the Book of Revelation. This deep historical and spiritual significance attracts pilgrims and tourists alike, but there’s more to Patmos than its religious landmarks.

The island is also renowned for its stunning landscapes, from rugged hills and wildflowers to crystal-clear waters and peaceful beaches. The traditional architecture, of Chora with its whitewashed houses, stunning mansions and narrow alleys, add to the charm of Patmos, making it a perfect destination for those seeking tranquility, inspiration, and a touch of adventure.

But above all, Patmos is the most elegant and stylish island in the Aegean sea. There is one more thing about Patmos: the visitor feels a very strong sense of energy coming through the ages.

2. Patmos religious heritage

Visit the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian

 

Location: Chora, Patmos

Significance: A UNESCO World Heritage site, this fortress-like monastery dates back to the late 10th century and is a testament to the Byzantine art and architecture that flourished on the island. It is the architectural centrepiece of Chora and the island. It combines Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance elements, creating a visually stunning and historically significant landmark.

Visiting the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian is akin to stepping into a living museum, where every stone tells a story of faith, art, and history. Within its imposing walls, you’ll find exquisite frescoes, ancient manuscripts, and religious relics that offer a glimpse into the Byzantine era. The monastery also offers breathtaking views over the island, making it a must-visit for both its cultural significance and natural beauty.

What to see and do:

  • Explore the monastery’s museum, housing rare icons and religious artifacts.
  • Admire the intricate frescoes and architecture.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of the island from the monastery’s vantage points.

Visiting guidelines:

  • Dress modestly as a sign of respect.
  • Check the opening hours in advance, as they can vary.
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The Monastery of St. John, Patmos
The Monastery of St John in Chora, Patmos

Explore the Cave of the Apocalypse

 

Location: Halfway between Chora and Skala

 

Significance: Believed to be where Saint John received his revelations, this sacred cave is a place of pilgrimage and reflection.

The Cave of the Apocalypse is a serene and powerful place, where the spiritual presence is almost tangible. Visitors can see the crevice where Saint John is said to have heard the voice of God, marking a pivotal moment in Christian history. The cave has been thoughtfully preserved, with an adjoining chapel that adds to its sacred atmosphere.

Visiting guidelines: As with all religious sites on Patmos, visitors should dress modestly and be mindful of the serene environment,

Best times to visit: Early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.
How to get there: The cave is accessible by foot, car, or public transport from both Chora and Skala.

 

Visit the Monastery of  Zoodochos Pigi

Location: Chora

 

Nestled in the heart of Patmos, the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, also known as the Life-giving Spring, is a lesser-known but equally significant spiritual site. This tranquil monastery is surrounded by lush gardens and offers a peaceful retreat from the more visited landmarks.

Its history and spiritual importance: Founded in the 17th century, this monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is a place of healing and reflection, with a sacred spring believed to have miraculous properties.

Unique aspects of the monastery: The serene atmosphere, combined with the beautiful icons and frescoes inside the church, make this monastery a hidden gem worth exploring.

Visiting guidelines: As with all religious sites on Patmos, visitors should dress modestly and be mindful of the serene environment, especially during service times.

Patmos cultural and religious festival

Patmos is not only a destination for spiritual pilgrimage and natural beauty but also a vibrant cultural hub, especially during the Patmos Cultural Festivals. This event spans various months throughout the summer, showcasing a rich program of music, theater, art exhibitions, and workshops that celebrate both local and international talents.

 

Types of events and activities:

  • Classical and contemporary music concerts held in historic venues.
  • Art exhibitions featuring local and international artists.
  • Workshops and lectures on various cultural topics.

 

How to plan your visit around the festival dates: 

 

Check the official Patmos cultural festival website or contact the island’s tourist information center for the festival schedule. Planning your trip around the festival dates can enhance your experience of Patmos, offering a unique blend of cultural enrichment alongside the exploration of the island’s natural and historical sites.

Megali Panagia Patmos
Megali Panagia in Chora, Patmos

Chora, is the gem of Patmos, is situated on the hill above Scala with the monastery majestically crowning the village. Chora is a maze of narrow streets, with amazing traditional mansions featuring a unique mixture of Greek, Italian and Turkish architectural elements showcasing the passage of civilizations that have left their mark on the island. Blooming bougainvillea that cascade down the hillsides. This charming town is not only picturesque but also rich in history, with its numerous chapels, squares that invite exploration, and incredible views in all directions.

From Chora one can still today walk down the ancient Roman cobblestone path that leads down to Scala, with a stop at the Cave of the Apocalypse.

Key attractions:

The Simandiri House, offering a glimpse into the traditional life of Patmos. One of the oldest mansions in Chora, today operates as a museum

  • The three windmills of Chora: restored by the generosity of a Swiss benefactor among others. The restoration of the windmills was awarded the Europa Nostra Award in 2012. They are open to the public.

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  • The Labyrinthine Lanes: Get lost in the charming maze of Chora’s narrow streets. Every turn reveals a new vista – a glimpse of the sparkling sea peeking through an archway, a flower-draped balcony offering a secret slice of the horizon, or a sudden view of the majestic monastery standing guard above. Sunlight plays hide-and-seek between whitewashed walls, casting dramatic shadows and illuminating hidden details.

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  • The view: The magnificent views of Chora, Patmos are truly breath-taking. From the hilltop town, you can see the island’s dramatic coastline, turquoise waters, and neighbouring islands.

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  • The Rooftops: Many of the hotels and restaurants in Chora have rooftop terraces with the stunning views of the town and the sea. No matter where you go in Chora, you’re sure to be treated to some amazing views.

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  • Local shops and eating out: Chora is home to a variety of shops selling local crafts, jewelry, and art, making it an ideal place for finding unique souvenirs. The town also boasts several restaurants, tavernas, bars and cafes where you can sample local and international dishes and enjoy the laid-back Greek island lifestyle. See below our guides for going out at Chora.

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  • The extraordinary architecture: The Chora is indeed known for its extraordinary architecture. It’s a captivating labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses, many of which are traditional Cycladic dwellings with flat roofs and colourful doors and windows. But what truly sets Chora apart is its rich history and the unique architectural influences that have shaped it over centuries. Here are some of the key elements that contribute to the extraordinary architecture of Chora, Patmos:

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  • Mansions of wealthy families: Throughout Chora, you’ll find impressive mansions built by wealthy families between the 16th and 19th centuries. These grand residences typically feature stone facades, ornate balconies, and courtyards, showcasing the prosperity and architectural sophistication of the era. Some notable examples include the Nikolaidi Mansion, the Simantiri Mansion, and the Gatzoulis Mansion.

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  • Traditional Cycladic houses: The majority of the houses in Chora are charming examples of traditional Cycladic architecture. These whitewashed dwellings are built with local stone and feature flat roofs, balconies with wooden railings, and colourful accents. Their simple yet elegant design blends seamlessly with the landscape and creates a harmonious streetscape.

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  • Defensive elements: Due to its history of pirate raids, Chora’s architecture incorporates defensive elements. The houses are built close together, creating a maze-like layout that could confuse attackers. Additionally, flat roofs served as passageways for residents to move around unseen and access fortified areas like the monastery.

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  • Mantomata: A unique feature of Patmos houses are the “mantomata,” which are decorative stone frames around doors and windows. These come in various styles, from simple to intricately carved, and add a touch of character to the architecture.

  • The square of Agia Levia [or simply “the square”]

  • In the summer the main square of Chora called Agia Levia [or simply the square] is the center of the island’s social and night life. After dinner, all roads lead to the square with its bars and restaurants, see below.

 

Chora viewed from Profitis Ilias

4. Scala, the port of Patmos

Skala is the port of Patmos with all the hustle and bustle associated with a port. Skala is where the administration of the island resides as well as its logistical heart, you will find the island’s main supermarket here, rental agencies, travel agencies, several shops and boutiques as well as, bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants. There is also a great gym frequented by locals and visitors alike.

You can also rent a boat in the harbor or join one of the many day cruises. There are a number of hotels, apartments and rooms to rent in Scala.

 

The view from Chora in Patmos
The view of the port of Skala from Chora in Patmos

5. Eating out in Patmos

Pantheon Taverna Chora
Pantheon Taverna in Chora, Patmos

Eating out in Chora

-Astivi club Chora Patmos at the square of Agia Levia

 

-All day at Benetos Chora, closed on Mondays

 

-Dinner at Vangelis on the square of Agia Levia and drinks afterwards

 

-Dinner at Lozia with great view

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-Dinner at Pantheon or Octopus place or Giagkos as we call him Chora Patmos: most picturesque Greek dinner specialising in local cuisine. The grilled Octapus is the speciality of the house and the place is located on the main paved to the Monastery and the square

 

Eating out outside Chora

 

-Dinner at Kima, fish Restaurant by the sea 

 

-Dinner at Benetos, considered the best restaurant & bar on the island, sister of Benetos Chora.  

 

-Taverna by the sea at Diakofti, basic but lovely

-Taverna Lambi on the beach, for excellent fish 

 

Eating out in Scala

 

Houston: Open all day, cafe restaurant situated on the main square in skala

 

-Pernera Vegan restaurant

 

-The Tsipouradiko, Greek dining on the beach, very popular

 

-Pantelis, the all time classic Greek taverna

 

-Arion: cafe and meeting place on the harbour. A local favourite with a laid back atmosphere and the occasional live music night.

6.Going out

Chora

  • In the summer the main square of Chora called Agia Levia [or simply the square] is the center of the island’s social and night life. After dinner, all roads lead to the square with its bars and restaurants, notably:

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1. Stoa Theo’s Bar

 

2.Astivi bar restaurant for international cuisine

 

3.To Thalami bar

 

4.Pougki Bar

 

5.Tail Cocktail Bar

 

 

Skala

 

The two most popular clubs in Scala are:

 

1.Consolato Music Club: A mainstay in Skala’s nightlife scene, offering electronic music and a dance floor.

 

2.Kasbah bar, mostly an after-hours favorite.

See below for our recommendations for eating out in Scala.

7. Beach

Relax at Psili Ammos Beach

  • Psili ammos: Considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Patmos, Psili Ammos offers golden sand, crystal-clear waters, and a peaceful setting away from the crowds. It’s the perfect spot for those looking to unwind and connect with nature.
  • How to access: Psili Ammos is accessible by a 20’ hiking trail starting at Diakofti or by private boat, adding to its secluded charm. The hike offers stunning views and the chance to experience the island’s natural beauty up close.

Facilities: The beach is relatively undeveloped, ensuring its natural beauty remains intact. Visitors should bring water and snacks. There is also the wonderful small beach taverna operating without electricity open all day, closes at 20:00 although food usually runs out much earlier. For the most adventurous, wait for the sundown on the beach before leaving. 

 

Kambos

  • spend the day at Atmos in Kambos, the island’s favourite chill beach place with superb food and great music. Water sports and deck chairs and loungers available: 

Many other beaches exist on the island reachable by car or scooter such as the Twin beaches, Grikos, Agrio Livadi and others.

 

Petra 

Trendy beach with beach bar and loungers. it is a beautiful pebble beach looking across to Tragonisi island. Water sports available weather permitting.

Tragonisi Patmos @ azero.homes
View of Tragonisi from Petra Beach

8. Take a Boat Tour

All boat tours start from the port of Scala. Exploring Patmos from the sea offers a different perspective, revealing secluded coves, dramatic cliffs, and hidden beaches inaccessible by land. Boat tours range from leisurely day trips to adventurous excursions, including stops for swimming and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.

 

Types of tours available:

-Full-day island tours: Circumnavigate Patmos, with stops at notable landmarks

-Private charters: Customize your own sea adventure around Patmos and nearby islets and beaches.

-Visit nearby islands: some of the best boat trips are to the nearby islands.

 

Our recommendations:

The island of Arkioi

  • Cruise to Arkioi Island and swim at Tiganakia bay 
  • Have lunch at the renowned Tripas Taverna in Arkioi Harbour 

 

The island of Marathi

  • Here one can swim in pristine clear waters off sandy beaches and have lunch at our friend Pantelis. The restaurant is very popular with boat owners from all over the world. 
Psili Ammos Patmos
Psili Ammos, Patmos

9. Hike the Trails of Patmos

For those looking to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Patmos, the island offers a network of hiking trails that crisscross its rugged terrain, offering stunning vistas and a chance to discover secluded spots.

 

Recommended trails:

 

The trail to Psili Ammos Beach:

 

A moderately challenging hike that rewards with breathtaking views and a pristine beach at the end. Starts at Diakofti bay.

 

Aporthianos Route: 

 

This 3.1-mile trail is a bit more challenging, with some steep climbs and descents. It offers stunning views of the north coast of Patmos and takes in several small beaches and coves. The trail takes about 2.5 hours to complete.

 

The climb to Profitis Ilias to view the sunset:

 

On every Greek island there is a church dedicate to the prophet Ilias on the highest point of the island.Although one can reach there by car, the steep climb is very rejuvenating and the sunset the best on the island. Start from Chora

 

What to pack and safety tips: 

 

Ensure you have good walking shoes, plenty of water, sun protection, and a map or GPS device. Always let someone know your planned route, especially if venturing off the beaten path.

10. Shopping

The best places for authentic shopping experiences:

  • Chora:

 

  • For artisan workshops and boutique stores offering handmade or imported fashion goods and jewelry. Best boutiques:
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Zafiria

 

Flora Sardalos

 

Skala:

 

For a wider range of shops, including local products like honey, herbs, and olive oil. You can buy jewelry, clothes and fashion items as well as souvenirs and local crafts. My favourite fashion store, Citria, belongs to my friend Smaragda. 

Diakofti Patmos @ Azero.homes
Diakofti Bay, Patmos

Planning Your Trip to Patmos

Best time to visit:

 

The best time to visit Patmos is during the spring (April to June) and early autumn (September and October) when the weather is pleasant, and the island is less crowded. However, Patmos comes truly alive in August where an international crowd visits the island, mostly regular visitors over many years, many with summer houses on the island. During this time Patmos exudes elegance in a cosmopolitan atmosphere like no other in Greece. A great read to feel the atmosphere:

 

Accommodation options:

 

Patmos offers a range of accommodation, from luxury hotels to charming guesthouses and vacation rentals, catering to all preferences and budgets.

 

Our choices include:

 

Pagostas guest house in Chora. 

 

Aktis 5 star hotel in Grikos 

 

The Azero Patmos: a luxury home in Chora with stunning views

 

The Patmos Chora Bliss: a traditional home in Chora 

 

The Petra Hotel in Grikos, a classic favourite 

 

Transportation tips:

 

Patmos is accessible by ferry from Athens and other Aegean islands. Your best option is the Blue Star Ferries lines 

There are also flights to the nearby islands of Samos, Lesvos and Kos from Athens and other international destinations. Getting around the island is best done by rental car, scooter, or public transport, allowing you to explore at your own pace. All of the rental shops are situated in Scala.

 

Tips for an Unforgettable Patmos Experience

 

Cultural etiquette:

Respect the island’s religious traditions and dress modestly when visiting monasteries and churches.

 

Preservation of sites:

Help protect Patmos’s natural and historical sites by following guidelines and disposing of waste responsibly.

 

Time management:

 

To fully experience what Patmos has to offer, plan your visit to include both the main attractions and time for relaxation and exploration.

The peak season for nightlife in Skala and the whole island is from July to August, although some bars and clubs remain open during the shoulder seasons.

If you want to avoid the crowds for a more secluded and easy going holiday we recommend you visit in the months of June or September.

Most bars and cafes have outdoor seating, allowing you to enjoy the balmy Greek evenings

Dress code is generally summer casual everywhere on the island, although some people tend to dress up in the evening.

Be sure to check opening hours and event schedules beforehand, as they can vary depending on the season and day of the week.

Book tickets accommodation and rentals early

 

Conclusion:

Visiting Patmos is a journey into a world where history, spirituality, and natural beauty intertwine with style and elegance to create an unforgettable experience. From exploring ancient monasteries and sacred caves to soaking up the sun on pristine beaches and indulging in local and international cuisine, Patmos offers a diverse array of experiences that cater to elite travelers.  These 10 essential tips, will help you discover the essence of Patmos, making your visit not just a trip but a profound journey of discovery.

Patmos is a great destination May to October, if you want to enjoy peak social life, chose August. If your mood is chill and relax, I would recommend June or September. And do not forget to visit one time over Easter. It is truly the best Easter celebration in Greece.

 So pack your bags, set your sights on this Aegean gem, and prepare for an adventure that will linger in your memory long after you’ve returned home

 

sundown on Patmos @Azero.homes
Sunset on patmos
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