Patmos Island Things to Do

  • Skala - Orthodox Information Centre
    Skala - Orthodox Information Centre
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  • St. Nicholas Church: entrance gate
    St. Nicholas Church: entrance gate
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  • Skala - harbour
    Skala - harbour
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Most Recent Things to Do in Patmos Island

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    Monastery of St. John the Theologian

    by vtveen Updated Apr 15, 2013

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    Monastery of St. John: frescoes
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    This is one of the most significant monuments on Patmos, towering above the whitewashed houses of the town of Chora and visible from any part of the island. The greater part of the building was build by a priest called Christodoulos and after his death finished by 12 other monks.
    The orthodox Monastery of St. John has a fortress-like exterior, with massive walls of 15 metres high, which was necessitated by the threats of piracy and Turks.
    Inside the Monastery nowadays are several buildings, that have been added over the centuries of its existence

    The Monastery of St. John the Theologian is accessible from the end of the Skala-road. From there it is quite a walk uphill through a narrow road, lined with tourist shops and cafés, and some steps. We passed the impressive entrance with a nice mosaic and a vaulted corridor before reaching the central courtyard of the monastery.

    Here we had a good view on the maze of buildings on different levels. On the left hand side of the court is the – for visitors most important and impressive church (one of the ten inside the building) with fantastic frescoes in the outer northex. Inside (rather dark) we saw a really striking iconostasis and lots of icons. The colours, gold and silver items are just dazzlingly beautiful.

    The monastery has a Treasury (follow the ‘museum’ signs’) with an impressive number of religious art and treasures: original manuscripts, seals of abbots, golden bulls, gold embroidered gospels, paintings and many other objects. There is also a shop, where one can buy books and other (religious) souvenirs.

    Just a small part of the monastery is open for the public, but we walked around where possible and enjoyed the views of Skala and Patmos from the roof terraces.

    Information
    Opening hours: daily from 8.00 am – 1.30 pm; Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday also 4.00 – 6.00 pm
    Admission: Monastery - free of charge/Treasury - € 6,-
    Accessible: bus, taxi, (rental) car and scooter, foot
    Clothing: inside the monastery decent clothing is obligatory
    Website (Greek): http://www.patmosmonastery.gr/index.html

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Holy Cave of the Apocalypse

    by vtveen Updated Apr 15, 2013

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    Cave of the Apocalypse - entrance
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    The most important period in the history of Patmos begins in the year of 95 AD, when the disciple of Christ, John the Evangelist arrived on the island. He lived in a small cave-like hollow in a rock, where according to the tradition, St. John heard the Apocalypse dictated by the voice of God through a cleft in the rock; words which he recorded in his book.

    The cave is located about halfway between Skala and Chora in a pine forest. Along the road is a bus stop and a car park. It is just a short walk to the entrance of the monastery, which was built around the holy cave. Here is an information desk and you can buy books and postcards (it is not allowed to shoot photos inside the cave).

    After 43 steep steps we reached the entrance to the grotto. Inside are a lot of excellent icons (among them the huge icon of the Apocalypse) and we still could see the place where St. John was sleeping and did write the Book of Revelations. You still can see the crack in the rock, where St. John heard the voice of God.
    Perhaps most impressive for us was the mysterious and religious atmosphere in and around this cave; one of the most holy places in Greece.

    Information
    Opening hours: daily from 8.00 am – 1.30 pm; Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday also 4.00 – 6.00 pm
    Admission: free of charge
    Accessible: bus, taxi, (rental) car and scooter, foot
    Clothing: inside the monastery decent clothing is obligatory

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel

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    Walk around Hora

    by Snipernurse Written Jun 29, 2008

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    Hora is just a great little town. Narrow streets, white buildings with colorful doorways and flowers. It really is a treasure and great place to walk around, maybe catch some lunch, and take a lot of photos. If you go a little out of peak season and during the late afternoon you may have the whole town to yourself it may seem. Really a lot of fun to just wander around. I took a lot of great pictures there but a few days later on Paros my camera was stolen!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRrr. Go to flickr.com to see some examples. Really this is a beautiful place

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    Cave of the Apokalypsis

    by Snipernurse Written Jun 29, 2008

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    Patmos was in the first century a Roman prison of sorts, where men were taken to do labor and be captive and such. St. John was sent here by the Romans, and during his time here he had visions from which he compiled the book of Revelations. It is believed that he did this in the cave of the Apokalypsis. The cave, which does not allow photography inside, is definately worth a visit to the whole island itself. As an added bonus and bragging rights, bring your bible and read some of Revelation inside the cave. The cave is decorated with Orthodox memoirbilia and has a silver outline around the place believed to have been where St. John rested his head while having the visions

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    Chora – take your time

    by vtveen Updated Aug 10, 2007

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    Chora - built around the monastery
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    Chora is the capital of the island. The establishment of this medieval settlement started 50 years after the institution of the monastery (12th century). And the white houses are embracing the impressive grey walls of the monastery on top of one of the hills of Patmos.
    The old town of Chora nowadays is an Unesco World Heritage Site.

    On the ‘Skala side’ of the town and very close to the monastery are some mansions, formers houses of the wealthy merchants and ship owners of Patmos. (In one of them lived our ancestors the Paleologo family). Elsewhere it is just like walking through the middle ages with small whitewashed houses, a labyrinth of small alleys, gates, flowered court yards, an almost perfect square. Scattered among these sea of houses are dozens of churches and chapels.

    After a visit to the monastery we walked around Chora and just loved it very much. It is so serene and quiet (after we left the tourist shops around the monastery behind us) and offers some authentic Greek tavernas and shops. It is absolutely impossible to give any directions; just walk in a loop around the monastery, sit down where possible, enjoy the views. Enjoy Patmian life !!

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    Kastelli, not a castle

    by vtveen Updated Aug 10, 2007

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    Kastelli: parts of the fortification wall
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    When walking along the waterfront in Skala we saw, close to the Aghios Theologos beach, a sign “Kastelli”. We expected more or less to find the remnants of an old castle and the other day we decided to give it a try and to climb the hill above the town of Skala.

    The road changed into some steps and after the last houses of Skala it became a narrow foot path through the fields. We passed a small church and the path was hardly visible. But on our left hand side we saw some remnants of a wall, made of huge massive black stones and remarkable well preserved.

    We continued our walk till a small barn and an iron fence, which we followed more or less to the top of the hill. Totally unexpected we reached a small chapel, where two Patmians were busy to clean this church for a service on Sunday.
    Just behind this medieval church were more traces of this Hellenistic walls, with a kind of a staircase. From the hilltop we had really lovely views of Skala, its port with an embarking cruise ship, the Monastery of St. John, other parts of Patmos and neighbouring islands in the Aegean Sea.
    The walk to the top takes about 30 minutes.

    In the older days Kastelli was not a castle, but on this hill was an ancient acropolis from the 4th century BC. There are findings of ancient ruins, buildings, cemeteries and fortresses. In Kastelli there used to be a temple dedicated to Apollo.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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    St. Nicholas Church

    by vtveen Updated Jul 31, 2007

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    St. Nicholas Church
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    This little church is just one of the 400 churches and chapels on Patmos. But we decided to visit just this church, because one of our ancestors (a certain Daniel Paleologo) ever donated his St. Nicholas Church to the Monastery of St. John.

    Although we later discovered that there are about 10 churches with the same name on the island and we still don’t know which one of these was Daniel’s, this particular church attracts us. It is located above the Nicholas Bay in the northern part of Patmos in the middle of a rough landscape.

    This church has been built at the end of the 11th century and has a beautiful icon of St. Nicholas. According to the tradition this icon has been brought to Patmos by workers (of the Monastery of St. John) from Asia Minor.

    We have been twice to this church and it is just a pity the church itself was closed, but in the porch of the church we still could see some icons. The setting of this church is typical for rural Patmos; little bit messy, dusty, but everywhere flowers.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel

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    Exploring Patmos by car

    by vtveen Updated Jul 22, 2007

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    Patmos: other traffic
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    We stayed four days on Patmos and next to visiting the highlights in and around Skala and Chora we rented a car to explore more of the island. We had the car just for one day and divided our touring on two half days; one trip to the northern part and the next day south of Skala.
    During this visit to Patmos we were really unlucky with the weather and had some cloudy/rainy days, which meant we didn’t use any of the beaches or local tavernas to have a drink along the sea.

    Some of the sights we visited:
    Kampos (5km’s from Skala); the third settlement on Patmos with a square, church and some tavernas; in lower Kampos is the biggest beach of Patmos. Driving to the north we passed a nice located restaurant with a great view of the Lampi Bay, with a pebbled beach, which is famous for its very colourful pebbles.
    East of Kampos the road is narrow, hilly and winding and brought us to the beaches of Vaghia and Livadi Geranou, a sandy beach with many tamarisk trees. Northeast of Kampos we visited the St. Nicholas Church (see ‘things to do' tip).

    Grikos, also 5 km’s away from Skala is a former fishermen’s settlement, but nowadays with more and more hotels and apartments. But it has still its charm located on a wonderful bay with a nice beach. The road to the inland is very winding and offers some great views of the highest hill of Patmos (269 m); on the hilltop is the monastery of Profitis Elias, which can be visited. The road to the monastery was very steep and narrow and we didn’t dare to drive to the top. Further in the inland is another monastery located: Monastery Evangelismou (Nunnery of the Annunciation), where still 40 nuns are living. It is also open for visitors.

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    The mills of Chora

    by vtveen Written Jul 22, 2007

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    Chora - the three mills
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    Once we arrived in Chora the three wind mills, standing on a ridge, are clearly visible on the left hand side.
    Taking the road to Grikos we stopped just after the first bend. There starts a foot path uphill to the three mills.
    They are more or less restored, but it is such a pity they don’t have their wings, so they could be used every now and then.

    It is free to walk around the mills and we enjoyed the great views of Skala, Chora with the Monastery, huge parts of Patmos and further more to Ikaria and some nearby islands in the Aegean Sea.

    Walking uphill we visited a house on the right hand side, where a local woman was selling hand (and home)made Patmian embroidery.

    Till yet I couldn’t find any further information about these mills, like age, kind of use, restoration. If somebody has more information, please let me know.

    Related to:
    • Architecture

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    Skala – strolling around

    by vtveen Updated Jul 22, 2007

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    Skala - harbour
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    Skala has about 1500 residents (almost the half of Patmos) and is by far the largest town on the island. It is the centre of the social and commercial life with hotels, shops, banks (with ATM), restaurants, cafés, bars, travel agencies and so on.

    Skala has been built around the harbour, where every visitor will arrive. Just opposite the ferry landing is an Italian style building, which houses a custom office, a police station, the local post office and the tourist information centre. The Orthodox Information Centre is located on the corner of the Chora road; they can help with all kind of information about the monasteries, churches and chapels on the island.

    From the main square – with its sidewalk cafés – start a couple of shopping roads with all kinds of shops with a surprising amount of jewelleries. We found a very nice art and craft shop, called ‘Selene’- more or less next to the Orthodox Information Centre. Skala has also a modern supermarket at the Chora road, 100 metres from the port.

    Walk along the harbour and sea the fishermen boats, cruise ships or yachts. There is a small beach along the road to Kampos. Here are also the remains of the original font, which St. John used to baptise the inhabitants of Patmos almost 2000 years ago. Just opposite this font is a small white church with a nice mosaic of St. John on the wall.

    Of course finish your stroll around Skala on one of the sidewalk cafés having a (cool) drink.

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    Zoodohou Pighis - old and picturesque monastery

    by vtveen Updated Jul 21, 2007

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    Zoodohou Pighis Monastery: lots of flowers
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    This ‘Nunnery of the Spring of Life’ in Chora was founded by the abbot of the monastery of St. John, in 1607. It is one of the largest buildings on Patmos and if you see an aerial photo the convent looks like a fortress.

    But once inside it is a picturesque place with friendly courtyards filled with bougainvilleas and other lovely flowers. The monastery has two churches with beautiful wooden engraved iconostases and other icons, dating from the 16th - 18th century. Although not as well known as the Monastery of St. John it was a pleasant visit and we almost didn’t see any other tourists.

    Information
    Opening hours: 8.00 am – 12 am and 4.00 – 7.00 pm; this is according to the times I saw on the signs, but I couldn’t find any other information; so check the opening hours (for instance at the Orthodox Information Centre in Skala)
    Admission: free of charge
    Accessible: bus, taxi, (rental) car and scooter, foot to Chora
    Clothing: make sure you are dressed properly during your visit.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel

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    Byzantine Path: between Skala and Chora

    by vtveen Updated Jul 20, 2007

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    Byzantine Path between Skala and Chora
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    Of course we travelled by bus, taxi and rental car between Skala and Chora.
    But during our (longer) visit on Patmos we walked up and down hill along the historic cobbled road between the two main settlements on the island. This road was constructed in 1819 – and it still looks and feels like a very old road – and is protected as an archaeological monument.

    The Byzantine Path is wide and on some points rather steep. We were walking through open landscape with great views of Skala, Chora with the monastery and on the northern part of Patmos (and other islands like Ikaria).

    About halfway – in a pine and cypress forest with some nice shadow – is the Cave of the Apocalypse and after about 30 – 45 minutes you will reach Chora (or Skala). Be aware to wear more or less steady footwear, because the old road is one some points very ‘cobbled’.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Patmos, the holy island

    by Aggeliki Updated Dec 13, 2003

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    Patmos is the most northern of the group of islands known as the Dodecanese, on the northwest of the Aegean Sea in between Ikaria and Leros islands. Patmos is an island whose atmosphere is most biblical and peaceful.

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    • Religious Travel

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    The "Hora" of the island

    by Aggeliki Written Dec 13, 2003

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    view from the road between Skala and Hora

    The view of the island and the Aegean sea, is breathtaking. Hora grew up around the monastery of St. John Theologos in the late 16th c. As in all greek islands capitals the architecture of Patmos Hora is white houses and small stone roads.

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    The Monastery of St.John

    by Aggeliki Written Dec 13, 2003

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    The monastery of St. John monastery is the most important landmark of the island. It was built in 1088 after the order of emperor Alexios Komninos. It is a medieval monastic complex surrounded by stonewalls. In the monastery there are Byzantine and post Byzantine icons, jewellery and emperors’ presents, illuminated manuscripts and rare old books. It was here that St. John the Theologian was inspired to write the book of Revelation or Apocalypse, between 95 and 97 A.D.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

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