Patmos' main communities are Chora a small hill settlement built around the ancient and beautiful fortified monastery, and wonderful narrow streets and Skala, the only commercial port - again a small town/village with a central square or plaka where you will find cafes and the postoffice. Other settlements are Grikou and Kampos.
There are also many lovely small beaches and coves, some with cafes and sunbeds, some without. The monastery has a small, but wonderful museum. There is also the cave of St. John, where St. John wrote the Apocalypse. This site also has a wonderful open air theatre where most Septembers there is a lovely festival of religious music - concerts are free and take place at night.
Patmos is one of the most religious Greek Islands because it is where Saint John the Divine had its revelation and wrote the Apocalypse. Many orthodox people still come to the island on pilgrimage - hence the coachloads of people heading up to the cave where St. John wrote.
By boat from Piraeus - if flying into Athens. Or by boat from Samos (if flying into Samos, or coming from the northern dodecanese). Or from Rhodes/Kos/ islands on the Rhodes-Pireaus route. All ferries/hydrofoils dock at Skala.
There is no airport.
There is a new marina for yachts in the Skala port area.
Hire cars, bikes, mopeds, taxis are all available for hire in Skala. There is also a bus service that runs between Skala and Campos/Kampos (you will see it spelt both ways) and between Skala/Chora/Grikou. You will find the bus timetable stuck up on the bus stop. Worth asking if it is running today, although it is usually very punctual. Often photocopies are also left for visitors to take, to make sure they don't miss the bus! Taxis will usually charge both ways if they come out to collect you. Patmos is also good for walking - in cooler months, or if you can cope with the high summer temperatures (remembering it is a very hilly island).
The churches and communities on Patmos are of the Eastern Orthodox tradition. In 1999, the island's historic center Chora, along with the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse, were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The small space that overlooks the sea 'behind' the Monastery of St. John - very quiet and peaceful (please keep it that way), the sunset from the spot on the road out from Skala to Kampos, Psilli Amos (sandy beach). The views from almost anywhere in Chora.
Small boats do day trips to psilli amos, and to the nearby islands for swimming and lunch.
bread, pastries, sweetmeats, 'spoon deserts', grilled fish, meat, yogurt, honey, stuffed peppers, all the usual greek foods - olive oil...
Wonderful restaurant on Lampi beach (n.b. please do not take the stones, in the last ten years so many have been taken there are now very few of the wonderful and special coloured stones left on the beach). They grow much of their own produce behind the restaurant. try the aubergine start special.
Wonderful restaurant also in the boat yard - ask the taxi drivers!
Lovely old-style taverna at the bottom of the path leading to psilli amos.
Pantheon in Chora - great grilled octopus, and a lovely place to sit outside.
Many other good places to eat.
There is a fish-van that sells in the morning in the plaka/square in Skala and in the square in Kampos.
There is also a fruit and veg van likewise. Fish is expensive as the area is over fished - the whole of the Mediterranean is, sadly. But it is fresh. The vegetables can be wonderful - fruit too - amazing watermelon and melons...
mountain tea. available all over greece. grows here and elsewhere wild.
wine - there are some really delicious white wines that drink well cold - seek them out! it isn't all retsina. promise.
- Skala Hotel, ☎ +30 22470 31343.
- Patmos Paradise, ☎ +30 22470 32624, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patmos is a very safe island.