This beautiful little island of the Aegean is known the world over as the place where Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation. A “sacred” island, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, still unspoiled by tourism, Patmos has become popular among the international elite in the past years, who gather here along with pilgrims, intellectuals, and nature lovers to enjoy the beauty, the laid-back rhythms and the incredible character of the island.
The medieval town of Chora, crowned with the imposing castle-monastery of St. John the Theologian, is like a journey to the past, a delightful mixture of little white houses and mansions, charming winding alleys and the landmark three windmills. To get back to the present, all you have to do is head down to the vibrant port of Skala and the picturesque settlements of Kampos and Grikos, for excellent food, bars and cafés, and an atmosphere which combines serenity with an unpretentious cosmopolitan vibe.
The volcanic lace-like coastline creates a landscape of innumerable diverse bays and beaches, sheer cliffs and caves, sprinkled with chapels and monasteries, all adding to the mystical aura of the island. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the spirituality of Patmos. Visiting the Holy Cave of the Apocalypse is a must experience for everyone coming to the island.
Things to do:
1. Visit the Holy Monastery and the Holy Cave of the Apocalypse
Exiled by the Emperor Domitian, St. John is thought to have found safe refuge here in the 1st century A.D. According to the prevailing theory, the Book of Revelation was written in 95 A.D. in the Holy Cave, where St. John heard the voice of God talking to him.
“I John, (…) was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches.”
Revelation (1:9), Apostle John
The cave is a humbling visit, whether one is a Christian or not. On the walls we can trace the fingerprints of St. John himself while legend says, that a crack on its ceiling was created by the Voice of God during the Vision.
The Castle - Monastery embracing the Holy Cave was built in 1088 by the monk Christodoulos Latrinós. Buildings of different ages form the Monastery, comprising 10 chapels and 99 cells as well as a Library of 890 handwritten codes and 13,000 documents about the history of the site.Note: Make sure you wear something appropriate. The monastery states “knees and shoulders should be covered, for both males and females”, while visiting.
2. There are about 20 beaches, with pebbles or sand, and the waters are pristine in blue and turquoise tones. Some are easily accessible, others can only be reached by foot or by boat, so adventure seekers may be able to find their own secluded little paradise in the Aegean! The beach in Kámpos is the most cosmopolitan one, offering sea sports as well as great fish restaurants. Psili Ammos is an exotic turquoise and golden sand beach, hard to get to but worth the trouble. Lampi is a beautiful beach with crystal clear waters in the northeast part of the island that is famous for its colorful pebbles. In fact, people loved these pebbles so much that they collected them en masse, so now, to protect them from extinction, removing them is forbidden! The bay of Grikos has a beautiful tranquil beach, with fine gravel and sand. It is protected from the open sea by two small peninsulas and the islet Tragonisi. Part of the landscape is the “stone of Kalikatsou”, a big rock connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. Petra, on the other side of this rock, is a pristine beach with large white pebbles.
3. Take a day trip to the neighboring islets. There are boat trips to Arkoi, a cluster of tiny, mainly uninhabited islets, filled with incredible secluded beaches. Maráthi is the most popular among the yachting crowd, for its crystal clear aquamarine waters and delicious fresh fish. There are also boats to the charming islands of Leipsoi and Leros.
4. Go hiking.
The Paths of Culture in Patmos: There are seven routes around the island, making use of the large network of old footpaths. The Greek Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage carefully selected and signaled a series of walks, perfect for hikers who want the opportunity to discover the island’s natural beauty and various monuments.
Find your Patmos luxury villa here