Patmos – the Jerusalem of the Aegean – is best known as a holy island, where St John wrote the Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, but it is also an island ideal for nature lovers and sun-worshippers thanks to its beautiful coastline, sheer cliffs and volcanic soil.
Designated a ‘Holy Island’ by the Greek parliament in 1981 as well as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, Patmos was used as a place of exile by the Romans on account of its steep morphology. That’s how St John found himself here in the 1st century AD, exiled by the Emperor Domitian.
According to the prevailing theory, the Book of Revelation was written in 95 AD in the Holy Cave of the Apocalypse, where St. John was inspired by visions and the voice of God. Turned into a place of worship by the monk Christodoulos Latrinos in the 11th century the cave – on whose walls we can trace the fingerprints of St John himself – is still open to devout Christians.
The Holy Monastery of the Apocalypse is situated in the town of Hora and comprises 10 chapels and 99 cells as well as a library of 890 handwritten codes and 13,000 documents about the history of the monastery.
In the area of Hora, little glittering white houses under the Aegean sun stand next to proud two-storey mansions. Follow the historical narrow streets all the way from the monastery down to Skala (the island’s port), and discover restaurants, cafes, shops and traditional bakeries. Treat yourselves to cheese pies, local dairy products and reticule-shaped dough with honey and nuts.
The largest settlement, as well as capital and port of the island, is Skala where you will find accommodation and fresh-fish tavernas.
At 5km from Skala have a rest stop at the village of Grikos, and enjoy a drink by the sea,or even a swim at the beach by the same name.
The beach at Kampos with sea sports’ facilities and marvelous fish tavernas is the most cosmopolitan resort on the island, whereas Psili Ammos (meaning ‘fine sand’) will offer you an off-the-beaten-track experience as it is accessible only by boat. For cool and not very salty waters the beach of Vaya is definitely the choice, whereas Sapsilas with its warmer waters is another beach you should explore. The beach at Lampi is very beautiful, covered with colourful pebbles. The very small and mainly uninhabited islets of Arkoi are worth a visit, so catch a boat from Skala, and make sure you call in at Marathi for crystal clear waters and fresh delicious fish.
Getting to Patmos
By sea from Piraeus, Samos (flying dolphins), Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos and Leros as well as Syros in the Cyclades. The above mentioned Dodecanese islands have airports from where visitors can reach Patmos through regular ferry connections, especially during the summer season.
Courtesy of GNTO