They name it the Revelation Island meaning the Cave where the Holy Book it was written. But Patmos isn’t just this. Soon, the island will “reveal” its beauty and just one visit won’t be enough. It’s not a coincidence the fact that UNESCO has listed Patmos in one of the World Heritage Monuments.
I have so much to say and write about Patmos, but in this first article, I’ll talk about the 10 most important things that you must not miss to see.
1. TRAVEL TO PATMOS
If you haven’t visited Patmos till now, do it. The journey with Blue Star Ferries lasts 7-8 hours. The crew will look after you and you’ll never know when you arrived. Also, the spaces and the cabins of the ship are very comfortable.
2. A WALK IN SKALA
One of the first things you have to do is to walk through the narrow alleys of Skala at the port of Patmos. Relax and let your eyes fill in colors and beauty. At the bay of Skala, there is a small island called Daskalio or Petrokaravo. The legend says that when the Pirates tried to raid the Monastery, God heard the monks’ prayers, petrified the boat and this island was created.
3. CLIMB TO THE ACROPOLIS
Keep walking to the highest point heading towards the Ancient Acropolis of Patmos. The road is narrow and may be you’ll get tired, but believe me you’ll not regret it because the view will reward you.
4. TRY PATINIAN CHEESEPIE AT CHRISTODOULOS
Coming back to Skala, make a stopover at Christodoulos for the patinian cheese pie. Once, they used to accompany the Greek coffee with a piece of this pie. They make it of three different kinds of cheese.
Christodoulos has passion for his job. He has studied confectionary and makes delicious desserts. The best of all are the local dumplings filled with nuts, almonds, honey, and rosewater. I tasted also the ice-cream. I adore parfait cream so I am a little fussy and very selective at this particular flavor. But I assure you that Christodoulos parfait cream is the best I have ever tasted.
A little further away, you’ll find “StrEat” where you can enjoy the most delicious crepes.
5. VISIT THE APOCALYPSES CAVE
At the half of the way to Skala towards the Hora of Patmos lies the Apocalypses Cave. It’s a sacred site and if you believe in God, you’ll be deeply touched. Even those who don’t believe, accept that they sense the particular aura that exists on the site. At the top of the cliff, there are three crevices that symbolize the Holy Trinity. From here the God’s voice came out and dictated the Apocalypses text to Saint John the Theologian. In the Cave, you’ll also see the spot where Saint John rested his head when he slept and the recess on the cliff he leaned to stand up.
Visiting hours are:
Daily 08:00- 13.30 and
Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday 0:8:00-13.30 and 14:00-16:00.
6. VISIT THE HOLY MONASTERY OF ST. JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN
The Saint John Theologian Monastery is located in the Hora of Patmos. It was founded in 1088 by Saint Christodoulo and in 1999 it was declared as World Heritage Monument by UNESCO. It was built as a Castle so as to protect the island’s inhabitants from the pirates’ raids. Crossing the main gate on the left is the central church (Catholic) built in 1099. Inside, you’ll admire the three-dimensional woodwork church icon screen, as well as the magnificent frescoes. Right next to it lies the Virgin Mary Chapel which is decorated with hagiographies of the 12th century.
On the first floor is the Monastery’s Museum. There, one can admire Bible’s manuscript, silver and gold objects, cassocks, pectoral crosses and icons of great value. In the Monastery there is also a library of rare and precious books dating back to 1073. But it isn’t open for the public. If someone wants to visit it needs a special permit that is usually given to scientists, theologists and Byzantinologists.
The Monastery’s visiting hours are:
Daily 08:00-13.30 and
Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday 0:8:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00
7. A WALK IN HORA
Built under the Monastery, the Hora of Patmos is the nicest site you have ever seen. The mansions, the simple houses, the narrow alleys, the galleries and the diffused serenity make it different and unique. It doesn’t look like to any other island you have visited. There are many spots from which you can enjoy the wonderful view. You can visit it even at night and have a drink in one of the bars. Don’t expect to listen to loud music. Throughout Patmos, there is a widespread respect to the sacred site. You won’t find extreme entertainment or music on full blast.
8. A VISIT TO SIMANTIRI MANSION
Simantiri mansion is the Hora’s oldest building after the Monastery. It was built in 1625. Mrs Morfousa Simantiri who owns it and is eighth generation descendant will welcome you. She preserves the mansion with all the objects and family heirlooms that decorate it through the ages.
It is open during the whole year from 09:00-13:30 and 17:00-19:30. There are signs-posts that will lead you there. Or you can ask a local for information.
9. THE WINDMILL OF PATMOS
At the top of the hill, over the Skala, you’ll find 3 windmills that date back to 1588 and are the gem of Patmos. In 2010, the windmills were restored. Since then, the first one operates as floor mill, the second one is capable of generating electricity from wind power, while there is a water production plan for the third one.
10. SWIMMING AT PSILI AMMO
You shouldn’t miss to go for swimming in Psili Ammo. It is considered the nicest beach on the island and if you want to go, you have to choose one of the two ways. You can reach there by using a boat from Skala. It takes 40 to 60 minutes depending on the weather. The second way, we preferred this one, is to climb and then to come down a mountain. It takes 20 minutes but the view from above and the beauty of the landscape will reward you. If you choose the second one, you must have with you comfortable shoes, hat, sunscreen and definitely water. On this beach, there are trees and a tavern that serves homemade meals.
These are the 10 most important things you have to see in Patmos. If you have visited the island, I would like to listen to your suggestions.
*I sincerely thank the Municipality of Patmos for the wonderful hospitality. I especially thank the Mayor Mr Gregory Staikos, Mr Giannis Skebes, Mr Giorgos Kamitsis, Mr Iakovos Kouklakis and Mr Mathaios Melianos who spared their time in order to guide us and give us information for their island.