Patmos island or the “island of the Apocalypse” or “Jerusalem of the Aegean”: John the Theologian, one of Christ’s disciples, exiled to this island by the Roman emperor Domitian in 95 AD, wrote the “Book of Revelation”, the last book of the New Testament in one of the island’s caves.
The “Cave of the Apocalypse” is one of the most historic and impressive sites in Greece. Patmos was first inhabited in prehistoric times. During the Roman times it was a place of exile. In 1088, the Blessed Christodoulos founded the Monastery of St John the Theologian. Over time the island flourished and the first mansions were built in the late 16th century. The island officially became Greek territory in 1948. Area: 34 sq.km; coastline: 63 km; population: 3,000.
1. Chora Patmou
This small traditional town has been built around the monastery of Saint John the Theologian. It is one of the most beautiful and well preserved medieval towns found in the Aegean. The houses, built next to each other, have their windows placed high and leave room for narrow, maze-like paved alleys where you will find dozens of 15th-17th century churches, built with stone from Petrokopio (meaning stone quarry) and Manolakas. The roofs are made with timber from cypress trees and alternating layers of astivi (a kind of shrub endemic to Patmos), seaweed, and mud. Distance from Skala (the island’s port): 4.5 km S.
Pano (Upper) Kampos is an inland village, while Kato (Lower) Kampos is a small village by the sea set in a green area, next to orchards, citrus and olive groves, pine and eucalyptus trees, and a popular sandy beach with tamarisks. Three other seaside villages, namely Vagia, Livadi (E); and Lefkes (W) are near Kampos. Distance from Chora: 9 km N
The island’s harbour is in a narrow, natural, neck- shaped bay that almost divides the island in half. During the 17th century there were no buildings by the harbour, just a few warehouses. The frequent pirate raids had forced the island’s inhabitants to stay in Chora. At the end of the 19th century, the port flourished. During the Italian rule, Skala became the Italians’ administrative centre; the Italian guards’ quarters, the post office, and the customs house were built during that period. After the union of Patmos with Greece, beautiful neoclassical buildings were erected in the 7 harbour area. Today, these buildings are either residences or they house shops. Distance from Chora: 4.5 km N.
Spend your summer holidays in this seaside village located in a small green valley. This place existed in ancient times and was known as Agroikia. Tamarisks grow on the sandy beach of this narrow sheltered bay that looks more like a lake, what with Tragonisi lying just opposite and two small peninsulas on each side. Distance from Chora: 4.5 km SE.
5. Arkoi (or Arkioi)
It is a small group of islands east of Patmos and north of Leipsoi with sparse, bushy vegetation. Arkoi village is on the largest island. Old stone houses, some whitewashed, some newly built and traditional tavernas make up the picture. Go for swimming in beaches where lentisks and tamarisks grow, such as Limnari, Kapsaliasmenos, Tiganakia, Patelia, and Ampelaki. You will also enjoy this type of beach at a small isle called Marathi.
Quick must see – The Kallikatsou Rock. In late afternoon, when that seaside boulder is bathed in orange light, the carved steps on the rock are visible. In antiquity, it used to be a place of worship.
Activities in Patmos
2. Spear fishing
3. Camping at Skala (Meloi).
4. Water sports. You can find a lot of water sports in Patmos island.
5. Boat rides to the nearby small islands (Sklava, Chiliomodi, Anydro, etc).
6. Swimming at the fine sandy beach in Groikos; also in Petra, Vagia, Lampi, Kampos, Agriolivado, Meloi and Lefkes. A lacy stretch of beach with lilliputian coves lie between Livadi Delapothitou and the barren Kavo Geranos area. The picturesque bay of Chochlakas is also a great spot for swimming. The best sandy beach though is Psili Am- mos (access by foot or by boat).
Useful phone numbers in Patmos
Country code: +30
1. Kimolos Municipal Office: 22473-60.300
2. Tourist information: 22470-31.666
3. Health Centre: 22473-60.000
4. Port Authority: 22470-34.131, 22470-31.23
What to visit in Patmos island
1. Evangelismos church, in a small square bordering the road.
2. The multi-coloured pebble beach of Lampi.
3. The churches dedicated to Agia Paraskevi, Agia Aikaterini, and Panagia tis Koumanas (1780).
4. Kasteli, the low hilltop just over Skala, accessible on foot. The view from Kasteli is spectacular. Make a point of visiting the ruins of the island’s ancient capital.
5. Livadi Kalogiron (the Monks’ Field) with old monastic buildings. The 11th-12th c. Agios Nikolaos church is one of the island’s oldest churches located 3 km NW.
6. Petrokaravo (the Stone Ship). It is a small island shrouded in legend and lore. It resembles a ship listing heavily, followed by two small boats. Tradition has it that this was a pirate ship that turned to stone after the fervent praying of the Blessed Christodoulos.