Jerusalem Of The Aegeans – The Patmos Island

Posted On December 25, 2009 

The Dodecanese Islands and location of Patmos

The Dodecanese Islands, to the south east of Greece in the Aegean Sea, share a part of Greece’s border with Turkey. Covering about 2,663 square kilometers with about 50 islands, Dodecanese Island is located between the south-western coast of Asia Minor and the Island of Crete.

The Islands of Dodecanese can be grouped in three categories – The Northern Dodecanese, The Central Dodecanese and the Southern Dodecanese. The Rhodes Island has the largest area and population of all the Islands here and is also the Capital if the Islands of Dodecanese.

Dodecanese IslandsTourism and agriculture are the main components of the Dodecanese economy. The Island, ruled by several emperors, was finally ceded to Greece by Italy on the 10th of February in 1947 after World War II by a peace treaty in Paris.

Patmos Island is one of the Northern Dodecanese Islands with an area of 34.05 square kilometers.

As per mythology, the Island was called Letois, after a name of Goddess Diana (daughter of Leto).

Another story says that the Island was once called Palmosa, a place made of palm trees. There is one more story that claims the name of the Island to have been taken when Neptune stepped on it (step = patima). The Island was called Patima from which it became Patmos.

When to go

The Patmos Island has a tropical climate. In August, which attracts most of the tourists to Patmos, the average day time temperatures are about 29 degree Celsius and those of night are about 23 degree Celsius. In January, the day time temperatures are about 14 degree Celsius and drop to about 9 degree Celsius at night. Most of the rainfall occurs here in the months from November to February.

Patmos Island greece

How to go

While the small Island of Patmos has no airports, there are airports at the other islands such as Kos, Leros, Samos and Rhodes Island in Dodecanese. Patmos is just north of the Leros Island.

If you can spend a lot, you can fly to the island by a helicopter.

You can choose to sail yachts if you like adventure. Or, you can opt for the more convenient way to reach as well as get introduced to the Island of Patmos- ships or ferry boats. They depart from the port of Piraeus from Athens and reach the Island of Patmos in about 9 – 10 hours.

On the eastern side of The Island is the natural harbour of Skala Patmos. Other anchorages of Patmos are Ormos Meloyi, Ormos Livadhi, Ormos Kambos, Ormos Stavros and Ormos Grikou.

There are regular bus services connecting Skala to Apokalipsi, Hora, Grikos and Kambos.


The Patmos attractions start from its port of Skala itself, a settlement since 1600s. Skala, which means stairway, is a busy port village of Patmos and is the entry point to Patmos Island.

Near Skala, on the Kastelli hill are vestiges of acropolis and an ancient cemetery.

Kambos beachAt about 6 kilometers from Skala is the Kambos village comprising of the upper Kambos with school, the village square, the church of the Annunciation and small taverns with local cuisine and the Lower Kambos or the Kambos beach, a popular tourist destination as well as a getaway for the Greeks.

The Grikos village, once a village for fisher folk, is about 5 kilometers from Skala. It has tranquil beaches where you can enjoy water sports as well as taverns and restaurants that serve great food. The bay here has a splendid view of the Kalikkatsou Rock which was once believed to be a hermitage site during the time of Holy Christodoulos.

About three kilometers southwest of Skala is the Patmos capital Chora or Hora, hovering on a hill. The village is on the foot of the Monastery if St. John the Divine. You can easily notice the Byzantine residences here with medieval designs. Whitewashed stone houses and Mediterranean styled homes as well as grand neo-classical mansions are in abundance here.

Most of the constructions in Chora village, including the roads date back to the 15th century. Like Skala, this village too has a good number of restaurants and shops and is well connected by bus and taxis to the rest of the Island.

The Monastery of St. John, founded in 1088, is a Byzantine construction within crenellated walls. The library here is among the fines in Greece with a collection of rare manuscripts and the treasury has a wealth of valuable icons and liturgical vessels.

On the Island is the Cave of Apocalypse as well, where the sacred text of the Book of Revelation by St John the divine was composed. The rock formations in the cave are volcanic and rare. At the right side is the Church of St John.

An array of beaches adorns the Patmos Island, courtesy the tranquil waters of the Aegean Sea that gives the Island its 63 kilometers wide coastline. Boating here is sure to leave you mesmerized. Among some popular beaches here are the Kambos Beach as mentioned earlier and the Griko Beach on the Island’s southeast which make for a good walking or jogging track where you can also rent a bike. It faces the Tragonissi Island that’s inhabited by goats and rams.

About 3 kilometers north of the Skala port is the Agrio Livadi Beach which has small coves that can be paddled to. Restaurants here serve Greek and Mediterranean Cuisine. Another attraction here is the Petra Beach, which is home to the Rock of Kalikatsou, a former hermitage place. It has handmade stairs, its own drainage system and a water reservoir that’s still functional. A small marsh here is home to migratory species like swans, herons and wild ducks during the winters.

At 15 minutes walk from Skala is the sandy and quiet Meloi Beach. Close by is the Island’s camping site.

About 60 minute boat ride from Skala port and you are in the most popular beach of Patmos Island – the Psili Amos. You can hike a trail of over two hills and a small mountain path to reach here and if you have a motorbike, you have to take a 30 minute walk from Diakofti where you need to park your vehicle.

The Livadi Gernaou is another pretty beach here, 12 kilometers from Skala, parallel to the Island of Agios Giorgios or St George Island, named so after a church built here. Just after it is the Patelia Beach.  To north of the Island, at an hours ride from Skala is the Lambi beach, known for its rare and multi coloured stones and pebbles.

Vagia beachAbout 7 kilometers from Skala is the Vagia beach, the waters of which are known to be the coldest, cleanest and of course very refreshing.

Other minor beaches of this place are Sapsila at 30 minutes walk from Grikos, Big Mercini at Aghios Nicholas of Evdilos, Aspiri, Kipoi that runs under the convent of Annunciation and Livadi Kalogiron.

Historic and religious sites too adorn the Island of Patmos.

In Grikos is the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos, said to be older than Monastery of St. John the Divine on top of Hora village. The church is built upon ancient spas.

Near the village of Skala, on a hill is the Monastery of Panagia Koumana, founded by St. Makarios Notaras. Other than masses, it holds festivals like the festival of All Saints held in June.

The Patmian School near the Cave of Apocalypse adds to the grandeur of the Island of Patmos.

The Cave of Apocalypse and The Monastery of St. John are UNESCO sites since 1999.

While here, you certainly can not miss out on the local cuisine, especially the traditional cake called Pouggi, the Kapama or the goat meat among others.

Sandy pebbled beaches with Tamarisks trees, the religious and historic sites that add to the tranquil ambience, the cuisines and beautiful boat trips around the Island of Patmos make it an Island worth a visit.

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One Response to “Jerusalem Of The Aegeans – The Patmos Island”
  1. Frank says:

    this is one of the world’s hiiden beauty of island I reckon. Greece is known for its beautifully architectured houses but very few lucky people might be knowing about this place! what a master piece!

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