Each of the Greek Islands has a distinctive character, but Patmos possesses one of the most unusual. Legend has it that St. John wrote the book of revelations while exiled upon this idyllic island- a story which has led thousands of pilgrims to visit the verdant shores of Patmos over the decades. What you’re bound to find aside from religious imagery is an island with geography unlike anywhere else in Greece.
The volcanic geology has created an island of peaks and valleys, with a coastline that occasionally spikes outward toward the sea. The islets and basalt formations dotted upon the shoreline add even more unique charm to the locale of Patmos, floating offshore, sometimes tantalisingly just out of reach, breathing variety into the island geography.
The locals are also diverse, with migrants from all over Europe and beyond settling there and giving the community an air of multi-cultural bliss. A perfect spot for Greek island getaway minus the crowds, and a home to rare sights to boot, this is one isle never want to leave.
Sightseeing in Patmos
The Monastery of St. John
The patron saint of the island was commemorated by an order of monks in the 11th century, when this incredible monastery began to take shape. With repeated raids from the Turkish Empire destroying the island, the Monastery slowly became fortified by local community, eventually built into the towering display of battlements, strongholds and siege defences you can see today.
An inner courtyard is framed by the huge stone walls, along with a series of archways which are angled upwards, diverting the bright sunshine from above in order to illuminate the limited space. The chapel is also famous for its frescoes, which were originally painted in the Byzantine era. This amazing historical site is still enchanting travellers after centuries, and is well worth a visit at any time of year.
Cave of the Apocalypse
According to the myths of the island, St. John had the dreams which led to the book of revelations in a cave hidden amongst the peaks of Patmos. The Cave of the Apocalypse has become incredibly popular with pilgrims from all over the globe, visiting in hope of seeing the spot where St. John rested his head or wrote his scriptures. Encased within a pristine sanctuary, this holy site is encircled by a convent of monks happy to give you supreme guided tour detailing the fascinating history of this unique attraction.
Shopping in Patmos
For some exquisitely made jewellery, a trip to the harbour will reward you with the boutiques of Iphigenia and Midas, which specialise in crafting fashion pieces adorned with gemstones and fine silver. For even more curios, make sure to head to The Art Spot, which sells homemade ceramics and small sculptures.
Eating Out in Patmos
Greek dining is all about the atmosphere, and Patmos is home to friendly taverns filled with pleasant company and outstanding food. From spit-roast lamb to fresh seafood straight from the harbour, you can head to the Loukas Grill House or Ostria for a wealth of Greek delights with a distinctive island flavour.