Patmos - A backpackers guide

Map of the Greek Island of Patmos

We think Patmos is a gem. Another Island big enough to keep your interest for 2 weeks or more but small enough to feel you can explore on foot. Which is just as well since it`s bus service isn`t brilliant. Like a lot of the islands, Patmos has a harbour being watched over by the capital. In this case SKALA & HORA It is one of the prettiest harbours to arrive in (especially at night when the castle is lit up ).

Patmos attracts a fare amount of greeks as well as the usual tourists due to the Apocolipsi caves, which according to folklore is where St John wrote the book of the revelation. The island is firmly on the cruise route and as such a word of warning. Skala appears to have an unnofficial two tier pricing system. Even the rudimentary can of coke can double in price when the cruise liners are resident. When they are, Skala can seem a little touristy but thankfully peace and tranquility soon return due to the liners hectic schedules.

Photo of MELOI on the Gree island of Patmos Unusually for Greece, the port authorities have a very well organised loading / unloading procedure for ferries making this routine far safer and having completed this you should find that Patmos has a fair amount of rooms both individual & in hotels. The proprietors usually meet the ferry as do the owners of the excellent Stephanos Camping at Meloi. More on them later. The rooms on the harbour front are rather expensive & noisy so try to head inland. We used Katerina rooms (4000drs 07/96) situated in an alley off the little fishing harbour to the left of the quay (as you look at Skala). More rooms can be found 10 minutes walk due west in Khokhlakas although it does tend to be windy on this coast. Skala itself has a pleasant tree centred platia with the usual cafes & tavernas just inland from the grandiose building housing the post office. There are a couple of banks (with cashpoints), travel agents, a very good off-licence (known as a liqour store in other parts of the world) & on the more practical side the "Just like home" laundry service on the road to the power station.

Photograph of the CASTLE at HORA on Patmos Continuing on this road leads you to a junction giving the choices of the North of the island to the left or straight on to the dead end at Meloi. At this dead end you`ll find the aforementioned Stephanos camping which has to be one of the most well equipped sites in Greece since there can`t be too many that can boast of a tree backed, crescent shaped sand beach & an open air free cinema within spitting distance. It also has a good taverna on site open from breakfast time until late. Unfortunately they win no prizes for cheerfullness.

Photo of PSILI AMOS beach on Patmos If you turn left at the junction you will soon have a view of Agriolivadhi from the road. Water sports & an average beach combine with a taverna to make a mini resort but heading further north will provide better beaches. The Hamlet of Apo Kambos provides the junction for Lefkes & Kambos (for Lambi). Two tavernas, one spit & sawdust & the other more upmarket, provide the only refreshments to an otherwise unremarkable village. The left turn leading to Lefkes isn`t really worth the journey leaving the most promising beaches down the hill to the right. First up is Kambos (it has another name but we can`t remember) with shops,tavernas & pebbles. Watersports are also available to give it a real tourist feel so we continued following the coast to the much quieter Vagia. Turning left at Kambos & travelling a further 4km takes you to Lambi. There is a taverna at the top of the hill to refuel before the winding descent to the beach. A completely pebble affair with two tavernas and no shade at all. There were however hundreds of transparent jellyfish at the time we visited.

Patmos is dominated by the impressive Castle of the knights of St John with superb views in every direction (that`s why they put it there.ed). To have a street map of Hora would spoil the fun of getting lost in the maze of streets. Some pleasant tavernas can be found here but few rooms, which is just as well really. It is quite a walk up here when youre sober let alone after having had a few in Skala. Using the southerly road out of Hora will give you the choice of Grikou or the road (then rough track) to the beach of Psilli Amos. Firstly Grikou (Grigos on our map) consists of quite a few rooms to rent and a couple of hotels mixed in with the residents. Tavernas nestle under the trees at the back of the beach with fresh fish always available provided by the local fishermen. The beach is average but not unpleasant here but a quieter sand spit leading to a rock in the middle of the bay can be found a little way to the west. As for Psili Ammos, you can get here by moped for the first half & then walking for last 3/4 of an hour but it is easier and infinitely more pleasant to catch the kaiki boat from Skala. The beach itself is all sand with tamarisks for shade and a reasonably priced taverna. The sea gently shelves making it safe for children although on windy days the breakers can be a little overpowering. As well as being on the bigger ferry routes, Patmos is also serviced by the Nissos Kalymnos which calls at a more civilised hour than some. For more information & links see General Info.

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