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Patmos: Apocalypse Now!

04 August 2013 / 19:08:10  GRReporter
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Along Chora’s narrow streets

One cannot get bored of walking around the narrow white streets (in June, because of the tourist season, the whole island is whitewashed) and entering the pretty-looking shops. On one side you can see the famous sight – Skala, or the harbour area, and Prophet Elias monastery is located on the other side, on the other hill, together with the beaches of Grikos and Petra. You can get lost around the small stairs while passing by the innumerable churches here that are hidden behind high walls (the island has 400 churches). And in this way you can reach the monastery.

With icons from the Byzantine period, the monastery has existed since the 10th century (built on the site of the old church of Artemis and an ancient Christian basilica). There you can find the beautiful church museum with unique treasures (icons, interwoven with gold clothing, painted manuscripts, silver and ecclesiastical goods) and one of the most important libraries in the country. It has manuscripts from the fifth century, an archive of 900 years, and a collection of rare printed books, but it is not open to visitors.

The best place to go for a walk when the night falls starts from the Town Hall Square up to the other square in the heart of Chora, where the restaurants are located. There are four restaurants on this square – a cafe on the corner, the Vangelis tavern, offering delicious home-cooked meals, the Stoa coffee bar with the best cocktails on the Dodecanese islands, and "Astivi" – the centre of nightlife, which is open until to 2 a.m., when the music stops. After that, everybody goes to Skala, some 3 km away from Chora, at the port of the island.

Days and nights at the port

In Skala there are more people than anywhere else on Patmos. It is located in the narrow part of the island which divides the northern part from the southern part. Here cruise ships, impressive yachts and local catamarans arrive which connect with the Dodecanese.

It is good to wake up in the morning to the siren of a ship that is arriving or is leaving, or the sound of a

church bell. You can see people going to the cafes, shopkeepers cleaning their shop-windows and taverns starting to prepare lunch. The sound of bells is not irritating, it usually comes from "St. Paraskevi" at the end of the coastal road or farther away - from "Revelation" where around 95 AD the Lord spoke, as the locals say. Together with the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and Chora, these are the monuments of world cultural heritage protected by UNESCO.

To the Beautiful South

There is a shipyard in Diakoftis, and you can come here either to build a yacht, or have lunch in "Tarsana", or just park your car and go on foot to the most beautiful beach on the island, Psili Amos, with fine light sand, crystal waters (as everywhere else on the island) and Mrs Urania’s tavern, where you can try great goat meat in red sauce.

On a full stomach, the return is much more difficult, unless you travel by boat. But it is worth it. It is also worth climbing up the highest peak of the island (270 m), where you can find the Prophet Elias Monastery.

To the untouched north

Let’s return to Skala and the north. Besides George's Place, which is located in the north and is a very popular beach bar with wild parties, which has been one of the most famous places of the Aegean Sea for 2-3 decades, the rest of the north is typical for an island.

Starting from the village of Campo, located above the homonymous beach, the stones of which really shine - here you can enjoy bathing, as well as the eponymous tavern that is located above the waves and serves fresh fish. To the east you can find the beautiful and calm beaches of Vaya, Didimes and Livadi Geranou.

Be sure to visit Livadi Kalogiron – with its low vegetation of aromatic herbs, it looks like it is a view of the past.

If you continue further, you will see Sideris cafeteria, with good company and music. Be sure to stop by.

How to get there

About 7 hours from Athens by Blue Star Ferries (phone: 210-89.19.800, www.bluestarferries.gr). The ferry schedule is as follows: every Monday and Wednesday at 7 p.m., ferries arrive in Patmos at 2:05 a.m.; every Thursday at 9.00 a.m. (arrival at 3:20 p.m.) and Saturdays at 11:55 p.m. (arrival on Sunday at 7:25 a.m.). To Piraeus, ferries travel on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The price is 19 euro in super economy class, where, however, the number of places is limited, 34 euro in economy class, 38 euro for a reserved aircraft type seat and 73.50 euro in a cabin for four people. Vehicle transportation costs 85 euro and there is a 20% discount for a return ticket.

Where to stay

Patmos Paradise

Campos, phone: 22470-32.624, www.patmosparadise.com

Above the beach, guests can enjoy a pool and tennis court. Prices for a double room vary from 83 euro

 to 113 euro without a view, and from 113 euro to 217 euro with a view.

Porto Skoutari

Meloi, phone: 22470-33.123, 6940-827.927, www.portoscoutari.com

Tags: Travel notes Patmos the Dodecanese islands beaches John the Theologian Monastery
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