Patmos

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Getting to Patmos

Dodekanese map

Where is Patmos? The island lies in the north Dodecanese islands, just off the Turkish coast and south-west of the large island of Samos.

Lack of an airport, even for domestic flights, has kept it off the tourist trail, but a deep water port and strong links with the apostle St John, author of the Book of Revelations, makes it a popular haunt of pilgrims and cruise ship visitors.

Ferries and cruise ships bring in the vast majority of holiday visitors. Most visitors are based in the main harbour of Skala and the Chora above where the Monastery of St John dominates the skyline.

Good roads links most of the beach resorts and, being such a small island, walkers can make it overland to some of the more remote beach spots with regular buses to the main island villages.

A popular port of call for pilgrims, Patmos island has a good range of holiday accommodation, from high-end hotels to cheap rooms.

Updated for 2016

Patmos flights: travel by air

Patmos has no airport and the nearest airports are on the neighbouring islands of Leros and Samos. Most visitors get a flight to Kos or Samos, then take a ferry to Patmos.

The nearest international airport is Samos (SMI) otherwise called Aristarchos Airport which is about three kilometres outside Pythagorion and 10 kilometers from the capital.

There are good ferry connections from Pythagorion and the summer ferry schedules (July-September) are usually posted in the port. If you have to stop overnight there is usually no problem with finding rooms as Pythagorion is a big holiday centre.

Flying to Kos International is also a reasonable option, although the island is considerably further away and it's a two-three hour ferry journey. There are two ferry ports in Kos. Mastichari is only eight kilometres from Kos airport but ferry connections are few and it may mean changing boats at Pothia on Kalymnos.

There are more direct ferries from Kos Town, but this is 26 kilometres west of the airport and getting there will require catching a bus or taking a relatively expensive taxi ride.

Patmos ferries: travel by sea

Patmos can be reached on Ferry from the Athens port of Piraeus, from neighbouring Samos to the north, which has an international airport, or on a fast ferry the popular holiday island of Kos to the south.

Daily ferry sailings leave from Gate E1 gate at Piraeus, with routes to the Dodecanese operated by Blue Star Ferries and ANEK Lineswith journey times of 7-10 hours depending on the ferry type and the route taken.

Dodekanisos Seaways operates two high speed catamarans from Rhodes that also call at Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos and Rhodes with journey times from Rhodes of five hours and from Kos just over two hours.

With cheap flight airlines now operating to Kos this route makes for a reliable way to reach Patmos, although it may require an overnight stop on Kos to catch the morning catamaran. Blue Star also operate ferries on this route with a crossing from Kos taking three hours.

A flight to Samos and a hydrofoil to Patmos used to be an option until the service suspended. Getting a boat from Samos can now prove a problem. ITSA Travel on Samos run daily trips to Patmos in the summer.

ANEK runs the ferryboats Nissos Kalymnos and Kalymnos Star between Kos and Samos calling at Leros, Patmos, Astpalea, Lipsi, Agathoisi and Pythagorion and can be contacted on their website here.

There are a number of small ferry companies operating in the region. The Patmos Star runs daily services between Patmos, Leros and Lipsi. The boat usually leaves Patmos and 9am, Lipsi at 10am and arriving on Leros at 2pm and returning to Patmos in the afternoon. It opens the possibility of a flight from Athens to Leros before catching the ferry to Patmos. Sailing time can change but Astoria Travel on Patmos may help with latest sailing times

Caiques from Skala visit all the main beaches in the summer months. There are often daily cruises on offer to Samos, Ikaria, Fourni, Lipsos and the surrounding islands of Marathi, Agathonisi, Aspronisi, Macronisi, and Tiganakia. Daily cruises also leave for beaches at Psili Amos and Lambi. in the high season. Details on +30 22470 32664.

Patmos transport: travel on land

Car rental

Patmos is a small island and most beaches are walkable from the capital port at Skala. Good roads link Skala to all the main beaches and there are short dirt tracks to others. The only beach without any road access is at Psili Ammos which is reached by boat, or along a hill track.

A road to the north leads throu Meloi to Kambos village and beach then around the coast to Linginos when it peters out. A branch west from Kambos heads to the east coast at Levkes.

A south road heads up to the Chora and down to the beach resort of Grikos, then to the narrow neck at Stavros where it ends abruptly.

Buses on Patmos

A daily bus service operates from the harbour entrance at Skala, near the police station, with 10 buses a day to Chora, a journey time of 10 minutes. Eight buses a day continue on to the beach resort at Grikos, another 10 minutes to the south. There are also four buses daily to Kambos beach in the north that takes about 15 minutes.

Patmos bus schedules are usually posted in the central square in Skala, at the main Skala bus stop and at the tourist office.

Taxis on Patmos

The taxi stand in at the entrance to Skala harbour but they get snapped up quickly when ferries and cruise boats arrive. Visitors won't have long to wait on such a small island. Check the fare before getting in; Patmos taxi drivers tend to charge extra when they can - the consequence of so much traffic from visiting cruise ships.

Several car rental firms operate in in Skala and petrol stations usually open 7am-9pm weekdays and 7am- 3pm on Saturday. There are petrol stations at Skala, Chora, Grikos and Kambos.

Patmos map: getting around

Patmos one of the most northern of the Dodecanese islands and lies to the south-west of Samos. The has an area of 24 sq km, wasp waisted at Skala and just 12 kilometers north to south with a heavily serrated coastline of around 63 kilometres.

Two main land masses, north and south are linked by a pinched isthmus at the port capital of Skala. Patmos is more hilly than mountainoue and the indented lace-like coast has many small bays and coves.

Several islets lie offshore all around the coast, the largest being Hiliomodi in the Gulf of Skala. To the north are the islets of Santa Thekla, Agios Georgis, Tragonisi, Prasonisi and several others.

The highest peak on Patmos is Mount Profitis Elias, which rises to 270 metres, with many smaller hills are scattered around the island.

Patmos has a population of around 2,500, mostly concentrated in the main port of Skala and in the Chora above. The only other large settlement on Patmos is the village of Kambos in the north of the island.

Weather on Patmos

Patmos has a mild Mediterranean climate with some 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and very little rainfall over the summer. Rain falls on average for about 80 days each year, mostly between November and February.

The holiday season starts in April/May when temperatures rise to the mid 20s. In summer months the average temperatures reach day-time highs of 30°C and night lows of 23°C. In winter months the average daytime highs on Patmos are 14°C and night lows stand at 9°C.

Patmos rooms: places to stay

Rooms

Patmos island has a good range of holiday accommodation, from high-end hotels to cheap rooms. The popularity of the island for those visiting the Cave of St John means the main port of Skala has plenty of hotels and rooms.

Most rooms to rent are found in Skala, the main south-east coast resort of Grikos and in Kambos, to the north. Finding rooms in the hilltop capital of Chora can be tricky in the summer months or during the holy island's Easter week celebrations.

Plenty of room owners meet passengers off the ferries as they arrive in Skala but don't commit yourself until you've seen the rooms. There are often good budget options on offer but some accommodatin can be isolated.

Backpackers usually head for the Stefanos Campsite at Meloi beach, about two kilometres north-east of Skala, which has an excellent taverna, laundry, fridges and grill facilities. You can take your own tent or rent one and it has a minibus service to the port.

Both Kambos, north along the coast from Skala, and Grikos, to the south, have a good supply of hotels, rooms and self-catering apartments.