The cruise port of Patmos tends to be included as a port of call on a limited number of cruiseline itineraries that sail through the Greek Islands. Mega ships normally do not stop at this island which is a shame as it contains something for the history buff and beach lovers too.
The larger ships that do visit anchor in the bay and passengers are tendered into the port located in the town of Skala.
Most of the main attractions of Patmos are located 3 miles away in Chora. The village of Skala is an easy walk from the port. To reach Chora, there are public buses available which stop in Grikos and also Kambos.
There is a taxi rank outside of the port and this is the best way to travel on your own. Cruise ships do offer extensive tours to each or all of the main sites.
Patmos is perhaps best known for its religious heritage as, according to legend, this is where St. John wrote the famous book the Apocalypse. To this day, the book is shrouded in mystery and its contents are debated. Several major religious sites on the island attract thousands of pilgrimages each year.
Cave of Apocalypse
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cave of Apocalypse is perhaps the most visited site in Patmos. Located roughly halfway between the Port and Patmos Town, this cave at one time served as the home of Saint John during his exile from the Roman emperor Domitia.
It was also where he wrote The Book of Apocalypse, otherwise known as Revelations. Today, the cave is protected by a sanctuary and travelling down its dark passageway is an enlightening experience.
The Folklore Museum
The Folklore Museum is located at the Simantiri Family mansion and is very extensive. The mansion was constructed in in 1625 and still retains its elegance. It is still inhabited to this day and, although the museum is small, it has enough to keep you intrigued.
Some of the items on display include statues of Russian religious icons, oil paintings, early photographs and even family heirlooms hailing from Odessa. Most of the items date back from the 14th to the 19th century and shows how opulent the Dodecanese Islands were.
Located nearby the Monastery of Saint John visitors should include the Ecclesiastical Museum of Patmos as part of their Patmos experience. Witness treasures of wonders in this museum by sacred relics and the entirety of the monastery’s treasury.
Some of the treasures contained within include valuable manuscripts, authentic items used in Holy Mass, ancient and the 11th century icon of Saint Nicholas which has its hand outstretched as if to bless passers by. There is also an extensive archive section dedicated to Byzantine era documents.
Monastery of Saint John
The most notable feature on the island is the Monastery of Saint John, which is visible from virtually all sides and is located at the top of the hill above Chora. Dating back to 1088, this monastery is a beauty to behold, not only in its creative Byzantine designs but also the treasures that are inside.
The monastery boasts riches such as marble floors, elaborate wood carvings and rich decorations. Located next to the monastery is an ancient library with almost 10 thousand religious documents.
There are several beaches on the island, all fantastic for swimming. Kámpos is ideal for families because of its shallow water plus there are many special facilities for aquatic sports such as paddleboats and canoes to rent. Water skiing adventures can be arranged too.
Psili Ammos offers a quieter experience as it can only be reached by boat. The precious stones of Lámpi are worth collecting for a memento, whilst Maráthi boasts crystal clear waters and a lovely sandy beach.
Meloï offers decent snorkeling opportunities and the Greeks love their grilled fresh fish which you can sample some at any of the beach restaurants here.
The following cruise lines will visit Patmos during the summer/autumn seasons in 2015 and 2016.
Written by Veronica Shine