Nisyros

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The Volcanic Island

Captivating Landscapes, Hypnotizing Sceneries and Thermal Springs under the Odours of Sulphur
Nisyros is a mysterious island of the Dodecanese that was captured from pirates, conquered from the knights and subjugated from the Turks, an island that hypnotizes the traveller from the captivating contrast between the lunar volcanic scenery of the inland and the surrounding fertile area of dark beaches and thermal springs. Nisyros shapes an exceptional character with its unique mystical beauty embellished with diversified landscapes of a seductive and idyllic volcano atmosphere. The island emits a distinctive charm that goes beyond natural beauty, possible due to the captivating energy vibes of the active volcano. The outstanding contrast between the volcanic colours of the volcano and the whitewashed houses of the Aegean will definitely amaze you while the lunar sceneries of the crater of the volcano with the odour of sulphur will make you want to hold your breath! Evident in every little stone, the volcanic composition of Nisyros has been originated from the massive eruptions millions of years ago. Fascinating contrasts between the dark brown earth and the deep blue sea forms a succession of darken seashores of extreme wild beauty. Nisyros is a truly genuine island with an unusual beauty. The captivating landscapes, the hypnotizing landscapes and the thermal springs might even feel like you have “Nisyriasi”: a word meaning a severe addiction to the volcanic energy of the island in the world of Nisyros!

Discover Nisyros

Best of Nisyros

The Capital of Nisyros

The Settlement of Mandraki is the capital and harbour of Nisyros located on the northwest side of the island. The beautiful settlement has a traditional character with whitewashed houses and wooden balconies, cobblestone alleys and charming churches. The square of Ilikiomeni is the favourite spot of the locals. In the wider area, one can visit the imposing fortress of Paleokastro, the fortified monastery of Panagia Spiliani and the beautiful building of the municipal thermal baths. Also, the stunning beach of Mandraki lies behind the monastery of Spiliani.

The Monastery of Panagia Spiliani

The Monastery of Panagia Spiliani is the religious centre of Nisyros located in the village of Mandraki. The main temple of the monastery is dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary while the adjacent chapel is dedicated of Agios Charalambos. The worship of the Holy Lady has an eminent significance in Nisyros. The monastery of Panagia Spiliani celebrates her memory from August 6 to August 15 an organization of a great feast where women from Nisyros and other islands single or married seek for the help of Holy Lady in rough times.

The Volcano of Nisyros

The Volcano of Nisyros is the youngest volcano of the Aegean. The volcano has a beautiful caldera of fifteen thousands years old boasting six main craters. The volcanic rocks of Nisyros form a unique palette of colours in the fertile region of the valley of Lakki. The volcanic crater of Stefanos is one of the biggest and well preserved hydrothermal craters in the world with a depth of twenty seven meters while the volcanic crater of Polyvotis is the largest volcanic crater with a depth of thirty meters and a diameter of two hundred sixty meters.

The Village of Nikia

The Village of Nikia is a mountainous village located on the south side of the island. Characterized as the most beautiful village of Nisyros, the charming settlement boasts a unique architecture with white houses, tiled roofs and colourful doors and windows. Nikia offers panoramic views to the volcano of Nisyros. The most important monuments of the village include the cobblestoned square of Porta that has been awarded as one of the best traditional squares of Europe, the beautiful church of Agios Ioannis Theologos.

Archaeological Sites

The Acropolis of Paleokastro is the ancient acropolis of Nisyros located above the south end of the village of Mandraki. Paleokastro is considered to be one of the best preserved fortifications of the Aegean. It is one of the oldest monuments of the island that displays the impressive cyclopean walls of the area made from black trachyte. Parts of the defensive system of the island used to communicate with the neighbouring islets with a chain system of smoke and fire with the intention of warning about forthcoming invasions.

Other interesting archaeological sites include the Cyclopean Walls in the areas of Tafies, Vathia and Messes, the Fortress Walls close to the Monastery of Panagia Kyra, the Remnants of Public Buildings and Ancient Temples in the neighbourhood of Agios Savvas, the Remains of Big Buildings and an Ancient Tomb in the region of Hellinika, the Ruins of an Ancient Temple outside the gate of Paleokastro and a Structure of Black Trachyte close to the Monastery of Panagia Spiliani.

Castles and Fortresses

The Castle of Pantoniki is a preserved medieval castle located in the village of Emborios. Within the premises of the castle, one can visit the byzantine church of Taxiarhis distinguished for its rich collection of frescoes. The castle of Pantoniki offers panoramic views of the surrounding areas.

Churches and Monasteries

The Church of Agios Ioannis Theologos is located outside the village of Nikia.  The whitewashed church has an impressive bell tower while it is distinguished for its panoramic views to the volcano of Nisyros.

The Church of Panagia Thermiani is located close to the village of Pali. The church was built in front of the abandoned roman bath building. It is dedicated to Panagia Thermiani. Allegedly, Hippocrates used to have an infirmary in order to take advantage of the warm waters of the spring.

The Church of Presentation of Virgin Mary is one of the most beautiful churches of the country located at the square of Porta in the village of Nikia.

The Monastery of Evangelistria is a beautiful monastery located four kilometres away from the village of Mandraki. The monastery has a single chamber structure covered from a built arch and roof tiles. Cells and appurtenant spaces are situated around the monastery. Every Tuesday after Easter Sunday, the traditional celebration in honour of the saint takes place in the monastery.

The Monastery of Panagia Kyra is located in the village of Emborio. The monastery celebrates in honour of the saint on August 23.

The Monastery of Panagia Spiliani is the religious centre of Nisyros located in the village of Mandraki. The main temple of the monastery is dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary while the adjacent chapel is dedicated of Agios Charalambos. The worship of the Holy Lady has an eminent significance in Nisyros. The monastery of Panagia Spiliani celebrates her memory from August 6 to August 15 an organization of a great feast where women from Nisyros and other islands single or married seek for the help of Holy Lady in rough times.

Monuments

The Building of the Municipal Thermal Baths is an impressive building located one kilometer away from the village of Mandraki. The facilities were created with the funding of the residents of the island and the compulsory labor of the locals for the common good. The building has been declared as a historical monument from the Ministry of Culture.

The Square of Porta is one of the most beautiful squares of the country located in the village of Nikia.  It has an ellipsoid shape and a pebbled floor designer from a famous artist of the 19th century named Paschalis Pashalakis. The square of Porta has been awarded as one of the best traditional squares in Europe.

Museums

The Archaeological Museum of Nisyros is housed in Hestia Gianidios close to the Square of Heroes in the village of Mandraki. Exhibits include a series of findings including vases, sculptures and tombstones from the Hellenistic period.

The Ecclesiastical Museum of Nisyros is housed in the monastery of Panagia Spiliani. Exhibits include a rich collection of ecclesiastical utensils, crosses, chalices and old gospels.

The Historical and Folklore Museum of Nisyros is housed in a traditional residence at the stairs towards the Monastery of Panagia Spiliani. Exhibits include folklore artefacts, arts objects and embroidery of the traditional life of the people of the island.

The Volcanological Museum of Nisyros is the sole volcanological museum in Greece housed in the elementary school of the village of Nikia. The museum exhibits pictures and samples of diagrams, maps, rocks, photographs of the volcanic activity of the island. In a close distance, one will find the volcanological observatory that records data from all the active volcanoes.

Natural Beauties

The Natural Thermal Springs of Loutra are located on the northern side of the capital of Mandraki, the Natural Thermal Springs of Thermiani are located next to the Chapel of Panagia Thermiani near the village of Palli and the Natural Thermal Springs of Avlaki are located on the northern side of the island.  The natural springs have therapeutic properties for arthritis, rheumatism and dermal diseases while the temperature range between 30 to 60 degrees of Celsius.

The Volcano of Nisyros is the youngest volcano of the Aegean. The volcano has a beautiful caldera of fifteen thousands years old boasting six main craters. The volcanic rocks of Nisyros form a unique palette of colours in the fertile region of the valley of Lakki. The volcanic crater of Stefanos is one of the biggest and well preserved hydrothermal craters in the world with a depth of twenty seven meters while the volcanic crater of Polyvotis is the largest volcanic crater with a depth of thirty meters and a diameter of two hundred sixty meters.

Promenades & Villages

Emborios is a mountainous village located on the northeast side of the island. The charming settlement has a traditional character with whitewashed alleys and marvellous old doors surrounded from the medieval castle of Pantoniki. Built on the verdant mountain slopes, Emborios offers breathtaking views over the caldera. At the centre of the village, one will find a charming square with traditional shops and panoramic views of the volcano. Next to the entrance of Emborios, one can visit the cave of Panagia Listiriotissa that is renowned for its natural sauna owing to the heat from the volcanic activity.

Mandraki is the capital and harbour of Nisyros located on the northwest side of the island. The beautiful settlement has a traditional character with whitewashed houses and wooden balconies, cobblestone alleys and charming churches. The square of Ilikiomeni is the favourite spot of the locals. In the wider area, one can visit the imposing fortress of Paleokastro, the fortified monastery of Panagia Spiliani and the beautiful building of the municipal thermal baths. Also, the stunning beach of Mandraki lies behind the monastery of Spiliani.

Nikia is a mountainous village located on the south side of the island. Characterized as the most beautiful village of Nisyros, the charming settlement boasts a unique architecture with white houses, tiled roofs and colourful doors and windows. Nikia offers panoramic views to the volcano of Nisyros. The most important monuments of the village include the cobblestoned square of Porta that has been awarded as one of the best traditional squares of Europe, the beautiful church of Agios Ioannis Theologos.

Pali is a seaside village located on the north side of the island. It is one of the oldest settlements of Nisyros that spreads around the natural bay. The village is a favourite anchorage for sailboats and it is an ideal place for those looking for tranquillity. It is worth visiting the the Hippocratic Baths and the church of Panagia Thermiani.

Sunset Spots

Spot: Beach of Hohlaki, Northwest Nisyros

Spot: Monastery of Panagia Spiliani, Northwest Nisyros

Spot: Volcanological Museum, South Nisyros

Excursions

Boat Trip: The Island of Kos has been the crossroads of cultures and civilizations from the mythological era of Hercules and the Hellenistic period of Asclepius. Kos is a mysterious place where the beauty of Ancient Greece meets the Oriental exotic elegance and the sophistication of Italy. The rich history of Kos is visible all over the island through the scattered heritage of historical monuments. Kos gives a taste of multiculturalism as evidenced from the unique architecture that embraces all the historical periods of the island, an exciting history that gave birth to a culture with impressive monuments of incomparable beauty. The imposing purity of this beautiful island is combined with the exotic natural beauty of endless sandy beaches that compete with the verdant valleys and water springs. Every corner of the island is hiding an unexpected surprise. Dive in the crystalline waters of Paradise, enjoy the sunset from the village of Zia, wander around the cultural wealth of Asclepius, cycle to the Palm Avenue of Kos, surf to the waves of Mastihari, hike to the mountain of Dikeos, swim to the isle of Kastri and visit the volcanic island of Nisyros to experience the unique beauty of Kos! Mountainous traditional villages and medieval monuments, exotic natural beauty sceneries with the spirit of Hippocrates wandering around the island under the sun of the Aegean, it is no wonder that the island of Kos hides dozens of unrevealed beauties.

Boat Trip: The Island of Tilos is waiting for you to discover striking medieval castles, imposing mountains with natural springs, pristine beaches, charming churches, the cave of the dwarf elephants and the abandoned medieval village of Mikro Horio! The spectacular beauty of Tilos boasts mountainous and rocky landscapes blessed with verdant hills and an abundant variety of plants of almond trees, bluebells, orchids, oaks and shamrocks that create a colourful patchwork of fragrances. Megalo Horio is the charming capital of the island with a traditional character. Whitewashed houses, flowery courtyards and cobblestone alleys spread around the traces of the medieval castle. When the sun is trying to hide behind the imposing mountains of Tilos, the shades of orange shine under the imperious castle of the Knights. You will be dazzled from the mysterious village of Mikro Horio that comes alive only during the night while the romantic promenades in the charming village of Agios Antonios will amaze you! The wild natural beauty of the island is unique and this is the reason that the local people of Tilos founded a non-profit association for the Ecological Park of Tilos with the purpose of preserving and protecting the natural and cultural heritage of the island through the awareness of the locals and the travellers. You will be captivated from the indescribable tranquility of Tilos along with its rugged beauty; just don’t forget to take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints!

Activities

Hiking: Nisyros hosts numerous paths ideal for lovers of hiking. (1) One of the most beautiful routes is the one that starts from the monastery of Evangelistria and leads to the highest point of Nisyros. There, you will find the beautiful monastery of Prophet Elias with panoramic views of the surrounding areas. Discover more information from the Official Website of Nisyros.

Thermal Springs: The natural thermal springs of Avlaki, Loutra and Thermiani are known for their therapeutic properties for arthritis, rheumatism and dermal diseases. The temperature ranges between 30 to 60 degrees of Celsius.

Beaches

Agios Savas is a sandy and pebbled beach with blue waters located on the northwest side of the island. The beach is secluded ideal for those looking for tranquillity.

Gialiskari, else known as Lefki, is a dark sandy beach with deep blue waters located on the north side of the island. The beach is isolated ideal for those looking for tranquillity and relaxation. A tavern operates at the beach.

Hohlaki is a volcanic black-pebbled beach with blue waters located on the northwest side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of the island with stunning natural beauty sceneries.

Lies is a long dark sandy beach with blue waters located on the east side of the island. The beach is isolated ideal for those looking for seclusion. A fish tavern operates at the end of the beach.

Pali is a sandy beach with blue waters and tamarisk trees located on the north side of the island. The beach is easily accessible and offers panoramic views to the municipal buildings of the thermal baths.

Pahia Ammos is a black sandy beach with blue waters located on the east side of the island. It is considered to be the most beautiful beach of the island. The beach is isolated ideal for those looking for tranquillity and relaxation.

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktails Inspirations

Coffee Corners

Bakery of Pali: Pastries, Pali

Cafe Porta: Coffee and Snacks, Porta Square

Kafenio tou Nikola: Coffee, Nikia

Piccolo Cafe: Coffee, Mandraki

Proveza Cafe: Coffee, Mandraki

Ta Liotridia: Coffee, Mandraki

Gastronomic Delights

Andriotis: Ouzo and Meze, Nikia

Apiria: Greek Cuisine, Emborios

Astradeni: Seafood, Pali

Captain’s House: Seafood, Pali

Irini: Greek Cuisine, Mandraki

Kleanthis: Seafood, Mandraki

Limenari: Greek Cuisine, Mandraki

Panorama: Greek Cuisine, Mandraki

To Balconi tou Emporiou: Greek Cuisine, Emporios

Cocktails Inspirations

Enallax: Cocktails and Drinks, Mandraki

Mira Mare: Cocktails and Drinks, Mandraki

Local Products & Specialties

The local products of the island include the non-alcoholic almond drink of soumada, the cheeses of krasotyri and trigias and the local honey.

The local specialties of the island include kapamas, a dish made with stuffed goat meat, boukounies, a dish made with pork meat cooked in grease, pithia, a type made with chickpea nuggets, marinated fish, pork cooked with fat, loukoumades (donuts), pastelaries, a dish made of figs filled with sesame and almonds, a variety of spoon sweets including orange, cherry tomato and quince, kanelada, a cinnamon refreshment drink, soumada, an almond refreshment drink, and koukouzina, an alcoholic drink.

Events & Festivals

Every 20th of June, the traditional celebration in honour of Agios Nikitas takes place in the village of Mandraki. Agios Nikitas is the patron saint of Nisyros.

Every 14th and 15th of August, the traditional celebration in honour in honour of Vigin Mary takes place in the Monastery of Panagia Spiliani. The feast is followed from traditional dancing and music accompanied from traditional food specialties.

Every 23rd of August, the traditional celebration in honour of the nine days from the presentation of Virgin Mary takes place in the Monastery of Panagia Kyra hosting traditional dancing and music accompanied from traditional food specialties.

Every 26th of September, the traditional celebration in honour in honour of Agios Ioannis the Theologian takes place in the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos in the village of Nikia.

History & Mythology

Mythology

According to mythology, the god of the sea chased the titan Polyvotis and buried him by throwing him a rock cut from the island of Kos during the war between the Gods and the Titans. The legendary rock of Kos created the beautiful island of Nisyros.

History

Nisyros historically followed the path of Kos by shaping its own unique character retaining its unique mystical beauty with a charming landscape of a seductive and idyllic volcano atmosphere. Nisyros flourished during the 5th century BC while it was captured from the Persians and freed from the Athenians, becoming a member of the Delian League. Thereafter, the island was conquered from the Macedonians and the Roman Empire, followed from great prosperity during the Roman and Byzantine period. Nisyros suffered from a series of pirate invasions until it passed to the Knights of Saint John who built five fortresses in the strategic areas of the island, followed from a massive volcanic eruption which led to the create of the crater in the middle of the island. Nisyros was reunited with Greece in March of 1948, after the Italian and Turkish occupation and the end of the Second World War.

Travel & Transport

By Boat (254 Nautical Miles): Nisyros is accessible by boat from the harbour of Piraeus. The journey usually lasts from twelve to fourteen hours. The quickest way to get to Nisyros is by airplane to the island of Kalymnos, and by boat. The boat journey from Kalymnos usuallyt lasts three hours. Book your tickets with FerriesinGreece.com !

Mysterious Greece Tips

An Excursion of the Isle of Giali

Gyali is a volcanic island of the Dodecanese located close to Nisyros. Gyali consists from obsidian lava domes and pumice deposits. It is an ideal destination for swimming. Excursion boats operate from the harbour of Mandraki.

Black Lava Pebbles: Nisyros Beaches

The beaches of Nisyros are known for their dark black pebbles and the dark blue waters. Pahia Ammos is considered to be the most beautiful beach of Nisyros with sceneries of extreme wild beauty. The beach of Hohlaki is distinguished for the unique rugged landscapes!

Enjoy your Coffee at the Square of Porta

The Square of Porta is one of the most beautiful squares of the country located in the village of Nikia.  It has an ellipsoid shape and a pebbled floor designer from a famous artist of the 19th century named Paschalis Pashalakis. The square of Porta has been awarded as one of the best traditional squares in Europe.

Enjoy your Cocktail at Liotridia in Mandraki

Looking for a place to enjoy your cocktail with panoramic views to the Aegean? This would be Liotridia!

Exclusively for Photographers

The natural diversity and the hidden hinterland of Nisyros offer numerous astonishing sceneries to capture with your eyes! But it would be a shame not to remember those beautiful landscapes, wouldn’t it? So, make sure you bring your camera with you!

Explore the Unexplored: Lakki Valley

The Valley of Lakki is an open-air geological museum of the geomorphology of the island and it is ideal for exploring the volcanic craters of Nisyros. You will need special equipment to explore this unique phenomenon!

Hiking in An Active Volcano: An Experience of A Lifetime

Lovers of volcanoes will fall in love immediately with Nisyros. The volcano of Nisyros is the youngest volcano of the Aegean. The volcano has a beautiful caldera of fifteen thousands years old boasting six main craters. The volcanic rocks of Nisyros form a unique palette of colours in the fertile region of the valley of Lakki. The volcanic crater of Stefanos is one of the biggest and well preserved hydrothermal craters in the world with a depth of twenty seven meters while the volcanic crater of Polyvotis is the largest volcanic crater with a depth of thirty meters and a diameter of two hundred sixty meters.

It’s Sunset Time

Wandering where you will enjoy the best sunset in Nisyros? This would be the beach of Hohlaki!

Kalderimia, Spiladia & Vastadia

The entire island of Nisyros is full of dry stonewalls, known as vastadia from the locals. Vastadia were created to support the terrain and create lanes of cultivable land. Stony cottages, known as spiladia, are built between the vastadia. Paved paths and trails, known as kalderimia, can be used from lovers of walking to explore the beautiful hinterland of Nisyros!

Must Visit: An Exquisite Traditional Architecture

Nikia is a mountainous village located on the south side of the island. Characterized as the most beautiful village of Nisyros, the charming settlement boasts a unique architecture with white houses, tiled roofs and colourful doors and windows. Nikia offers panoramic views to the volcano of Nisyros. The most important monuments of the village include the cobblestoned square of Porta that has been awarded as one of the best traditional squares of Europe, the beautiful church of Agios Ioannis Theologos.

Observing like an Olympian God

From the monastery of Panagia Spiliani, one will have the opportunity to admire one of the best views of the northern coastline of Nisyros! The village of Nikia provides astonishing views to the volcano of Nisyros while you will witness one of the most beautiful views if you hike up to the church of Prophet Elias in the area of Diavatis!

One of A Kind Museum: The Volcanological Museum of Nisyros

One of the most interesting museums of the country is the Volcanological Museum of Nisyros. It is unique in its kind exhibiting pictures and samples of diagrams, maps, rocks, photographs of the volcanic activity of the island housed in the elementary school of the village of Nikia. In a close distance, there is a Volcanological observatory recording data from all the active volcanoes.

Participate in the Authentic Festivals of Nisyros

Nisyros is well known for the local festivities held in the summer. On June 21, one will have the opportunity to attend the traditional celebration held in honor of the saint protector of Nisyros, namely Agios Nikitas. However, the biggest traditional festival is held in honour of Virgin Mary at the monastery of Panagia Spiliani on August 15.

Spring in Nisyros

The best time for hiking is the spring, when the wildflowers are blooming in the fields and the hillsides!

Photo Credits

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Note: All the images are copyrighted from their owners. Please see Terms & Conditions. You can find the original images at the following links:

Aerial View: Robo Sramo by Panoramio

Building of the Thermal Springs of Nisyros: Nisyros.igme.gr

Chapel of Prophet Elias: Visitgreece by Flickr

Crater of Nisyros: Visitgreece by Flickr

Emborios Village: Visitgreece by Flickr

Hohlaki Beach: Visitgreece by Flickr

Mandraki Village: Shutterstock

Monastery of Evangelistria: Visitgreece by Flickr

Pahia Ammos Beach: Visitgreece by Flickr

Paleokastro: Visitgreece by Flickr

Porta square: Visitgreece by Flickr

Pumice Mines at Giali islet: Galaxy.hua.gr