Patmos harbor and the port town of Skala.

Patmos / Πάτμος

Relaxing on Patmos

Patmos has been home to Temple of Artemis, then the visions of John of Patmos and his Revelation, and now the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and its library and theological studies. It could all get overwhelming.

Patmos can also be a nice place to relax.

I advise spending at least three nights on Patmos. You will probably arrive on a late evening ferry. Then you would have one day each for the Cave of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian. They're open for limited hours, and you can only take in so much in a day before things become a blur.

But then stay at least one more night for a full day of simply exploring and observing Skala. I stayed on Patmos for four nights.

Let's start with some Greek coffee. It's made in a briki, a small copper coffee pot.

Don't bring this up with the Greeks, but this is really Turkish coffee. The Turks call the small long-handled pot a cezve, which is pronounced the way an English speaker would say "jezve". The Turks got their word from Arabic. The Greeks borrowed a different Arabic word to get their word briki.

Greek coffee in the central square in Skala on Patmos.
Greek coffee in the central square in Skala on Patmos.

The goal is to bring and water and ground coffee to the point of just barely boiling, forming a foam that will persist as they bring you the briki and cup, and as you pour it into the cup.

Greek coffee in the central square in Skala on Patmos.
Greek coffee in the central square in Skala on Patmos.

Tell them in advance if you want it σκέτος, meaning plain or ordinary, or με ζάχαρη meaning with sugar, or γλυκός meaning sweet, which might end up quite sweet indeed.

They might also bring ένα γλυκό or a sweet. Here I have a piece of what I would call Turkish delight or lokum, another name the Turks borrowed from Arabic. In Greece it's called λουκούμι or loukoumi, and marketed as "Greek Delight". Whatever you call it, it's a rubbery confection based on a gel of starch and sugar, typically coated with powdered sugar so it doesn't merge into one sticky mass in the container.

Greek coffee in the central square in Skala on Patmos.

Several tavernas are on the central plaza, and others are in side streets.

Central square in Skala on Patmos.

I saw several people who I believe were from Britain and who had moved there long-term. When you think of British winters, that's certainly understandable! They spoke Greek to the locals and seemed to know everyone, so they had been here for some time.

Patmos is famous, but it's off the well-beaten path compared to many other locations in Greece. It has no airport, so an international trip would have to start by ferry and then continue by air. As we saw, from Piraeus (Athens) to Patmos takes about seven hours. In the opposite direction, you would catch that long Piraeus–Rhodes ferry returning to Piraeus, boarding in Patmos around 0200 and arriving in Piraeus the next morning. Kos has an airport, so a ferry to Kos (with stops on Arkoi, Leipsoi, Leros, and Kalimnos) and then a flight to Athens would be another way to start an international trip.

The total population on Patmos was 2,998 people at the 2011 census, plus another 44 on Arkoi and 5 on Marathos, for 3,047 in the whole municipality of Patmos.

There's a medical clinic with several physicians along the road from Skala to Hora, a little below the Cave of the Apocalypse, and some specialists have offices in Skala. However, hospital care would require transport to a more populous island — by helicopter in emergencies, or by ferry if the patient's condition, the ferry schedule, and the weather allowed.

The post office and police station are near the port at the corner of the main πλατεία.

Post office and police station on the central square in Skala on Patmos.

The road from Hora down to Skala turns at the port and runs along the harbor's waterfront.

Skala on Patmos.
Skala on Patmos.

Patmos is a Greek island, so of course there are fishing boats supplying the local tavernas.

Fishing boat in the harbor at Skala on Patmos.
The harbor at Skala on Patmos.
Fishing boat in the harbor at Skala on Patmos.
Fishing boat in the harbor at Skala on Patmos.

This Dodekanisos Seaways ferry is leaving Patmos on the run to Kos via Arkoi, Leipsoi, Leros, and Kalimnos. I will take it to my next stop on this trip, Leros.

Small ferry leaving the harbor at Skala on Patmos.

But first, another day on Patmos. Lunch is χωριάτικι σαλάτα or a horiatiki salad — tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, olives, and bell peppers, with a slice of feta, and topped with oregano and olive oil.

I like the anodized aluminium pitchers.

Greek salad and wine in Skala on Patmos.

The tavernas operate into the night.

Taverna in the evening in Skala on Patmos.

Check ferry schedules and buy tickets:

And now, maybe it's time to move on to the next island.

Or, Continue Through Greece: