Overview of Nisyros
Dodecanese Nisyros emits a strangely captivating energy, owed probably to the island’s active volcano, which occupies the largest part of it. Myth says that Nisyros was created amidst the war between Gods and Titans, being the rock under which lays the Titan Polivotis, sunk and defeated by the mighty Poseidon. Every time Polivotis struggles to escape, his breath penetrates the ground and earth trembles (like in a volcano eruption). In any case, and thanks to its volcanic origins, this Greek island boasts of magnificent landscapes: A compelling contrast between the inland’s lunar volcano scenery and the surrounding fertile areas of rich flora and fauna, dark colored beaches and thermal springs.
Nisyros has been mainly a day-trip excursion from the neighboring Kos, but in the past few years it welcomes more and more visitors, thankfully without losing its trademark unspoiled character. This Greek island is perfect for alternative travelers – nature lovers, hikers, explorers and anyone else who wishes to enjoy serenity, plus a few highly picturesque villages. The port and capital of Mandraki (with many amenities) is the largest of them. Stroll among its whitewashed houses, maze of cobbled alleys with impressive mosaics, have a drink at Platia (square) Ilikiomenis and visit the castle of the Knights of St John, among other sights.
The photogenic mountainous settlements of Emborios and Nikia are also not to be missed. Formerly densely populated Emborios features interesting architecture, with many houses that have been restored by Greek and foreign visitors. The traditional village of Nikia with its beautiful houses, churches and the famed main square of Porta is located at the rim of the caldera. The views from here are superb and the awe you feel as you walk inside the volcano, hard to describe; the same as this mysterious and hospitable Greek island.
Things to see & do
: One of the most famed beaches of the island, mainly because of its impressive big black volcanic pebbles and crystal blue waters. It’s at walking distance from Mandraki. 8.0 : For many, it’s the most beautiful beach on Nisyros. It has dark thick sand, dunes, no shade nor facilities, while it’s also nudist friendly and free campers’ favorite. You have to walk a rough path for 10 minutes in order to reach it. 8.0 : Despite its name, this beach has thin dark colored sand, plus a few tamarisk trees and a tavern. It is located 2 km east of the capital, Mandraki. 7.0 : At the southern part of Nisyros lays this isolated, quiet beach, also with dark pebbles. It is ideal for swimming and relaxation. 7.0 : A long beach with dark sand, comprised by successive small coves that also feature pebbles. Apart from a tavern, there are no amenities or shade, so make sure you carry your own supplies. 7.0
: Mediterranean cuisine. 9.0 : Emborios, Greek cuisine. 9.0 : Mandraki, Greek cuisine. 8.0 : Emborios, Greek cuisine. 8.0
: One of the top attractions among the Greek islands, the volcano on Nisyros guarantees an unforgettable experience, as it gives you the opportunity to actually walk inside the crater and feel the special energy of the site. The (dormant yet still active) caldera is 15.000 years old and boasts of six main craters: Stefanos (with a diameter of 260 m and a 30 m depth it’s the biggest one - also one of the largest hydrothermal craters in the world), small Stefanos or Andreas, Logothetis, Megalos Polivotis, Mikros Polivotis and Alexandros. The landscape of the volcano is absolutely captivating and the smell of hydrogen sulfide is intense. Make sure you wear athletic shoes and avoid visiting at noon, as the temperatures are rather high. Wanna know more about Nisyros’ volcano? Do visit the modern Volcanological Museum at the village of Nikia, where you can also enjoy a panoramic view of the caldera. 10.0 : Fancy some island hopping? From Nisyros there are boat connections to Kos, Tilos, Symi, Astypalea, Chalki, Kalymnos and Rhodes. 9.0 : Nisyros’ rich gastronomy includes specialties such as kapamas (stuffed goat meat), pithia (balls made with chick peas), boukounies (pork meat cooked in grease) and also fine caper, myzithra and tyria (types of cheese). As for the sweets, you can have loukoumades (donuts), xerotigana and diples, kourambiedes (sugar buns), pastelaries (figs filled with almonds and sesame) and a variety of spoon sweets (quince, bitter orange, cherry tomato). You can also drink koukouzina (alcohol drink made of figs or grapes, similar to the Cretan raki), soumada (made from almond extract) and sapsicho (distillate of rosemary). 8.0 : Located between Kos and Nisyros, this tiny volcanic island is well-known for the pumice stones mine and gorgeous beaches where you can have a swim. 8.0 : The medieval castle of Pantoniki, the church of Taxiarches, the Natural Sauna and the Monastery of Panagia Kyra at the village of Emborios. Also, the caves near the beach of Katsouni and the chapel of Panagia Thermiani, built inside the Roman Baths, both located at the fishing village of Pali. 7.0 : The island’s number one feast takes place on August 15th at Panagia Spiliani, Nisyros’ patron saint. It is a major celebration with lots of music, dance and local food and the preparations start at August 6th, according to tradition. More feasts are held on June 21st, July 27th and August 23rd. 7.0 : The capital’s Archaeological Museum and Folklore Museum provide a nice overview of the island’s history, customs and lifestyle. The Monastery of Panagia Spiliani, also located at Mandraki, is one of Nisyros’ top attractions and a major pilgrim centre. It is situated at the hilltop, in the castle of the Knights of St John, offering panoramic views. A great part of this 14th c monastery is actually built inside a cave, while it also features many important ecclesiastical relics. 7.0 : The ancient acropolis of Nisyros is also situated at the area of Mandraki, where the island’s ancient capital used to be. It is one of the best preserved fortifications found in the Aegean, with impressive volcanic rock cyclopean walls. From here the views are absolutely superb. 7.0 : Thanks to the island’s volcanic origins, there are many thermal spas and springs, famous since antiquity. Three of the most popular spots can be found at Loutra (close to Mandraki), Thermiani (near Pali) and Avlaki. 7.0
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