General Information on Nisyros
The island of Nisyros belongs to the Dodecanese cluster and lies between Kos and Tilos. The island has a surface area of about 41km² and it is inhabited by approximately 1000 people. Nisyros is very quiet, far from the tourism of other Greek islands. You won’t find a buzzing nightlife here, but many picturesque taverns, traditional cafes and bars. Nisyros is a volcanic, almost circular island, which fascinates visitors with its dark brown earth, white houses and deep blue sea.
History of Nisyros
The history of the island is intertwined with its mythology and gives Nisyros an aura of mystery. According to mythology, god Neptune, who helped Zeus against the Titans, pursued giant Polyvotis. When they reached the island of Kos, Neptune cut a part of it with his trident and threw it against Polyvotis, burying him underneath. The island was created by this fragment of Kos and the volcano of the island was created in the place where the mouth of the giant is.
The myth shows the close relation between the islands of Nisyros and Kos up to this day, and their political, moral, social and economical bonds.
The history of Nisyros is common with that of the southeastern Aegean islands. The 5th and 4th centuries B.C. constitute the period of the island’s great prosperity. It was captured by the Persians, freed by the Athenians and became a member of the Delean League. Later, it passed under Macedonian occupation and finally became part of the Roman Empire.
After the Roman and Byzantine peace, thanks to which the islands experienced times of prosperity, followed centuries of insecurity and pirate raids. In 1312 A.D. the island passed to the Knights of Rhodes which marked their presence by building five fortresses in the strategic points of the island. In 1522 the Turks invaded the island of Rhodes, which passed to the preferential regime of the “mactoux” particular form. In 1912 the Italians succeeded the Turks and by the end of World War II, the island was integrated to Greece along with the other islands of the Dodecanese group.
Towns & Villages in Nisyros
Mandraki: This is the capital and the harbor of the island. The settlement has two-storey houses with brightly painted wooden balconies and a web of alleys and paths which huddle below the monastery and the central square. This is the largest village of the island and visitors may find everything they might need.
Emporios: This mountainous traditional village perch on the volcanic rim has very few inhabitants and amazing views over the volcano. It is a very quiet place with limited tourist facilities.
Paloi: This small picturesque fishing village is the port-town of Emporeio. The settlement has plenty of places to eat and few hotels and rooms for rent. Also some of the best beaches of the island are here.
Nikea: The picturesque village of Nikea in contrast to Emborios, buzzes with life. The settlement is mountainous with white houses and vibrant gardens, and a central square with a lovely pebble mosaic. As Emborios, Nikea features a panoramic view to the volcano.
Beaches in Nisyros
Hohlaki: This is the closest beach to the capital of the island. It lies next to Spiliani Fortress (10 minutes on foot) at Hohlaki. The beach is formed from volcanic lava and thus has black pebbles. Unless the wind blows, waters are calm and the beach is ideal for swimming.
Aspri Ammos Beach: This beach is located 3.5km from Mandraki. It has white sand and shallow waters and from there, you can visit the islets of Yiali and Agios Antonios and their charming beaches.
Paloi: The beach at the village Paloi is very large with sand, pebbles and many trees.
Pachia Ammos: This beach is located at a distance of 15 minutes on foot from Lies. It is sandy with crystal clear waters and the nearby village offers some taverns and cafes as long as accommodation.
Top Things to Do in Nisyros
1. Volcano: One of the natural attractions of Nisyros is the volcano, on its central area, near the village of Nikea, on the plateau of Lakki. It is an active volcano with five craters in the caldera. A path descends into the largest one, Stefanos, where you can examine the multicolored fumaroles, listen to their hissing and smell their vapors. The surface around the caldera is soft and hot, making sturdy footwear essential. The easiest way to visit the volcano is by tourist bus, but you can also go on your own from the nearby village of Nikea.
2. Paleokastro: The Old Fortress with the ruins of the ancient city is located 4km southwest of the capital. Starting from the classical antiquity period, the acropolis of the ancient town of Mandraki, Palaiokastro, is maintained in perfect condition. The wall and the cliff set the border of the surface area at about 130.000m² in total with an overall perimeter of 2km, whereas the weight of several stones of the wall may reach 3.5 tons.
3. The Monastery of Panagia Spiliani: This is the most important monastery of the island, built in a cave dominating the village of Mandraki. The main temple is dedicated to the Assumption of Holy Virgin, while the adjacent chapel is dedicated to Saint Charalambos. This 14th-century Monastery constitutes the religious symbol of the island.
How to Reach Nisyros
Sea: Nisyros is connected to the Dodecanese by regular ferry routes. There is a frequent service to Kos (2 hours). During summertime, the services may be more frequent.
Air: You may fly to Kos and then take the local ferry to Nisyros.
Getting Around in Nisyros
Bus: There are two companies running up to 10 excursion buses every day to the volcano. Also there are about three daily buses to Nikea via Pali. The bus stop is at the quay.
Weather in Nisyros
The island of Nisyros has a typical Mediterranean climate with a lot of sunny days throughout the year. The temperatures of air and water are quite high during the course of many months.
Top 10 Destinations in Nisyros
All Destinations in Nisyros
Map of Nisyros