Nisyros is a unique island, not dependent on tourism, with a few beaches and two ravishing castles built by the Knights. The island is also known for its mined pumice and obsidian.
The main village is Mandraki, with older, strictly two-story buildings and everything a small community needs. Don’t miss a visit to the To kafeneio tou Nikola at Porta Square for a sweet drink and homemade soumada.
1. Geusea Restaurant in Mandraki
A fabulous main town restaurant, Geusea is one of the best in all of Greece. With a menu that rivals some Michelin star restaurants, the food is upmarket and sophisticated, and the location along the seafront is perfect for a romantic evening or a family meal. Try the shrimp orzo or the white fish with sea greens and you’ll leave feeling full and satisfied.
Getting there: The easiest way to get to Nisyros is to fly into Kos and then take a ferry to the island. There are several ferries each day, and the trip takes approximately 1 hour. You can also rent a car on Kos and drive to Nisyros, but be careful as the roads are narrow and winding, especially if you’re unfamiliar with Greek driving.
The food: Nisyros has some great restaurants and tavernas, especially in Mandraki. Be sure to try some of the local dishes, such as pithia (meatballs made from chickpeas), kapama (goat stuffed with rice), and skordalia, a dip that is infused with garlic and capers. For dessert, try the psilokouloura, which is similar to baklava, or the loukoumades (fried dough balls) that are often served with honey. If you like to drink, try koukouzina, the local version of raki.
Things to do: Spend time in the center of Mandraki, where you can find dozens of little artisan shops, whitewashed houses, and cafes with views of the imposing Dorian-built fortress that looms over the island. Wander around Ilikiomeni Square, where a giant ficus tree adorns the center, and browse the streets lined with bougainvillea trees and dotted with whitewashed churches. You can also visit the Municipal Bath House, where natural hot springs flow from a source located about 1.5 kilometers from the town.
Staying there: If you’re planning on spending a few nights in Mandraki, check out Porfyris Hotel in the center of town. It’s one of the few hotels on the island that offers rooms for a reasonable price, and it boasts a roof terrace with stunning views. Another good option is the Pension Nikia, which also offers affordable rooms and is located just a few blocks from the beach.
2. Aposperi Restaurant in Emporios
Nisyros is a very meat-centric island and this reflects in its cuisine. In the capital, Mandraki, you can find countless souvlaki joints and even a specialized pork shop. There is a new and cheery place called Aposperi that serves exemplary pork skewers. The spit is fueled by special kermes wood from the mountain and the meat is tender and tasty. You can also try the traditional lamb chops and grilled chicken.
East of Mandraki, the youngest village on the island, Paloi, is an enlivening seaport where you can enjoy the beach and local restaurants. The sandy beach is backed by tamarisk trees and is usually overrun with kids. The village is a lively yet tranquil destination and there are many hotels to choose from. A few of the main tavernas include Astradeni, Captain’s, and Ellinis.
The island has a couple of interesting and innovative bars that showcase modern Greek design and offer a new take on the local experience. One of them is Sterna, a two-bedroom 17th-century house owned by Greg Kountouris. The open-plan space features whitewashed walls that are the perfect blank canvas for natural discolouration, while sculptural pieces add a contemporary edge to the setting. Inside, creativity flows.
You can sample a new breed of gin in the bar and sip it with some apéritifs, like the island’s own kumquat infused with pomegranate. Other spots you shouldn’t miss include Loles Kores, a boutique that promotes Greek design and offers a unique collection of vintage clothes and decorative items.
Getting around Nisyros is easy. The main town of Mandraki has a network of narrow streets with cute shops and cafes. You can also visit the central square with its trademark hangout, Andrikos Café, to have a coffee or raki and some of the famous pies of the island.
If you want to explore the island, you can rent a car or scooter. The car rental companies in Nisyros are mainly located at the main port of Mandraki, near to the ferry terminal. You can check all the ferries that connect Nisyros with the Dodecanese islands on Ferryhopper and plan your summer island hopping adventure in just a few clicks.
3. Adrioti Meat in Nikia
The sister restaurant to Geusea this is the meat place with the spectacular views towards Tilos. The food is Greek standard with homemade dishes and a vibrant taste. The staff is exceptional: quick, welcoming and up for some small talk. The atmosphere may be some of the best on the island, mainly because of the stunning view of the Stefanos crater.
If you are looking for a delicious meal in the heart of Nisyros you must visit this place. They have a wide range of Greek foods including lamb chops, chicken skewers and fish. The prices are also very reasonable and the service is excellent.
We were in a tour group and our guide recommended this place for dinner. We were very happy with the food and service. The price was very reasonable and the portions were huge. The food was very tasty and the service was fast. We will definitely go back to this restaurant.
The Archaeological Museum is a must-see on your trip to Nisyros. The museum contains 3000 years of history and is a great way to learn about the island’s past. The staff is very helpful and knowledgeable about the museum’s exhibits.
It is a bit off the beaten path but well worth the trip!
Apololi Kori is a must-visit for those who are looking for an authentic taverna experience. The owners are warm and friendly, and the food is delicious. The grilled octopus is especially delicious, as are the stuffed grape leaves and the stuffed zucchini. The wine list is extensive, and the owner is very knowledgeable about the wines they serve.
If you want a romantic evening and amazing views, this is the place to go! The food is delicious, and the atmosphere is romantic and peaceful. You can sit on the balcony and enjoy the scenery, while eating the most delectable Greek meals. The service is also top notch, and the owner will make you feel at home. The food is worth the trip alone, but the view is even better!
4. Cafes in Nikia
Nisyros is a very special island and a place that has inspired many creators to produce works of art. The unique energy that emanates from the volcano as well as the otherworldly landscape of the island has created an aura of inspiration for many artists and Nisyros is now considered to be the “island of the arts”.
The island is not a tourist trap like some of the other Dodecanese islands, but it does attract a lot of visitors during the summer months. There are enough tavernas, ouzeries and cafes to satisfy the needs of the local community as well as the tourists who visit.
A great place to go for a cup of coffee on the island is the kafeneio tou Nikola which is located at Porta Square. It serves a variety of dishes and is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner. You can try traditional recipes such as boukounies, kapama, and skordalia with almonds as well as the famous adramythozoumo. For desert, you can choose from a number of traditional sweets including psilokouloura, xerotigana, diples, loukoumades, and foinikia.
Another popular choice for a cup of coffee on the island and one that is very close to the heart of the locals is Prigipos which is a very old cafe in the center of Mandraki. The owners of the café are very friendly and they will make you feel at home. They serve a variety of drinks and desserts, including raki.
Lastly, if you are looking for something different to try on the island then you should head to the adrioti meat restaurant in Nikia. The name of the restaurant is a play on words because it literally means to taste the meat. The meat on the island is very high quality and the adrioti meat is known for its delicious flavor.
Nisyros is an incredible destination that should be visited at least once in a lifetime. The island has a lot to offer from its natural hot springs to its ancient fortresses that seem to have been built by giants. The most impressive thing about the island though is the volcano, because you can actually walk inside of it and smell its sulfur.