Patmos is a bit of a schlep to get to, but that’s also part of its special charm. It’s a town for travellers who appreciate a specific sort of energy that’s reflected in everything from the UNESCO-protected monastery to the dreamy main square, Agia Levias.
A visit to this Greek Island would not be complete without trying some of its local foods! From Patmian cheese pies to fragrant courgette flowers and prickly pear liquor.
The mystical island of Patmos is the epitome of an authentic Greek destination. A place of spiritual pilgrimage for many Christians, it’s also a haven for aesthetes who flock to its shoreline and cobbled hilltop villages for serenity and relaxation. From the cave where John wrote the Book of Revelation to its ancient monasteries, it exudes an atmosphere of calm and beauty that attracts visitors from around the world.
The port village of Skala and Chora, the capital of Patmos, have a plethora of traditional little taverns offering seafood and local dishes. But to get the best out of the island’s culinary experience, head to Vaggelis in one of the most picturesque squares of Patmos, the dreamy and enchanting Agia Levia. This long-established tavern has been a meeting point for locals and visitors for decades, and it passionately preserves its original idea and ideals. Here you can try all the local delights from fried cod with garlic, shrimps with homemade barley, salad with herbs from their garden, slowly stewed goat and more.
Besides its top restaurants, Patmos offers several stunning beaches where you can swim and relax in the crystal clear waters and sandy stretches. The pristine beach at Grikos is a must, as it offers umbrellas and loungers comfortable enough to spend the whole day under the sun. But don’t forget that all beaches on the island have something special to offer – just chat with a local and they will tell you all about the best spots based on your personal preferences. After all, that’s the way Greek hospitality works.
2. Jimmy’s Balcony
For many, Patmos is a spiritual island, the place where the Bible Book of Revelation was written and it has an aura that permeates every corner of this beautiful Aegean island. From the rugged coastline with its light blue waters and secluded coves to the medieval Chora with its maze of pretty alleyways lined with cascading bougainvillea and imposing monastery, Patmos is a nostalgic destination.
Just below the monastery is Jimmy’s Balcony, a cafe with tables installed on a veranda overlooking the Skala port and the sea. It is a favorite spot for visitors to stop for a quick snack and coffee before or after visiting the monastery, and its popularity means that it can get crowded.
The owner of this small restaurant is a sociable, hardworking man who knows his cooking and creates a welcoming atmosphere for his customers, who come from all over the world. The Greek local recipes and snacks that he serves here are excellent. He prepares dishes that satisfy the tastes of people of all ages and also those with special diets.
It is a good idea to arrive here early in the morning to grab a table, or even better, reserve one, as it gets packed very quickly, especially during high season. The menu of this restaurant is varied and includes Greek traditional recipes as well as a variety of fast food, side dishes, salads, and desserts. The desserts here are very tasty and include baklava, tavlata and a delicious yogurt with honey. All the meats that are served here are fresh, and the fried fish is delicious as well. You can try clam cakes, fried clams and steamers, as well as a variety of fresh seafood.
Patmos is a picturesque island in the Dodecanese region of Greece, best known as the place from where the Apocalypse of John was written. Its serene beauty attracts visitors from all over the world, including VIPs like the Aga Khan and David Bowie. While the monastery remains a major draw, it doesn’t dominate island life. That’s the word from Christos Patakos, manager of the five-star hotel Patmos Aktis. He’s not against an airport on the island, but says it’d only marginally increase tourism. “An airport here is not good for the environment,” he adds, arguing that it would pollute the waters around the island.
One of the top spots to eat on the island is Katoi, a restaurant that was recently named a semifinalist for the James Beard award. Owners Courtney Henriette and Brad Greenhill grew the Thai-inspired eatery from a food truck into one of Detroit’s most inspired restaurants, and they were on hand to talk about the future of their popular spot.
Located at the entrance of Chora, Katoi is a traditional kafenio that reminds guests of old Patmos through engravings, photos, and other objects. The menu here includes filling dishes such as oven cooked goat, while the tsipouro and ouzo are served in old-fashioned glasses. You can even order a cup of coffee or some pastry for dessert. The service at this restaurant is excellent and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. You’ll definitely want to stop by after a tour of the Monastery of St. John.
Patmos has spectacular scenery – the awe-inspiring monastery and its rocky cliffs are among Greece’s most dramatic; exquisite architecture that owes more to Cretan workmen than to anything indigenous to the island; and a garland of really excellent beaches. But it also has tasty restaurants that the cruise ships miss, and a handful of bars where you can sample locally grown drinks while watching the world go by.
Located at the entrance to the village of Chora, Jimmy’s balcony is housed in a traditional 1795 building and it has one of the best panoramic views on the island. The owner, who has some amazing stories to tell, is super-friendly and serves very good food.
Opened in 1997, Benetos is an elegant restaurant with 14 tables arranged around a spacious veranda overlooking the Aegean Sea. It has a fresh and creative menu that combines the very best of Mediterranean cuisine with international flavors and imaginatively presented dishes. It is a favourite of both locals and tourists alike, especially since it was the first restaurant to introduce gastronomy on Patmos.
Another fine option is Loza, located in Grikos Bay. This lovely restaurant has an outstanding view of the Skala port, the north side of the island and beyond. Its menu includes delicious creative dishes that are based on local organic ingredients and it has an impressive wine list.
Ktima Petra, a short walk from the cove at Petra Beach, is one of our favourite rural taverns in Patmos. The Florus brothers run this restaurant which has a reputation for serving the very best of traditional Greek cuisine. The menu includes brown bread, lush salads, homemade dolmades and carefully cooked casserole dishes. They try to use all the produce in their kitchens and source much of it from their own garden.
The island of Patmos is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it also presents great culinary suggestions and fine local products. Besides tavern cuisine, you will find elegant gourmet restaurants and bars to suit all tastes.
In a setting reminiscent of a film set, Koukoumavla serves food influenced by the Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, with strong island elements. You can enjoy a variety of dishes such as the kataifi spinach balls (they look weird but taste delicious) and pastitsio. The desserts are just as tempting.
This upscale bar-restaurant in the port of Skala is a welcome change from taverna fare, with its swanky interior and cocktail menu. The spacious leafy garden creates a serene environment to complement the sophisticated cocktails and elegant gourmet cuisine.
Votrys means bunch of grapes in ancient Greek, a name that suits this classy taverna perfectly. It’s the classiest spot on Patmos, with a menu designed by chef-school graduate Theologos Kaniaros. Starters include the quinoa-basil salad, taboule and avocado salad and Corfiot sofrito, while mains tend to the meaty.
Located close to the Monastery in Chora, Pantheon is a popular choice for its seaside ambiance and seafood cuisine. Shrimp and octopus are especially popular. This restaurant is a must visit.