Things to do in Nisyros include exploring the island’s unique beaches, visiting its beautiful ruins, and exploring its charming villages. In addition, you should make sure to visit the Archaeological Museum in Mandraki, which has some great exhibits!
Also in Nikia is the Volcanological Museum, which is an absolute must-see. It’s the only volcano museum in Greece!
1. Visit the Volcanological Museum
One of the things you should do on your trip to Nisyros is visit the volcanological museum. This museum is located in the old renovated school of Nikia village on the rim of the caldera and it offers visitors a panoramic view of the interior of the volcano. The museum is the only one of its kind in Greece, so it is definitely a must-visit when you are on the island.
The museum’s main focus is on the genesis and structure of volcanoes. It features a large collection of volcanic rocks, maps, cross sections, diagrams, volcano models and photographs. It also displays three-dimensional animations and computer simulations. The museum helps you understand the history of not only Nisyros but of the entire Aegean volcanic arc as well.
Aside from the museum, there are plenty of other museums to visit on the island as well. Some of these include the Archaeological Museum in Mandraki, which houses exhibits dating back to prehistoric and post-Byzantine times. It is also home to remarkable burial site artifacts and beautiful old Byzantine frescoes.
Other interesting museums on the island include the Museum of Folklore and the Art Gallery. The latter is a great place to see traditional handicrafts from the island and even buy some of them for yourself. The Museum of Folklore is another popular destination and it showcases a lot of local traditions, including music, dance and costumes.
In addition to these museums, you can also go on a hike around the volcano or visit the charming villages. The village of Pali is a must-see, as it is the oldest settlement on the island and it is very picturesque with its elegant two-story houses. Another interesting village is the Katsouni, which is known for its impressive natural bay and the beach of Aghios Savas.
The cliffs on the west coast of the island are a sight to behold, as they are covered with thick grayish rock formations. The beaches on the west side of the island are more relaxing, as they are less crowded than the ones on the east side. Some of the most popular beaches include Lefki, Gialiskari, Pachia Ammos and Aghios Irini.
2. Explore the Charming Villages
The island of Nisyros is more than just a natural spectacle; it also offers many quaint villages that boast beautiful traditional architecture and a relaxing atmosphere. Both Mandraki, the main port, and Nikia are great places to see examples of such villages. In addition to the beautiful houses, you can also enjoy delicious local cuisine!
There are also a few museums worth visiting on the island. One is the Folklore Museum, which features collections of traditional costumes and tools, as well as other interesting relics from the island’s past. Another is the Ecclesiastical Museum, which contains collections of church and monastery tools and utensils, books, and other heirlooms.
Other interesting sites on the island include Paleokastro, which is an ancient castle that overlooks Mandraki. It is one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in Greece, and its walls are impressively massive! They stand more than 3.5 meters high and feature six tall towers. The site also includes a large gateway and steps, as well as lush shade from trees all over the place.
When you’re in the mood for some relaxation, visit the thermal springs on the island. These are said to have healing properties and can be found in various spots around the island. Many of them have hot tubs for you to enjoy as well!
In addition to the volcanoes and villages, you can also explore Nisyros’s natural beauty by walking or driving around the island. You’ll also find several picturesque beaches, which are perfect for soaking up the sun!
The small island of Gyali is also a must-see during your trip to Nisyros. This tiny island is named after its glass-like mineral deposits, which were mined in significant quantities in the past and have contributed to Nisyros’ economy.
The island is also home to a number of charming monasteries and churches. The most famous is the Panagia Spiliani Monastery, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is a mystical and serene place that’s sure to leave a lasting impression on you! The other major church on the island is the Church of the Assumption. It’s a beautiful structure with a stunning golden dome and is located near the port of Mandraki.
3. Enjoy the Beaches
Despite being a small island, Nisyros has quite a few stunning beaches. Most of them are pretty isolated and unspoiled, so you can enjoy a full beach vacation without getting disturbed by hordes of people.
One of the most picturesque beaches on the island is Pachia Ammos. This beach, which translates to Fat Sand, is a long stretch of black volcanic sand that is warm to the touch. This beach is not easy to reach, as you have to descend a steep hill, but it is well worth the effort. It is popular with naturists and free campers.
Another popular beach on the island is Katsouni. It is a mix of sand and pebbles with plenty of trees for shade, making it perfect for families with kids. It also has a few tavernas and is suitable for swimming.
A few miles south of the town of Pali is the beach of Agios Nikolaos, which has a small chapel and is also good for families. It is a mix of sand, rocks, and pebbles with some tree cover and tavernas.
The waters around Nisyros are a bit colder than most other Greek islands, but they are still a fantastic place to swim. The snorkeling in Nisyros is a must-do activity, as you can explore underwater rifts and even swim among bubbles coming from the active volcano.
The best time to visit Nisyros is from late spring to early autumn (May-October), when the weather is warm and dry. The busiest months are July and August, so make sure to book ahead if you’re planning to go during this period. The smaller villages on the island tend to be quieter during this time, so you can relax and unwind in peace. Nisyros is a safe island for tourists, with low crime rates and a generally friendly local population. However, it is always a good idea to exercise basic safety precautions when traveling abroad, including keeping an eye on your belongings and avoiding unlit or deserted areas at night. You should also check the latest travel advisories and warnings from your government before visiting any foreign destination.
4. Take a Tour of the Island
Nisyros is a fascinating island that is not overcrowded by tourists and offers the perfect Greek getaway for nature lovers. The crater of the active volcano, charming villages and spectacular beaches are just a few reasons to visit this gem in the Aegean Sea.
Start your exploration of Nisyros with the capital and port Mandraki, a picturesque settlement built amphitheatrically around a monastery and a Venetian castle. Walk along its narrow alleys, lined with flower pots and charmed cobblestoned squares (the most important of which is Delfinion – Dolphin’s Square). Take note of two-storeyed white or multicolored houses with wooden balconies; they are built from volcanic rocks and pumice stone. Then explore its subtle nightlife in numerous seaside cafe-bars and enjoy the delicious local cuisine.
A highlight of any trip to Nisyros is visiting its volcano. It is still active, and it’s possible to hike right up to its crater and admire the lava formations and steam geysers. However, be sure to leave early in the morning or before sunset to avoid the hot sun and the steep paths.
During your visit to the volcano, you will also have the chance to learn more about the island’s volcanic history at the Volcanological Museum. Housed in an old school in Nikia village, it has exhibits and a video that explain how the island was created by its volcano.
While on the island, you must visit the beautiful fishing village of Pali. It is a picturesque place with elegant two-story houses and a gorgeous natural bay. The beach is also amazing – Pachia Ammos means “Fat Sand” and it’s the best place on the island to soak up the sunshine.
The rest of the islands can be explored through various hiking trails and by taking a boat ride to remote beaches. Alternatively, you can go snorkeling and diving near the capes of Agios Nikolaos and Afteraki, where there are underwater caves to explore. Another option is to head to the ancient acropolis at Palaiokastro, which was once considered to be one of the most impressive ruins in the Aegean Sea.