Monday, September 11, 2017

5 Things to Do In Patmos, Greece

A small island in the Aegean Sea, Patmos, Greece is a must-see destination for travelers who are also history buffs. It’s rich in Christian history, preserved medieval architecture, and Greek mythology. That Patmos is the island where St. John wrote his Revelation makes Patmos a popular pilgrimage site for Christians, but its long history and tranquil beauty appeal to travelers from all over the world. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Patmos.

Some of the beautiful preserved architecture in Chora

1. Explore Historic Chora

Chora is the capital of Patmos, surrounding the Monastery of St. John. In medieval times, the hilltop position of the town, narrow alley ways, and imposing fortress surrounding the monastery were all for the purpose of protecting them from attacks by pirates or Turks. Nowadays, there’s not much threat of either, but much of the history of the town is still clearly seen in the still-standing fortress, white-washed captain’s houses, and windmills dating back to the Renaissance. Exploring Chora feels like taking a step into real history, but there are plenty of modern cafes and shops to be visited as well.

The entrance to the Cave of the Apocalypse

2. See the Cave of the Apocalypse

Patmos is a beautiful tourist destination now, but once it was a remote island used for exile. It was Patmos to which St. John was banished. The Cave of the Apocalypse is believed to be the place where he received and wrote his Revelation. Declared a World Heritage Site, the cave is carefully preserved and tourists can see mosaics depicting St. John’s visions and the rock that he used as a pillow while exiled there.

The Monastery of St. John in the distance of this scenic view

3. Visit the Monastery of St. John

Once you’re finished with the cave, visit the thousand year old Monastery of St. John. The courtyard offers a peaceful place to pray, meditate, or simply take in the beauty. Inside the church are a wealth of ancient texts, vestments, and relics that can’t be found anywhere else. The library is only open to scholars, but contains over 2,000 documents and manuscripts. Visit in the morning if you don’t want to struggle with the heat and the crowds.

Chris Cafe at Chris Hotel in Skala

4. Dine at Artsy Cafes in Skala

Patmos isn’t just a great destination for historic religious sites. There’s also a vibrant art scene in Patmos. Skala is an excellent place to satisfy your coffee fix and see some unique art at the same time. Koukoumavla Bar is decorated from wall to wall with quirky, colorful artwork. The simply named Art Cafe is full of artistic wall hangings, a full bookshelf, and beautiful roof garden seating. The main port of Patmos, Skala is also an excellent place to find some of the best Patmos hotels.

A view of one of Skala's beautiful beaches

5. Enjoy the Crystal Clear Beaches

Of course, you can’t go to an island in Greece and not hit the beach at some point. The beaches of Patmos are beautifully kept with crystal clear water and pebbled shores. Skala Beach is the most popular beach in the summer, but you can find secluded, non-organized beaches like Lambi and Psili Ammos to get away from the crowds. Near the bay of Sapsila, you can find Loukakia beach, with beautiful, shimmering water and a barrier of trees and bushes to give this beach a more private atmosphere.

While you’re searching for a Patmos hotel for your stay, consider Chris Hotel in Patmos. Located in Skala, Chris Hotel is close to all the best shops and grocery stores. They not only provide excellent service, but have their own waterfront cafe and beer where you can look out at the beauty of the Aegean sea from the comfort of your hotel. Trust me, this is a site you won’t want to miss!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Colorful Art Scene of Patmos, Greece

When we think of Patmos, we usually think about the gorgeous crystal beaches of the Aegean sea or the historic and religious destinations, like the Monastery of St. John and the Cave of the Apocalypse. But Patmos is a great travel destination for the traveler that lives in the now, as well. The island is full of shops, nightlife, cafe bars, and a vibrant art scene that often goes unnoticed in guides about the travel spot. Here are some Patmos appeals for the art lovers out there.

Art Galleries in Chora

Chora is the capital of Patmos and a popular destination for several reasons. What tourists often don’t know before they come to Chora is all the art galleries that can be found there. The galleries in Chora are sometimes hidden gems, but you can find them if you know where to look. The big one is the Kapopoulos Fine Arts gallery, which has branches in East Attica, Athens, Cyprus, and of course, Patmos. For something more local, you can visit Andreas Kalatzis’ gallery: an artist’s studio in the open space where art created by Patmos natives or artists inspired by Patmos is on display for all to see.

Chris Cafe at Chris Hotel in Skala

Cafes in Skala

Skala is the port city of Patmos. It’s where you can find the most popular beaches, some of the best Patmos hotels and shops, and some truly colorful cafes. If you want to find a place to enjoy artwork and coffee or cocktails at the same time, try Skala. The Koukoumavla Bar has been described as “the lovechild of Tim Burton and Frida Kahlo opening a coffee house,” and if that doesn’t excite the art lover in you, we don’t know what will. The walls are colored in deep orange and greens and accented by bright, colorful artwork.

There’s also Art Cafe, and the name plainly tells you what to expect. Art cafes walls are covered in quirky, artistic wall hangings, whether paintings, photographs, wreaths, or ceramics. This cafe and bar begs the question: is it named for the art on the walls or is the cafe itself the art? The table decorations and even the chairs all look to be artfully hand-crafted. This cafe also has one of the only rooftop garden seating areas in the city, and the view from there is an absolute dream.

If you’re staying at Chris Hotel in Patmos, Greece, there’s also Chris Cafe, the hotel’s own cafe with stunning waterfront views and the surroundings of the Skala docks. The cafe is open all day, has connection to the hotel’s wifi, and a big screen TV so you won’t miss your favorite shows or games while taking in the view. For an artist seeking inspiration--as well as a warm cup of coffee--Chris Cafe can’t be beat.

Some bells at the Monastery of St. John

Ancient Religious Artwork of the Monastery of St. John

Some artists find inspiration by looking at the past. Some art lovers feel excitement being in the presence of artwork that’s had such a lasting impact for so long. The huge, fortified Monastery of St. John on a hilltop in Chora is itself a work of art, but it also houses paintings that have stood the test of time. Some of the paintings in the main chapel date back to the 17th century, but the oldest paintings in the chapel of The Virgin Mary were created by monks as early as the 12th century. You’ll pass gift shops on your way to and from the monastery if you want to take a memento with you to remember what you saw there.

An idyllic view of a sailboat on the sea at sunset

Finding Inspiration in the World Around You

Artists have found inspiration in the breathtaking beauty of Patmos and the Aegean Sea for centuries. Take a walk around, and you’ll understand why. You can visit the sites of some of your favorite artwork: the shores, the fishing docks, the Cave of the Apocalypse, where St. John received his Revelation. You can find inspiration for your own works in the windmills, narrow alleyways (once used to protect the city from pirates), and beautiful gardens of Chora. Or you could find inspiration from the view of your own Patmos hotel.

Chris Hotel in Patmos, Greece features some of the best views that can be found in Skala. Your balcony can face the sea, the mountains, or the gardens of town. There’s a cafe and bar where you can sip your coffee and look out at the beauty surrounding you. Chris Hotel is closely located to the shops, which will come in handy when you need to stock up on supplies. Even if you’ve never been an artist yourself, the views you see here might just inspire you.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Can't Miss Festivities in Patmos, Greece

Patmos is proud of its long, rich history. On this small Greek island, people are passionate about their customs and traditions, whether religious or cultural, as evidenced by the many festivals and feasts. Once you’ve checked in at your Patmos hotel, ask someone about local festivities happening during your stay. Whether you come to Patmos for food, culture, music, or religious pilgrimage, you’ll find colorful festivals that are just what you need to make your trip special. 

The entrance to the Cave of the Apocalypse

Dormition of the Virgin

August 15th is the day of the Dormition of the Virgin, which celebrates the “sleeping” of the Mother of God and her resurrection. In Patmos, the Dormition of the Virgin is enthusiastically celebrated with a large annual feast at the Monastery of Panagia Geranou. Live music, dancing, and of course, copious amounts of food, commemorates the day. You can also find events and celebrations in Skala, Kambos, and Chora. 

The Monastery of St. John

The Feast of St. John

If you missed the Feast of St. John on May 8th, make sure you catch it on September 26th. St. John is perhaps Patmos’s claim to fame. It was the isle of Patmos to which he was exiled and it was on the isle of Patmos that his Revelation was revealed to him. You can visit the Monastery of St. John while you’re here or the Cave of the Apocalypse to celebrate the resurrection of St. John with the rest of Patmos, and it would make a great addition to your religious pilgrimage. 

The International Film Festival of Patmos

As is often the case, out of one of the worst economic crises Greece has ever seen rose the creative minds to create the International Film Festival of Patmos. 46 days of cinema, 345 films in total. Because the festival has gone over so well, the creators have decided to expand to the surrounding Aegean islands, but you can still see new, exclusive films every weekend in July in Patmos. 

Festival of Folklore Dances

You can learn a lot about a culture from its dances. Preserving the historic culture of Patmos is very important to those who live there, and it’s enthusiastically celebrated through their festival of folklore dances. In this festival, all the dancers wear traditional dress that they might have worn in the early days and perform traditional, sometimes ancient Greek dances that existed long before anyone in the audience and will continue long after. 

Festival of the Sacred Music of Patmos

Held in an outdoor theatre outside the Cave of the Apocalypse, this festival is famous all throughout Greece. There are 5 days of music from August 27 through September 1, highlighting songs touch on religious significance as well as cultural significance to Patmos. Some are traditional songs dealing with immigration and refugees, a timelessly relevant topic. The festival is free and makes a great end note to your trip to the Cave of the Apocalypse.

When searching for Patmos hotels so you can attend these festivals, consider Chris Hotel in Patmos, Greece. Chris Hotel is located in Skala, the main port of Patmos, close to all the shops and grocery stores, and near the bus line. The staff is committed to exceptional customer service. When you check in, just ask one of the hotel staff about festivals going on at the time and where to find them.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The "Patmos Revelation" & Sports In Patmos

Despite the rugged terrain perfect for hikers and the clear, crystal blue waters, Patmos has not, in times past, been seen as much of a hub for sports tourism. It is more widely known for its connections to the Christian faith and the beauty that comes with being an island in the middle of the Aegean Sea. But this year, Patmos changed that by opening the first ever “Patmos Revelation in attempt to attract athletic tourists from all over the world to their little island.

The “Patmos Revelation,” so named after the revelation that St. John had when he was exiled to Patmos, was a sports tournament including swimming races and running races. This new tournament began for the first time on June 30, 2017, and lasted for three days. The first day was for the kids. In an open football stadium, retired track and field record holder, Periklis Iakovakis, partnered with Kids’ Athletics to teach kids about track and field. On the second day, the swimming races began. On the third day, the runners ran through Chora, passing The Monastery of St. John and the Cave of the Apocalypse on their way. For the adults, there were 15km and 5km routes, but there was also a 1km route for children who wanted to race.

The purpose of the Patmos Revelation as set out by the Greek National Tourism Organization was to draw a crowd of athletes from all over the world to Patmos. In this, they certainly succeeded. There were over 200 athletes, both professional and amateur, from 9 countries (Australia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Greece) that all made their way to Patmos for the races. Sponsors came out in droves to help. Vikos bottled water sponsored the event by providing water to all participants. AB Vassilopoulos offered groceries and other products as incentives for volunteers. Patmos hotels like Chris Hotel in Patmos also came out to support and assist with the tournament.

Waterskiing is just one water sport available in Patmos
Patmos Revelation was declared a success, and it will certainly return for years to come. But you don’t have to wait until next June to enjoy athletics of Patmos. At any time of year, the Aegean Sea is still there and ripe for all kinds of water sports. You can water ski, canoe, or take a pedal boat onto the water. On Campos beach, you can even take water skiing classes to improve your athletic ability. And of course, surfing, wind surfing, and sailing are popular pastimes wherever there’s wind.

One of the hiking paths in Patmos

Patmos is also a popular hiking destination. The ruggedly built Chora, seated atop a hillside (once intentionally done to protect the city from pirates), offers a great start for a hiking enthusiast, but there are hiking paths all over the island. There are easy, leisurely hiking paths and more difficult terrains for hikers who like a challenge. Hiking through Patmos is an excellent way to see the historic sights of the island while still getting a workout in.
With the success of the Patmos Revelation, more athletes are expected to flock to Patmos, both for the races and for their own amusement. Wouldn’t you like to be one of them? Make sure you book a Patmos hotel ahead of time to ensure you have a place to stay, and don’t forget your hiking boots.