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Nisyros Island is a tiny Greek island and municipality in the Aegean Sea that has an area of only 16 square miles.
It belongs to the Dodecanese Group of Islands and is located between Kos and Tilos.
The island is also the home of the only active volcano in Greece aside from Thyra in Santorini, which is called the Nisyros Volcano. The last eruption of the volcano, however, was back in 1888.
Nonetheless, whether you’re simply visiting Nisyros for the day or spending the night on the island, this Beginner’s Guide to Nisyros will provide you with just about everything you need to know about the island.
Before You Go: Travel Insurance
When planning a trip to Greece and the Greek Islands your first priority should be to make sure you make a small investment towards your health and well being by considering an affordable travel insurance policy for your trip.
Not only will this budget friendly travel insurance policy cover you if your bags are lost/stolen and if your flight is delayed/cancelled, but you’ll also be covered for all medical and injury related issues as well.
Let’s face it. No parents, family or friends want to have to cover the cost of you getting medevaced home from Greece.
Unfortunate things do happen.
Especially when you least expect it.
Do yourself a favor and consider purchasing travel insurance coverage for your trip so you can rest assured that you’ll be taken care of in the event of a serious emergency in Greece.
P.S. You won’t believe how reasonably priced this travel insurance is.
How to Get to Nisyros
Due to the fact that the island of Nisyros is so small and has an active volcano, it is no surprise that Nisyros does not have its own airport.
Therefore, most tourists visit Nisyros by boat from nearby islands such as Kos and Tilos for example.
Nisyros is also one of the many stops along the way for ferries traveling from Piraeus (Athens) to the beautiful island of Rhodes.
The Athens to Rhodes ferry route also includes stops in Kos, Tilos, and Symi.
The Nisyros ferry dock is located in the village of Mandraki in the northwest coast of the island.
If you’re staying in Kos and want to visit Nisyros for a day, the Nisyros ferry schedule usually leaves at around 9:30 in the morning and returns at 3:30 in the afternoon.
Alternatively, you can take a catamaran from Rhodes. This will take you to Nisyros via Tilos.
Where to Stay in Nisyros
For those who are planning to spend a night or more on the island, there are two main options in terms of Nisyros accommodations.
You can either rent a holiday home through Airbnb or you can stay in a hotel.
These two options have different advantages, so it is up to you to decide which one suits you better.
Depending on your preferences in privacy, amenities, location, and price, here is where to stay in Nisyros:
In an island so small and with a population of only about 1,000 people, Airbnb in Nisyros actually has a surprising number of rental homes and apartments on offer.
Below, you’ll find a short list of recommended accommodations in Nisyros that can be reserved instantly via Airbnb.
As of writing this, there are more than 48 listings on Airbnb for Nisyros, including Nisyros rooms in shared spaces or Nisyros studios for those looking for a private rentals.
- Studio by the Beach – 1 Bedroom/ 1 Bath (Budget)
- Stone and Wood House – 2 Bedrooms / 2 Baths (Budget)
- Caldera Retreat – 1 Bedroom/ 1 Bath (Mid-range)
- Lovely Stone House – 3 Bedrooms/ 2 Baths (Luxury)
There are several Nisyros hotels and Nisyros villas to choose from — many of which are located in the village of Mandraki near the port, while others are located in the coastal village of Pali and the mountainside village of Nikia.
Booking Nisyros hotels for an overnight vacation is very easy and you can usually book last minute as most tourists visit Nisyros on day trips from other nearby islands.
Here are some hotels to consider below:
- Melanopetra ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
- Porfyris Hotel ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
- Haritos ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
- Romantzo ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
Things to Do in Nisyros
While Nisyros is a small island, there are several points of interest in Nisyros that you cannot miss during your visit.
Here are some of the best things to see and do in Nisyros island.
Greek mythology says that the island of Nisyros was formed when Poseidon cut off a part of Kos so that he can throw it at Polybotes, a giant and the child of the primal earth goddess Gaia and the primal sky god Ouranos, to stop him from running away.
Geologists argue that it’s actually Nisyros volcano that led the formation of the island.
Hike the famous volcano when in Nisyros, starting from the village of Nikia and up to the volcano’s crater.
On the island, the Castle of Panagia Spiliani, also known simply as the Venetian Castle, still stands to this day.
Archaeologists postulated that it was built around the 14th century when the Knights of Saint John arrived on the island.
It is of great historical and archeological importance, which you shouldn’t miss when you visit the island Nisyros.
Church of Paliana Spiliani
Built in the 15th century, the Church of Paliana Spiliani (or, in English, the Virgin Mary of the Cave) is a monastery and place of worship.
It also houses several ecclesiastical relics from the Renaissance era.
Even if you’re not of Catholic faith, the museum in the Church of Paliana Spiliani will still be an interesting place to see the history of this island.
The Archeological Museum of Nisyros is home to ancient artifacts from pre-historic settlements on the island.
Here, you’ll also see elements of a grave that dates back to the Neolithic era, which archeologists found on the islet of Gyali off the coast of Nisyros, and displays of relics from the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods that will give you a picture of the island’s ancient necropolis.
The Archeological Museum of Nisyros is open from eight in the morning to three in the afternoon, from Tuesday to Sunday.
Church of Agios Theologos
The Church of Agios Theologos is located in the village of Nikia.
History says that the church was built as a place of worship dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Today, the white and blue structure and its bell tower still stand on top of a steep elevation near the Nisyros volcano, which is truly an exciting thing to see with your own eyes.
Given that Nisyros is a volcanic island, it’s no surprise that you’ll find a Volcanological Museum here as well.
The Volcanological Museum of Nisyros contains specimens that will show you the genesis and structure of volcanoes, their process and products, and how the volcano formed the island of Nisyros about 20,000 years ago.
It also has displays about the volcanoes of Greece, the active volcanoes of Greece, and how volcanoes, humankind, and the environment all coexist and interact with each other.
Located in the village of Mandraki, the Folklore Museum houses different elements of the island’s traditions, including costumes, old tools for fishing and agriculture, and utensils for cooking.
The museum also displays large wooden vessels that ancient Greeks used in the past, as well as weapons from the 19th and 20th centuries.
To get an idea of what life in ancient Nisyros looked like, head to the Folklore Museum.
There are three main beaches in Nisyros that both tourists and locals love to visit, and they are all located in the north and northwest coast of the island.
Below, you’ll find three of the best beaches in Nisyros.
Pali Beach is a long stretch of sand on the northwest coast of the island, about 2.5 miles west of the village of Mandraki.
It is a popular beach among locals and tourists due to its idyllic location, but it rarely gets crowded even during the summer.
The beach is also perfect for families because the water is shallow and it’s safe for kids.
Lies Beach is actually a group of beaches that stretch along this side of the island. It is located about 8 miles east of Mandraki village.
Lies Beach is a great place to explore because there are a lot of surprises waiting for you in its smaller beaches that are hidden inside coves in the area.
Katsouni Beach is located about 5.6 miles from Mandraki, heading east.
It is the longest beach on the island, but it’s also the most quiet and serene of the three.
Therefore, Katsouni Beach is the perfect spot if you want a peaceful day by the sea.
Getting Around Nisyros
When you arrive in Nisyros, you have several options on how get around the island.
You can take the bus, ride a cab, or rent a car.
There is only one road on the island, so you can always choose to hitchhike when all of these options fail.
Anyway, here are the different ways on how to get around Nisyros:
There is a bus service on the island that will take you between its villages.
It is a convenient mode of transportation when you’re coming off the boat in Mandraki and want to see the rest of the villages in Nisyros.
However, the bus schedule is limited and may not be ideal if you want to explore the parts of the island that isn’t included in the route.
You will find that there are also taxis on the island, although there are only a few of them.
If you’re visiting Nisyros during peak season when the demand for public transportation is high, this may not be the best mode of transportation.
The best way to get around Nisyros is by car.
You can rent a car from Eagle’s Nest Car and Bike Rental in Pali Harbor, which is just a few minutes away from Mandraki.
(Alternatively, you can also rent a bike so that you can explore hidden spots on the island that are not accessible by car.)
Best Time to Visit Nisyros
By now, you pretty much have everything you need in order to plan a nice getaway to Nisyros Island in Greece.
The last thing you have to figure out is when the best time to visit Nisyros is. Well, here’s what you need to know.
The most ideal Nisyros weather for a vacation is between the months of April and August and September to November.
However, if you’re visiting during the summer, take note that temperatures in July can get hot, reaching an average of 89.6°F during the day and 75°F during the night.
Nisyros Peak Season
The peak tourist season on the island is from May to early August.
It gets particularly busy during July because it is the hottest month of the summer and is, therefore, the best time to visit the beaches on the island.
If you want to avoid the crowds during the peak season, you should plan your vacation from March to early May or from late August to end of September.
With its active volcano, idyllic location, gorgeous beaches, rich history, and traditional Greek culture, Nisyros is truly an interesting travel destination.
If you’re looking for something different and exciting to spend your holidays in, you should definitely consider visiting this beautiful Greek island in the Aegean Sea.
Interested in visiting the Greek islands? If so, be sure to check out my full collection of Greek Island Travel Guides.
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