NISYROS - THE VOLCANIC ISLAND
Nisyros is one of the smallest islands of the Dodecanese near the southern coast of Asia Minor, between Kos and Tilos, a vibrant volcano worth visiting. The nearby islands also belong to the area of Nisyros: Giali, Agios Antonios, Strongyli, Pacheia, Pergousa and Kandeleousa (Lighthouse). The elements of antiquity and the medieval period are still visible throughout the island. The capital and port of the island is Mandraki, with the characteristic white houses under the imposing rock of the monastery of Panagia Spiliani. Narrow alleys, pebble floors and colorful houses compose the special character of the amphitheatrically built village. In the center of the island is the plane-covered square of Ilikiomeni where people gather for food and sweets. The settlement is dominated by the Venetian castle in which the monastery of Panagia Spiliani nests, while on the low hill is Paleokastro, one of the best preserved fortifications of the Aegean. Parts of the wall of Paleokastro are preserved around the monastery, while the same is protected by the "Castle of the Knights of Rhodes"
Emporios the mountain village of Nisyros is known for the unique view from the castle of Pantoniki and the seaside Palos. In Emporio there is a natural sauna at the entrance of a cave which is a special destination for visitors. In Nicaea you will find the famous square of the island, the famous Porta, with its strange shape, its pebbles, but also in the Volcanic Museum of the island where you can see complete information not only about the specific volcano and the island, but and in general for the volcanoes of Greece. From the edge of the settlement one can see the entire crater of the volcano, as the place offers panoramic views. In Lakki, end all the hiking trails and all the trails that are a reference point for nature lovers. Paloi, is the port of Emporio, at a distance of 4 km from Mandraki known for the Municipal Baths which has a marina for private boats and a wonderful sandy beach.
The most important attraction of the island is without a doubt the volcano itself which created the island and causes awe. Nisyros consists of volcanic mountains and in its center is a Caldera 4 km in diameter, full of sulfur. The volcano has the largest hydrothermal crater in the world, "Stefanos", which has a diameter of 300 meters, while the island has a total of 5 craters. Hot vapors gush from the craters and most of the island's springs have been turned into thermal baths, making the island a natural wellness center. Visitors should know that the air smells of sulfur and they wear closed shoes. Due to the volcanic activity on the island there are many hot springs, the most famous of which are those of Thermiani and Avlaki. The baths of Thermianis have been known since antiquity and are located on the edge of the beach in Palos. They offer healing properties in diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism, skin and circulatory system with a maximum temperature of 46 degrees.
Nisyros is also famous for its festivals, the most important of which is the 15th of August in Mandraki celebrated by Panagia Spiliani which is located at an altitude of 700 meters and in Panagia Kyra, as well as on 23/8, at the Nine Days of Panagia. The feast of the 15th of August is accompanied by a two-day event and a famous festival, where the custom of the "cup" and the revithada in the village square stand out. Earlier on July 27 in Avlaki where the chapel of Agios Panteleimon is located, there is a festive celebration. Festivals are also held on June 21 (of Agios Nikitas), on June 30 (of Agios Apostolos), on July 27 (of Agios Panteleimon), on August 23 (of Panagia Kyra), on September 26 (of Agios Ioannis). During the festivals and festivals of Nisyros, the inhabitants who love dance and song wear their traditional costumes. The festivals and panigyria of Nisyros are very important cultural elements for the island and for this reason they are held in public buildings such as the Zosimopouleio theater.
The beaches of the island offer wild natural beauty for this reason they are disorganized so the visitor should go there organized. Due to the crater, the water in most of them is shallow in the first 5-6 steps and then deepens sharply, going from green to dark blue. Pachia Ammos is the most famous and probably the most popular beach of the island whose waters deepen sharply and the sand confirms its name. Near Mandraki is the impressive beach of Hochlakoi with the dark volcanic stones giving a unique atmosphere to the landscape. Next to the fishing village of Palos is the homonymous beach with sand and tamarisk trees. While the Lyes follow, with the dark sand and the pebbles. Another beach worth visiting is Lyes, below Panagia Kyra. A short distance from Mandraki is the beach of Ag. Savva. There are also beaches that are not accessible by land but only by sea with boat. There are beautiful beaches on the island of Agios Antonis, next to Gyali as well as in Gyali itself.
The restaurants serve traditional recipes that characterize Nisyros such as pithia (chickpea meatballs), boukounies (pork cooked with fat), kapama (goat stuffed with rice), garlic with almonds,while both salads and other recipes are dominated by capers.. Also stands out the mizithra and the trygia which is cheese in wine. Unique traditional sweets are served on the island such as xerotigana, diples, donuts, palm trees, kourabiedes, moustalevria, spoon sweets (orange, quince, tomato), pastellaries (figs opened, with almonds and honey etc. Made with traditional recipes and unique aromas one can enjoy traditional drinks such as Sumada (bitter almond juice) and coconut (grape or fig distillate that has a similar taste to raki).