Named “Europe’s most idyllic place to live” by Forbes magazine in 2009 which wrote that “Patmos has evolved over the centuries but has not lost its air of quiet tranquility, which is one reason why people return again and again”.
Most people comment on this peaceful energy, which descends as you step off the boat on to Pátmos. This is an island for the discerning – no airport and therefore no package holiday scene here. It is a place of serenity, reflection and relaxation; though with a vibrant café/bar scene and a love for summer festival parties! Pátmos hosts an international film festival during the last week of July, and a sacred music festival in late August. The eCALA programme incorporates these parties and festivals.
Pátmos is small – 34.05 km2 – and beautiful. An almost complete figure-of-8 road circumnavigates the island. The southern loop surrounds the monastery town of Chora, whose luxury boutiques, cafes and villas sit atop the hill overlooking the island. This historic town, along with the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse, were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1999. The middle of the loop takes in the main sea port of Skala, with its bustling café square, quality shops and relaxed bars and dining. The northern loop encompasses the ‘party’ bay of Kámpos, before splitting into two horns that reach north and access some of the most picturesque spots on the island.
The island offers warm seas and postcard perfect beaches, some of which are accessible only by boat. eCALA’s Wednesday afternoon and Saturday excursions reveal these beauties to you.
Pátmos’ birth into the Aegean Sea according to Greek mythology is the most fascinating.
The island’s original name was “Letois,” after the goddess and huntress of deer, Artemis, daughter of Leto. It is believed that Pátmos came into existence thanks to Artemis’ divine intervention. The myth tells how Pátmos existed as an island at the bottom of the sea. Artemis frequently paid visits to Caria, the mainland across the shore from Pátmos, where she had a shrine on Mount Latmos. There she met the moon goddess Selene, who cast her light on the ocean, revealing the sunken island of Pátmos. Selene was always trying to get Artemis to bring the sunken island to the surface and hence to life. Selene finally convinced Artemis, who, in turn, gained her brother Apollo’s help to persuade Zeus to allow the island to arise from the sea. Zeus agreed, and the island emerged from the water. The sun dried up the land and brought life to it. Gradually, inhabitants from the surrounding areas, including Mount Latmos, settled on the island and named it “Letois” in honour of Artemis.