Nissyros is a small volcanic island in the Dodecanese south of Kos and
north of Symi. Many have found their paradise on this small island since
it is very beautiful, has a laidback atmosphere and is not
commercialised, since it has few visitors and the people does not depend
on tourism. The excursion boats from Kos stay for a couple of hours, and
the there is quiet again.
People here live off fishing and farming, since the volcanic soil is fertile. Fruit, olives and nuts are grown, and there is a special flora and fauna. There are many things to see on the island and lovely beaches.
:According to mythology,
Nissyros was originally one with Kos. When the battle between the Gods
and the Titans
Poseidon chased the giant Polyvotis and finally caught up with him
on Kos, where he impaled him with his trident. The strike was so strong,
that part of the island split, creating the island Nissyros. The Giant
can still be heard sighing through the volcano. Another myth has it that
the first king of the island was Thessalos, son of Heracles.
The island was originally called Porphyris ("Red Island") after the red colour that was produced here by boiling a special shell.
Peoples from Asia Minor settled on Nissyros in the 2nd Millenia BC, and from an early stage they traded with the surrounding islands and Crete. According to Homer, the men of the island fought in the Trojan war.
In 1312 the Knights of St. John took hold of the island, and two years later, the Venetians settled here. Pirates kept raiding the island and several fortresses were built.
Nissyros was taken by the Turks in the early 16th century, and was given to the Italians in 1912. It was finally liberated in 1948, after both German and British soldiers had occupied the island during World War II.
What to see
Mandraki, is a very pretty village by the sea in typical Greek style.
Here there is a folklore museum with various things displayed from the
island's history. Above the capital is the 15th century monastery
dedicated to Panagia Spilianis (Virgin Mary of the Cave) which is also
Nissyros' patron saint. It is open for visitors, but as always when
visiting churches and monasteries in Greece, you should dress
appropriately: covered shoulders and long skirts for women, long
trousers for men. On the 14th and 15th of August the Virgin is
celebrated here with a great feast.
There is also a fortification nearby, Paleokastro, which dates back to the 4th century BC which might have been the ancient capital of Nissyros.
Yet another castle is the Kastro of the Knights of St. John.
The volcano Polyvotis lies on the Lakka plateau, and has a diameter of 260m and is 30m deep.
At Loutra there are hot, supposedly healing, wells.
There are also some wonderful villages here: Nikia and Emborio are definitely must sees.
What to do
:Life here is very laidback, but you can always take walks and discover the island on your own. The windsurfing and snorkelling is very good.
:There are quite a few small bays and beaches here. The sandy beaches White Beach and Pachia Ammos are sandy beaches, whereas Chochlaki beach has pebbles and is the best place for windsurfing and snorkelling.
:Nissyros does not have a typical nightlife, but there are a few taverns where you can enjoy long summer nights and enjoy the peace.
Food:One of the local specialties is a chick pea pie called Pithia. Then there are the local cheeses Kopanisti and Sakouliasti, and the soft drink Soumada based on almonds. There are taverns in Mandraki as well as in the villages.
:You can get icons and ceramics, as well as textiles and local wine and sweets in the little shops in Mandraki.
: There are a few buses that can take you to the volcano as well as to some of the beaches. There are also boats to the little islands Giali and San Antonio. In Mandraki you can rent mopeds.
Get a flight to Kos and take the boat from there. The island is also connected with islands like Rhodes, Kalymnos and Patmos, as well as with Piraeus port on the mainland.
Facts about Nissyros
Size: 41 sq. km
Population: about 1000
Highest Mountain: Profitis Elias, 698m
Price rate: Average
International code: 0030
Local code: 22420
Doctor: 31249, 31217
Port Police: 31222
Tourist Information: 31204
Telephone company (OTE):