One of the most northerly islands in the chain, Patmos goes by several names. It’s often known as the Island of the Apocalypse or occasionally, Divine Island – a title it would earn even without its place of pilgrimage status and UNESCO World Heritage religious sites. Historically it’s known for the Monastery of Saint John which dominates the Hora, and for the Cave of the Apocalypse where it’s said Saint John wrote the Book of Revelations. However, it’s also a famously laid-back holiday island and kids adore its soulful combo of cute, sandy coves; warm seas and eminently explorable nooks and crannies.
The Hora (old town) with its unusual flat-roofed houses, atmospheric alleyways, flower-drenched courtyards and the reward of the mighty Monastery of Saint John right at the top is a completely captivating place for kids. Even younger ones won’t mind wandering around and an evening stroll will make teens Patmos’ converts for life.
Apart from all the pilgrim tales, Patmos has plenty of pirate legends in its pocket too. Kids will love finding out that the Hora’s flat-roof buildings were designed in the 16th century to create an aerial transport network for the townspeople in case of attack from the sea.
Hiking is heroic on Patmos and the island is criss-crossed with walking trails, well marked, graded by order of difficulty and great fun for families.
Lambi Beach just north of Patmos Town is fantastic for swimming and covered in colourful pebbles – don’t pick them up, just admire.
For coolest swims on hot summer days, Grikos Bay is perfect and comes with the added bonus of shelter from the little isle of Tragonisi just offshore.
The Cave of the Apocalypse is one of the island’s most mythical sites and a guided tour is a must-do with kids.
Younger kids will enjoy the views from The Monastery of Saint John which lords it over Patmos Town and stares straight out across the Aegean. But if you’re with teens, definitely do the full tour and hear all about the history that makes this one of the Dodecanese’ most striking UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Interesting art galleries are second only to delightful restaurants in Patmos Town, and thoughtfully pedestrianised streets makes exploring the former a pleasure, and eating outside at the latter an absolute must.
Wine tours might not be top of a kid’s holiday wish list, but Patmos does them with a twist and even under 18s enjoy visits to the island’s agroecological vineyards.
For a classic Greek beach holiday experience, head to Agriolivado just outside Skala and hire sunbeds and umbrellas for the day.
How to get to Patmos
Direct flights from London to Kos Airport take four hours.
Regular ferry crossings from Kos to Patmos take two hours, 35 minutes.