Nisyros

Dodecanese

Nisyros is a unique volcanic island in the Dodecanese, and easily reached on day trips from Kos Town and Kardamena.

Nisyros near Kos in the Dodecanese Islands of GreeceNisyros

Nisyros  lies about half-way between Kos and Tilos, west of the Turkish coast. It draws curious visitors in their hundreds every day during the summer because of its one remarkable feature. This circular island centres on an active volcano – but don't worry, it isn't in an eruptive phase these days.

The Volcano on Nisyros near Kos in the Dodecanese Islands of GreeceThe Volcano on Nisyros

You'll find out how active it is when you go up to it and then walk down into the caldera, which is almost two miles (3 km) across. The ground is a mix of green, yellow and gold, with jets of steam escaping from under it, and a sulphurous smell. In the summer months on a hot day with the sun burning down it is quite an experience.

Google Map showing location of Nisyros near Kos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece(c) Google Maps

Getting to Nisyros

Most people who visit the island do so on an organised day trip from Kos, and these leave from Kos Town and from the resort of Kardamena. They take you to the port of Nisyros, Mandraki, from where a bus takes you up to the volcano and brings you back to the boat.

There are also regular ferry services which call in at Nisyros on a route from Rhodes to Piraeus, so you can get there from other islands on the route including Tilos, Kos and Kalymnos.

Nisyros near Kos in the Dodecanese Islands of GreeceNisyros

Staying on Nisyros

If your only opportunity to go to Nisyros is on a day trip from Kos then you shouldn't miss the opportunity, but our advice is to try to stay on Nisyros for a night or two at least, to get a proper feel for the island. It's only a small place, with a population of about 1,000 or so, and it has a lot of charm which you don't always appreciate when in the company of lots of other tourists.

Mandraki on Nisyros near Kos in the Dodecanese Islands of GreeceMandraki

The port of Mandraki is a pleasant place to be based, with hotels and restaurants, and convenient for you to catch a bus up to the volcano and maybe stay longer than the 40 minutes or so you get on a day trip. It's such an amazing place, you really want to linger.

If you spend a few days on Nisyros you could include a night in the hill villages of Emborios or Nikia, from both of which you get great views of the volcano, and you can visit it before or after the day's crowds for a more personal experience. There's a delightful place to stay in Emborios, Melanopetra, and a choice of eating places. Nikia has a Volcanological Museum, where you can learn more about the formation of the volcano and of the island.

Mandraki on Nisyros near Kos in the Dodecanese Islands of GreeceMandraki

Around the Coast

Nisyros does have a few beaches but they're not great, given that most of the island is volcanic rock. One beach you might want to try is at Lies, where parts of it are of black sand. Lies is about halfway down the east coast of the island, where the coast road ends, and if you want to visit you could stay in the little harbour town of Pali, on the north coast and about an hour's walk or a 10-minute drive from Lies. 

Pali on Nisyros near Kos in the Dodecanese Islands of GreecePali

Nisyros Monasteries

From Lies a rough road leads up to the Monastery of Panagia Kera, a tough but worthwhile hour's walk away. If you stay in Nikia and walk to the volcano you can divert to see another monastery, that of St John the Theologian (Agiou Ioanni Theologou).

One of the most spectacular monastery settings, though, is that of the Monastery of the Virgin of the Cave (Moni Panagias Spilianis). This dates from the 14th century and stands on a cliff above Mandraki, with amazing views.

Mandraki on Nisyros near Kos in the Dodecanese Islands of GreeceMandraki

Mandraki

There are several things to do and see in and around Mandraki. In addition to the monastery just mentioned, the ruins of an old acropolis stand above the town, and on the way to the monastery is a small Folklore Museum. Below the monastery by the sea is an Ecclesiastical Museum, and the town also has an Archaeological Museum. It's quite impressive for such a small place – and of course a day trip allows very little time to have a chance of seeing all these.

In the Crater of the Nisyros Volcano on Nisyros in the Dodecanese Islands of GreeceIn the Crater of the Nisyros Volcano

Some other Dodecanese pages

  • Mermaid Singing: Kalymnos Travel Writing

    Mermaid Singing by Charmian Clift is a fine example of 1950s travel writing about the Greek island of Kalymnos in the Dodecanese.

  • Rhodes

    Travel advice, information on Rhodes in the Dodecanese, with ferries from Piraeus for Athens, Symi, Crete, Kos, Patmos, Santorini, and flights from Europe

  • Easter on Rhodes

    During Easter on Rhodes Greece Travel Secrets publisher Mike Gerrard travels from Lindos to Kattavia to visit a monastery and spend Easter with a Greek family.

  • A Walk in the Old Town of Rhodes

    This walk through the Old Town of Rhodes takes you through this World Heritage Site and along the main streets and past the city walls, palaces and mosques.

  • Kos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Kos in the Dodecanese islands of Greece has good beaches and night-life, and archaeological remains.

  • Symi in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Symi (or Simi) is a small island in the Dodecanese near Rhodes with regular ferry connections, hotels, rooms to rent, beaches, tavernas.

  • Easter on Symi

    Easter on Symi is a wonderful Greek celebration and one of the best times to visit the little gem of an island a short ferry-ride from Rhodes in the Dodecanese.

  • A Holiday on Symi

    Mike Gerrard wasn’t sure what to expect from a holiday on Symi, in the Greek islands, but what he found was lots of local feasting, dancing, and music.

  • Kasos

    Travel information on Kasos in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Patmos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Patmos in the Dodecanese islands is famous for the monasteries of St John and the Apocalypse and on this page you can also read about flights and ferries

  • Wild Abandon

    Wild Abandon by Jennifer Barclay and published by Bradt Guides is A Journey to Deserted Places of the Dodecanese islands in Greece, including Rhodes and Kos.

  • Tilos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Tilos is a small island in the Dodecanese between Rhodes and Kos with regular ferry connections, hotels, rooms to rent, beaches, tavernas and ancient remains.

  • Our Feast Day on Astipalia

    Greece Travel Secrets helps celebrate a feast day on Astipalia in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven.

  • Lipsi

    Travel information on Lipsi in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Leros in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Leros is a sizeable island in the Dodecanese with flights from Athens, ferries from Rhodes and Piraeus, good beaches, restaurants and hotels.

  • Kastellorizo

    Travel information on Kastellorizo in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Karpathos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Karpathos in the Dodecanese islands of Greece is noted for its traditions, its music, and mountain villages like Olympos.

  • Kalymnos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Kalymnos in Greece in the Dodecanese islands is most famous for its history of sponge fishing, and see here information about flights and ferries.

  • Halki

    Travel information on Halki in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Dodecanese

    Travel and vacation information about the Dodecanese islands of Rhodes, Symi, Kos, Patmos, Halki, Tilos, Karpathos, Leros, Lipsi, Astipalea.

  • Astypalaia in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Astypalaia in the Dodecanese islands of Greece is a largely unspoilt island with good beaches.

  • Arki

    Arki is a small island in the Dodecanese close to Lipsi, with beaches and tavernas with rooms to rent and ferry connections with Patmos, Samos and Marathi.

  • Agathonisi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece

    Agathonisi is a small island in the Dodecanese with quiet beaches, a few hotels, pensions and rooms to rent.

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