Nisyros Island

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Nisyros Island
Nisyros Island Greece

Nisyros is a 41 km2 large greek island in the Dodecanese group and is situated between the islands of Kos and Tilos, north of the island of Rhodes. The island has around 1100 inhabitants. On this page you may find where is Nisyros island, how to get there, things to do and see, what to do in Nisyros, beaches and villages, where to stay, hotels and accommodation and more.

Porta square, Nisyros
Porta square of Nikia village, Nisyros island, Dodecanese

Nisyros is surrounded by a couple of smaller islands of which Gyali or Yali in the north is the largest. Nisyros is a special island. Some people that fly to Rhodes fly over the island of Nisyros on their way and it is very clear to see that this is actually a huge volcano.

A small island of Dodecanese, Nisyros is not developed in tourism and remains a peaceful, alternative destination. With few tourist facilities, this is the ideal place for total calmness and privacy. Nisyros island is mostly famous for its still active volcano that is found in the center of the island, the youngest volcano in Greece. Mandraki and Nikia are the most picturesque villages in Nisyros Greece, with traditional architecture and great views. The beaches are clean and due to the limited visitors they have a relaxing atmosphere. The island can be visited for holidays or as a day trip from Kos. Also holidays in Nisyros can be easily combined with other islands of Dodecanese, as there is daily ferry transportation in summer.

Riddle: It has a volcano but it’s not Santorini. Its nearest neighbour is long, green Kos but it doesn’t resemble it in the slightest. What is it? One of the hidden treasures of the Aegean: The small, round island of Nisyros. Well off the beaten track, it has kept a retro atmosphere but in recent years more and more people, drawn to its natural phenomena, have discovered it has other charms as well.

Where is Nisyros

Nisyros is a volcanic island, often characterized as an open geology museum, located in Dodecanese, between Kos, Tilos and Astypalea. The rich diversity of scenery, castles and monasteries, colourful houses and whitewashed paths captivate all visitors. Due to its volcanic background, volcanic rocks are found in great abundance on the island, also much of flora and fauna. It is worth mentioned that the volcano of Nisyros is one of the youngest volcanoes in Greece, still active.

How to get to Nisyros island

There is no airport on the island of Nisyros. The closest airport is found on the neighboring island of Kos. The airport of Kos receives daily domestic flights from Athens and many charters and international flights in summer. From Kos, visitors can take the ferry to Niysros. There are ferries from Kos to Nisyros every day and many tourists actually go as a day trip.

There are ferries to Nisyros from Piraeus 2 times per week. As the distance is long, these ferries take about 17 hours to reach Niysros from Piraeus, the largest port of Athens. The route connects Nisyros to other islands of Dodecanese, including Kos, Rhodes and Tilos. From the small port of Kardamena in Kos, there are daily boats to Nisyros. These boats are largely used for day excursions.

Transportation in Nisyros

By visiting Nisyros you will spend some wonderful vacation on an island of unique natural beauty! The best way to move around this place is by a private vehicle. You should always drive carefully though, as some parts of the road network are not so well-preserved.

Public buses in Nisyros

Public transportation is an affordable and at the same time amusing way to explore the whole region! However, you should have in mind that the bus routes link together only the most central spots and the itineraries are not so frequent.

Car and motorbike rentals in Nisyros

With a car or motorcycle, you can explore the island at your own pace and gain access to the most secluded spots! In case you don’t have your own vehicle, it is an excellent idea to rent a car for your sightseeing trips!

Travel guide to Nisyros, Greece

This is a small island of Dodecanese that can be visited for short holidays or as a day trip from Kos. In fact, there are daily boat tours from Kos Town and Kardamena to Nisyros, allowing to go and return in the same day. Nisyros in Greece is famous for its still active volcano in the centre of the island. Many volcanologists and geologists pay visit every year to this volcano, that is actually the youngest in Greece. Most activities on the island are concentrated in Mandraki, a picturesque place with many studios and restaurants.

You, like them, will be rewarded by untouched villages, quiet spots to enjoy ouzo with mezedes, ancient walls of black volcanic stone, and the excitement of venturing into the moonscape and hiking along the rim of an active volcano.

Things to do and see in Nisyros

Volcano of Nisyros

You don’t get to visit a volcano every day. What’s more, this one has three craters. The locals feel so cosy with them, they’ve even baptised them: Stephanos, Alexandros and Polyvotis. Or maybe they hoped doing so would pacify them. Two eruptions, 25,000 and 15,000 years ago, gave birth to today’s caldera. As you descend into the enormous crater, you could be entering an unknown yellow-streaked, ashen planet, with bubbling pits, enormous cracks, and a powerful stench of sulphur. Only Mephistopheles is missing.

Mandraki village

This sleepy port is just the right antidote to a hectic schedule or reassurance that you really are on an authentic Greek holiday. Sit down with the locals for a coffee in one of the town squares, or browse the alleys lined by vintage groceries and simple white houses with brightly coloured doors and windows. Take a stroll along the jetty and onto the beach, that features not sand but glistening smooth black stones.

At sunset all the landmarks – buildings, citrus groves, church domes – turn golden. At one of them, the white Panagia Spiliani above Mandraki, the celebrations honouring the Virgin in mid-August go on for nine days. Visitors from all the surrounding islands join the locals in rites that go back centuries.

‘I’ll meet you at the Porta in Nikeia’

You might think Porta is a gate but it’s really the square of this village, which is known for its elliptical shape and its elegant pebble mosaic flooring. The church above it ranks among one of the most beautiful in Greece.

Emborios, more local colour

An architectural gem of a village, topped by the fortress of Pantoniki – ‘Always Victorious’. Don’t miss the beautiful Aegean view.

A hiker’s dream

The paths of Nisyros attract hikers from all over, some returning year after year. They wind through dry-stone walls, past stone farmhouses, rustic distilleries and tiny churches.

What to do in Nisyros

The Volcanic Museum of Nisyros

The Volcanic Museum has all you want to know about Greece’s volcanoes and their different rock formations. It’s housed in Nikeia’s old elementary school.

The hot springs

There are spas with hot mineral springs all over the island. Just a kilometre from Mandraki you can see a vintage – early 20th-century – spa, where the water bubbled out at 55 degrees Celsius.

The Palaiocastro

This is the name of the island’s acropolis. Its magnificent, massive walls, made of black volcanic rock, are really impressive.

Nightlife in Nisyros

Nisyros is not known for its buzzing nightlife, like the most tourist islands of Dodecanese, still, you will find a couple of places where you can enjoy some great moments. Picturesque taverns line up the port of Mandraki, where you can taste the famous local recipes and delicious wine. Cafes and bars also stay open till around midnight to enjoy a drink under the romantic night sky, listening to some atmospheric music.

Villages of Nisyros

The island of Nisyros has some of the most picturesque villages in the Dodecanese. They still preserve their traditional architectural style for most of the buildings and houses. There are only four settlements on the island and all are small with few inhabitants.

Beaches of Nisyros

The beaches in Nisyros are both pebbled and sandy. The clean water and the nice landscape provide great spots to relax. Most frequented Nisyros beaches are located on the northern side of the island and few of them are organized with sunbeds and umbrellas. You will find below a list with the best beaches in Nisyros island.

Most of the beaches on the island of Nisyros consist of black or red sand or pebbles, much like on the vulcanic island of Santorini. The best beach, with mostly white sand and some pebbles is situated in the north of the island near Pali, at 4 km distance of the capital Mandraki. It is called White Beach (for obvious reasons). There are trees for shade and the water is shallow, so it is easy to get into the sea. There are not many facilities at White Beach so it is wise to bring your own water.

By boats you will go up to the islet of Gyali. One beach, on the south side near the quarries, has red volcanic rock and the other one, to the north, has white sand. On the islet there is a pumice mining quarry. In the antiquity it would mine obsidian.

List of all beaches in Nisyros island, Greece

  • Pali Beach, map
  • Lies Beach, map
  • Katsouni Beach, map
  • Pachia Ammos Beach, map
  • Chochlaki Beach, map
  • Avlaki Beach, map

Where to stay in Nisyros island

Nisyros Hotels: Look and search island of Nisyros hotels, accommodation, rooms, apartments, studios and pensions.

The most convenient hotels in Nisyros are located in Mandraki, the port and main village of the island. Mandraki has nice accommodations along the beach road, in close proximity to facilities like shops and taverns. This is the main centre of activity on the island. Other Nisyros hotels are found in the tourist village of Pali.

Hotels in Mandraki, Nisyros

Hotels in Emporios , Nisyros


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