Nisyros (or Nissiros) is a small volcanic island, a mere 41 square
kilometres in area, situated between Kos
and Tilos. In antiquity it
was known as Porphyris.
Mythology holds that once it was united with Kos
and that when Poseidon was chasing the giant Polyvotis, he split the two islands
The capital and port of Nisyros is Mandraki,
set in the northwest at the foot of a steep hill. The whiteness of its houses
forms a striking contrast to the dark, volcanic earth. Yet another castle erected
by the Knights of St John looms above the small town, while a chapel nearby dedicated
to the Panayia Spiliani (Our Lady of the Cave), the patroness of the island, clings
to the tip of the rock. Built in 1600, it is linked with many traditions and has
a lovely 18th century iconostasis. The island’s hot springs. fabled since
antiquity and still in use today, are to be found at Loutra
just 1.5 kilometre from Mandraki.
East of Loutra is the picturesque
fishing village of Pali.
Another village, Emborios,
lies to the southeast of Mandraki.
in the interior of the island, in a lush area with mineral springs and planted
with olive trees, fruit trees, fig trees and grapevines. You have to go almost
to the middle of Nisyros to the Lakki plateau, to see the crater of the extinct
volcano, Polybotes. It is 260 metres in diameter and 30 metres deep with steps
leading down to its centre. The reek of sulphur fills the surrounding air, while
the scenery could belong to the moon.
In the south of the island, the charming village of Nikia
perches on the crest of a hill 400 metres above sea level. Its white houses with
their brightly coloured doors and windows and tile roofs are an attractive complement
to the greenery that abounds in the district.
Nisyros is blessed with many lovely beaches: at Mandraki,
Hochlaki, Agia Irini, Avlaki
and on Giali, the isle! directly