Due west of the small island of Symi lies the even smaller island of Nisyros. This gem of an island is not to be missed and as it is on the way to Leros, why not. We have some more northerlies on the way but there is a small weather window and that is enough for a flying visit to this amazing island. Despite its size, it is jam packed with stuff to see! After an early start motoring from Symi we arrive in the middle of the day and have our pick of spots in the near empty Pali harbour. After a spot of lunch we pick up a hire car from Eagles nest, and we are given a laminated card with step by step instructions on what to see and how to get there. We follow this religiously...
Our first stop is described as a hole in the wall on the side of the road, a tiny alcove which is a natural steam room! As the island has an active volcano, steam vents feed this tiny room and my camera lens and glasses fog up immediately on entry. It’s certainly warm in here.
Continuing on our next stop is the town of Emporios which is perched high in the hills on the rim of the crater. The standard Greek government issue blue and white paint adorns the homes that line the narrow, winding footpaths and the town has an amazing view down onto the Stefano crater below.
We wind our way downhill through olive groves, into the Stefano crater which has a couple of other smaller craters within. Both of these are exuding steam and smell a little sulphury, but nothing like Mt Etna. We arrive between busloads of tourists and descend into the larger crater to explore the moonscape. There are a number of steam vents hissing gently, hinting at the heat and pressure below. From there we walk up to the rim of a second crater, which is smaller but equally spectacular. A tour bus arrives so it is time for us to move on.
From the crater we could see a tiny white speck up on a peak of the rim, and apparently it is a tiny church. We follow the instructions on our laminated card and after slowing down at a couple of goat tracks we finally find the right turn off. There is nothing else here but this tiny, pristine blue and white church, perched on the peak of the hill with an incredible view over the water.
More winding roads as we make our way to the mini town of Nikia with the tiniest of town squares. The town clings to the top of the hill, again with a fantastic view over most of the tiny island.
We head back to the north of the island to the main commercial port of Mandraki. High in the hills above the town is the oldest monument of Nisyros. Dating back to Neolithic times the acropolis, called Palaiokastro (6th-4th century), has been well preserved. The sturdy walls are made of black trachyte and are 3-5 meters wide. Every 25 meters there are square towers almost 10 meters wide and some of the stones weight up to 3.5 tons.
The town around Mandraki harbour is quaint and touristy with lots of arts and craft shops. It is overlooked by a monastery and heavily-populated by stray cats. Plenty of cafes and swimming spots here too, but light is fading and it is time to head back to ITIKI.
Lynda is slowly getting used to the transition from working to not working and racing to cruising.