“I have loved Greece and the Greek islands for some time — the sheer diversity of the islands is flabbergasting. I spent a lot of time in Patmos in the summer of 2020 when there were not a lot of people and empty beaches. Since then, I have gone back to Patmos and continue to be in love with the island — a love which grows as more friends join us for days of joy, long lunches and even longer nights.
Patmos is a little remote and it’s quite a schlep to get there, but this is all part of its charm as you don’t get any day tourists. It can get a little crowded in August, so going before or after is bliss. Its rich history and the international crowd that have been coming here for decades add to its specific appeal. The moment you arrive in the harbour of Scala — whether by ferry or private boat — you feel at ease. Life in Patmos revolves around Scala and Chora, the old town; beside the beaches of course.
We usually stay in the northern part of the island in a small house owned by an Athens-based Greek interior designer and her professor husband,, who specialises in antique European libraries. Great conversations often evolve here over dinner and an ouzo or two.”
Frank’s Guide to Patmos:
The beach… Lampi, it’s a bit rougher than the south, but worthwhile visiting.
Lunch… at Fish Tavern Lampi, directly on the water. Make sure you eat the flambeed feta cheese.
Sundowners… Kampos beach has a nice little taverna for a casual sundowner.
The beach club… Atmos is a beautiful beach with a nice new beach club.
The beaches… There are lovely beaches in this area, Vaghia and Livadi.
The village… Go and explore the locals’ hangout, Kampos. It has a lovely village square with some perfectly simple restaurants — it’s fun to sit and watch the world go by.
Life in the middle of the island centres around the village of Scala, where the ferry arrives and departs from. There are various hotels and restaurants here, which you could take a day to explore.
Brunch… Settle in at Cafe Houston on the village square for breakfast and fresh juices. Or come at cocktail hour for apero.
A quick snack… Don’t be fooled by the look and location of Souvlaki Pappou, it has the best gyros in town. You’ll find it directly on the street at the far north side of the harbor, just before you turn left to Kampos.
For dinner… I have a few spots in Scala. Tsipouradiki is also in the harbor and is a favourite for fresh fish. At To Kyma, you sit directly on the water and should order the lobster pasta. For Italia-inspired food in a very nice setting on the sea, there is Oklaca. Finally, Benetos is the best restaurant on the island — the owner Susan is a legend. You can choose between sitting in the garden, where a smaller menu is served; or the restaurant, which is food heaven and a place to see and be seen. It’s where we go for celebrations.
The old town dates back to before Christ and has an imposing 12th-century monastery. It’s a wonderful place for a stroll; and every evening, everyone meets here for drinks.
For evening drinks… Bar Vallegis, which sits directly on the square and where it is always a negroni house for me.
All-rounder… The sister restaurant to my Scala favourite, Benetos Chora is a favourite of mine for everything from a healthy breakfast to lunch and dinner.
For dinner… Vaggelis is an institution on the island and a great place for dinner. Everyone will be there one day or another. Or, check out Jimmy’s Balcony for squid.
For more drinks… The tiny, but famous bar Thalami. Or the equally tiny Pantheon, which the locals call Giagos, after the owner.
The beaches… There is Grikos; Psili Ammos, which required you to hike for around 40 minutes but a nice taverna awaits you as a reward; and Petra, which is my favourite beach — you can rent sunbeams and there are some refreshments. Don’t forget to take your water shoes, you’ll need them at most of the beaches.
The lunch spot… Ktima Petra is the best place for lunch, offering fantastic Greek food at an astonishingly good price. Kick off a long lunch with friends with beers out of the ice-chilled mugs.
If you have time, there are two places I’d recommend to explore, although you will need a boat. Ask for Thomas and his son (+30 698 071 0760) or, for a more old-school option, check out Patmos Sailing.
I like to take a boat to the island of Leros and have lunch at Restaurant Mylos — it’s the best seafood restaurant in the Dodecanese, I promise. Or, go to the small island of Marathi and check out Restaurant Pantelis.
Where to Stay
84 Rooms recommends: An Insider’s Guide To Athens And Lesser-Known Greek Islands, and An Insider’s Guide To Paros With Andria Mitsakos.