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What Patmos lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Apart from its natural beauty and its 300-plus churches, to which we can't provide a detailed guide here, there are several extraordinary sights: the Monastery of St. John], Cave of the Apocalypse, and the medieval town of Hora. The latter is a labyrinthine maze of whitewashed stone homes, shops, and churches in which getting lost is the whole point. By the way, if you are so inclined, put off your visit till the end of September -- beginning of October when there is a Religious Music Festival with concerts close to the Cave of the Apocalypse -- a unique and moving experience. Another such experience is the Easter-time Holy Thursday Service of the Washing of the Disciples' Feet in the Monastery

Off season, the opening days and times for the cave and the monastery are unpredictable, as they are designed to accommodate groups of pilgrims and cruise-ship tours rather than individual visitors. Neither place is public. The cave is enclosed within a convent, and the monastery is just that. It's best to consult the tourist office or the travel agent listed in "Planning a Trip" for the open hours on the day of your visit (the times given below are for the peak season May-Aug). To visit both places, appropriate attire is required, which means that women must wear full-length skirts or dresses and have covered shoulders, while men must wear long pants.

The road to Hora is well marked from Skala, but if you're walking, take the narrow lane to the left just past the central square. Once outside the town, you can mostly avoid the main road by following the uneven stone-paved donkey path, which is the traditional pilgrims' route to the sanctuaries above. And if you have taken this much trouble to get to Hora, hang around awhile -- it is really quite a delightful old town with many mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.