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Apart from the seductive contours of the Patmian landscape, the myriad seascapes, and the seemingly countless churches, the beaches of Patmos draw most visitors beyond the island's core. Don't be tempted to think of the strand between the old and new ports in Skala as a beach. It's better and safer to take a shower in your bathroom. Most beaches have tavernas on or near them, as well as rooms to rent by the day or week. They're too numerous and similar to list here.

The North Island

The nicest beaches in the north lie along the northeastern coastline from Lambi Bay to Meloï Bay. The northwestern coastline from Merika Bay to Lambi is too rocky, inaccessible, and exposed. The most desirable northern beaches are in the following bays (proceeding up the coast from south to north): Meloï, Agriolivada, and Lambi. Meloï has some shade and good snorkeling. Kambos Bay is particularly suitable for children and families, offering calm, shallow waters, rental umbrellas, and some tree cover, as well as a lively seaside scene with opportunities for windsurfing, paragliding, sailing, and canoeing. East of Kambos Bay, at Livada, it's possible to swim or sometimes to walk across to Ayiou Yioryiou Isle; be sure to bring shoes or sandals, or the rocks will do a number on your feet. The stretch of shoreline from Thermia to Lambi is gorgeous, with crystalline waters and rocks from which you can safely dive. The drawback here is that access is only by caique from Skala. Also, avoid the north coast when the meltemi (severe north summer winds) are blowing.

The South Island

The island's south end has two beaches, one at Grikou Bay and the other at Psili Ammos. Grikou Bay, only 4km (2 1/2 miles) from Skala, is the most developed locale on Patmos and home to most of the package-tour groups. Psili Ammos is another story, an isolated fine-sand cove bordered by cliffs. Most people arrive by one of the caiques leaving Skala Harbor at 10am, and, on arrival (at 10:45am), do battle for the limited shade offered by some obliging tamarisks. The only way to ensure yourself of a place in the shade is to arrive before 10:30am; the best way to do that is to take a taxi to Diakofti for about 25€ and ask the driver to point the way to Psili Ammos, which is about a 30-minute trek on goat paths (wear real shoes). The caiques returning to Skala leave Psili Ammos around 4 to 5pm. At any given time, a range of caiques provide this service. Round-trip fare is about 30€ and 20€ one-way.

Another reason to head south is to dine at Benetos , only a short taxi ride from Skala and known as the finest restaurant on the island.

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.