The rites and traditions of the Orthodox Easter, which begins on April 29. Oleanders in bloom, beaches without crowds, perfect weather for hiking: this is the best season to discover the island of the Dodecanese, one of the most mystical and enchanting Aegean
With eight parishes, several monasteries and less than three thousand inhabitants, the Greek island of Patmos has deservedly won the title of “Jerusalem of the Mediterranean”. The best time to enjoy this atmosphere full of spirituality is the Easter week, with its evocative rituals and the divine flavors of Greek cuisine. It is not too late: archived the Catholic Easter, Orthodox arrives later this year. To be precise, Sunday, May 1. A unique opportunity to organize a holiday out of season, between oleanders in bloom and beaches without the crowds. Here are five tips for enjoying the best of the island.
Try to get there in time for Holy Thursday (April 29). At 10.30 a procession of monks is set in motion by the monastery of St. John and slide to the central square of Chora, the medieval village perched on the hill (both UNESCO sites). Here the abbot performs the ritual of the washing of feet, the Niptiras, which for the Orthodox is held only on Patmos and in Jerusalem. On Good Friday, the Epitafio – a wooden structure decorated with flowers with a picture of the dead Christ – is carried in procession through the streets of Chora. Mass of Easter, are received into the church painted eggs red, with which children and adults engage in “battles” of resistance, until the last egg. In Skala, on Easter Sunday, the town organizes a popular street festival, with dancing and traditional food. For those who can stop, the Tuesday after Easter, the Vespers of Love (Esperinos tis Agapis) at the monastery of St. John the Gospel is read in seven languages is a really wonderful time.
It is the only sandy beach of the island. It is reached by boat from Skala, the main port of the island. Alternatively, you can walk from Diakofti, but requires a walk of at least half an hour. Never mind: this season does not suffer from the heat.
There is a network of eight well-marked trails on the island. Available to everyone, the Aporthianos mule is also a cultural experience. It starts from Chora, passing by the beautiful windmills in the sixteenth century stone and drops down to Skala. Breathtaking views of the sea and vegetation in spring is lush and dotted with flowers.
By boat from Skala you can plan a trip to the nearby islands of Arki, Marathi and Lipsi. At Marathi you can stop to sleep by Pantelis. Arki to the Trypas tavern offers local roast goat and fresh fish.
5 Getting lost among the old houses of Chora
The ancient village of Chora is considered by many the most charming Aegean town. It’s magical to get lost in the maze of alleys wedged between the white facades of the houses clinging to the foot of the fortress that surrounds the monastery of St. John. To enjoy the atmosphere you can stop in one of the cafes in the square of Agia Levia Stoa is renowned for the best in the Dodecanese cocktails. For a gourmet stop is the Benetos restaurant, just outside Skala.