Mandraki (Nisyros)

Mandraki (Nisyros): Houses crowd the waters edge

Mandraki (Nisyros): Houses crowd the waters edge

The island of Nisyros is essentially a volcano, which is still technically active. Mandraki, home to the majority of the island’s 1000 strong population is on the north west corner.

The village is a maze of pebbled streets and alleys, between the whitewashed and natural stone buildings with their wooden balconies.

Amongst these and particularly around the main square you’ll find a good selection of restaurants, coffee shops and bars. It’s not a wild party town but you definitely won’t starve! There are plenty of trinket buying opportunities too.

You should try to seek out the local speciality, a non alcoholic drink called soumada, made with almonds, honey, baby tomatoes and capers.

Culture vultures will find plenty to do in town. The Castle of the knights of St. John sits 150m above the town, giving excellent views. The monastery of Panagia Spiliani is close by, being both the largest monastery on the island and built in a cave.

Nisyros: The volcano crater

Nisyros: The volcano crater

For those wanting some beach time, there’s a stony beach on the edge of town but a sandier option about three miles east of town (catch a bus or hire a scooter).

Of course no visit would be complete without a visit to the Volcano. There are in fact a number of caters around the island but the one that everyone heads for is of course the largeset, Stefano.

You’ll have no trouble getting there – the buses line up at the harbour. You can walk right down in to the crater where the last eruption took place in 1888.

It’s hot so take string shoes or you’ll find the soles melt. It’s also rather smelly with a strong whiff of sulphur.

For those wanting to know more there’s even a volcanological museum – trying saying that after a few drinks!

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