There are not many volcanic islands in Greece other than the famous Santorini; however, if this kind of landscape attracts you and you are curious about visiting a small, remote island in the Aegean, then Nisyros Island might be just the right place for you.
In this guide, we offer you all the information you need to plan your escape, including the best things to do in Nisyros and ideas about where to stay, when to go, and where to find the best food on the island.
Are you ready for Nisyros? Let’s begin!
Where Is Nisyros Island
Part of the Dodecanese cluster of Greek islands, the island of Nisyros is situated between Tilos and the more popular Kos. The island is a true hidden gem in the country as it has remained immune to mass tourism.
Nisyros’ incredible volcanic landscape, impressive beaches, and unique natural phenomena make it a unique destination that you don’t want to miss.
How To Get To Nisyros Island
When To Visit Nisyros Greece
If you’re visiting Nisyros for a summer vacation, the best time to visit will be summer, between June and early September, like with most Greek islands. The island sees little rain all year round, making it a good destination for outdoor explorations in the colder months of the year.
Best Things To Do In Nisyros Greece
Here are our top picks for the best activities and places to see in Nisyros – take a look!
The island’s capital and the most important town is the picturesque Mandraki, a small settlement surrounded by hills on the northwestern side of Nisyros Island.
Dozens of whitewashed houses and little artisan shops are scattered along the unique seaside promenade of Mandraki. This is the right place for a quiet nighttime stroll after dining in one of the several traditional tavernas in the area.
The place is also a favorite spot on the island to witness the sun setting, one of the best things to do in Nisyros after a long day spent on the beach.
Nobody visiting Nisyros should skip a visit to the volcano! To discover and learn how a volcanic island is made, there is no better experience than visiting this unique site featuring three main craters that locals have baptized Alexandros, Stephanos, and Polyvotis.
If you’re on the island in summer, avoid visiting during the hottest hours and go early in the morning or right before the sun sets. This way, the heat will be less intense, and you won’t find the place overcrowded.
Volcanic Museum Of Nisyros
To learn even more about the nature of this volcanic island, it is also a good idea to check out the island’s Volcanic Museum, located in an old primary school in Nikia village.
Here you will learn not only about Nisyros’s volcano but also about the famous Santorini and the volcanic origin of many islands in the Aegean.
Nisyros’ Hot Springs
The island’s intense and continuous volcanic activity has created incredible thermal springs scattered in different areas.
Rich in mineral waters, some of which flow into the sea, the island is a paradise for thermal tourism and healing baths.
You can visit several hot springs, with one of the most famous ones being located on the northern side of the island, the thermal spa of Loutra (which means “baths” in Greek). It is one of the most visited springs in Nisyros and receives visitors from all over the country.
On top of a hill overlooking the settlement of Mandraki, this ancient fortress (Paleo Kastro literally means Old Castle) dating back to the fourth century BC was built over an ancient Greek acropolis.
Although the remains are nothing but ruins of the protecting walls made of volcanic basalt and some traces of defensive bastions, the most curious characteristic of the ancient castle is its impressive size, given the island’s relatively small size.
The total length of the fort is about two kilometers, probably covering an area of about 130.000 square meters.
Hiking In Nisyros
Hiking is a popular activity in such a mountainous land as Greece. The country is a famous European destination for mountain sports, and hiking is among the favorite ones.
Nisyros is a place in the country where hiking is popular. The island features a network of really remarkable paths that attract visitors from all over the world, ranging from expert hikers to total beginners.
The charm of these paths lies in the traditional landscapes that you can experience along the way, from old stone farms to ancient churches and abandoned distilleries.
Sample Local Food
Like many destinations in the Mediterranean basin, authentic, fresh ingredients, herbs, and abundant olive oil are at the base of delicious dishes, a staple of the healthy and worldwide famous Mediterranean diet.
An island with volcanic soil is bound to offer incredible produce, rich in minerals and taste, and Nisyros is no exception. During your visit, don’t miss any of the abundant veggie-based dishes made on the island, including fresh salads or savory pies.
One island dish you should try in Nisyros is the pithia, a chickpea fritter that can also be cooked in red sauce.
Other typical products are local capers and a variety of goat and sheep cheeses, including skouliasti and soft mizythra cheese.
And if you’re looking for something really authentic, why not try local cheese cooked in red wine? This tasty delicacy is known as trigias and is a typical festive dish served on special occasions.
If you prefer sweet dishes, then check out the local biscuits, psilokouloura, and foinikia, dipped in local honey.
Don’t miss the popular loukoumades (fried pastry balls similar to donuts), the delicious semolina cake with syrup (halva), and the unique Greek spoon sweets made from seasonal fruits.
When it comes to liquors and local spirits, Nisyros is known for the koukouzina, which is distilled from figs or grapes and resembles the Cretan tsikoudia.
Top 5 Nisyros Beaches
A shore located on the northern part of the island, Pali is a long beach featuring white sand and shallow waters, and it’s located about 4 kilometers from the area of Mandraki.
Even though it is one of the most popular beaches on the island, its wide extension allows for privacy, so you’ll never feel crowded. There’s plenty of natural shade thanks to the seaside tamarisk trees and several bars and taverns.
This is one of the most family-friendly shores in Nisyros.
One of the favorite shores on the island, this beautiful black sand beach stands on the eastern coast. Although the beach cannot be reached by car, the short shore hike is worth the effort.
The beach features an area for naturists and campers.
Also known as Lies, this is another popular seaside area in Nisyros. The shore features a collection of small coves, caves, and sand stretches that combine along the coastline of the island’s eastern region.
Although minimal organization exists, the place is beautiful and quite popular. Pack lunch and extra cold drinks if you plan to spend the day there!
Although it might not be the most comfortable beach to spend a whole day for a family, this place you must see, so at least consider making a short stop for pictures.
The beach features incredibly huge black pebbles that make it difficult to walk on the beach, and yet these dark stones contrast with the deep turquoise waters making it an unforgettable landscape.
The beach stands close to the Panagia Spiliani Monastery and it’s pretty close to Mandraki.
Considered the biggest beach in Nisyros, this shore is located between Pali Beach and Lyes. It’s located on the northern tip of the island, and it features a combination of sand and small pebbles while trees provide shade for free. The location is relatively calm and not often crowded.
Family Friendly Nisyros Beaches
Several small beaches near the area of Mandraki are pretty popular among families. These are the shores of Lefki and Gialiskari.
Where To Eat On Nisyros Island
The food on the island is heavenly, so feel confident that wherever you eat, you will find fresh ingredients from local sources paired with authentic Greek hospitality. If you’re looking for the best places to eat in Nisyros, we recommend checking out these places.
Located in Mandraki, Geusea specializes in fresh fish and seafood dishes with a fine dining touch and a refined atmosphere.
This place is simply perfect for a piece of cake and a cup of coffee but also for delicious hamburgers, fresh juices, or quick snacks. It’s located on the seafront, a few meters from the port.
Taverna To Balconi Tou Emporeiou
Located in the Emporio village, Taverna To Balconi tou Emporeiou is a traditional Greek tavern where you can taste the best dishes of the Mediterranean.
Where To Stay In Nisyros
In the following list, you will find the best places to stay in Nisyros. Check them out when it’s time to book accommodation for your vacation on the island.
Affordable Accommodation In Nisyros: Old Traditional House
This small but comfy apartment in Mandraki features one bedroom, a living room, and a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge and coffee machine..
Mid-Range Accommodation In Nisyros: Lava House
A fantastic place to stay in Mandraki, the house comes with a fitness center, a garden, and a terrace. In the area, guests can engage in hiking, fishing, and snorkeling activities. This is a good fit for families, offering two bedrooms, a complete kitchen, and a seating area. The apartment also provides a barbecue, and bicycle and car rental services are available..
Luxury Accommodation In Nisyros: Volcano View Nisyros
This gorgeous property is located in the village of Emporio. It offers a terrace with amazing mountain views and a patio. The home is perfect for families as it features two bedrooms, a kitchen with a fridge and a microwave, and a coffee machine..
Now that you have all of the Nisyros travel advice that you need. We want to know which Nisyros Island sites you will head to first.