The nice island of Nisyros

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After an extended 9 days in Tilos, I had to force myself to leave Tilos and head for Nisyros.  It’s not that I wasn’t looking forward to it, I was just a bit sad leaving Tilos.

Nisyros is another small island in the Dodecanese group of islands (only 41 sq km) and only 1000 permanent residents.  There are a couple of attractions like the monastery, the white-washed villages and with the highlight being the volcano.  The island is popular with people staying on the bigger Greek islands (such as Rhodes and Kos ) who come across on day trips.  It’s funny to watch (in an irritating kind of way):  at 10.30am about 3-4 large boats pull up and the camera-toting tourists pour off the boats and half go onto a bus to visit the volcano and the cute white-washed village of Nikia, and the other half walk through the main village of Mandraki to the monastery.

The day trippers arrive and head for the buses

The day trippers arrive and head for the buses

After lunch, they switch over.   Then at 4.30pm or so, they all pile back on the boat, and the island peace is restored again.

And when the daytrippers leave, peace is restored

And when the daytrippers leave, peace is restored

Mandraki is the main village and the port town of the island, where most of the tourist stay and eat.  It’s fairly touristy in that there are a lot of restaurants and gift shops throughout the village –but  it’s also just a normal village of locals going about their business.

Mandraki harbour as we arrived on Nisyros

Mandraki harbour as the boat arrived at Nisyro

The roads through the village are very narrow – some will only just fit a car;  others will only fit a motorbike.

Mandraki Village

Mandraki Village

These small 3-wheeled vehicles are quite popular here – and practical.  I wish I got a photo of the big burly bloke that I used to see squeezed into the tiny cab as he zipped around the village.

These vehicles were practical for the narrow roads

These vehicles were practical for the narrow roads

The houses are built right on the street – when you open the front door, you step out onto the street.  This means they essentially don’t have any privacy, especially from the boatloads of tourists that come through on a daily basis snapping photos of every cute doorway, cat and alley – just as I was doing too, obviously.

Mandraki Village

Another pretty doorway in Mandraki

Mandraki village

Mandraki village

It’s no wonder that there doors are mostly closed during the day and the windows shuttered up.  I felt kind of sorry for the locals who are to put up with the daily invasion of their privacy – that’s why I don’t take many photos with people in them.  But I do take lots of photos of their pretty and colourful entrances.

Mandraki Village

Mandraki Village

I don’t know what the deal is with the white paint here – but Greece must have invested heavily in the white-paint industry somewhere.  The majority of village houses in Greece are white with blue windows – and as I understand it, this is because blue and white are the national colours.  I get that.  But what I don’t get is why EVERYTHING is painted white.

Like the rocks.

They even paint the rocks!

They even paint the rocks!

And the stairways..

White paint on the steps?!

White paint on the steps?!

Thisarea looks like it’s had heavy snowfall.

It looks like snow!

It looks like snow!

During the middle of the day, it’s blindingly white – sunglasses are a necessity here.  But IS pretty.

A Nisyros road trip

I decided to hire a scooter for a day to explore the wider island.  The last thing I wanted to do was to visit the sites with 8 busloads of people, so my aim was to get up early and hit the road.  And so I did.

Old terraces built into hillside

It’s a long and windy road – note the terraces built into the hillside, 100’s of years ago.

And what an amazing drive it was.  Very little traffic and first I had stunning views of the ocean, and then as I turned inland, I had beautiful views of the volcano as I wound my way down the big hills on the ziz-zagging road and into the volcano caldera.

The view as you drive down to the volcano crater

The view as you drive down to the volcano crater

When I arrived there were only another 3 people there – you can see one of them in the photo below which gives you an idea of the scale of the crater.

Stefanos - the largest crater of the volcano

Stefanos – the largest crater of the volcano

This is an active volcano, although not erupting – but it has steaming and bubbling fumaroles in the craters.

The bubbling fumaroles

The bubbling fumaroles

There were no signs, guides or anyting advising what areas were safe to walk in and which to avoid.  I walked up close to the fumaroles, but wasn’t keen to get much closer.  The ground that I was walking on was cracked, and each step I took was on slightly spongy ground.  I did wonder if the hat seen in the photo below was a reminder of the last person that got to close…?

 

Not sure if this hat represents the last person that got too close?

Did someone get to close?

There were a few of these holes with sulphur deposits, but not many.

Sulphur

Proof that I got down in the volcano

Selfie-proof that I got down in the volcano

I thought the views here were stunning.

Walking over the hill to two smaller craters

Walking over the hill to two smaller craters.

Oh oh – the buses have arrived.  It’s time to move on!

Oh oh - time to go.  The buses have arrived.

This is just the beginning of the crowds to come

White-washed village of Nika

This was a gorgeous, picturesque little village that sat high on the rim of the volcano.  (The view at the top of this post was taken by looking over the back wall of the village down into the crater).   As I drove up to Nikia, this is the the view that I was hit with.

Nikia village

Nikia village

 How gorgeous is that?!

I parked the bike at the edge of the village and wandered through, stopping for a Greek coffee in the town square just to give me some time to sit and take it all in.  With sunglasses on of course, otherwise I’d risk white blindness.

The centre of Nikia village

The centre of Nikia village

The centre of Nikia village

Restaurant in the village centre

From Nikia, I could see this cute little white and blue church even higher up the hill.  It was just begging to be checked out.  So back on the scooter and up I went.

The classic Greek church

The classic Greek church

And the views just got better.  Although the photo below is slightly distorted, you can see how the church overlooks Nikia village (the rooftops in the centre of the picture) on the edge of the volcano.   I spent a good 1/2 hour there just sitting in awe of this beautiful view below me.

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A bit reluctantly, I jumped back on the scooter to head back down to another much smaller village called Emboreios – and hopefully find some lunch.  The village is mostly abandoned with only 27 people now living there, but I saw signs of some work being done to restore some of the buildings.  And one renovated place was even for sale.

Emboreios Village - needs some work!

Emboreios Village – needs some work!

It’s not quite as pretty as Nikia or Mandraki – but it has a certain decrepit kind of charm, in a creepy kind of way. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a small restaurant where I could grab a late lunch.  I decided on two meze dishes and they were some of the tastiest mezes I had in Greece!

Meze lunch - zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and other stuff

Zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and other stuff then deep fried

Meze lunch - grilled peppers stuffed with feta

Grilled peppers stuffed with feta

Here kitty, kitty

I don’t think I’ve mentioned cats for at least a couple of posts, so this is probably overdue!   Just as there is in Turkey, there seemed to be a lot of cats on Nisyros  (and Tilos too, I should add).  Most are strays, but they are generally well looked after by the wider community who bring them fish scraps or cat biscuits every day.  Here are just a few:

Alley cat

Alley cat

More cats

Guard cats

Black cat

Black cat

Lazy cat

Lazy cat

I try to ‘talk’ to them, but they just look at me blankly.  I guess they are Greek purring cats, not English.  Anyhow – enough of the cats already.

Tilos bound

I came to Nisyros for a week, but after 5 days, I knew that I had seen everything that I wanted to see so decided to return to Tilos for my final two days in Greece.  It was a last minute decision, but one that I was quite happy with.  I couldn’t wait.  See how happy I was?   That’s Tilos in the background.

Happy to be returning to Tilos!

Happy to be on the boat returning to Tilos!

Slideshow:  Just in case you haven’t seen enough photos, there are a few more thrown into the slideshow for you.

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About BusyLizzy

Normally I live in NZ but having re-discovered the joys of independent travel over the last few years, I decided it was 'now or never' and am taking some time out to see what the world has to offer.
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4 Responses to The nice island of Nisyros

  1. Charmaine Wilson says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I think you should buy a place in Tilos and then we can all come and visit…yep that’s a great idea Charmaine 🙂
    You definitely have to put all the stories and pictures into a book, it’ll be a huge success.
    As usual I loved reading of your travels.

    Stay Safe xo

    • BusyLizzy says:

      That’s a great idea, Charmaine. And I can only presume that you, , my beloved blog readers, will be happy to start paying a whopping subscription fee to read my blog to help fund this…? ;-D

      Oh – I only wish! Maybe I can afford to buy one of the old abandoned stone houses on Tilos and do it up. You and Trudy will be happy to help with the renovations, right?

  2. Trudy says:

    Thanks for my trip to Nisyros 🙂 I have watched the slideshow twice now … just making sure I took in all the sights! I didn’t find the driving or the crowds any problem. The nice cats go with the lovely scenery too.

    As always _really_enjoying the blog updates. Thank you!

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