Nisyros – A Volcanic Island With Unique Landscapes

Nisyros is an enchanting island with a seductive volcanic aura. It hypnotizes the traveller with its lunar volcanic landscape and fertile area of dark beaches and thermal springs.

Walk among the cobblestone paths of Nikia and admire its unique architecture. Be sure to visit ‘Porta’, an award winning square and the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos.


The island is a paradise for hikers. Its lush mountainous landscape, with its imposing peaks and moon-like landscape around the volcano’s craters, provides unique hiking opportunities. Over 40 trails can be followed throughout the island, allowing walker to explore its unique beauty under those soaring blue skies characteristic of the Aegean. The Evangelistria to Profitis Ilias trail is a particularly popular one, spanning the northern part of Nisyros, from the monastery to Nifios, its highest point.

According to ancient legend, the volcanic island of Nisyros is the result of a war between the Olympian gods and giant Polyvotis. When the god of the sea, Poseidon, was chasing Polyvotis above the Aegean Sea, he used his trident to tear off a part of Kos, which became the island of Nisyros. The giant, unable to break free, is now trapped in the rocky prison that is the island of Nisyros and can be heard groaning and puffing from time to time.

A visitor to the island will also notice that the entire surface of the island is covered with dry stone walls known as vastadia. These walls support the terrain and create lanes of cultivable land, where stony cottages called spiladia are built. Paved paths and trails, called kalderimia, allow hikers to explore this special landscape. The lava that covered the soil of the island has preserved its fertility, and it supports a wealth of plants and trees.


One of the most unique features of Nisyros is its vast crater-like caldera. It is surrounded by volcanic domes, thick lava and steaming hydrothermal vents. A stroll around the caldera offers a chance to experience its natural beauty and smell, while also being awed by its immense power.

Taking the trail ‘Argos’, visitors can see remnants of human settlement on Nisyros from Neolithic times to the last century as well as the old sulfur processing plant and the Drakospilo cave. It will also take them through Xoxlaki beach and the monastery of Panagia Spiliani.

The island’s flora and fauna are unique, as is the one-of-a-kind landscape that was formed through a combination of man and nature. This can be explored through the island’s hiking trails which criss-cross the whole of Nisyros. They are complemented by a number of rural edifices, stone berms (known as “vastadia” to the local population) and scattered stone cottages (“spiladia”).

The first tab of this geosite presents users with an overview of the island’s biodiversity and features high-resolution photos that help to bring the narrative text to life. The second tab focuses on the island’s geological evolution and describes the five major volcanic phases that shaped Nisyros. The narration is augmented by schematics of the morphological development that took place over time and allows users to activate the timeline to visualize the different stages.


The volcanic nature of the island makes Nisyros a unique destination. In addition to the crater and its rumbling hydrothermal activity, it also has beautiful beaches and an impressive geological history.

According to myth, Nisyros was created by Poseidon, god of the sea, during a battle with Polyvotis, a giant titan. When the titan was about to destroy Kos, Poseidon threw his trident at him, which trapped Polyvotis under a lump of rock that later became Nisyros.

The ‘Caldera-Lakki’ trail is one of the most interesting hiking paths on the island and offers an opportunity to admire the different volcanic features representative of Nisyros’ geological formation. Starting from the old village of Emborios, it goes down to the caldera through spectacular road cuts where lava layers of several eruptive cycles are exposed. The trail then ends at the field of active hydrothermal craters where visitors can explore the interiors of Stefanos and a few other craters and feel the rumble caused by the hot fluids running underneath their feet as well as the intense smell of sulfur crystals.

Among the most remarkable monuments on the island are the cobblestoned square of Porta, recognized as one of the best traditional squares in Europe, and the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos. The monastery of Panagia Spiliani, perched above a wild black beach at Mandraki, is another attraction. The island is also famous for its thermal springs that bubble in many places, with Loutra being the most well-known.


The island’s obsidian trade made it thrive in antiquity, attracting many travellers. Today, it is mostly visited by day trippers from Kos. The hypnotizing landscapes and the thermal springs will make you feel “Nisyriasi”, a term that is used to describe a severe addiction to Nisyros’ volcanic energy!

The first tab, named Volcano, presents users with the geological and volcanological information of the island. This data is presented in a side accordion layout, enabling users to interact with the content in an intuitive and interactive way.

Among the available data, the main volcanoes of the island are highlighted and their current state is illustrated. Additionally, the morphological evolution of the volcano is visualized by a schematic representation. Finally, users can also access information regarding biodiversity in the island through narrative text accompanied by high-resolution photos.

The capital of Nisyros is Mandraki, a picturesque village that hosts lots of tourism facilities. Take a walk along the exquisite pebbled streets and squares (the most significant is Delfinion Square) to admire the white or coloured two-storeyed houses with wooden balconies. Also, try the traditional tavernas and the subtle nightlife of this lovely island.