Patmos © Chris Vlachos
This island, sometimes called the 'Jerusalem of the Aegean', is an official pilgrimage site for members of the Catholic religion, because it is home to the sacred cavern where the exiled St John the Evangelist was inspired to write the Biblical Book of Revelations. Cruise ships and ferries keep the small port very active, disgorging visitors who wish to visit the holy cave and witness the cracks in the wall, said to have appeared when St John heard the voice of the Lord. The small Monastery of the Apocalypse is very close to the cave and both are worth exploring. The small and lovely Chapel of St Anne encloses the cave and was built in the 11th century. Crowning the island is the immense Monastery of St John, with its buttressed walls and, inside, frescoes, icons, tapestries and pendants made of precious stones. The monastery was completed in the 11th century and it is a richly decorated fortress with spectacular views, that would be fascinating to explore no matter what your religious beliefs. The historical centre of Patmos, including the monastery and the sacred cave, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk up to the monastery from Skala along the Byzantine path.
Transport: Regular hydrofoils from Kos take about two hours.