Nisyros: Singularly Explosive
The world as we know it has taken a few hits over the last few months. Our way of life has been turned upside down and we are still not out of the woods yet. But fear not. Greece has just what the doctor ordered: a healthy dose of vitamin D, big dollops of iodine, and the ultimate psychosomatic cure for all ailments that is the intangible Greek summer state of mind. Enter Nisyros. This small island on the ancient south Sporades island chain is as much a mystery to Greeks as it would be to travellers. Wedged in between Kos, Tilos and Rhodes, Nisyros sits smack bang in the middle on the volcano arc that stretches along the Aegean basin and unto the Eastern shelves. Nisyros is an acquired taste. And you’ll know that as soon as one steps foot on it’s craggy, desolate moonscape. This is, after all, Greece’s newest volcano, still active one might add. And that is the basis of it’s appeal. Nisyros isn’t your typical Greek island. You won’t find celebrities and influencers, night life is rather limited and the beaches aren’t exactly it’s calling card.
Rather, one heads to Nisyros to lose track of time and escape the vagaries of modern life. For hikers, Nisyros presents a great opportunity to explore the volcanic panorama. A bit like the Canary islands in that sense, Nisyros is charred. Walking on the numerous craters, one is reminded of the fact that Nisyros is in fact a 180,000 year old volcano surrounded by other volcanic mountains. Comprised of 5 active craters, Nisyros plays host to the world’s only hydrothermic volcano inside one of the calderas. Visit the Stefanos crater at 300 meters diameter, or try Alexandros on for size. Strolling around these singular geological formations with sulphur hanging in the air is the definition of ‘holy smokes’.
Nisyros also has a couple ‘newer’ man made things to look at, namely the mysterious Paleokastro acropolis type fortification dating back to BC and made out of basaltic andesite, reportedly one of the toughest in the world. And still standing proud after several millennia. And the 14th century Venetian fortress.
Nisyros’s mythology is equally alluring, too. Legend has it that the Clash of the Titans led one of the persecuted Giants, Polivotis, unto the area, where he was cornered by Poseidon and killed with a piece of Kos flung with Poseidon’s trident that eventually turned into Nisyros.
Nisyros will blow you away. Pun intended.