Nisyros has become a major destination for hikers, especially in the cooler months of May and October. Trails are detailed on Terrain Maps’ (www.terrainmaps.gr) superb 1:20,000 Nisyros map.
The volcano itself, of course, makes the obvious goal. You can walk to the heart of the caldera in around 2½ hours from Mandraki, either by hiking directly up the switchback footpath that crosses the rim beyond Evangelistrias monastery, or following the longer track that circles around to its shallower southern side.
Alternatively, you can hike down from Nikea. The trail drops to the right behind the volcano museum and takes 45 minutes to reach the Stefanos crater. Take careful note of landmarks on your way down, as it’s much harder to find the path on your way back up again.
Bear in mind that you don't have to hike all the way back to Mandraki – arrange to meet a taxi or tour bus at the volcano, or catch a bus back from Nikea or Emborios.
For those who don't want to go it alone, head out with professional guides from Anaema. Passionate locals to the island, they will take you to secret spots and provide a wealth of information. At the very least, check with them about the status of the trails as these do change depending on weather and upkeep.
Finally, for a quick taste of the joys of rural Nisyros, don’t miss the exhilarating 20-minute jaunt up from Mandraki to the Paleokastro.