North of Skala

The most popular and readily accessible beach in northern Patmos is wide, sandy Kambos Beach, which lies 5km northeast of Skala, just downhill from the village of Kambos. Crowded with local families in summer, it’s a perfect spot for kids, with safe swimming and plenty of water-based activities.

Remoter and, with luck, quieter beaches can be reached by driving a little further. Fork inland (left) immediately after Kambos Beach and you’ll soon find yourself winding down green slopes to Lambi Beach, an impressive expanse of multicoloured pebbles on the north shore. Stick to the coast road east of Kambos Beach, on the other hand, to reach Vagia Beach, a sheltered little cove that offers good snorkelling in the island's coldest though highest-visibility water, and beyond it the pebbled, tamarisk-shaded and stunningly turquoise-laced Livadi Geranou Beach, where a tiny whitewashed chapel beckons from the islet just offshore.

South of Skala

The southern half of Patmos is scattered with small, tree-filled valleys and picturesque beaches. The first settlement south of Skala is tiny, peaceful Sapsila. Grikos, 1km further along over the hill, has a long, sandy beach that holds a handful of tavernas and is dominated by a plush resort hotel. St John is believed to have baptised islanders here during the 1st century AD, at a spot now marked by the chapel of Agios Ioannis Theologos.

South again, Petra Beach is peaceful and has plenty of shade, while a spit leads out to the startling Kalikatsos Rock. Both a rough coastal track from the beach and a longer paved road from Hora continue as far as Diakofti, the island’s southernmost community. From there, a demanding half-hour hiking trail scrambles over the rocky hillside to reach the fine, tree-shaded stretch of sand known as Psili Ammos Beach, which holds a seasonal taverna. It's bewitchingly pretty and utterly isolated; if you've got kids with you, it's safer for you to hire a boat from Skala to get here.