Nisyros, with fewer than 1,000 permanent inhabitants, is famous for having the only 'active' volcano in Greece together with Santorini (Thyra). The island is essentially a volcanic cone with a large collapsed caldera in the center. It is possible to walk into the volcanic crater and view the smoking fumaroles at close hand.
There are two main villages on the island: Mandraki in the north-west (where the ferries dock) and Nikea, up on the edge of the volcanic rim to the south.
During the summer month the island is frequented daily by hundreds day-trip visitors from Kos that arrive on multiple boats in the morning, visit the crater, spend some time in Mandraki and leave in the afternoon. Afterwards the island returns to its calm and relaxing atmosphere in which some traditional greek life can be enjoyed, therefore it's worth to stay for a night.
Nisyros is a popular day-trip destination from Kos island. During the summer month, boats leave from Kos (Kardameina port) at 9:30 to Mandraki and return at 15:30. Prices for a one-way boat-trip range from 5-8.5€.
Nisyros is also one of the stops for ferries that run between Piraeus (the port of Athens) and Rhodes, with other nearby stops being at Kos, Tilos and Symi. Schedules for these can be found online. Sailings are not to a regular daily schedule and become less frequent in the winter months.
In addition, a fast catamaran service runs to Rhodes on some days (via Tilos).
The villages on the island are small enough to stroll around on foot.
To travel between them, two there is an occasional bus service, the schedule can be found on http://www.nisyros.gr. There are also about two taxis on the island. Given that there’s essentially only one road, hitchhiking is also an easy option.
There is a car and motorcycle rental based on the main port. Manos tel 2242031029.
- Eagle's Nest Car & Bike Rental (Pali Harbour), ☏ . Mike and his American wife Marilyn give very friendly service and very good tour advice. The office is next to the church in Pali Harbour. Mike is also a mechanic and the go to man for assistance.
Alternatively, it is a half day's hike between the two villages, via the volcanic crater.
- The walk-in volcanic crater.. A path leads down to the yellow sulphur stained floor where you can walk up to and view the steaming vents. Try to avoid being here when the day-trip visitors come (~11:00). There’s a small café with shaded seats after the entrance. 3€ (free if you hiked there).
- Nikia. A mountain-village at the ridge of the crater. The village is pretty, painted in blue and white. There’s one square with 2 restaurants. There’s a view-point to see down into the crater valley.
Hiking between Mandraki and Nikia via the volcanic crater is a great day-trip. Beware of the elevation and the sun and pack enough water. The island’s peak can also be climbed, apparently one could sleep there with a sleeping bag (unverified). There are multiple hiking paths between and Mandraki and the volcanic crater. The one east of the mountain is hard to find for the last part until it hits the paved street leading to the crater. OpenStreepMap maps have good coverage of the trails. Most hotels on the island also have free maps available for anyone interested in walks around the island.
Mandraki has many restaurants. If you go with a group, try to avoid the places where the tour guide sends you to eat. Some tour guides get a commission from the restaurants, which means it will be expensive. Look around and try to avoid the main tourist pathways.
Nikia and Emborios have just 1-2 restaurants, the tavern in Emborios has a great view of the crater valley.
Mandraki has a few bars and lots of restaurants inviting for a drink.
There’s very few hotels on the island. On some days all may be booked out. Book in advance and make sure to check with the hotel in case you’re arriving late.
Most hotels in Mandraki are in the port area.
- Romantzo, Mandraki, ☏ . This hotel hugs the embankment of the island, but views of the Aegean are not bad and breakfast with eggs, bread, and marmalade is complimentary.
- Ta Liotrida, Mandraki, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tria Aderfia (Three Brothers), Mandraki, ☏ . Simple rooms, very friendly owner. Right next to the port. double-room from 32€.
- Hotel Porfyris, Mandraki (400m from the sea). 2-star hotel with 38 rooms.
- Haritos, Mandraki, ☏ . 11 rooms
- 1 Guest House Polyvotis, Nisiros, ☏ . Seaside hotel (located in the harbor) with breakfast and ceiling fans.
- Polyvotis, ☏ . 3-star hotel with 20 rooms.