If you’ve been following us on social media you’ll know that recently we headed off to discover the island of Patmos. The blog has been a member of Travel Bloggers of Greece for 2 years now and this was our first FAM trip with the organisation.
For those who don’t know FAM stands for familiarisation, the basic idea is that a tourist organisation or company pays for some or all of your trip, in return you write, blog and share on social media. It’s advertising but no-one actually gets paid.
Everything on the trip was organised for us, the ferries and accommodation, where would be eating lunch and dinner and full itinerary for each day. Tzina Varotzi of Eikones & Psithryoi spent weeks liaising with the municipality on Patmos.
Patmos has no airport, the only way to get there is by ferry and luckily for us the Greek ferry system is one of the best in the world.
We travelled there from Rhodes on Blue Star ferries leaving at 3pm the journey took around 9 hours. That sounds like a long time to be on a ferry but we had a cabin provided and there were choice of restaurants and bars. We had a much faster journey back of 5 hours on the catamaran with Dodekanisos Seaways. You could also fly to Samos and take a 1 hour ferry to Patmos.
We enjoyed watching the organised chaos at each port, enjoyed a drink on the back deck as the sun set, had a light supper and a couple of hours sleep between Leros and Patmos.
Arriving in the early hours of the morning we were met by Giannis Skebes president of tourism on the island. He was smiling broadly, helped with luggage and showed us to our hire car. We followed him on his moped around winding lanes to our hotel unable to see much in the dark.
We were allocated the Patmos Atkis Suites and Spa. The hotel reception was spacious and light with a pool of running water at the entrance, the small complex was white, understated and cool on a warm June evening. Our room was huge, a double and two single beds there was more than enough room for a family. What struck us most at first was the view, the patio doors opened to a generous terrace with table, chairs and sun-beds and a few steps away was a beautiful blue swimming pool. Although it was shared by other rooms it still had a feeling of privacy.
Exploring the suite and unpacking we found that the whole place was fitted out to accommodate the disabled in ways we’ve not experienced in Greece before. Proper ramps into and out of the building, our room was one of 3 deluxe disabled rooms at the hotel, where every detail had been thought through. The bathrooms were particularly well fitted out and there was non slip flooring throughout, hand rails at every point, a raised toilet and a shower stool.
Falling into a very comfortable bed, we worked out how to turn off the lights, always an amusing task in any hotel. We opened the electronic blinds and turned the wrong light on, but had a wonderful nights sleep.
Waking early and excited we enjoyed a coffee on the patio, watching birds swooping into the pool before heading for breakfast. Later that day I took a swim, the water was cool and the same depth all the way around, it was a good 40 meter swim and a great way to relieve tired legs after all the walking we did each day. The room came with a well stocked mini bar fridge, an expresso maker and a kettle, with the makings for both. The expresso we discovered at check out had a charge of €1 per pod.
We had a reasonably timed start for the first day as the others in our group had travelled from Athens and arrived much later than us. Breakfast in the hotel was a buffet style Greek breakfast with traditional produce and an excellent chef making eggs to order in any way you liked. A wonderful way to start the day right next to the beach with a view of Grikos bay.
We watched as early risers walked their dogs or went for a swim and the boats moored up began their daily routines, a black and white cat came off one to go for a constitutional, we saw it returning later in the day.
The hotel was very well staffed, if you needed something someone was there, with a minimalist look they kept everything immaculate but at the same time didn’t fuss over you too much.
As we sat enjoying the view we could see clouds rolling in behind us. The day turned out to be unpredictable with a few summer showers. Some warm rain and few clouds weren’t going to stop the travel bloggers exploring Patmos.
So far the trip had been very similar to any other we’d been on but that was about to change. Over the next few days we would discover Patmos in a unique way. With a group of professional bloggers, with cameras and mobile phones, with local guides and as guests of the municipality.
Patmos one the northern islands in Dodecanese chain has been welcoming religious tourists for thousands of years thanks to it’s association with John the Theologian. The Cave of the Apocalypse and The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian make it one of the most important sites of Christian pilgrimage. (more on that to come soon) The trip was well organised with a comprehensive itinerary over 4 days.
On an island of just 34 kilometres you might wonder what there is to do? We were introduced to stunning beaches and beautiful scenery. We walked ancient streets and alleyways, climbed onto rooftops and dined with monks. We ate local delicacies in romantic tavernas, shared a cold drink with a renowned artist in his home and learned how to make the famous Patmos cheese pies. We saw yacht building, tasted local wines and visited a historical local home. (More on all these to come soon)
We discovered a side to travel blogging we’d never seen before. In the past all our trips were organised by us, we’d arrive somewhere and go with the flow a bit, look at some travel blogs and advice, then discover for ourselves. This was different, it was at times exhausting, it was great fun and very rewarding.
In the people of Patmos we met some wonderful guides. They had a passion and love for the island, it’s history and culture. There will always be a warm welcome for tourists on this island. We made new friends and will definitely be returning to Patmos one day.
We also came away feeling like professionals, we’ve turned a corner and it’s exciting to see where the future leads us next. In many ways as a travel blogger I didn’t feel I belonged. I’d joined a group of other bloggers but never had the confidence to actually go and meet them and go on a trip before. I had it my head that all travel bloggers were skinny 20 somethings and that’s definitely not me. This trip showed me that yes you can be 40 something getting closer to 50, overweight and be a travel blogger. My love for travel has never been influenced by those things and neither should my ability to blog.
Patmos revealed the travel blogger in me, I wonder what it will reveal to you? Over the coming weeks look out for more about Patmos and why you should definitely add to your list of Greek islands to visit.
During our trip to Patmos, we were guests of the Municipality of Patmos. This post is written in collaboration with Patmos Atkis Suites and Spa but all the opinions written in this post are our own, based on our own experience.