For better or worse, it can be difficult to reach Patmos—for many travelers, this lack of access is definitely for the better, since the island retains the air of an unspoiled retreat. Rocky and barren, the small, 34-square-km (21-square-mile) island lies beyond the islands of Kalymnos and Leros, northwest of Kos. Here on a hillside is the Monastery of the Apocalypse, which enshrines the cave where St. John received the “revelation” in AD 95. Scattered evidence of Mycenaean presence remains on Patmos, and walls of the classical period indicate the existence of a town near Skala. Most of the island's approximately 2,800 people live in three villages: Skala, medieval Chora, and the small rural settlement of Kambos. The island is popular among the faithful, who make pilgrimages to the monastery, as well as among vacationing Athenians and stylish international vacationers, who have bought homes in Chora and elsewhere around the island. Happily, administrators have carefully contained development, and as a result, Patmos retains its charm and natural beauty—even in the busy month of August.
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