The Colourful Greek Island of Meis

The Greek island of Meis is colourful, quiet and full of bizarre locals. The one reason why I went there was simply because I was not forced into doing it.

You see, when I first came to Turkey, visa runs across to any Greek island were a necessity. Many expats did it and still do it now. At first, it was a novelty, but after a while, it became boring and I constantly thought about better things that I wanted to do with my time.

Eventually I ended up on a residency visa and then on Turkish citizenship so there was no need to worry about visas anymore.  This was when the idea of day hoping across to a Greek island did not seem like a chore.

It is strange that when you do not have to do something, it becomes more attractive.

My previous hatred of compulsory visa runs has disappeared and now I want to see all the Greek islands that have ferry access from Turkey.

greek Island

Arriving on the Greek Island of Meis

While I was in Kas on my solo tour, I could see the island of Meis from my hotel rooftop, as it is only two miles away.  I decided there was no time like the present so I booked myself a return ticket. The ferry departs from the harbour at 10am and it is a quick trip across the water.

Meis Express Office

Arriving in Meis on the ferry, it was blaring obvious that the island is awash in colour.

Stupid people who have no concept of health and safety paint houses in bright colours.

Greek Island of Meis

Boat owners always opt for bright green, blue and red colours, which makes the harbour your typical Mediterranean picture postcard scene.

Harbour boat

I decided the best way to get to know the island was to speak to the locals. They turned out to be a tourism board’s worst nightmare.

“Meis is good if you like drinking, eating, sleeping and doing nothing else,” said the bank teller who was very angry about his compulsory transfer from Rhodes. “After just a couple of days, you can become very bored”

Yes, there is a castle but it is not worth seeing,” said the boat captain who was obviously getting ready for his afternoon siesta.

Relaxing on the harbour front

In total, there are about 350 people living permanently on the island but it will swell up in the summer time to around 1000.

So be warned that the island is not for everyone and think twice if you plan on an overnight stay.

The church of Meis

My Recommendations

I spent a lot of time exploring side streets and sitting in cafes eating waffles and drinking frappes. My favourite moment though was the Blue cave. I wrote about this previously and cannot recommend it enough.

While it is 25 metres high, the entrance is only a metre but once you sail into it, the light reflecting off the water is amazing. If you want to go to the cave, when you come off the ferry, ask for Kostos.

He is terrible at steering boats and has no life jackets but he speaks very good English.

Boats of Meis

At the end of the day, I was actually glad to leave the Greek island of Meis. It is colourful and the locals are friendly, even though they have bizarre ways. It is just that the laidback pace is too much for me. I need some vibes and excitement. Maybe when I retire, I will return

Meis houses

Would I recommend it for an overnight stay? No.

Would I recommend it for a day trip? Yes, if you visit the Blue Cave


Ps – Do not forget to order a plate of delicious fresh calamari from the harbour restaurants.

Coming in on the Meis Express ferry

Readers Questions : Visa runs, love them or hate them? Have you been to Meis or any of the Greek Islands?


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Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an Internet addict with a passion for history. Read my story here or leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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  1. says

    The only Greek island I’ve ever been to was Santorini, but I’d love to explore more. It’s such a gorgeous country! Funny to hear about an island that isn’t recommended for an overnight stay!
    Ali wrote about..Weekly Photo – Chilean Fiords Sunset

      • says

        Natalie, I used to go there every 3 months for my vias run until I got my residence permit. If you had asked me before you went, I would have recommended that you meet with Monika and Damien who are a German/Greek couple. Damien was raised in Australia. They have a splendid garden restaurant and cute shop and can tell you things about Meis you might not otherwise know. Damien says there are many hidden things to do that the casual visitor never sees:

  2. says

    . . had a great sarari through the Greek islands with Kaptan June a few years back. She was preparing for another book and wanted to re-visit her old haunts. Had a great time, Greeks were great – apart from the ill-mannered harbour authorities.
    Alan wrote about..Beryl Cook and the Bums of Gölcuk

    • says

      It is still on my bucket list to meet her Alan – Not sure if I will make it this year but if not, 2013 for def

    • Susan Savion says

      I enjoyed my day trip to Meis very much. Lovd the colorful doors and the church that was being renovated. In the back, behind the altar, is a very large painting of Jesus with his fingers forming a mudra. Interesting. However, when I took a photo of the goddesses outside the school, some school children rudely yelled at me! Beautiful cobblestones–but a nasty kid. It was perfect weather while we were there and I recommend it.

      • says

        Children will be children Sue – glad you enjoyed it though

  3. says

    I love Kastellorizo! Yes, it’s laid back and a little quirky but that’s why I love it.

    I went there in 1995 and remember going to the local taverna where there was no menu you just got given whatever meal they happened to have prepared that day. I spent a week there and hope to go back this year.

    I admit I’m a little biased as my grandfather was from there so it has a special place in my heart but I honestly think it’s worth spending a few days there to relax and enjoy the Greek way of life.
    Andrea wrote about..Travel Photo: Mieming

      • says

        I was there with my family at Easter. We spent time wandering around the island, sitting in cafes, having long lunches. I love big cities where there is always something going on but this was a nice change of pace for me. It was a bit difficult at first getting used to doing nothing but after a while you just go with the flow.
        Andrea wrote about..Allo Allo {Deux Américains à Paris}

        • says

          Ah, having people with us makes all the difference. I thought you were on your own. Previously I imagined being there on my own but now if I think of a romantic get away for me and hubby, it could be quite nice.
          Natalie wrote about..Photo Essay – How Turkish Carpets Are Made

  4. says

    We never did the visa runs as we applied for our residency soon after we arrived. We heard too many horror stories of visas about to expire, the weather closing in and cancelled ferries. To our shame, we’ve never popped across to Kos.
    Jack Scott wrote about..Food, Inglorious Food

  5. phil + Di marina gateway says

    lovely colourful photos of a colourful island sounds like a place to go for a good rest after a long hard year at work we like to have something to do when were on holiday but i can see why people would go to relax and have a good rest

  6. says

    Beautiful photos Natalie! Looks like the perfect place for me — nothing to do but hang out. I guess “old age” is settling in! Had to laugh at your comment about the guy painting the house! Doesn’t a ladder on an upper balcony look safe to you? He either has no fear or is looking for a way towards an early retirement!
    Terry (Adventures in Ankara) wrote about..Slideshow – Spring in Ankara

  7. says

    I used to sail to Meis a lot but haven’t been since 1985. Then all the “locals” seemed to be from Australia, on temporary transfer from Melbourne to keep the Greek population numbers up. Day trips from Turkey were banned then so it was VERY quiet.
    BacktoBodrum wrote about..A wash out

  8. says

    Natalie, I made the visa run several times and only found it boring in January, a day that was overcast and only one cafe was open. Many of the islanders during WWII were forcibly moved off and the Brits who moved them allowed a lot to relocate to Australia. Some of those people or their children are now returning and reclaiming lost homes.

    I suggest you consider returning BUT first contact Monika and Damien who are a German/Greek couple. Damien was raised in Australia. They have a splendid garden restaurant and cute shop and can tell you things about Meis you might not otherwise know.

    • says

      Now, you see John, it is little snippets like this that never appear in the guide books or main stream publications. I would have liked to meet Monika and Damien. If I manage to return to Kas this summer, then will make the trip across. Always interested in family history and local life.

  9. says

    Oh I just love Meis and as it is so small, like the commenter above, we also know Monika and Damien. we did a post on their place. Fab Greek sausages! :) We could easily spend a few days there but it would have to be in springtime then we can go trekking, too.
    Turkey’s For Life wrote about..Is This Fethiye’s Biggest Ever Music Event?

    • says

      Chad – Don’t start me off on how countries are portrayed in the news. I have a lot of people contacting me who think Turkey is in chaos because of Syrian refuges and it is far from it.

      To be fair though, I think the locals of Meis are too laid back to even consider having a riot! :)
      Natalie wrote about..Save Water – Drink Wine

    • says

      That is why I love blogs Jeremy. You can have three or four different bloggers visit the same destination and they will all produce different posts from their own experience.

  10. Cole @ Four Jandals says

    Great tilt shift shots! Love the effect on the outside cafe table. I love all the blue colours as well in Greece (well from photos I have seen). Cannot wait to visit for myself :)
    Cole @ Four Jandals wrote about..Butterfly Valley in Turkey

    • says

      The boats were amazing Don, not one plain boat was in the harbour. I struggled to decide which pictures to put on as I had that many

  11. says

    Pretty, pretty, pretty. I think it’s time I deviate from my Samos/Kos routine when I feel like visitng a nearby Greek island. And, no, I don’t go there for a visa either, I took out residency for 5 years.
    inka wrote about..My favorite Turkish art and crafts

    • says

      That is a good idea Stephanie, especially if the locals are the same as these lot!! I would like to do all the Greek Islands at some point because all have a connection with Turkey

    • says

      It is beautiful and ideal for anyone who wants to take photographs or paint

  12. begum says

    where would you stay in Meis? Are there nice hotels? Couldn’t find anyting on the net so far…

  13. Shari Couillard says

    Natalie – We want to be there for Easter -not the Greek Orthodox date. Do you know if the Island of Meis has a nice celebration? Where did you stay in Kas? We’re looking for some cheap accommodation. LOVE your blog here!

    • says

      Shari – I am not sure of the celebrations. Maybe try contacting Meis express in Kas and they can give you contact details of someone who will know. Can not remember the name of the hotel that I stayed in but it was beach front. Important as the resort rolls down the hill so unless you want an uphill struggle from the beach every day, book there!

  14. Tina says

    I used to do my visa runs to Rhodes from Marmaris. Rhodes was nice for shopping for the day and looking around, but certainly don’t miss the visa runs. Would like to go back there one day and maybe stay and get a proper look at the island.

    • Nat says

      Not sure Reneka – think you would have to work off the grid and ask around locally

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