Syros

The main island in the Cyclades
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Useful hints and travel information for a Syros holiday

The Greek island of Syros is part of the Cycladic Archipelago where it has a central position. Three quarters of the island’s 20,000 inhabitants live in Syros’ capital of Ermoupolis. Syros is the administrative centre of the Cycladic Islands, where all the other Cycladic citizens have to go to sort out administrative matters.



Although there is no lack of beautiful beaches on Syros and there are many taverns and bars as well, tourism is not of primary significance and the island is therefore just right for a quiet and relaxed holiday off the beaten track. Despite this Cycladic Island’s rather rough character, vegetables and wine are grown in many places and there is cattle breeding too. Next to textile production, however, shipping industry is the most important source of income for the inhabitants and has brought employment and wealth to the Greek island. The pride and joy of the islanders is a large dockyard amongst the multitude of white and ochre Cycladic houses in the beautiful natural bay of the capital. There is a variety of sites to visit in Ermoupolis that make a holiday on Syros a combination of Greek history, urban ambience and agreeable seclusion.



Syros is rather bare and dry, especially in the northern part of the island. The best beaches can be found in the southern and western part of Syros, one particular favourite being the sandy beach in Galissa with tamarisk trees providing welcome shade from the Mediterranean sun and some very good taverns; the beach is busy without getting over-crowded. In general, however, a holiday on Syros is mainly for people interested in Greek culture who want to explore the authentic character of their holiday destination rather than just lie on the beach. Amongst the tourist attractions in Ermoupolis are theatres, Greek orthodox churches, an archaeological museum and an interesting library; then there is Ano Syros, a small historic village and leftover of the middle ages, with its cathedral and two monasteries an intriguing witness of past centuries. Other attractions on the island of Syros include archaeological excavation sites and a stalagmite cave.



Those in search of nightlife will mainly find it in the bars and clubs of the capital of Syros, where the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed than it is on other islands. On the other hand, you will be served excellent traditional and local Greek food in the taverns of the Cycladic Island and should definitely try specialties like St Michaeli Cheese or wine from Syros.

Pictures from Syros

Villages of Syros

Ermoupolis

The capital of the island of Syros is also the administrative centre of the Cyclades and the biggest town in the archipelago. Up to the 19th century, Ermoupolis was, after Athens, the second biggest town in Greece, not only a trading port, but also a cultural centre and home of many wealthy ship-owners. Richly ornamental patrician houses still reflect the illustrious history of the town and of the island of Syros. King Otto, the first monarch of modern Greece after its liberation from the Ottomans in the 19th century, reputedly even considered at one stage making Ermoupolis the capital of Greece because of its wealth. Many architectural gems in the centre have fallen into disrepair over the years, but nowadays there are people interested in buying them and having them lovingly restored. The main square, Platia Miaoulis, has an almost monumental appearance with its classicist town hall and the impressive flight of stairs leading up to the entrance. The big Neorion dockyard next to the harbour of Ermoupolis is the biggest industrial complex on Syros and the most important employer in the region, but at the same time probably the reason why Ermoupolis hasn’t attracted international tourists until relatively recently. There is a large variety of accommodation options in Ermoupolis, from small guesthouses to trendy hotels in former patrician villas. Culinary specialties are offered in numerous taverns around the main square.

Galissas

The small coastal resort of Galissas lies only five kilometres from Ermoupolis, the capital of Syros and the administrative centre of the Cyclades. It extends around one of the best beaches of Syros and is the most popular beach resort of the island. It has golden sand and there are trees along the coastline that provide welcome shade. Galissas is popular with windsurfers, but there are other water sport options as well. The village itself is situated in a fertile plain further inland. It has a good tourist infrastructure, but doesn’t get too busy outside the Greek holiday season. There are two campsites in Galissa, and many guesthouses are directly by the beach. A footpath leads to the neighbouring beach of Armeos that is very popular with nudists.

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