Syros


Syros (128 km²) with its 20.000 inhabitants is the Cycladic island with the highest population. The busy local capital Ermoupoli is not only the biggest city in the island group but also the official capital of the Cyclades. The main tourist business happens on the other islands further south. The main sources of income on Syros are agriculture and shipbuilding.


Despite the rather high population density Syros is suitable for hiking. 50% of the population is Roman Catholics which is rather unusual for Greece.

Ermoupoli

Syros big Capital Ermoupoli
 

The biggest town on Syros at least in regards to architecture comes across as a big city. The huge classical buildings are witness of a glorious past. If nothing else they are proof that Syros used to be a lot more influential and important than it is these days. Although this might be unfair; Syros is just off the radar of foreign tourists. You will meet very few foreigners on Syros. Most of the people coming here are Greek. Due to its proximity to Athens the island is quite popular with Athenians for example and why not. Ermoupoli for example has one of the most important archaeological museums in all Greece. Another place of interest is the huge shipyard. In fact it is not only the biggest employer on Syros but the biggest industrial enterprise of the Cyclades.

There are plenty of hotels and private rooms to rent in Ermoupoli. You will have no problems getting a room for 25€. A list of accommadation in Ermoupoli you find here.


Along the port are cafes, restaurants, shops and some of the bigger hotels. Just 50 meters further you find the huge square Platia Miaoulis. It looks totally out of place. You would expect to find this kind of square and even more the gigantic town hall next to it in a metropolis but quite frankly Ermoupoli is not that big. It may not make much sense but it for sure is pretty cool. Around the square are loads of cafes, small shops and pedestrian areas.

Ermoupolis on Syros



The further you go from the sea front the prettier it gets. Narrow streets and stairs lead up a hill. The old town is typical Mediterranean and quite nice. Part of it is the locals driving their noisy scooters through the narrow streets. It can be quite annoying but it is something that is hard to escape in Greece. Best get used to it and don't forget to stop in one of the small kafenions and try the local coffee. You may not like it but it is something special.

Small Street in Ermoupolis

Ermoupoli is actually built on two hills. On top of each of them you'll find a big church. The most quite and in a way authentic part of the town is Ano Syros. Keep in mind that Ermoupoli is quite big. Walking up to Ano Syros takes about 30 minutes.

Villages on Syros

Kini is a small fishing village in the west of Syros. Here you find the best of the – all together rather average – beaches on the island. There are a few hotels and restaurants.

Galissas is also in the west of Syros. It is the most popular destination for foreign tourists. Galissas has plenty of hotels, restaurants and even a little bit of night life. It is a lot more touristy than other places but for a reason. The beaches are quite allright. Click here for hotels and other accommodation in Galissas.

Finikas is small and rather quiet fishing village in the south of Syros. I'd recommend it if you are looking for a quiet spot to chill out. The beach is OK there are a few reasonably priced restaurants and places to stay.

Accommodation on Syros

When you arrive by boat you will be "welcomed" by a mob of locals advertising cheap places to stay. It is a bit of a nightmare but not uncommon in Greece. Among the people shouting "very special price for you my friend" you most times find a friendly old lady that advertises for the hotel Esperance. The place is only 50 meters from the port and they have some gust rooms as well. I was very happy with my private room with bath and TV and with 25 Euro a night it came quiet cheap. The hotel is a bit pricier. A room there will cost you about 60 Euro but of course the standards are a lot higher there. A list of accommadation in Ermoupoli you find here.

If you like (or don't mind) camping I can recommend the "Two hearts" in Galissas in the west. The place is well kept and reasonably cheap. They also have a small supermarket, a restaurant and a good beach. The place is very quiet which I consider a plus. You can also rent a cabin or tent. Off season the prices should go down and be a lot lower than advertised on the website. During season they will pick you up at the port.


The famous Syros sweets

Halvadopita


In Greece Syros is mainly famous for two kinds of sweets that come from here; Halvadopita and Loukoumia.

Halvadopita is actually really nice. Its basically two oblates stuffed with some kind of sweet cream that contains honey, nougat and almonds. It is normally wrapped in white paper and costs only 50 cents.

Loukoumia is some kind of extremely sweet jellylike candy. Just looking at them gives me a toothache. They come in various colours. A pack with 10-12 of them cost between 1 and 4 Euro. May be I'm too old for this but I do believe that in order to enjoy Loukoumia you have to be born and raised in Greece. I could be wrong though. It is not only a speciality but also special.

Both sweets are sold everywhere. At the port alone you will find 20 shops that sell them in various versions and qualities. Prices vary considerably and not just due to higher quality. Most of the stuff is identical juts in some shops they try to rip you off.

Ferries to Syros

Since Syros is a populous island and on the way to the major tourist destinations anyways, there are numerous ferries from and two Syros. There are at least two ferries a day to Athens and also the other direction Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santorini. There also is daily but to Mykonos and Tinos.

Busses on Syros

Pretty much all the villages have a regular bus connection. Busses go every hour between 7AM and 10 PM. It is considered one of the best bus systems in the whole island group and that is saying something. You'll barely ever pay more than a couple of Euro bus fare no matter where you go.

Off season the busses are not that frequent but still it is easy to move around.

The following bus schedule for Syros is from a regular working day off season. This schedule is from May 2008:

Line 1: Syros port – Galissas – Finikas - Possidonia - Vari - Syros port (Round trip in the south of the island)

6:30 , 7:30 , 12:30, 13, 14:20, 15:10, 16, 18:10, 21:00


Line 2: Same route but the other way around:

7:45, 10:30, 11:30, 13:30, 16:30, 17:30, 18:30. 19:30

Line 3 Syros port to Kini:

9:30, 12, 14:20, 16:30, 19:30 (return trip starts about 30 minutes later from Kini)

There are more bus lines to other villages but they go less frequent. Also on weekends there are fewer busses.

 

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