Syros, the Island of Hermes, messenger of the gods and the god of trade, has remained unspoilt and traditional, with an old-world sophistication and elegance. Situated in the centre of the Cyclades, it is the capital of this unique group of islands, and in the 19th century was the capital of Greece itself; it has much to offer in terms of historical interest, and the capital Ermoupoli (or Hermoupolis, city of Hermes) is renowned for its architecture. Syros is quite arid but is strikingly beautiful, with a mountainous north and a gentler and more verdant south. It is little known as a tourist destination, as it is not on the package holiday map, and therefore has a wonderfully Greek atmosphere. It is ideal for families with older children and for adult groups, and is mainly popular with Greek tourists. There is a religious feast celebrated by the locals on 27th of July in the honour of Aghios Panteleimonas, which is great fun for visitors.
Syros shares the usual historical milestones of the Cyclades, from its early Bronze Age settlements, through occupation and influence by the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans, to the predations of the Ottoman pirates. Under the Venetians the Christian community on the island grew in size and importance, as can be seen in its Cathedral San Giorgio behind Venetian battlements on the top of Ano Syros, or Upper Syros, which gazes over the lower town of Ermoupoli to the magnificent blue and gold dome of the Greek Orthodox cathedral perched on the hill opposite. Ermoupoli was founded during the War of Independence in 1824, mainly by Orthodox refugees and Greek revolutionaries escaping from the Turks, and became a chief port and shipbuilding centre in the 19th Century. Syros has long been a model for the peaceful coexistence of the Catholic and Orthodox communities.
Ermoupoli, with its neoclassical mansions, marble paved streets, and elegant plazas, offers much of interest and charm. The grand Town Hall was designed by the Bavarian architect Ziller, one of many Europeans architects who contributed to the design and building of Ermoupoli; it was finished in 1898 and presides over the magnificent Miaouli Square, one of the most attractive plazas in all of Greece, where graceful palm trees shelter cozy cafes and restaurants. The Archaeological Museum is worth a visit, and an ornate marble bandstand on the square often presents lively local concerts. By night the city is beautifully illuminated, and the smartly dressed locals stroll to meet friends and enjoy the cool of the evening. As well as traditional charm, there are many good nightclubs and bars, and thus plenty of lively entertainment. Ano Syros, overlooking Ermoupoli and the Aegean, is the charming Venetian quarter, the oldest and highest point in the town. Possidonia, also known as Dellagrazzia, is the favourite summer resort of the Syrians, and has many ornate and flamboyant neo-classical villas surrounded by beautiful gardens. This is the area where our villas are located, and countryside blooms with vineyards and greenhouses.
Yacht and motor cruiser hire can be arranged in advance. There is windsurfing and water skiing available on the island.
The lovely sandy beach of Finikas is excellent for swimming and water sports, and there are a number of very good tavernas, bars and cafés on the sea front, and there are two other sandy beaches nearby, Kokkina and Psachno.
There are numerous unspoilt and uncrowded bays and coves to explore on Syros, as well as some more commercial beaches, and most can be reached by bus from Ermoupoli. Kini is a fine beach, with plenty of fresh seafood on offer, and is known for the best sunsets on the island. More secluded and sandy beaches can be found in the north such as Delfini, Varvaroussa and Grammata. Galissas is a great sandy beach but is very popular, its shores lined by beach bars; you can however scramble over some rocks to the nearby naturist beach of Armeos, which is much quieter. From the village of Possidonia there are some lovely sandy beaches such as Agathopes, Komito, and Ampela.
There is a domestic airport on Syros, so it is possible to fly to Athens and then take an internal flight over to the island. Alternatively, from Athens you can take the ferry from Rafina or Pireus Port. A high speed hydrofoil takes about 2 hours; during the peak season there are normally a couple of these a day. The regular ferry service is slower, taking about 4.5 hours.
EasyJet fly direct from the UK to Mykonos and Santorini and ferries run regularly to Syros from both these islands.
Kini Bay fishing village
Beach near Finikas
Beach near Finikas
© Dominique's Villas