Syros was the first stop on our tour in the Western Cyclades. The first view from the ferry leaves you speechless: two hills, characterized by pastel-colored houses along the promontory and majestic churches at their peak.
Once off the ship, the first impact with Syros is discordant: are we on an island or on the continent? One could easily think of being on the continent, observing the beautiful classical-style town hall square or the unusual and majestic theater of Ermoupoli. The explanation is simple: Ermoupoli is the capital of the Cyclades! Here there are in fact several administrative offices and also companies, such as the large shipyard at the port, which make it a little different from the small islands of Greece which are almost exclusively dedicated to tourism. For us it turned out to be the best way to start our journey, alternating moments of visit to relaxing on the beach.
Syros offers several points of interest starting from the first town that you notice once you arrive by boat: Ermoupoli.
One of its symbols is the church of Agios Nikolaos which, with its bright and lively colors, stands out among the softly colored houses of the promontory. We went to observe it from the Vaporia district, from where you can see all its beauty walking along the Asteria beach.
The interiors are no less in terms of colors: strong colors, sometimes contrasting in a riot that manages to generate its harmony.
From here we continued on foot until arriving at the Miaouli square, which overlooks the beautiful neoclassical style town hall. It is worth climbing its staircase and entering to browse the two main atriums, where historical works and modern art are exhibited.
Then continue along one of the two streets parallel to the seafront, where there are numerous shops, including the pastry shop Zaxari & alati which produces fantastic artisanal loukomi, a bakery with an inviting scent and attached to it, a really cute little clothing and accessories shop.
This will bring you to the beautiful Dormition church. We tried to visit it three times because on the first attempt there was a baptism, on the second the mass and on the third, finally, we were successful! However, it was worth it: even in this case the interiors are a riot of colors, decorations and chandeliers with pendants that create in a complete sense combined with each other. A small icon painted by El Greco (1586) deserves a mention, positioned in an atrium before the entrance to the church, on the right. The parish priest of the church, very proud of it, personally accompanied us to make us appreciate this small historical work of art.
The second country that deserves to be visited is Ano Syros (ano means “high, superior”), the medieval Catholic settlement located on the highest hill on the island. We have been there at different times of the day, as we were staying at the top of the town.
In the evening, with the lights starting to come on and the bars filling up with people, Ano Syros transforms into a city teeming with life. Everything changes drastically in the morning, when the cats become the undisputed masters of the village. I like to remember it just like that, when we practically walked it alone at the first light of the morning, through a maze of alleys where it is easy to loose orientation. Inside the town you will be able to observe numerous Catholic churches, including the Cathedral of San Giorgio, on the top of the hill, certainly worthy of note.
The Byzantine style church of the Resurrection of Christ also deserves to be visited, overlooking the small hill just above Ermoupoli.
The island also offers several beaches, which although not particularly scenic, allowed us to relax in the afternoons after visiting the island. Our favorites were undoubtedly that of Galissas, with golden sand, surrounded by a few houses and with a small house on the promontory and that of Kini, surrounded by a series of bars and taverns. We also passed by other beaches which, however, did not particularly impress us both due to the excessive presence of people and the limited depth of the coast.
Before your trip
- How to reach the island? It can be reached by ferry from Piraeus, or from several islands. We arrived there from Mykonos by fast ferry (less than 30 minutes) with one of the 3 daily routes available in high season
- How many days? We dedicated two and a half days to the island and we were able to visit everything we set out to do
- How to move around the island? To get around, we recommend a rental car. The roads are all paved, but the distances are not very short if you want to discover the beauty of the island on your own. We rented with Enterprise (which on the island it operates with Maistrali), directly at the port of Ermoupoli
- Where to stay? We have chosen the elegant apartments of Fimaria, inserted in the beautiful context of Ano Syros. Typical houses with large bedroom, kitchen, living room and balcony with a view. The owners, Iosifina and Irene (mother and daughter) were very kind and helpful, with advice on what not to miss on the island
- Where to eat? Syros offers several possibilities to choose from:
- Allou Yialou in the beautiful bay of Kini, good fish restaurant with original and well presented dishes
- in the center of Ermoupoli the tavern Stin Ithaki tou Ai, in a small square covered with trees it offers traditional dishes well cooked and in generous portions
- if you want to experience a restaurant outside the center To Plakostroto in San Michalis it is a good tavern in a very scenic setting, with traditional meat-based cuisine