if you are in Mykonos and you want to visit another beautiful island nearby, today we recommend Syros.
Syros is part of the Cyclades archipelago, but compares to more popular destinations such as Mykonos and Santorini it can count on a more discreet and sustainable tourism while maintaining the characteristics that have guaranteed the success of these islands of Greece. Syros is a small island, so small that you can turn it in a few hours, but offers excellent cuisine, culture and small beaches perfect for relaxation.
In Syros, you can immerse yourself in authentic Greece and it is a perfect destination for those who are not interested in mundanity. Its capital, the town of Ermoupolis, climbs on two hills and it is reflected in the waters of the Aegean Sea.
Prosperous and lively, it is an ideal base for exploring the island, walk through the paved streets and admire the incredible decorations of the buildings. Ermoupolis was founded in 1821 on the occasion of the war of independence and, in a few years, has seen not only the number of its inhabitants grow, but also their prosperity. Houses and buildings are neoclassical, while if you want to see the typical postcard village of the Cyclades with its squared white houses, you have to move to Ano Syros, located to the left of the city and built as an amphitheater to defend it against enemies. Even here, however, the white houses coexist and combine with influences from other historical periods considering that the village was founded by the Venetians around 1200.
Among the things to see in Ano Syros is the Baroque Cathedral of San Giorgio. Here was born Markos Vamvakaris, one of the most important musicians and composers of the musical genre known as rebetiko and to whom are dedicated a town square and a small museum with his records and personal effects. The village is about 3.5 kilometers from Ermoupolis so you can reach it with a nice walk that will let you discover the peculiarities of the Syros landscape.
Ermoupolis is located almost in the middle of the island which is characterized by a more barren and mountainous northern part and a decidedly greener southern area where the main crops of the island can be found. If water is your element and you love diving, the sea around Syros is not only rich in flora and fauna, but full of wrecks and caves to explore on your own or in excursions organized by local diving centers.
For those who prefer, on the other hand, absolute relaxation, in Syros you will find beaches that overlook crystal clear waters and are certainly among the most beautiful of all the Cyclades. Following the coast you can opt for a beach like Vari, Azolimnos, Foinikas or Megas Gialos where you can find all the services you need or reach more isolated and wild places where you can practice, for example, naturism. There are, of course, also the sandy beaches that are particularly popular with families with children such as Agathopes Beach a few kilometers from Ermoupolis or Lotos Beach near Kini where winds rarely blow and you can swim undisturbed.
If you want to spend a few hours to discover the cultural aspects of Syros there are museums: these include the archaeological one of Ermoupolis or the exhibition on traditional professions and their objects in Ano Syros. On the island there is also the historical Apollon theater created in 1864 by the Italian architect Pietro Sampo and inspired among others also by La Scala in Milan. Today the structure hosts many events including the Festival of the Aegean which attracts artists from all over the world.
A holiday in Greece can not be called complete without talking about its cuisine and Syros, certainly it is no exception. Unlike other islands, however, here we find a mixture of flavors that also come from the East with dishes such as the aetopita (a savory pie based on fish and vegetables), the karabola (snails with sage), the lachanodolma (rolls of cabbage leaves stuffed with rice) and many specialties based on local meats and cheeses. The restaurants to try are certainly not lacking and we bet that a lunch in a typical tavern or a dinner by the sea will rightfully be among the favorite activities of your holiday in Syros.
Itinerary to discover this beautiful Greek island
The capital of the Cyclades Syros has all the typical characteristics of a Greek island: sea, beaches, bars and restaurants; but it is not in fact contaminated by tourism. Being the administrative center of the Cycladic district does not oblige its inhabitants to live on tourism. These also present the particularity of professing the Catholic faith. The local economy is based on traditions such as agriculture, pastoralism and the production of an excellent local wine which is flanked by a decent shipbuilding and textile industry.
It is a place rich in history, whose origins date back to the Stone Age when, in all probability, the first nuclei of inhabitants of Phoenician extraction settled. It is also mentioned by Homer under the name of Siriin. Legend has it, that the first inhabitant, Coeranus, arrived on the island on the back of a dolphin after the shipwreck of his ship. Here you can admire the oldest necropolis of the entire archipelago. The whole area sees the strong influence of the Venetian culture that here mastered until the advent of the Turks in the sixteenth century.
There are many attractions to mention and visit. First of all, we start from the capital, Ermoupolis, called the Cycladic queen, which is characterized by its buildings arranged in an amphitheater. Particular is the theater of Apollo, inaugurated in 1864, which is a miniature copy of the Scala of Milan in Italy. The many churches present as well as the archaeological museum and the library are of considerable artistic interest. To rediscover the cultures and traditions of past eras it may be useful to visit the nearby village of Ano Syros where it is possible to see the Cathedral of San Giorgio and participate in the annual music festival.
Fun and relaxation are assured. The crystal clear and uncontaminated sea ensures the practice of many water sports. The most beautiful and pristine beaches are definitely Galissas, Vari, the bay of Finikas and Gialos that even in the hottest periods are not crowded. In the capital Ermoupolis is concentrated nightlife that, in any case, is more relaxed than that of other Greek cities. The culinary aspect is guaranteed by the presence of many bars and restaurants that display the typical Greek dishes. Try the local cheese and the special Syros wine.
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