Destinations – Syros – Magic in the heart of the Cyclades – Travel Magazine

As a great lover of travel and the Mediterranean islands, the goal was to visit them in as many numbers as possible. 5 years ago, I started my expedition, a trip to the one, in my opinion, the most beautiful. After Mallorca, Sicily and Crete, it was the Cyclades’ turn. Fairytale blue and white Greece and the island of Syros.

How beautiful I am in the sea Cycladic Islands chose the base from where we will explore Mykonos, Santorini and Paros? Well, actually, it picked me, a year earlier.

A picture of an idyllic seascape stood in the background of my phone for a long time. While looking at pictures of the Greek islands on the Internet, I accidentally discovered that it is Syros, the administrative center of all the Cycladic islands. I read the text that one of our portals published about the mentioned island and made a decision. That year it was reserved for Syros, the capital of the Cyclades and intact Greece.

Arrangements through agencies were unacceptably expensive, so I decided to organize a summer vacation for the three of us. I bought tickets to Athens, booked accommodation, booked boat tickets and made a vacation plan. The long-awaited July came and we went on an adventure in the Cyclades.

Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

The island is 35 minutes by plane from Athens or 3.5 hours by ferry from the port of Piraeus, the largest in that part of the Mediterranean. I wholeheartedly recommend the boat trip because the experience is incomparably more beautiful when you approach it from the open sea.

After a short tour of Athens in the late afternoon by boat of the company Blue star ferries, we set off from Piraeus to Syros. It was three and a half hours of waiting and enjoying the sunset while the sea breeze ruffled our hair.

Under cover of night, the ship approaches Syros. This is our first encounter with the Cyclades. The capital Ermoupoli, bathed in night lights, looks magical. For the next 10 days it was our base, the place from where we boarded ships to Mykonos, Santorini and Paros.

Ermoupoli – the capital

Already on the first morning we were welcomed by the Cycladic sun and the view from the terrace, which was pure gratitude. The first walk through Ermoupoli confirmed that we were not wrong in choosing him.

It is not a tourist place but a real one a city with about 25,000 inhabitants. A city that lives all year round, not just during the tourist season. Ermoupoli is not here to flatter tourists, but to subdue them with its authenticity. It proudly stands on the pedestal of the most beautiful Greek cities, defying and resisting all the changes that tourism brings. He belongs to the people of Greece and they belong to him.

Some of the streets of Ermoupoli that lead to the sea, Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

The inhabitants of Ermoupoli like to say for themselves that they are the descendants of the god Hermes, after whom the city got its name. Before Piraeus developed, Ermoupoli was the most important port in this part of Europe. In the 19th century, it was considered one of the first industrial and commercial centers in the country. He was nicknamed “Greek Manchester”. The first shipping company, the first hospital, post office and bank in Greece were opened at Syros. Precisely because it has always had a strong economy, it did not need mass tourism.

For some time, the island was under Italian rule, which left a deep mark primarily on the architecture of the city. When you approach this magical island from the sea and see a big city the color of honey, you have the impression that the road took you to Sicily.

Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

I don’t know which epithets to use to describe all the beauty of Ermoupoli. I can’t decide if it’s more luxurious from the open sea or as we walk through its shady streets, looking at the windows of souvenir shops and bougainvillea that are everywhere. Is it more beautiful bathed in the sun or when night falls and the streets and taverns are crowded with people?

The center of all events in the last and evening hours is Miaoulis Square and a promenade by the sea with countless taverns and modern cafes. The whole city cascades down to the square where there is a monument to the great admiral and commander of the Greek army Andreas Vokos. The square dominates Town house in which it is located Archaeological Museum of Syros, while around the square are lined with buildings in the style of neoclassicism that give it a special charm. In the immediate vicinity there is also Industrial Museum which speaks of the glorious past of this economically and strategically very important Greek island.

Bougainvillea as a trademark of Syros

Bougainvillea as a trademark of Syros, Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

Greeks of the Orthodox and Catholic faiths have lived here harmoniously for centuries. The Vatican even allowed Catholic and Orthodox holidays to be celebrated on the same day, making the island unique in all of Greece. It has a large number of both Catholic and Orthodox churches and monasteries.

Basketball tournament on Miaoulis Square, Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

Promenade by the sea, Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

The most impressive religious building and protector of the capital is Cathedral of Agios Nikolaos, located on a cliff above the city beach Vaporia, which absolutely dominates the panorama of the city. It is among the largest five churches in Greece, and the construction, which lasted 60 years, was financed by wealthy shipowners.

Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

In church The Assumption of the Virgin in the center itself is the eponymous El Greco icon of inestimable value, which is believed to date from 1566.

Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

An Orthodox church is located on a hill above the city Agios Dimitrios. There is a tradition that every time a ship enters the port, bells ring on it and so welcome the arriving passengers.

What Siros

If in lower Ermoupoli we had a touch of Sicily, above the town of Ano Syros we have a real little Santorini. Ano Siros is the oldest settlement on the island and the former capital. Today it is home to about 350 residents, mostly Catholics. The settlement is a mix of narrow streets with small taverns, blue and white houses, in front of which the locals are having conversations, curiously looking at the occasional tourist who passes by.

Streets of Ano Sirosa, Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

When you overcome a large number of steps and reach the very top and the cathedral Agios Georgios (the highest point of the city) is followed by a prize, and that is a breathtaking view. The city, port and nearby islands are in the palm of your hand.

Syros can be said to be an island of mopeds and cats. Cats have a special status here, just like mopeds, which run along the narrowest passages, and everything that can and can’t come to mind is transported on them. And kittens are especially affectionate and sociable. They say that there are more of them on the island than locals.

Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

Other significant settlements of the island are mondenska Posejdonija, Galicia, Finikas i Azolimnos. However, none of them has the status of a real city. These are mostly places with a beach, several taverns, cafes and a market.

Beaches on Syros

As for the beach, do not expect the ionic color of the water here, but while swimming you will be rewarded with a view of the typical white houses lined up on the surrounding hills. They are the most visited Kini, Vari, Galicia, Phenicia, Azolimnos, Vaporija i Agatopes. All but one are decorated, accessible and with clear water color. The strongest impression on us was left by China, Vaporia and Galisas.

Vaporija is a city rocky, located below the Cathedral of Agios Nikolaos, so it is a special experience to swim with a view of it.

City beach in Ermoupoli

Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

Galisas is the largest settlement on the island after the capital, it has a wide sandy beach with a long shoal and crystal clear water. This is also the largest beach of Syros with all the necessary infrastructure. Galisas is recognizable by its small size the church of Agia Pakou which is located on a hill from where there is a beautiful view of the area around this town. From the church leads the way to the small one Armeos Bay, reserved for those who prefer nudism.

Agatopes is the city beach of Posejdonija. In Poseidon, rich Athenians bought plots and houses in the sixties, so now it has the status of a fashionable summer resort.

On the north side of the island, there are smaller and harder to reach bays by land with a beautiful color of water. There are organized boat trips that include visits to the beaches of Varvarus, Aetos, Gramata, Lia.

I like that the beaches on Syros are not crowded with tourists, the water is crystal clear and the prices are much lower compared to the neighboring islands occupied by tourists.

View of Galisas, Photo: Ljiljana Đuričić

Among other things, Syros is great because from here you can arrange boat trips to the most popular Greek islands. They are close, and ticket prices are more than affordable. We opted for Mykonos, Santorini and Paros and did not repent because they are divine, but about them on another occasion. Mykonos is 40 minutes away by boat, the price of a return ticket is 25 €, Paros about 90 minutes (15 €) and Santorini (70 €).

Ten days flew by in this paradise, we boarded a ship to Piraeus and finally waved to our island once again with the promise that our paths would cross again sometime in the future. They say that a few human lives would not be enough to visit, explore and love all the Greek islands. Is there a greater truth than that? Hard.

The author of the text and the photo is a young geographer Ljiljana Đuričić, an eternal traveler at heart, an adventurer and a lover of nature. Read more about her travels on the blog Liliana’s world of travel, and you can follow it on Instagram i Facebook.

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