Cosmopolitan and Cycladic, stately and traditional, minimalist and maximalist, Syros is an island of grand contrasts where you can be on a beach in the morning and in the theater by night. The character of the capital of the Cyclades complex derives from its very long and rich history going back to the Early Bronze Age. The contrasts blend brilliantly, from the bustling yet regal Hermoupolis to the medieval Ano Syros that boasts all the features of a typical Cycladic beauty, the southern coastline with organized beaches brimming with hotels and restaurants to the northern part with its secluded coves and rougher edge.
In the capital of Syros, marble flagstones pave its streets and neoclassical masterpieces emit an aura of earlier prosperity. Hermoupolis, the 19th-century shipping capital of Greece, has the architectural pedigree to prove it.
Perched on the opposing hill, Ano Syros, the fortified citadel of the later Byzantine era, proudly boasts all the features of a typical Cycladic village with narrow cobbled streets mesh into a labyrinth of picturesque small houses snuggle together on a steep hillside, linked by narrow alleys barely wide enough for two people, in circular order with a radial street plan and covered passageways. At the top, where the Cathedral of St George stands, the panoramic view rivals any in the Cyclades.
South of Hermoupolis the landscape is a blend of seaside resorts still retaining their authentic feel. Like stepping back in time, you'll find villages wonderfully preserved that continue to charm visitors today with their unabashed beauty and largely unchanged way of life. So, visit Posidonia, named for the Greek ancient god of the sea, where its amazing collection of stunningly beautiful grand manors of the past embellished with towers and gardens leads to its prestigious Agathopes beach. Drive to the charming and tranquil village of Chroussa with its majestic 19th and 20th century mansions, lush greenery, orchards and gardens. Another drawcard is Episkopio; close to Hermoupolis, on a hill slope with thick vegetation, the first resort with impressive 19th century mansions of Hermoupolis’ wealthy is authentic in its beauty.
Find your favourite beach and then find another;
Cosmopolitan beaches such as Agathopes and Galissas with sunbeds and umbrellas, coffee shops, restaurants and tavernas will feed your desire to relax with the sea breeze on your face sipping your coffee or cocktail. At Megas Gialos, Vari and Azolimnos the waters are calm, shallow and of that certain turquoise kind which is almost impossible to resist for a refreshing dip. Kini, a low-key tourist destination with small hotels and traditional tavernas, attracts the kind of travelers looking for tranquility and the chance to take in the sunsets from a waterside cafe while watching fishermen attend to their colourful small boats.
Finikas with a collection of accommodations, tavernas and bars set around its small natural harbor is ideal for water sports or to moor your boat in the marina there. Low-key, yet popular, beaches are Komito, Ambela, Achladi, Delfini, Lotos and Kokkina with a beach bar or cafe-restaurant each.
The farther north you go, the farther you leave the crowds behind.The north of the island known as Apano Meria is rugged and rocky. The mountains are the typical Cycladic arid scenery, full of caves with the aromas of thyme and sage drifting in the air. The coastal fringe is thinly populated and the beaches - Aetos, Lia, Varvaroussa, Marmari, Gria Spilia and Grammata - isolated but naturally stunning. The northern area is home to the island’s archaeological sites of prehistoric Chalandriani and Kastri.
Offering a higher standard of cuisine that expresses a melting pot of influences taken from its long centuries of history, Syros is a foodie destination.
Local products include delights such as the celebrated San Michali cheese, thyme honey, soft and chewy loukoumia flavoured with rosewater (the iconic trademark of Syros), sausages with fennel, louza, the famous local caper, the spicy soft cheese kopanisti and the so delicious sun-dried tomatoes.