General Information on Syros
Syros island is located in the middle of the Cyclades group and has a surface area of 84km² and a population of 20,220 inhabitants. The island was the cultural center of the Aegean during the 19th century. Even nowadays the capital of the island, Ermoupolis, remains the capital of the archipelago.
Syros economy doesn’t depend on tourism, but on industries like textile, dairy farm and more. This is the main reason why the island remains untouched by huge hotel units and tourist shops everywhere. Syros island is an ideal destination for those who look for a traditional, yet socially active destination.
History of Syros
Excavations in Syros have proven that the island has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. In the 5th century B.C., the Phoenicians came and colonized the island which became an important seaport of those times. During the Persian wars, the island fell under Persian rule until its liberation by the Athenians. Syros then became a member of the Delian League, an alliance which was crated by the Athenians. During the Hellenistic period, Syros came under the rule of Philip of Macedonia and later his son, Alexander the Great.
When Romans established their Empire in the Aegean, Syros was, along with Delos, the most important cultural center. We know very little about the Byzantine times on the island, but it is almost certain that the island was not an important borough of the Empire. In 1207, the Venetians took control of the Greek islands and Syros became part of the Duchy of Naxos under the rule of Marco Sanudo. In the middle of the 16th century A.D., the Ottoman fleet occupied the island but the significant Roman Catholic minority of the island came under the protection of France. During the Greek Revolution of 1821, the island stayed neutral because of its protection by the French. The island became a refuge for all Greeks who were persecuted by the Turks. The capital of the island, Ermoupolis, was actually built within few years by those emigrates.
Towns & Villages in Syros
Ermoupolis: The town of Ermoupolis owns its name to Hermes, god of commerce. The city, which was founded by refugees and Greek revolutionaries during the War of Independence of 1821, is considered to be one of the most beautiful capitals of the Aegean. Apart from being the capital of the island, Ermoupolis is also the capital of the Cyclades group. The glorious past of Ermoupolis can still be seen in its neoclassical architecture. The town is divided into three quarters: the waterfront and two hills each crowned with a church, the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox. Ano Syros, the Catholic part of the capital, is a Venetian settlement built around 1200 A.D. amphitheatrically as protection from the enemies with houses forming a defensive fortress. The Orthodox part of the city, on the right side, is named Vrodado and it is also beautiful.
Poseidonia or Delagratsia: This seafront settlement took its name after god of sea, Poseidon, and its second name after the Catholic Church Santa Maria Della Grazia. The Village is located 12km southwest of Ermoupolis and it’s full of pine trees and gardens. During the 19th century, Poseidonia was the place where the wealthier families of the island spent their holidays. Their mansions still stand well preserved giving a cosmopolitan atmosphere to the village.
Finikas: It is a beautiful holiday resort a few kilometers north of Poseidonia. It has a small harbor, hotels, rooms for rent, taverns and bars, as well as many sport facilities.
Galissas: is another seaside tourist resort with a beautiful beach. In Galissas there are many hotels, rooms to let, as well as cafes, bars and restaurants. Also here you will find the only campsites on the island. While you are in the village, don’t forget to visit the remains of a Venetian castle and the lovely church of Agios Stefanos.
Megas Gialos: It is 9km south of Ermoupolis and constitutes a tourist resort built below a hillside. Here you can find nice hotels, rooms for rent and many beautiful beaches.
Kini: is a lovely fishing village located 9km west of Ermoupolis. The village is known for the fresh fish and the beautiful sunsets.
Azolimnos: it is a very small village in the southeast side of the island. You can find many good taverns here.
Vari: The settlement of Vari is located 6km south of Ermoupolis. It is a quiet sea resort ideal for family holidays. In the village of Vari, there is a characteristic Venetian tower.
Beaches in Syros
Vari beach: Near the settlement of Vari lies the popular beach with the same name. The bay is the most sheltered of the island, protected from winds. The beach is sandy, shallow and attracts many families from all over the island.
Finikas: In the bay where the village Finikas is located there is a series of small sandy beaches boarded by tamarisk trees. Delfini Bay: The bay of Delfini, in northern Syros, has a beautiful sandy beach in which tourist facilities increase in numbers very fast.
Agathopes: It is a sandy beach with many trees and shallow waters. From Agathopes an unpaved track leads to the tiny, deserted beach of Komito.
Azolimnos: Azolimnos village has a beautiful, small beach with crystal clear waters.
Megas Gialos: In this tourist resort there are two sandy beaches with many trees and a beautiful view over the deep blue sea.
Galissas: In front of the settlement Galissas, you will find the beach with the same name. It is one of the best and longest beaches on the island with golden sand and tamarisk trees.
Top Things to Do in Syros
1. Archaeological Museum: The Archaeological Museum of Syros, founded in 1835, is one of the oldest in Greece. It is housed in the beautiful neoclassical building of the Town Hall, which is designed by Bavarian architect Ernst Ziller. The museum exhibits various collections of finds from excavations in Syros such as prehistoric finds from the fortified settlement at Kastri and the cemetery at Chalandriani, dating to the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium B.C.). It also contains finds from the ancient city of Syros and other Cycladic islands.
2. Plateia Miaouli: The magnificent Miaouli square which is one of the most beautiful in Greece, has a tall palm tree which casts its shadows on the small cafes and restaurants, creating an attractive scene and relaxing atmosphere. Miaouli square is dominated by the magnificent building of the Town Hall.
3. Velissaropoulos Mansion: The building is a mansion of heavily decorated architecture outside and interesting adornments inside. The mansion was built by architect T. Vlysidis, from the island of Syros. By a ministerial decree of 1987, the building was identified as a work of art encircled by a protection zone extending to the property’s boundaries. Currently, it belongs to Cyclades Workers’ Union and houses its headquarters.
4. Apollon Theatre: The Apollon Theatre, located in Vardaki square, was designed by the French architect Chabeau and it is a replica of La Scala in Milan.
5. Churches: There are many Orthodox and Catholic churches on the island that are worth a visit. Kimisi tis Theotokou is an orthodox church located in Miaouli square and it is famous for housing the “Dormition of the Mother of God”, a masterpiece made by Greek painter El Greco. However, the most important orthodox church of the island is the church of Metamorphosis, which is also the seat of the orthodox bishop of Syros. In Ano Syro, the cathedral of Saint George is the finest catholic church of the town. It was built on top of a hill around 1200 A.D. and it has been restored many times. It has been the metropolis of the catholic community of Syros since 1652. Another impressive catholic church is the church of Panagia Faneromeni which is located on the top of a hill in the village of Hroussa.
How to Reach Syros
By air: There are several flights per week, connecting Syros to Athens. The trip lasts 35 minutes.
By ferry: There is a daily ferry connection between Syros and Piraeus (4 hours). Daily services also run to Tinos, Mykonos, Paros, Iraklio and Naxos. Weekly ferries go to Amorgos, Ios, Ikaria, Santorini and Samos.
Getting Around in Syros
There is a good bus service around the island, from Ermoupolis to Galissas, Finikas, Dellagrazia, Megalos Gialos and Vari. Another round service runs from Ermoupolis to Talanta, Galissas, Vissa, Parakopi, Ano Mana, Agathopes, Komito and Kini.
Weather in Syros
The climate in Syros is a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters, low rainfalls and dry summers with high temperatures that are moderated by “meltemia”, north winds that blow from end of July until the middle of August.
Top 10 Destinations in Syros
All Destinations in Syros
Map of Syros