The wind blows over the open-air museum that is Ermoupoli and Vaporia. It sneaks in the medieval alleys of Ano Syros, heading up to Dellagracia. In Syros, with the glorious historical past, a wind of nobility is constantly blowing.
Syros, 83 nautical miles away from Piraeus and 62 nautical miles from Rafina, is right in the heart of Cyclades. The “ Lady of the Aegean”, as the call it, is neighbor to many Cycladic islands; Andros to the north, Tinos to the southeast, Kea to the southwest, Kythnos to the west, Serifos to the southwest and Mykonos to the east. Paros, Antiparos, Naxos and Sifnos, on the other hand, are all located south of Syros. The capital of the island is Ermoupoli, which also serves as the capital of Cyclades Prefecture and of the South Aegean region.
Local Tel. Code: (+30) 22810
Coastline length: 87 km
The capital of Syros, Ermoupoli, a real gem of the island, and the administrative center of Cyclades, oozes romance and finesse, with its neoclassical buildings, picturesque cafes, vibrant port, churches and lovely alleys. During your tour in the “open-air museum” of Ermoupoli, you should definitely visit the Syros Town Hall, the Apollo Theatre, the Municipal Library and the Industrial Museum. Strolling in this classy town, you acknowledge the splendor of the past in the form of imposing old mansions still standing at the famous and quaint Vaporia district, making a brief but beautiful journey through time.
This meeting point of locals, at the heart of the island’s capital, is thrumming with life. Formerly known as Othonos & Leotsakou, this square was built during the 19th century (1860-1870) and – along with Spianada in Corfu – is one of the largest marble-paved squares in Greece. The statue of Andreas Miaoulis – hence the square’s new name-, the Town Hall, the Hermoupolis Cultural Center, the extensive Public Library of 35,000 volumes, the Historical Archive Building and the first High School of the modern Greek state, boasting graduates such as the former Prime Ministers Eleftherios Venizelos and Petros Protopapadakis, as well as the national benefactor Andreas Sigros, weave the architectural and culture tapestry of Miaouli square.
The work of the German architect Ernst Ziller is one of the largest town halls in Greece. This impressive edifice, not particularly different from a royal palace, grace Miauli square since 1898, yet the foundations were already laid n 1876.
The exquisite two-storey edifice, located in I. Vardakas square in Ermoupoli, designed by the Italian architect Pietro Sampo and erected in 1864, is a great example of the cultural progress in Syros. Its interior layout, with the orchestra pit, the high galleries and the gem of the painted ceiling, is strongly reminiscent of the painted ceiling, is strongly reminiscent of La Scala in Milan and other prestigious European theatres in general. The stage of Apollo Theater has provided a home to very important operas and operettas, nowadays hosting performances by local amateur theater groups, as well as the annual event of “Ermoupolia”.
INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM OF ERMOUPOLI:
Just a stone’s throw from the neo-classical buildings of the 19th century, the industry smoke stacks, the winches and tugs of Neorio Shipyard, stand the four buildings comprising the Industrial Museum, which showcases the historic wealth of the commercial, maritime and industrial life of Syros. Its collections highlight the industrial heritage of the island through the display of twenty preserved machines, tools and equipment of tannery, naval architecture, engineering, glass and lokum making. Visitors can also view images of the port during the steam engine era or watch industrial procedures on the screens of the axhibition venues, as well as see findinngs from the shipwreck of “Patris” paddle steamer. Permanent and temporary exhibitions are housed in Katsimantis Dyeworks, Aneroussis Lead Shot Fctory and Kornilakis Tannery buildings.
Without any doubt, this is the most beautiful district in Ermoupoli, a residential area of formidable bourgeois manors of the 19th century, at the eastern part of the capital. Vaporia was formed when wealthy refugees from the islands of Psara, Chios, Kasos and Crete decided to build their captain houses on that site. The impressive buildings founded upon steep, wave-beaten rocks stand out thanks to their elaborate decoration, huge wood carved doors, marble balconies and maximal furniture pieces in the interior.
AGIOS NIKOLAOS TON PLOUSION:
It is one of the oldest chuches in Syros, the architectural plans of which drew the attention of Otto, the first King of Greece. This majestic Othodox temple of Agios Nikolaos ton PLousion (Saint Nicholas of the Rich) at Vaporia district, the patron saint of Ermoupoli, is located in an elevated countryard with marble guardrail and balustrade. It is a domed basilica, shaped like a cross, and the main material for its construction was marble. It was built between 1883 and 1899 by Georgios Vitalis, a sculptor from Tinos, who also created the “Unburied Fighter” monument, at the small garden in front of the church.
The medieval settlement of Ano Syros is just 3.5 km away from the port of Ermoupoli, overlooking the center of the island’s capital. Once you pass the gates of the old castle, the so-called Kamara, you find yourself lost in times long gone, recognizing the traces of the Venetian rule, and you wander in alleys echoing melodies of Vamvakaris and carrying scents of traditional local delicacies, made in the settlement’s teverns. Pick the first tavern that will catch your eye and take a delicious break, tasting traditional dishes of Syros cuisine, such as caper salad, parsley salad, smelt pie and mouth-watering pastelaries, fig bars, a perfect match with tsipouro and local San Michali cheese. After this necessary and delicious break, you can wander through the labyrinthine narrow cobbled streets and reach the highest point of Ano Syros, the hill where Saint George church stands since the Middle Ages. It is the Catholic Cathedral of Syros, originally built circa 1200 AD, and is the largest and most majestic Cathedral of Saint George, you will find the Centre for historical Studies of the Catholic Diocese of Syros, with valuable manuscripts and heirlooms dating back to the 16th century. Walking a little bit further, you will meet the Capuchin Monastery with the church of Agios Ioannis (1635) and the Jesuit Monastery with the church of Panagia Karmilou (1740). On the contrary, these are only two Orthodox churches in Ano Syors, Agia Triada and Agios Nikolaos ton Ptochon (meaning “of the poor”), the oldest church of the island.
MARKOS VAMVAKARIS EXHIBITION:
As the birthplace of Markos Vamvakaris, Syros could not but pay tribute to the great composer and creator of the famous “Fragosyriani” with the foundation of a museum dedicated to his life and work. Markos Vamvakaris Museum is housed in a restored two-storey residence of Ano Syros since 1995, giving the admirers of the rebetiko “patriarch” the chance to see photographs and personal objects, manuscripts, lyrics, clothes and shoes (Markos Vamvakaris had approximately 50 pairs!), his personal adintity card, his wristwatch and his wedding ring, tools, as well as many personal items granted by his family. Just a breath away, you can find thw square of the same name, with the imposing sculpted bust of the composer.
Behind the hill of Saint George, the road continues towards the mountains of Syros. Following a trail to Ano Meria and driving against the backdrop of a rugged mountainous landscape with terraces, rubble walls, steep rocks, accompanied by the scent of thyme, you reach the village of Agios Michalis or San Michalis (5 km away from Ano Syros), which gave its name to the PDO San Michali cheese, with thw unique spicy flavor. Take a walk on the narrow streets among houses that time has forgotten, and reach the edge of the settlement to witness the vastness of the Aegean Sea and a purple sunset, equal to that of Santorini.
The first touristically developed settlement in Syros is 7km away from Ermoupoli. The coastal village on the western part of the island boasts an organized beach with shallow waters, many options in water sports, nearby fish taverns and Agia Pakou Hill with the picturesque chapel, where remains of an ancient citadel have been discovered. Among the rocky coasts of Charassona, you will also find the legendary chapel of Agios Stefanos, carved into a cavern, which you can reach by boat from the port of Galissas.
A picturesque fishing village almost 7 km away from Ermoupoli. Kini beach has dedicated fans, who choose this organized stretch of sand for swimming in crystal clear waters, relaxing under the tamarisks and sunset gazing. Located in the middle of the beach, the bronze statue of Gorgona Panagia (Mermaid Virgin Mary) is both a landmark and a memorial for those who lost ther lives in the sea. Boats depart daily from Kini to the northern beaches of Marmari, Megas Lakkos, Lia, Varvarousa, Aetos, Grammata and Avlaki.
The coast of the homonymous village is the closest (5 km distance) to Ermoupoli. Mainly featuring sand, fine pebbles and shallow waters, it is ideal for families with children. As for organization enthusiasts, this is the place to find sun umbrellas, cafes and a variety of teverns.
A picturesque, sandy, organized beach at the village of the same name, II km southwest of Ermoupoli, offering many options in water sports, taverns and bars.
This site enjoy the grace of the most beautiful beach in Syros. A grace well deserved, one will inevitably think staring at the deep blue shallow waters, the glamorous and organized stretch of sand, the shade-providing tamarisks and Strogilo and Schinonisi islets on the other side. Agathopes has sun umbrellas and sunbeds, and it is lined with beach bars and taverns. It is 14 km southwest of Ermoupoli.
Walking down the big steps below the church of Agios Nikolaos you will reach this pebbled shore of Ermoupoli. A great swimming option in the capital of Syros, with neo-classical mansions of Vaporia district in the background.
Northers cannot reach this safe mooring that is located 7 km away from Ermoupoli. This is why many yachts and sailing boats find shelter at popular Vari, with its sugary sandy beach, cafes and taverns.
Or Sousouni. A unique and secluded beach with crystal clear waters, sand and pebbles, trees and no cafes/lounges. The beach of Kokkina takes its name from the res rocks that encircle the coast, creating an idyllic and at the same time exotic scenery. It is about 1,5 km away from the beach of Finikas. Before you set out for the Kokkina, make sure you have water and any necessary supplies.