Greece Travel Diary Part 5 – Syros and the Little Big City of the Cyclades 1


We could see the island of Syros from the front door of the windmill. Each day it beckoned on the horizon, and one afternoon we finally boarded a ferry for a quick visit to meet our tantalizing neighbor. Indeed, as soon as we arrived, it became clear that we should have budgeted more than just one afternoon for Syros.

Syros. City of Ermoupoli.

Syros. City of Ermoupoli with its two rival hills.

The island of Syros is home to Ermoupoli, the capital town of the Cyclades. Ermoupoli stretches over two hilltop regions that seem to be locked in a minor historical competition best symbolized by the large Roman Catholic Church topping one hill (Ano Syros) and the large Greek Orthodox Church capping the other.

The hills themselves are an incredible maze of staircases, bougainvilleas, and beautiful views.  Without any map or plan, we walked up both hills, exploring the many tiny walkways and vistas.

The start of the many steps up the hills of Ermoupoli.

The start of the many steps up the hills of Ermoupoli.

Steps of Ermoupoli covered in Bougainvillea petals.

Steps of Ermoupoli covered in Bougainvillea petals.

The Bougainvilleas in the maze of Ermoupoli.

The Bougainvilleas in the maze of Ermoupoli.

The modern bustling city towards the water’s edge is large enough to feel like a proper Mediterranean town, complete with marble squares, neoclassical architecture, and an abundance of shopping, restaurants, and activities.  The city is known as a home of commerce, even surpassing Athens for a period in the 19th century.  It is also one of the few places in the region that experienced the Renaissance, as is reflected in the design and beauty of the city itself.

Sunny square in Ermoupoli, Syros.

Sunny square in Ermoupoli, Syros.

Urban dogs in Ermoupoli, Syros.

Urban dogs in Ermoupoli, Syros.

We saw very few other tourists the entire time we explored Ermoupoli. Unfortunately, with only an afternoon and limited ferry schedules, we could not linger as long as we wanted. If I were to go again, I would try to time a visit to coincide with one of the island’s summer music festivals, and I would linger longer to experience its traditional food, art and culture.

The town has a special feel, more cosmopolitan than the other cities of the archipelago. If you are looking for a distinctly non-touristy destination with a profoundly Mediterranean atmosphere, Syros and its city of Ermoupoli is well worth the stop.

 

Up next: Greece Travel Diary Part 6 – Tinos Island of Simple Perfection

Previously:  Greece Travel Diary Part 4 – Delos Island of the Gods

 

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One thought on “Greece Travel Diary Part 5 – Syros and the Little Big City of the Cyclades

  • MARIA ZILAKOU

    Thank you for this post! Syros is one of my favorite destinations and you have managed to capture moments of its beauty in those pictures! I took the liberty to share some of them in my post on color inspiration for a new knitting pattern that’ll come alive in June. Of course, links to your wonderful site and credits are given and I would like to thank you once again for inspiring us! Happy weekend!