Syros Island: 14 Best Things to Do

Syros island alley with  bougainvillea

Syros island is located in the center of the Cyclades, 83 nautical miles from Pireaus port in Athens, and spreads in 84 sq km. On the north of Syros island is Andros, in the east is Mykonos, and on the south is Sifnos, Paros, and Naxos.

Cyclades Greek Islands Map
Cyclades Map

Syros island is known for its culture and the variety of past civilizations, with monuments, found all over the island. A unique characteristic of Syros is that Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches are scattered all over the island in a very harmonious co-existence.

The Catholic Church of Saint George in Ano Syros

Syros island is also full of natural attractions, beautiful beaches, low mountains, and superb vistas, with an invisible line to be separating the island into two main parts:

Varvarousa Beach, Western Syros

The north part of Syros Island, known as Apano Meria, with limestone rock mountainous is mostly very quiet with traditional small villages, imposing rugged terrain, and sea views, ideal for people who love seclusion, hiking, and tranquility.

Traditional alleys in Syros

The south part of Syros, covered by volcanic rocks, is mostly flat and this is where most of the villages and the most famous beaches of the island are. The settlements there are developed for tourism, while the road network is quite good.

Finikas village in the south of Syros

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Up next I am going to tell you about 14 of the best things to do on Syros Island.

There are public buses on the island but I got around Syros with a car from RentalCars.com as it offered the freedom to explore the island in-depth.

Get your interactive map of Syros island here, to drive to any of the places listed on our things to do in Syros.

How to Get to Syros Island

You can fly to Syros from Athens airport, check Skyscanner for cheap and available flights.

Syros is well connected by ferries from Athens main port (the fastest ferry takes about 2,5 hours to reach Syros), or from the small port of Lavrion. Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner or FerryHopper to secure your seat, especially if you travel during the summer.

If you prefer to avoid the hassle of public transport and wish for some luxury pampering, you should book a private transfer with English speaking chauffeur from Athens International Airport to Piraeus Ferries. Check availability and prices on Viator here

Where to Stay in Syros Island

Anemos and Almyra Hotel

If you love to be in the center of a large island town with plenty of taverns, nightlife, buses to take you around and plenty of things to do and see, then choose Ermoupolis!

I loved Guesthouse Lila a beautifully decorated traditional guesthouse, very quiet but also very central in Ermoupolis.

You can always stay for a couple of nights in Ermoupoli and then move on to a seaside village like Kini, Galissas, Finikas, or Vari.

I found that Anemos and Almyra in Kini, in eastern Syros, is one of the most authentic and traditional hotels (it reminded me of my grandmother’s summer house) close to the nature on the island. Highly recommended!

The Best Things to Do in Syros, Greece

1. Explore Elegant Ermoupolis

Syros, Ermoupolis

Ermoupolis is a town full of historical and impressive buildings, a really unique Chora in the whole of Cyclades.

Ermoupolis, Syros

Stroll the main square of Ermoupolis, Miaouli sq. with the imposing City Hall built in 1863 by the famous architect Schiller, a popular meeting place for both tourists and locals. The majestic stairs of the large city hall attract a lot of Instagram photographs.

Miaouli Sq and City Hall in Ermoupolis

Inside the City Hall, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Syros with Cycladic and Byzantine exhibits (open 9-4, closed on Tuesdays & Thursdays)

Cycladic Exhibit in Syros Archaeological Museum

Ermoupolis has a great vibe, and the food is top-notch, there is so much choice for every taste, and relatively inexpensive compared to other islands.

Stroll by the Apollo Theatre, built in 1864 that reminds me of La Scala in Milan in sublime Venetian decoration.

Apollo Theater

Go to Vaporia, the coastal side and the poshest area of Ermoupolis, famous for its unique high-ceilinged mansions with impressive murals, wood-carved doors, marble balconies, and wooden floors.

Vaporia and Agios Nikolaos Orthodox Church

Nearby is Asteria, a nice beach, and the church of Agios Nikolaos which dominates the Vaporia area with the towering bell towers. And if you feel like gambling, there is a Casino in the Ermoupolis port!

2. Have a Cocktail at Asteria Beach Bar

Asteria Beach Bar

One of the best things to do in Vaporia is to have a cocktail or grab a bite at the Asteria Beach Bar (suggested by Guardian’s). It is a modest place but with magnificent views of the sea and the mansions.

3. Walk up to Ano Syros (steps involved) and the Capuchin Monastery

Ano Syros (the upper part of Ermoupolis) was founded in 1200 AD by the Venetians to protect the inhabitants from the pirates. To make things even more difficult for the pirates, they made narrow cobblestone streets with countless steps that pass by charming whitewashed houses and arches to get to the top.

Ano Syros

When you finally reach the top – well done, you are in good physical condition! – visit the impressive Monastery of Capuchin in Ano Syros,  founded in 1653 by King Louis XIII of France. In its basement, there are crypts that were used as shelters during pirate raids. There are no monks there today.

4. Visit the 12th century Catholic Church of Saint George

Saint George church Complex

The Catholic Church of Saint George in Ano Syros, a three-aisled Basilica with marble columns, is built on the highest point of the hill in 1200 AD.

It is a large complex of buildings such as the Bell Tower,  the historical archive building,  and the Episcopal Palace.

5. Photograph the Syros Cats

Syros Cat Cafe

Like most Greek islands, Syros has also its share of stray cats being well looked after by the cat NGOs on the island and the vets supporting neutering programs.

There is actually a Syros Cat Garden, where neutered cats hang out, or get fed by the local volunteers.

6. Dive into Galissas Beach and Hike to the Hidden Chapel in a Cave

Galissas Beach

Galissas is a beautiful sandy bay between two low hills on the southwestern part of Syros with a couple of great restaurants by the beach. The beach is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas but has also trees if you prefer the more natural shade.

On the left side of Galissas beach sits the tiny Catholic chapel of Saint Pakou, offering beautiful sea views.

Hike from Galisas (or go there by boat) for about 2 km to the north and find the little Catholic chapel of Agios Stefanos built inside a cave overlooking the bay. Follow the signs to get to the unique chapel and take some of the best photos on Syros island.

7. Drive to Megas Gialos Beach

Megas Gialos is a large sandy beach with shallow and warm waters and plenty of sunbeds and shades, ideal for families. That means that it is a popular beach with taverns and cafes around to choose from.

It is 12 km from Ermoupolis towards the south and to get there you pass by a number of villages and beaches where you can explore on your way to Megas Gialos.

If you would like a more secluded beach, walk to the nearby Chapel of Agios Antonios, and right behind it, starts a trail that leads to the more quiet beach of Ampela.

8. Watch the Best Syros Sunset in Kini

Kini Village

Kini village is 10 km east of Ermoupolis and offers the best sunset on Syros. The sandy beach is mostly organized with sunbeds and umbrellas but there are also free areas with trees if you prefer quiet time on the beach.

I discovered one of the best accommodations, Anemos and Almyra, a beautiful traditional settlement in Kini Village.

Kini beach has also an interesting aquarium, with live fish and tools in a display used traditionally by the local fishermen.

9. Explore the Mansion of Count Diakakis in Komito beach

Drive southeast to the beautiful fine golden sand Komito Beach located across two islets and explore the abandoned but amazing Mansion of Cοunt Diakakis.

10. Take a Cooking Class of traditional Greek-Syros Cuisine

Cooking class in Syros (Photo taken before COVID-19)

My favorite way to explore a new place is to taste their local goodies and what is best than learning how to cook them?

Take this Private Cooking class traditional Greek cuisine, on Syros.  Learn secrets and techniques and see how Greeks eat at home. At the end of the class, enjoy a Greek feast in the lovely shaded courtyard and return home able to cook a full Greek meal from scratch! Check this amazing cooking class in Viator here.

11. Hike Apano (Ano) Meria

Megas Lakos Beach in Ano Meria

Syros has low mountains and low vegetation in general with its highest peak being Pyrgos, at 442 meters. From the hillsides of Ano Syros, the neighboring islands of Tinos, Mykonos, and Delos can be seen.  

Syros features 10 signposted trails marked by the local authorities as ’Paths of high cultural interest’. There are several more unmarked and equally beautiful to explore with the most demanding to be the trail to the gorge of Schizomenes.

Diapori Syros

Another demanding but stunningly beautiful trail is on the northwest of Syros, where the terrain is rugged and barren at the Diapori area close to the north Syros Lighthouse.

12. Visit the beautiful remote village of Ai Michalis

Go to the small traditional village of Ai Michalis with imposing vistas and have lunch in one of the taverns there for really traditional Greek food.

13. Hike to the Early Bronze Age Settlements of Kastri and Chalandriani

Ancient Cemetery of Chalandriani

Syros island has many ruins from the Cycladic Civilization – a Bronze Age culture (c. 3200–c. 1050 BC). Excavations have revealed the remains of fortified settlements in Kastri dating circa 2300-2200 BC and a cemetery in Chalandriani.

More than 600 tombs have been excavated dated between 2700-2400 BC all belonging to the Cycladic Civilization.

The two settlements are linked with a long and rough trail that is easy to find and is marked with red spray paint including arrows. If you wake up really early you will watch the most stunning sunrise of your life.

**Other ancient sites in Syros include:

  • Ermoupolis: remains of an ancient wall and a theater north of the citadel at the hill where th Church Panagia Theotokos is
  • Vari: Roman tombs and ruins of a prehistoric settlement (4000-3000 BC)

14. Taste Syros Local Delicacies

Greek Coffee and Loukoumi

The most famous of the island’s local tastes is loukoumi — essentially the Greek version of Turkish delight and white-round scented nougat. They can be found in every bakery and pastry shop in Syros but also at the Greek coffee shops (Kafenio) served with Greek coffee.

Other local delicacies that you can taste on the island – in taverns or in groceries are:

halvadopita,  kaparosalata (capers salad), ladopita (olive oil pie), local cheeses: San Michali, sweet gruyere and spicy Kopanisti.

Getting around Syros

There are public buses that will take you to beaches in Syros, starting from Ermoupolis but I recommend renting a car and driving around the island. I loved having the freedom to find hidden sites, stay as long as I wanted wherever I wanted.

When to go to Syros

Syros Spring Basil, Bougainvillea and kitty

Syros island has been one of the most important industrial centers of the new Greek state – after the War of Independence in 1821 – and has still a thriving economy.

That makes it an all seasons island as it is busy all year round with frequent ferry transfers.

If you are interested in summer vacation, then June to October will be quite warm. July and August are the busiest, hottest and windiest months for the Cyclades.

Easter in Ermoupolis City Hall

A great time to go to Syros is during Easter, with magnificent Greek Orthodox and Catholic celebrations in April. The sea waters will be cold to swim in but hiking will be at its best as the whole island will be covered in wildflowers and the weather is simply perfect.

Easter in the Cyclades is very popular between Greeks so you better check for availability early on Booking.com.

Book a 7-Day 4-Island Catamarn Tour from Athens – Syros included

Exploring the Greek islands on a sailing yacht is a unique and unforgettable experience. This amazing catamaran tour takes you to Sounion Cape in Athens, and to the islands of Kea – Syros – Mykonos – Kythnos and returns you to Athens.

Check availability, prices, and reviews on Viator here.

How to Get to Greece

Beautiful Cat in Syros

Like most visitors to Greece, you will probably have to fly to Athens or Thessaloniki International Airports to get to your final destinations.

For the Cheapest, Fastest, Best Worldwide Flights, I highly recommend the Skyscanner search engine site.

Where to Stay in Athens

Looking for the Best Hotels near old Athens Plaka and Acropolis Parthenon? Or you would like to stay at a beachfront hotel? Perhaps you are more in-budget hotels interested? I have collected the best options for you below:

A Message from Evgenia

I hope you have enjoyed my post on Syros Island! If you need local help with organizing your visit, please send me an email at  info@travelthegreekway.com, and I will get back to you with ideas.  Until then stay safe and travel the world!
Evgenia 
Travel the Greek Way

Some of my Favorite Travel Resources for Greece

  • Airflights: Cheap/Fast/Best Worldwide Flights from KAYAK or SkyScanner search engine site
  • Map of Athens Metro
  • Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals, have info on hotels and Airbnb’s alike, with breakfast or not, free cancellations, and great prices!
  • Ferries to the Greek Islands: Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner or FerryHopper, and get the best prices in the market with no hidden fees
  • World Nomads Insurance: I feel insecure traveling to another country without having even the most basic of insurances. Insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations
  • Best car rental prices – Guaranteed. RentalCars.com
  • Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
  • iVisa: For any questions, you may have about your documents, passport if you need a visa, a new photo, or any visa-related matter, iVisa is your man (or woman!)
  • Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100EMERGENCY NUMBER 112

More Greek Islands to Explore!

A traditional flower pot in a Greek yard in Kythera island

Kythira

Amorgos island chora 2

Amorgos

Port in Spetses with ships and buildings

Spetses

Aegina

Aegina is just 15 minutes far from Agistri island. Aegina is a beautiful island, full of amazing things to do and see:

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