Holiday in Kalymnos
Kalymnos is renowned worldwide for its sponge diving tradition, where fishermen, to survive on this huge rock, still risk life on the seabed. It is among Greece’s most fascinating islands. Its mountainous landscape attracts rock-climbing fans, while the island’s crystal-clear waters make it a popular summer destination. With a population of 16,000, Kalymnos Island has plenty of local charm and vibrancy. And due to its size, there are plenty of things to do in Kalymnos to keep you occupied for your entire stay. Indeed, the Island of Kalymnos has many interesting aspects, but it has always been little considered and set aside due to its proximity to the largest and most popular island of Kos. In this way it failed to enhance and promote all its beauties; but once discovered, they make it an extremely fascinating destination.
You will fall in love and come back again and again among its people, among its beautiful beaches and sea and unique landscapes. It is an island with a profoundly Greek soul that can be perceived and enjoyed in the kitchen, traditions, architecture or even simply in the daily life of the inhabitants. Characterized by a wild nature, by mountains that sink into the blue of the sea, caves, hidden bays, very characteristic villages and a pristine sea.
Located west of the Bodrum peninsula, between Kos and Leros, Kalymnos is the third largest island in the Dodecanese population and the fourth largest one. Also called Calino (in Italian) and Kilimni (in Turkish), the islands of Pserimos and Telendos are also part of its municipality.
Climbing on Kalymnos island
Arid and rocky, with three small mountain ranges running through it, it has a very different landscape than the other more hilly and green neighboring islands. Its rocky walls have made Kalymnos the protagonist of the world map of free-climbing that now attracts climbers from all over the world. North-east area of the island, in addition to the walls that go down into the sea, offers hidden bays with a spectacular sea. Thanks to this, the island of Kalymnos was proclaimed by the Greek Government the first Marine National Park.
With a population of about 16 thousand inhabitants, is a difficult and hostile place, with rocks that make it impossible to live in it, build roads and cultivate the land. Survival of the premises and the economy of the island have always been linked to the sea, especially to the fishing of sea sponges. This activity was the source of livelihood for most local families up until a few decades ago.
With the crisis of trade in this particular product of the sea, many Kalymniots were forced to emigrate to the United States or Australia. Population dropped from 24,000 in 1925 to 16,000 today. In recent years it has tried to make the most of its natural beauty to attract tourists as much as possible and cope with the island’s economic difficulties. Thanks to the tourism of climbing and trekking enthusiasts, it is visited throughout the year.
Capital and port of Kalymnos, the main city called Pothia extends to the foot of the two hills and in the narrow nura that joins them. Entrance from the sea is particularly suggestive for the white and pastel-colored houses, with two or three floors, which constitute a singular contrast with the harsh gray stone of the island. Inhabited by about 11,000 people, it is a very lively and dynamic town always crowded with people and chaotic traffic.
How to get there and around
Kalymnos island has the airport about 3 km from the capital Pothia where only internal flights land with daily connection with Athens. At the capital there is also the main port where most of the scheduled ferries from the other Greek islands dock.
To reach Kalymnos by flight from any European city, the simplest solution is to take a flight to Kos and then a ferry from Mastichari to the capital Pothia.
Beaches and tourist resorts on the island
Pothia and its environs there are a couple of beaches generally frequented by the locals, among the most famous are the bay of Geyfira and Therma. But, as soon as you leave the city heading towards the east, you will meet several very suggestive coves, among which Akti.
Vathy is the name of both the valley, rich in citrus cultivation, and the inland village, while the village around the port is called Rina. This small village of Kalymnos is enchanting because of its simplicity and authenticity.
Below the mountain of Profitis Elias, there are two villages: Stimenia and Platanos, whose name derives from the huge plane tree of the main square. Although these villages are semi-uninhabited, in ancient times they were the most populated area of the island of Kalymnos.
In the north-west part of the island, about 7 km from Pothia, there are some of the most popular tourist resorts of Kalymnos. Panormitis is a quiet and green place as well as the very close Kantouni and Linaria with the black sand beach called Plati Yialos.
Myrties and Massouri are holiday resorts with a much wider tourist offer and able to satisfy the needs and needs of every type of tourist. The Myrties beach of Kalymnos has beaches with white pebbles and the rocky bottom, ideal for snorkelers. The beach of Massouri, on the other hand, is a mixture of volcanic sand and rocks since, many centuries ago, there was a small volcano in this area.
Going back towards Pothia, in the south-west part of the island of Kalymnos, you will meet the indications for Vlihadia. A small town with few accommodation facilities and a characteristic marina. Vlihadia is a real oasis of peace with a beautiful sandy and pebble beach and a fabulous sea.
Where to eat on Kalymnos island
On the island of Kalymnos there are many Greek restaurants and taverns where you can enjoy excellent meat-based meals and above all cheap fish. In the capital Pothia you will find traditional restaurants and ouzeri in the area of the promenade and in the inner alleys. One of these restaurants is Xefretis, with a tradition dating back to 1915.
Rebetiko is a tavern on the Pothia seafront, very popular with locals, where they serve only traditional dishes. To eat excellent fresh fish the best area is the village of Vathi with the cute taverns on the harbor. Absolutely recommended is the Poppis tavern, run by the energetic Poppi who cooks what can be considered one of the best Dodecanese squid.