THAT SPECIAL SOMETHING

Greece is one of the best summertime destinations in the world; however, among the 170 inhabited islands in Greece, there are some that stand out. Syros is definitely one of them, a beautiful summertime paradise that makes it a unique holiday destination. Syros has “that special something” to offer when it comes to island vacations.
Syros is a small island that attracts fewer tourists with countless things to enjoy: seductive beaches, museums, galleries, stunning neoclassical architecture, sailing, cultural festivals, nightlife, history, old churches, theater, hiking, diving, a thriving port and a multitude of restaurants to enjoy. Syros is the perfect place to experience true Greek culture and hospitality.

INCREDIBLE BEACHES

The Cyclades are known for their crystal-clear blue waters and their laid-back atmosphere. Syros is not an exception. The villages of Vari, Foinikas, Galissas and Kini, as well as Posidonia - also known as Dellagrazia - are home to some of the best, most gorgeous, beaches on the island.

AN ISLAND OF ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE

Syros is where Greek tradition and western influence live in perfect harmony. The magnificent public buildings, such as the City Hall, the Customs Office, and “Apollo” theatre, are testimony to its glorious past. The Town Hall of Ermoupolis is located in Miaouli square. Its architecture is a combination of classical ancient Greece and the Romanticism of the West while its general style belongs to the neoclassical architectural style. Its construction began in 1876 and was completed in 1898, and was designed by Ernst Ziller, a great Bavarian architect. The central court is made entirely of marble as is the hanging stairway in its interior that leads to the first floor. The meeting room, where the local government meets, is adorned with oil paintings depicting King George I and Queen Olga. The Town Hall also hosts the Archaeological Museum of Syros, the Court of Law, the Land Registry, the Public Archives and other public services. The Town Hall of Ermoupolis is an impressive building and it is considered among the most beautiful Town Halls of Greece.
Syros is actually one of the few regions in Greece that experienced the Renaissance, and its influence is evident in the design of its neoclassical houses, mansions and beautiful town squares. Due to its long-running economic activity, Ermoupolis has been called the “Manchester of Greece,” and its history is presented at the Industrial Museum.

INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIMED FESTIVALS AND CULTURAL EVENTS

The International Festival of the Aegean, the Classical Music Festival, and Musical May are only some of the island’s internationally acclaimed annual festivals, offering a wide range of performances ranging from theatre plays, Greek folk music to jazz, rock and classical music. There are also a number of exhibitions (photography, painting, jewellery) which the visitor can enjoy during the summer months. The historic Apollon Theatre constitutes an emblem of the island’s cultural heritage; it was fashioned after the famed La Scala Opera House (Milan, Italy), and is sometimes called "La Piccola Scala." Constructed in 1864 by the Italian architect Pietro Sambo, it celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2014. The Apollo Theatre is a key venue of the annual Festival of the Aegean held each summer. In addition, visitors to the island can enjoy full-scale opera productions all year round as well as theatrical performances by local and international theatrical troupes. The Apollon Theatre also houses the Theatre Museum known as “the memory place” which was founded in 2002. For those who would like a taste of a traditional Greek folk fairs there are a number which take place during the summer in the villages such as the Sardine Festival, Kakavia Festival and many more.

EXTRAORDINARY HISTORY

Syros has been inhabited since the Stone Age, while its glory begins with the founding of Ermoupolis – meaning ‘the city of Hermes’, (Hermes the god of commerce, and Polis means city). Syros has been continuously inhabited since antiquity not only by Greeks, but also Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, Franks and Venetians. A major part of this island’s cultural and architectural diversity has been shaped by its occupants over the centuries. Each one of the civilizations that thrived on the island has left something behind, forging Syros into what it is today.

Mediterranean Gastronomy

Syros is well-known throughout Greece for its gastronomic peculiarities. Its culinary tradition stems from the days of Syros’ maritime links with the rest of Europe. And because Syros is an island, seafood is a staple of the local diet. Their most unique delicacy is the Halvadopita, which is a sweet made with thyme honey, nougat and roasted almonds. Syros is also the best and largest producer of Lukumi, sweet candies that go perfectly with a cup of Greek coffee. Loosa ham, fennel sausages and the famous San Michalis spicy cheese which has been likened to Greek parmesan are some of the local must-try delicacies.

A THRIVING CITY

Syros, with a permanent population of more than 30,000 people is also home to two universities, making it vibrant and youthful all year round. Syros can be from stylish to frenzied, as far as nightlife is concerned. Its port is full of bars and cocktail clubs and its picturesque alleys hide some of Cyclades’ best restaurants. Ermoupolis is also home to one of the best casinos in Greece.

ANO SYROS VILLAGE

The Roman Catholic district, or Ano Syros (meaning upper Syros), and the fortress-like St. George’s cathedral are located on St. George Hill. Climb up the stairs to the top of the hill, navigate through the picturesque narrow streets, past the traditional whitewashed houses, archways and open spaces, and you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view. This beautiful Venetian settlement was built around 1200 CE, amphitheatrically to protect it from attacks, with houses built one on the top of the other to form a defensive fortress of stone walls, narrow streets, wooden balconies and many arches and arcades. Overlooking the port, it offers an amazing view over the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea. The combination of the typical Cycladic blue and white colour scheme and medieval architectural elements makes for an interesting and beautiful result that will charm every visitor wandering around the tiny streets and whitewashed steps of Ano Syros. It is definitely a must-see place when in Syros and the perfect day-trip destination offering a window into this unique island’s beauty.

FASCINATING DIVERSITY

Syros is a truly diverse island, as it’s the only one in Greece with so many Catholics and actually it is one of very few places in the world where Orthodox and Catholic Easter are celebrated on the same day! The Orthodox community that is spread across the second hill of Ermoupolis, has contributed some outstanding religious monuments to the local architecture, such as the churches of Metamorphossi tou Sotiros (Transfiguration of Jesus Christ), St. Nicolas the Rich and the Dormition of the Mother of God (Koimissis tis Theotokou) which proudly boasts an original El Greco painting. Another interesting detail about the island is the village of Poseidonia or Dellagrazia which is full of 18th century mansions complete with fascinating gardens some of which are open to visitors to explore.

THE BEST 'REBETIKO' IN GREECE

Every country has its own unique and distinctive culture. To really ingest the culture of Syros, one should explore its folk music background, as it always paints a vivid picture of the country it represents. Music is a universal language, after all. Greece’s most traditional and distinctive music style is Rebetiko, also known as Greek blues, and it is still played today around the country. Ermoupoli was the birth place and home of Markos Vamvakaris, one of the best Greek bouzouki players and Rebetiko singer/songwriters. Visit the Markos Vamvakaris museum to get a taste of the music and life of the great artist.

PERFECT LOCATION

Syros is located in the centre of the Cyclades island group in the Aegean Sea, just a few miles away from its sister islands of Mykonos, Tinos, Milos and Santorini. Furthermore, there are another ten islands located even closer to Syros, each one of them ideal for a day-trip. Syros is only three and a half hours from Athens by boat or 20 minutes by plane.

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