Kalymnos

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The Island of Sponges

Barren and Wild: Absolute Beauty in All its Glory and Adventurous Adrenaline in All its Grandeur
An island with rare natural beauty strongly tied with myths and adventures combines the charm of the wild mountainous landscapes with the authentic hospitality. Characterized as the island of sponge for its long tradition in sea sponge harvesting, Kalymnos is an island with sceneries of virgin natural beauty. If you observe it from a distance, this island resembles a brownish and reddish rock emerging from the dark blue waters of the Aegean. Undoubtedly, Kalymnos is ready to excite every imagination! The beauty of Kalymnos is exceptional. The unique morphology of the island is blessed with sceneries of bare and rocky mountainous, steep slopes, imposing rocky formations, giant vertical rocks and volcanic valleys. Blessed with the finest of wild nature, Kalymnos is surely a natural climbing field! Hosting more than 1300 climbing tracks, Kalymnos is a paradise for rock climbers. However, the surprises are not yet uncovered! The rich marine life  hides outstanding cape slopes, underwater caves, ancient shipwrecks, vibrant colour reefs and a thriving aquatic life! Proud for the authenticity of its island character, Kalymnos is waiting for you to discover her million beauties!
Kalymnos

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Best of Kalymnos

The Capital of Kalymnos

The Town of Pothia is the capital and harbour of the island located on the south side of the island. The beautiful settlement is built amphitheatrically around the harbour on the two hill slopes. Pothia has an authentic character with traditional houses, colourful doors and wooden balconies, old churches and beautiful mansions and the narrow alleys. The verdant valley of the settlement offer enchanting sceneries, characterized as one of the most beautiful parts of the town. The most important monuments of Pothia include the castle of Chrisoheria, the church of the Christ and the Maritime Museum. One can also visit the imposing church of Agios Savvas to admire the panoramic views of Pothia.

The Castle of Chrisoheria

The Castle of Chrisoheria is located on the northwest side of the capital of the island. The castle was constructed on the summit of a natural hill from the Knights of Saint John who ruled the island from the 14th to the 16th century. The castle was built in order to protect the city from potential pirate invasions. Within the premises of the castle, one can admire the traces of stone buildings and two well preserved churches. The church of Panagia Chrisohera, meaning the Virgin Mary with the Golden Hands, was named after the holy icon depicting Virgin Mary covered with a golden leaf. The three stone windmills located under the hill constitute the trademark of the island.

The Island of Telendos

The Island of Telendos is a tiny island located off the coast of Kalymnos. Can you imagine enjoying the views from the highest mountain of Kalymnos while observing the land breaking and the rocks eroding, witnessing an island emerging? This is Telendos, an irresistible island with beautiful landscapes of the endless sea. If you are pursuing in walking in labyrinthine alleys of a tiny settlement and discovering sheltered coves under the reflections of the glittering rays of the sun, this is the island for you. An island embracing the value of peacefulness is ready to give you cherished memories, a place where wild beauty and authentic hospitality harmonize in a mysterious way. Telendos is a true getaway escape. Admire the sunset from the church of Agios Konstantinos, enjoy the crystalline waters of the beach of Hohlakas, climb in one of the most spectacular rocky terrains and appreciate the absolute peace of Telendos! Will you dare to flirt with this true experience?

The Monastery of Agios Savvas

The Monastery of Agios Savvas stands on top of a hill above the city of Pothia. The beautiful church is made out of stone with a beautiful red dome and it is dedicated to the patron saint of Kalymnos. The location of the church provides panoramic views of the entire town.

The Sponge Factory

The Sponge Factory is the sole sponge factory of Kalymnos located in the city of Pothia. The museum exhibits the history of sponge diving, the methods of diving and the process of elaborating sponges. If you visit the factory, you will learn all the stages that sponges undergo before entering the market.

The Paradise of Rock Climbers and Diving Enthusiasts

Kalymnos is the paradise of rock climbers and diving enthusiasts. The wild rocky landscape of the island creates a natural climbing field with more than 1300 climbing tracks while the sea bottom hides surprizes with unique cape slopes and caves, ancient shipwrecks, vibrant reefs and a thriving aquatic life. Climbing and diving lovers can also visit the Diving Festival in July and the Climbing Festival every second October!

Archaeological Sites

The Acropolis of Embolas is located in the area of Metohi close to the village of Vathy. Embolas is a fortified acropolis that hosts the traces of the ancient settlement. Today, the outline of the defensive and the Christian Basilica of Taxiarhis are the sole significant remains.

The Acropolis of Kastelli is located in an area of exceptional natural beauty on the hill of Stimenia close to the village of Kastelli. The byzantine fortress was built in order to control the sea passage between Kalymnos and Telendos. Although today only the remains of the fortress are visible, the fortress used to has a fortified citadel surrounded from defensive walls. Access to the fortress is difficult.

The Ancient Town of Damos is one of the most significant monuments of the island located northern coast of Kalymnos. Archaeological excavations have brought to light inscriptions and vessels along with the remnants of large bath complexes, old stone houses, workshops and carved wells. On the same area, there is also an ancient cemetery with sculptured graves from the Hellenistic period.

The Temple of Apollo Delios is located in the area of Pigadia. The sanctuary was an important place of worship in Ancient Kalymnos. The columns of the temple can be seen within the Church of Panagia Keharitomeni in the city Pothia. It is worth noting that numerous architectural fragments were used in order to built the church of Christ of Jerusalem.

Castles

The Castle of Chrisoheria is located on the northwest side of the capital of the island. The castle was constructed on the summit of a natural hill from the Knights of Saint John who ruled the island from the 14th to the 16th century. The castle was built in order to protect the city from potential pirate invasions. Within the premises of the castle, one can admire the traces of stone buildings and two well preserved churches. The church of Panagia Chrisohera, meaning the Virgin Mary with the Golden Hands, was named after the holy icon depicting Virgin Mary covered with a golden leaf. The three stone windmills located under the hill constitute the trademark of the island.

The Castle of Pothia is an impregnable fortress that covers the wide summit of a rocky mountain of the northeast side of Pothia. Inside the castle, the medieval residential area of the island was located during the period of the Knights of Saint John. Today, the remnants of two large cisterns, a stone basin from an olive press and ten well preserved churches along with a complex of cannon towers are the sole surviving remains. The castle is accessible by ascending two hundred and thirty steps starting from the city of Pothia.

Churches and Monasteries

The Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ is the metropolitan church of the island located in the city of Pothia. The Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ has been recognized as a historical monument owing to the historical and religious importance. Inside the church, one can admire an authentic iconostasis of the great sculptor Giannoulis Halepas.

The Church of Christ of Jerusalem is the best preserved church of the island located close to the city of Pothia. It is a deserted aisled basilica built from with materials from the temple of Delian Apollo. Christ of Jerusalem used to be the saint protector of Kalymnos.

The Church of Panagia Keharitomeni is an impressive three aisled church located in Pothia. The church has a great cultural importance, as it served as the revolutionary centre of the island. Inside the church, one can admire an impressive carved wooden iconostasis. The church of Panagia Keharitomeni was constructed with materials from the temple of Delian Apollo.

The Monastery of Agios Savvas stands on top of a hill above the city of Pothia. The beautiful church is made out of stone with a beautiful red dome and it is dedicated to the patron saint of Kalymnos. The location of the church provides panoramic views of the entire town.

The Monastery of Panagia Kyra Psili is a deserted monastery located on the northern side of Vathy. It is an old monastery with a fortified architectural style. According to the legend, the monastery was built from a local who had changed his faith, and when he returned to his hometown, he remembered his roots and believed in God again. The church celebrates in honour of the saint on August 15.

Monuments

The Lighthouse of Kalolimnos stands on the small isle of Kalolimnos. The lighthouse was introduced in the network of the lighthouses of Greece in 1947 with the integration of the Dodecanese. The lighthouse is accessible through a short boat trip from Pothia.

The Windmills of Kalymnos are the trademark of the island located next to the castle of Chrisoheria. In the old days, the windmills operated by wind as the islands of Greece are renowned for their gusty winds. Although the windmills are no longer operational, they continue to be a symbol of the long history of the island.

Museums

The Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos is located in the city of Pothia. The museum exhibits findings from the history of the island including bronze and marble sculptures, stone tools and inscriptions from the Neolithic, Minoan and Mycenaean periods.

The House of Kalymnos is located in the city of Pothia. The museum exhibits artefacts from the culture and heritage of the people of Kalymnos including traditional costumes, old household goods and embroidery. The House of Kalymnos won the award of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies in 2005.

The Maritime Museum of Kalymnos is located in the city of Pothia. The museum is dedicated to the long tradition of seafaring and sponge diving of the island including sponge fishing equipment, photographs and ship models.

The Sponge Factory is the sole sponge factory of Kalymnos located in the city of Pothia. The museum exhibits the history of sponge diving, the methods of diving and the process of elaborating sponges. If you visit the factory, you will learn all the stages that sponges undergo before entering the market.

Natural Beauties

The Cave of Daskalio is located close to the village of Vathy. It is an interesting cave hosting prehistoric findings from the Neolithic period. The cave is ideal for more experienced explorers. One can access the cave only by boat from the harbour of Rina.

The Cave of Kefalas is located close to the city of Pothia. It is an impressive cave with huge stalactite formations. The cave is accessible either through a short boat trip from Pothia or from the dirt road starting from Pothia leading to the monastery of Agia Aikaterini.

The Cave of the Nymphs/Seven Virgins is an ancient religious centre located in the area of Flaskas. The cave hosts a small lake with stone carved stairs and an interesting series of archaeological findings. According to the legend, the cave is the place where seven virgins tried to hide from the pirates, but they never returned back to their castle.

The Cave of Skalia is located in the village of Massouri. It is an interesting cave embellished with impressive stalactite formations. The cave of Skalia is considered to be one of the steepest caves of the island, so be careful when visiting.

The Cave of Stimenia is located in the northeast side of the valley of Vathy. It is an interesting cave with beautiful decorations and a hole on the top of the cave. Inside the cave, one can admire traces of ancient stone buildings and byzantine pottery artefacts.

The Rock of Patela is a steep rock located on the northwestern coast of the island. A series of climbing routes have been established making the island of the best destination of rock climbing in Europe!

Promenades & Villages

Argos is a mountainous village located on the southwest side of Hora. The name of the village comes from the people of Argos of Peloponnese who stayed in the village after the Trojan War. Argos is renowned for its traditional products including handmade bread and cheese. The annual celebration of Tsambouna is held in the village every summer. The most important monuments of Argos include is the Byzantine Church of Twelve Apostles. The church is considered to be the most important byzantine temple of Kalymnos.

Horio, else known as Hora, is the old capital of the island located three kilometres northwest of Pothia. Actually, Horio is an extension of Pothia. The settlement was built in a valley away from the sea due to the pirate invasions of the ancient times. Horio is the heart of Kalymnos where traditions are kept alive! In Horio, one can visit numerous monuments including the castle of Chrisoheria built from the Knights of Saint John and the church of Panagia Keharitomeni for its impressive carved wooden iconostasis. The church of prophet Elias dominates the highest point of the island at an altitude of 670 meters.

Emborios is a seaside village located on the northwest part of the island. It is a remote settlement with just few inhabitants who are engaged in agriculture and fishing. The village has a traditional character with whitewashed houses and narrow alleys lying between two fertile valleys. Emborio used to be the first merchant centre of Kalymnos. The village is an ideal place for exploring the beaches of northern coastline of the island. The most important monuments of the wider area include the fortress of Kastri hosting the remnants of two defensive towers with its strong walls and the cyclopean walls of Agios Georgios. One can also visit the impressive church of the village to admire the panoramic views to the Aegean.

Massouri is a seaside village located on the west side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful villages of Kalymnos distinguished for its natural sceneries. Imposing hills rise around the entire settlement that overlooks the beautiful natural bay.  Massouri has a traditional character with whitewashed houses and quaint alleys that climb the steep hill offering one of the best views of Kalymnos. The mountainous landscapes and the imposing hills over the entire settlement is an ideal place for rock climbing lovers. Massouri is considered to have one of the longest and most beautiful beaches of the island with panoramic views of the surrounding areas. One can also visit the island of Telendos through a short boat trip from Massouri.

Myrties is a seaside village located on the west side of the island. The charming settlement was named after the myrtle bushes that surround the area. Myrties is an ideal destination for those looking for tranquillity and relaxation. The settlement offers panoramic views over he island of Telendos. Actually, one can also visit the island of Telendos through a short boat trip from the harbour of Myrties.

Panormos, else known as Kantouni, is a seaside village located on the west side of the island. The charming settlement is built around a beautiful bay. Kantouni offers breathtaking sceneries to the surrounding areas. The entire settlement distinguishes for its verdant landscapes that create fascinating sceneries. Kantouni is also renowned for its authentic atmosphere and hospitality and its delicious fish taverns. One can also visit the beautiful beaches of Kantouni, Linaria and Platis Gialos. The surrounding mountain slopes of Panormos are ideal for climbing and mountaineering lovers.

Pothia is the capital and harbour of the island located on the south side of the island. The beautiful settlement is built amphitheatrically around the harbour on the two hill slopes. Pothia has an authentic character with traditional houses, colourful doors and wooden balconies, old churches and beautiful mansions and the narrow alleys. The verdant valley of the settlement offer enchanting sceneries, characterized as one of the most beautiful parts of the town. The most important monuments of Pothia include the castle of Chrisoheria, the church of the Christ and the Maritime Museum. One can also visit the imposing church of Agios Savvas to admire the panoramic views of Pothia.

Skalia is a seaside village located on the west side of the island. The settlement distinguished for its verdant vegetation and its panoramic views to the island of Telendos. The most important monuments of the wider area include the cave of Skala for its rich stalactite formations and the isolated beach of Palionisos. The surrounding area of Skalia is ideal for climbing lovers.

Vathy is a seaside village located on the east side of the island. The charming settlement is located in the most fertile location of Kalymnos. The verdurous valley starts from the harbour of Rina up to the area of Stimenia. Driving through the wonderful landscapes, one will have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful views of the countryside of Kalymnos. The harbour of Rina provides a safe anchorage for sailboats and yachts. One can also hop on a boat to visit the neighbouring beaches.

Vlihadia is a seaside village located on the south side of the island. The charming settlement has a beautiful coastal view with two beaches. It is worth visiting the private museum of maritime findings that exhibits marine creatures, sponge diving implements and divers suits along with artefacts from shipwrecks and archaeological findings from all around the world. The most important monument of the wider area includes the cave of 2Kefalas that has been characterized as the most beautiful cave of Kalymnos for its huge stalactites. The cave is accessible through short boat trips from Pothia.

Sunset Spots

Spot: Beach of Emborios, Northwest Kalymnos

Spot: Beach of Myrties, West Kalymnos

Spot: Beach of Platis Gialos, West Kalymnos

Excursions

Boat Trip: The Island of Agathonisi is waiting to be discovered ready to surprize you. . Kids playing in the safe waters of the bay of Agios Georgios, locals enjoying ouzo at the seafront taverns and fishermen struggling with their fishing nets are the simple images you will encounter on this island. Agathonisi is a mysterious island extending over a surface of just fourteen square kilometres composing an impostant ecosystem along with the neighboring islands, as it has been declared as a Valuable Shelter of Rare Bird Species from the European Network of Natura 2000. You will be touched from this unspoilt island with its virgin natural beauty of picturesque settlements, sheltered bays and small rocky islets, and the traditional way of island life and the authentic hospitality of the local people.

Boat Trip: The Island of Lipsi a miniature archipelago of deserted islands and rocky reefs. Scattered pieces of land in the Aegean form the utopia of Lipsi. Emitting an atmosphere of tranquillity and calmness, the mysterious island of Lipsi invites you to explore its beautiful sceneries. Lipsi is a well-kept secret, a buried hidden treasure and a hideaway escape in the Aegean waiting for you to discover it. The authentic character of the island is evident from the colours of the traditional houses painted in the shades of white and blue retaining the traditional identity of the Aegean. If you are pursuing in walking in labyrinthine alleys of a tiny settlement and discovering sheltered bays and coves with turquoise waters under the reflections of the glittering rays of the sun, this is the place for you. Whatever Lipsi might lack in size, it replenishes in landscapes and colours; besides they say less is more. An island embracing the value of tranquillity is ready to give you unforgettable memories, a place where beauty, nature and tradition harmonize in a very special way.

Boat Trip: The Island of Pserimos is a tiny island located close to the island of Kalymnos. A tear of the sky fell upon the Aegean and petrified in the sea. This is Pserimos, a mysterious island with charming landscapes of pristine natural beauty and captivating scents of caper waiting for you to explore it! The landscapes of the deep blue sea create a relaxing aura with a pure atmosphere ideal for those looking for a true escape from the world. Whether you want to swim in crystalline waters or enjoy the peacefulness of sceneries, Pserimos has it for you. Whatever Pserimos might lack in size, it replenishes in landscapes and colours; besides they say less is more. One has to indulge in new pursuits beyond the mainstream and look with a different glance around so that he can remember what has been forgotten; to live and appreciate simple moments in a real treasure of unspoilt nature like Pserimos. Will you travel to Pserimos to live a different experience?

Boat Trip: The Island of Telendos is a tiny island located off the coast of Kalymnos. Can you imagine enjoying the views from the highest mountain of Kalymnos while observing the land breaking and the rocks eroding, witnessing an island emerging? This is Telendos, an irresistible island with beautiful landscapes of the endless sea. If you are pursuing in walking in labyrinthine alleys of a tiny settlement and discovering sheltered coves under the reflections of the glittering rays of the sun, this is the island for you. An island embracing the value of peacefulness is ready to give you cherished memories, a place where wild beauty and authentic hospitality harmonize in a mysterious way. Telendos is a true getaway escape. Admire the sunset from the church of Agios Konstantinos, enjoy the crystalline waters of the beach of Hohlakas, climb in one of the most spectacular rocky terrains and appreciate the absolute peace of Telendos! Will you dare to flirt with this true experience?

Activities

Caving: Kalymnos hosts numerous caves ideal for exploring. One of the most beautiful caves is the cave of Kefalas. It is an impressive cave with huge stalactite formations located close to the city of Pothia. The cave is accessible either through a short boat trip from Pothia or from the dirt road that starts from Pothia and leads to the monastery of Agia Aikaterini. (2) Another interesting cave is the cave of Skalia. It is an interesting cave with impressive stalactite formations located in the village of Massouri. The cave is considered to be one of the steepest caves of the island, so be careful when visiting. (3) The cave of Daskalio also worth visiting. The cave is known for a series of prehistoric findings and Neolithic findings that were found within it. The cave is ideal for more experienced explorers and it is accessible only by boat from the harbour of Rina. (4) Another cave is the cave of cave of the Nymphs located in the area of Flaskas. The cave used to be an ancient religious centre. Inside, one can admire a small lake with stone carved stairs and an interesting series of archaeological findings. According to the legend, the cave is the place where seven virgins tried to hide from the pirates, but they never returned back to their castle. (5) At, last the cave of Therma is renowned for its thermal springs. The cave is located close to the city of Pothia.

Diving: The varied coastline of Kalymnos offers numerous exciting explorations for diving enthusiasts. Colourful fish, beautiful caverns, underwater caves and walls, interesting reefs and sleeping volcano are some of the most interesting diving spots all of which have a clear visibility for over thirty meters. Discover more information from Kalymnos Diving Club.

Hiking: Kalymnos hosts numerous paths ideal for lovers of hiking. (1) One of the most beautiful routes is the route that starts from Horio and leads to the castle of Chrisoheria. One can continue further uphill, to the top of Prophet Elias with panoramic views of the surrounding areas. (2) Another interesting trail includes the one that begins from the Fjord of Rina, passes through the basilica of Agia Irini and the cave of Daskalio and ends to the secluded beach of Kambi. (3) It is also worth following the road that starts from the village of Skalia towards the village of Emporios. There, one will come across a dirt road on your left. Follow that road in order to reach the top of the mountain where you will find a charming chapel. There, one will have the opportunity to enjoy panoramic views over the island of Leros.

Kitesurfing: Kalymnos is known for its ideal conditions for lovers of kitesurfing, as the island gets really windy especially in the summer. The beach of Emborio is the best beach for practising kitesurfing.

Mountain Biking: The rich natural diversity of Kalymnos is highly suitable for mountain biking. Exciting trails from rural roads to specially designed cycling routes are available in various parts of the island. (1) One of the most beautiful routes is the one that starts from the village of Massouri all the way to the area of Emborio with panoramic views over the island of Telendos. (2) Another interesting route is the one that starts from the village of Skalia and leads to the beach of Palionisos. (3) The more experienced cyclists can follow the route that starts fro the city of Pothia and ends to the monastery of Agia Katerina.

Rock Climbing:  The wild topography and rocky terrain of Kalymnos makes it an ideal destination for the lovers of climbing. In 1936, Italian Andrea Di Bari discovered the climbing opportunities of the island. The rocks of Kalymnos are of excellent quality and easily accessible to climbers. There are more than forty organized climbing fields in limestone rock, with good marking in the starting points, fully equipped and totally safe, as there are stainless plugs, with a resistance of 2,5 tons each, permanently situated on the rock, which ensure the security of climbers. The climbing routes are marked based on a difficulty scale, so as everyone will be able to directly verify their progress. So, Kalymnos is definitely ideal for those who want to stimulate their adrenaline! Discover more information from the Climbing Club of Kalymnos.

Thermal Springs: The thermal springs of Kalymnos have been known for their therapeutic properties since antiquity. They have healing properties for various treatments including arthritis, rheumatism and lumbago reaching a temperature of 38 degrees of Celsius. The thermal springs of the island are located on the edge of the bay of Pothia.

Windsurfing: Kalymnos is known for its ideal conditions for lovers of windsurfing, as the island gets really windy especially in the summer. The moderate breezes that blow in the narrow passage between Kalymnos and Telendos are the perfect ally for those who love windsurfing.

Beaches

Agios Soulas is a secluded beach with turquoise waters located on the south side of the island. It is a secluded beach ideal for those looking for tranquility and isolation. Agios Soulas is also an ideal place for nature lovers. Natural trails are carved along the beautiful sceneries of the beach offering the opportunity to explore the countryside of Kalymnos.

Akti is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the southeast side of the island. It is a secluded beach ideal for those looking for tranquility and isolation. There is a tavern at the beach.

Agrinonta is a sandy and pebbled beach with emerald waters and lush vegetation located on the northwest side of the island. It is an organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and taverns.

Armeos is a beach of wild beauty with dark blue waters located on the northwest side of the island. It is a secluded beach ideal for those looking for tranquility and isolation.

Emborio is a serene pebbled beach with crystal clear waters located on the northwest side of the island. It is an organized beach with numerous amenities including umbrellas and sunbeds. Trees provide shade for those who prefer the isolated spots of the beach.

Kantouni is a long golden sandy beach with crystal clear waters located on the northwest side of the island. It is an organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds and umbrellas, beach bars and taverns. The beach offers panoramic views to the imposing mountains.

Linaria is a beach with crystal clear waters located on the northwest side of the island. It is a sandy beach with beautiful rock formations ideal for those looking for quietness. One will find numerous amenities within a short walking distance.

Massouri is a sandy beach with crystal clear waters located on the west side of the island. It is one of the post popular beaches of Kalymnos with numerous amenities including umbrellas and sunbeds, water sport facilities, taverns and cafeterias.

Melitsahas is a long pebbled and sandy beach with crystal clear waters located on the west side of the island. The beach is ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation. Melitsahas offers panoramic views to the surrounding areas.

Myrties is a pebbled beach with crystal clear waters located on the west side of the island. It is a secluded beach ideal for those looking for tranquillity. The beach offers panoramic views of the island of Telendos. The sunset from Myrties should not be missed, as the view of the surrounding isles in the astonishing colours of the sunset is a great spectacle.

Palionisos is a sandy beach with crystal clear waters located on the east side of the island.  It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Kalymnos. The quaint settlement is ideal for those looking for relaxations and peacefulness. There are also some fish taverns on the beach. Palionisos is also accessible by boat.

Platys Gialos is a black sandy beach with azure waters located on the west side of the island. It is a fine beach with an excellent seaside tavern. The sunset from Platys Gialos should not be missed, as the view of the surrounding isles in the astonishing colours of the sunset is a great spectacle.

Potha is a rocky beach with crystal clear waters located on the south side of the island. It is a beautiful beach with unique natural surrounding. In 535 BC, the massive earthquake destroyed the city and separated the islands of Kalymnos and Telendos.

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktails Inspirations

Coffee Corners

Artistico: Coffee, Emborios

Mihalara: Pastries, Pothia

Gastronomic Delights

Aigaio Pelagos: Greek Cuisine, Rina Fjord

Barbayiannis: Greek Cuisine, Massouri

Exotic Ambeli: Greek Cuisine, Kalamies Bay

Galini: Greek Cuisine, Rina Fjord

Kafenes : Ouzo and Meze, Pothia

Kafes kai Alati: Greek Cuisine, Linaria

Kastri: Seafood, Emporios

Mamouzelos: Seafood, Linaria

Marinos: Greek Cuisine, Panormos

Miltos: Seafood, Massouri

Panos o Mitilinios: Greek Cuisine, Massouri

Pandelis: Greek Cuisine, Pothia

Psarokatastasi: Seafood, Myrties

Spitiko tis Violetas: Greek Cuisine, Pothia

Stoukas: Seafood, Pothia

Tsopanakos Tavern: Greek Cuisine, Massouri

Vrahos: Seafood, Melitsahas

Cocktails Inspirations

Babis Bar: Cocktails and Drinks, Myrties

Domus: Cocktails and Drinks, Massouri

Nadir Rock Bar: Cocktails and Drinks, Massouri

Rock and Blues: Cocktails and Drinks, Kantouni

Sunrise: Cocktails and Drinks, Massouri

Local Products & Specialties

The local products of the island include honey, grapes, fruits and meat. However, one should stroll around to find the local shops specializing in sponge making, due to the long tradition of Kalymnos as the island of sponge divers.

The local specialties of the island include maouri, a dish made of goat cooked or stuffed lamb in a metallic pan, spinialo, a seafood specialty of the island, sea-figs and sea urchins preserved in sea water, barley leaves made from mirmizeli, kakavia, a type of fish soup, and  trouli, the local cheese.

Events & Festivals

Every Easter, the celebration of Easter is accompanied with a representation of the traditional sponge diving techniques and a discharge of fireworks at the monastery of the Agios Savvas in Pothia.

Every summer, the Cultural Festival of Kalymnos takes place in Kalymnos. The festival hosts numerous cultural and musical events.

Every 19th and 20th of July, the traditional celebration in honour of Prophet Elias takes place at the Church of Prophet Elias. The feast is followed from traditional music, dance and food.

Every 23rd and 24th of June, the traditional celebration in honour of Agios Ioannis takes place at the Church of Ai Giannis.

Every July, the Diving Festival and Skandalopetra Games takes place in Kalymnos. The festival hosts a series of free activities including diving and sponge diving, tours in specialized museum, seminars of underwater photography and demonstration of diving methods.

Every 26th and 27th of July, the traditional celebration in honour of Agios Panteleimonas takes place in the homonymous monastery. The feast is followed from traditional music, dance and food.

Every July, the Festival of Tsambouna takes place in the village of Argos. Tsambouna is the traditional music instrument of Kalymnos, else known as bagpipe. The feast is followed from traditional music and local delicacies. The festival usually takes place a few days after the day of Agios Panteleimonas.

Every August, the Honey Festival takes place at the Square of Haralambous in Pothia. Honey and donuts are offered to the visitors.

Every 14th and 15th of August, the traditional celebration in honour of Virgin Mary takes place on various locations of Kalymnos. These include the monastery of Pangia Kyra Psili in Vathy, the church of Panagia in Telendos and the church of Panagia in Pserimos. The feasts are followed from traditional music, dance and food.

Every second October, the International Climbing Festival takes place in Kalymnos. As the island is one of the best destinations for rock climbing in the world, the Municipality of Kalymnos organizes the International Climbing Festival in a biannual basis.

History & Mythology

Mythology

The name of the island derives from Kalydnes Islands, which was the name that Homer gave to the Islands of Kalymnos, Kasos, Karpathos, Kos and Nisyros deriving from the words kalos («καλός»), meaning nice, and ydna («ύδνα»), meaning water. According to mythology, Titan Kalydnos, the son of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth) gave his name to the island of Kalymnos.

History

Historical findings show that Kalymnos was inhabited since the Minoan times. During the Archaic period, the long distance of the Dodecanese islands from Athens gave autonomy and freedom to these islands from Imperial Athens. However, Kalymnos became a part of the Macedonian Empire. Following the death of Alexander the Great, his successor, Ptolemy I of Egypt, conquered all the islands of the Dodecanese. During the Byzantine times, the island flourished until invaders took advantage of the strategic position of these islands.  The Knights of Saint John dominated Kalymnos and built the Castle of Chrisoheria in the 14th century, until the island fell until the Ottoman Empire followed by the Italians, the Germans and the British. Kalymnos was reunited with Greece in March of 1948. In the 1960s, the economy of the island was based on sponge diving and fishing. However, it was gradually declined.

Travel & Transport

By Air: Kalymnos has a national airport operating flights on a daily basis from the International Airport of Athens. The journey usually lasts forty five minutes to one hour. Book your tickets with AirTickets.com!

By Boat (170 Nautical Miles): Kalymnos is accessible by boat from the harbour of Piraeus. The journey usually lasts from ten to twelve hours. Kalymnos is also connected with the islands of Agathonisi, Leros, Kos, Lipsi, Nisyros and Patmos amongst others. Book your tickets with FerriesinGreece.com !

Mysterious Greece Tips

Adventure Experiences: Diving VS Rock Climbing

Do you want to stimulate your adrenaline? Are you a diving lover or a rock climbing enthusiast? Kalymnos has it for your either way! If you want to dive in the crystal waters of Kalymnos, the Diving Festival and Skandalopetra Games is held in Kalymnos every July! The festival hosts a series of free activities including diving and sponge diving, tours in specialized museum, seminars of underwater photography and demonstration of diving methods. If you want to climb to the rocks, then you should attend the International Climbing Festival of Kalymnos held every second October.

An Excursion to the Island of Telendos

If you travel to Kalymnos, it is worth also visiting the island of Telendos. Telendos is one the smallest islands of the Dodecanese. The island is ideal for those looking for peacefulness. As the size of the island is tiny, there is no road network. The heart of the village beats in the sole settlement. Don’t forget to bring your shoes, your sunscreen and your sunglasses with you, as the sole transportation means is by foot! Excursion boats operate from the harbour of Mirties, Rina and Pothia.

Bicycling at Its Best: Massouri to Emborio

The rich natural diversity of Kalymnos is highly suitable for mountain biking. Exciting trails from rural roads to specially designed cycling routes are available in various parts of the island. One of the most beautiful routes is the one that starts from the village of Massouri all the way to the area of Emborio with panoramic views over the island of Telendos.

Buy a sponge from Kalymnos

One of the best souvenirs you can buy from the island is the famous sponge of Kalymnos from the scattered sponge shops in Pothia!

Diving Explorations: The Island of Sponge Divers

Are you a diving enthusiast? Then, Kalymnos is the island for you! Here, one will have thje opportunity to watch all the methods of diving starting from the oldest method known as Skandalopetra! All methods used by sponge divers from early years until now will be presented in this travel. Colorful fish, beautiful caverns, underwater caves and walls, interesting reefs and sleeping volcano are some of the most interesting diving spots all of which have a clear visibility for over thirty meters. Discover more information from Kalymnos Diving Club.

Easter Celebrations in Kalymnos

The people of Kalymnos celebrate Easter with special customs! The most special custom is the war between the two island parishes! People of the one island are gathered on the mountain of Agios Savvas and the people of the other island are gathered on the mountain of Anastasi. In the afternoon of Easter Sunday, the battle begins. However, the real show goes on at night where the spectacular fireworks light the sky! Other traditions include the procession of the epitaph and a entation of the traditional sponge fishing customs.

It’s Sunset Time

The best spot of Kalymnos to admire the sunset is the entire west coast of the island! Watching the sun setting behind the island of Telendos is definitely a unique spectacle!

Listening to Stories of Sponge Divers

Enjoy your coffee at the seaside cafeterias of Pothia! There, one will have the opportunity to listen the stories of sponge divers and sea captains! A real life experience!

Participate in the Festival of Prophet Elias

Every 19th and 20th of July, the traditional celebration in honor of Prophet Elias takes place at the Church of Prophet Elias. The feast is followed from traditional music, dance and food.

Rock Climbing at Its Best: One of the Best Destinations in the World

The wild topography and rocky terrain of Kalymnos makes it an ideal destination for the lovers of climbing. In 1936, Italian Andrea Di Bari discovered the climbing opportunities of the island. The rocks of Kalymnos are of excellent quality and easily accessible to climbers. There are more than forty organized climbing fields in limestone rock, with good marking in the starting points, fully equipped and totally safe, as there are stainless plugs, with a resistance of 2,5 tons each, permanently situated on the rock, which ensure the security of climbers. The climbing routes are marked based on a difficulty scale, so as everyone will be able to directly verify their progress. So, Kalymnos is definitely ideal for those who want to stimulate their adrenaline! Discover more information from the Climbing Club of Kalymnos.

Sponge Diving in Kalymnos: Historical Background

The beginning of sponge diving activity in Kalymnos first appeared in the 19th century, the time when the people of Kalymnos started fishing sponges in the Aegean Sea, the coast of Asia Minor and Syria. They used traditional ways to catch the sponges from the seabottom. These were either with a glass over the boat with a harpoon or diving naked without a mask following the direction that the man on the boat told them holding a stone (skandalopetra) tied with a rope in order to be able to descend. A noteworthy example is that the inhabitants of Kalymnos increased from 5.000 to 23.200 in 1912, when the Italian dominated the islands of the Dodecanese, who settled in order to get involved with sponge diving and processing. The merchants of Kalymnos used to process the sponges in order to sell them to Nafplion, Syros and Istanbul along with Kiev, Moscow, Odessa, Saint Petersburg and Vilnius heading for the market of Western Europe, where the industrial revolution created a great need for sponges. The evolution of sponge diving started with the appearance of skafandro, the standard diving suit, letting the divers dive in greater depths breathing through a manual air pump situated in the boat, thus staying underwater for a longer period and collecting more sponges. However, a series of accidents occurred owing to the ignorance of the emergence rules that led to the banning of skafandro, which eventually was prevailed for the next a hundred years. Finally, the skafandro was replaced from more advanced diving systems. During the German Domination of the Dodecanese, the war managed to damage the sponge diving activity since 9.000 Kalymnians of the 12.500 moved to Middle East. After the end of the war, the sponge diving activity recovered but Egypt banned any sponge diving activity within their territorial waters in 1962, which led to the loss of access in the rich waters of the Libyan Sea. In 1986, an epidemic outbreak occurred which destroyed the sponges of the Mediterranean Sea, that damaged biotopes of sponges.

Photo Credits

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Note: All the images are copyrighted from their owners. Please see Terms & Conditions. You can find the original images at the following links:

Agrinoda Beach: Or Hiltch by Flickr

Castle of Chrisoheria: Vicky Tsavdaridou by Panoramio

Emborios Village: Kev Little by Flickr

Myrties Village: Maria Sarafoglou by Flickr

Panormos Village: Gavanskiy by Panoramio

Pothia: Nikolaos Smalios

Rock Climbing: Shutterstock

Sponges of Kalymnos: Spongeskalymnos.gr

Sunset: Steffen Hillenbrand by Flickr

Sykati Cove: Mike Bean by Flickr

Vathy Village: Dimitris Tiligadas by Panoramio

View from the Castle: Mike Bean by Flickr

Wild Scenery: Mike Bean by Flickr