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Syros: The Lady of the Aegean Islands

View of Syros
Syros: The Lady of the Aegean. Credit: G Da/ Wikimedia Commons

Most tourists flock to famous Aegean islands like Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini, but overlook some truly spectacular destinations like Syros. This island contains the former capital of the Cyclades, Hermoupolis.

Visitors who want a different cultural experience and island atmosphere, as well as some of the best restaurants and cocktail bars in the Aegean islands, will fall in love with Syros.

Why Syros Is Unique in the Aegean Islands

Just two and a half hours from Athens (for those taking the fast ferry), Syros has a totally different look than the rest of the Aegean islands. Instead of the classic blue and white houses, the capital of Hermoupolis boasts a stunning neoclassical style. The buildings look more like Italy’s Venice than Mykonos.

Many of the capital’s pedestrianized streets are made of marble. People who wish to explore Hermoupolis and the town of Ano Syros should also prepare to navigate the island’s many steps. However, the views you can enjoy at the top make the climb worth it.

Hermoupolis is also one of the few cities in the Aegean islands that keeps a sizable population, over 13,700, in the wintertime. While many smaller towns empty out, Hermoupolis has a university and a wide range of industries besides tourism that keeps stores open and full of people year round.

City Hall Ermoupolis Syros
Ermoupoli, Syros City Hall. Credit: Zacharias Mitzelos/Wikimedia Commons

Culture in Syros

Two of the most well-known buildings in Syros are the Town Hall and the Apollon Theater. In front of the majestic and massive Town Hall, tourists will find one of the biggest plateies – town square – in the Aegean islands.

Children play in the square while teenagers hang out on the steps. Parents and families enjoy one of the many cafes and restaurants surrounding the square.

The Apollon Theater is also known as La Piccola Scala. This is because it was designed a smaller version of the famous Scala theater in Milan. It hosts plays, concerts, and other musical performances throughout the year.

In fact, Syros is well-known for its cultural performances and festivals. The island hosts the Syros International Film Festival every summer. Artists, ranging from filmmakers and actors to jewelry designers, flock to the island, and many have bought second homes there.

Delfini Beach, Syros
Delfini beach, Syros. Credit G Da/Wikimedia Commons

Best Island Beaches in Syros

Those looking for luxurious service will love Ono in Agathopes Beach. Prices are high, but the service, cocktails, and food are exceptional. Be sure to book a lounge chair in advance, especially on weekends.

Families love the quieter nature and clear waters of Megas Gialos and Galissas. Those looking to indulge at a classic Greek taverna at the end of the day will love Kini and Foinikas. Both have restaurants with some of the best Greek food on the island, like Allou Yialou.

Another spot that’s become popular in the last few year is Ciel. Though not on an actual beach, this beach bar has a party atmosphere that gets in full swing after 4 PM. Plus, guests can dive off the concrete platform the bar is on into some of the most beautiful waters of the island.

Where to Stay in Syros

Rooftop Sea View from Hotel Aristide Syros
Syros, Hotel Aristide Rooftop. Credit: Hotel Aristide

If you’re going to visit Syros, it’s best to stay in the town of Hermoupolis, especially the neighborhood of Vaporia. Located just above the downtown area, the Vaporia neighborhood has an incredible view of the waters off the island and the entrance to the port.

Tourists will find incredible service and enjoy an authentic stay at one of the many local renovated neoclassical hotels, such as the eco-friendly Aristide Hotel.

room at hotel Aristide Syros
A Suite of Hotel Aristide, Syros. Credit: Hotel Aristide

Besides boasting a jaw-droopingly stunning interior decor, Aristide is an incredible unique hotel thanks to its environmental consciousness. The hotel serves local, organic food, and composts any leftovers. The hotel also plants trees in an effort to offset the carbon footprint of its guests. In addition, there are no single-use plastics in the hotel at all.

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