The Top Things to Do and See in Syros, Greece

Ermoupoli is the cultural heart of Syros
Ermoupoli is the cultural heart of Syros | © Panagiotis Kotsovolos / Alamy Stock Photo
Anna Kambourakis

Syros, Greece, is a well-kept secret in the Cyclades, but it’s not for the lack of historical sites, beautiful beaches and traditional tavernas on offer. From the Agios Stefanos to prehistoric settlements, here are the top attractions on this enchanting Greek island.

The Cycladic island of Syros is for travellers who want all that a Greek holiday has to offer without the crowds and noise. There is plenty to see and do here, including historical and cultural activities for the whole family, hikes and secluded beaches for adventurous travellers, and archaeological wonders that you expect when visiting the Greek islands. It’s a relaxing place to explore, with spectacular landscapes everywhere you look.

1. Agios Stefanos

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Sunset at the cave of Agios Stefanos, near Galissas town in Syros island, Cyclades, Greece, Europe.
© Ioannis Mantas / Alamy Stock Photo

The Agios Stefanos is not your typical chapel. It was built among the rocks inside a cave in Galissas, southwest Syros. According to legend, it was created by a fisherman who prayed to Saint Stefanos to save him when a giant octopus attacked. The chapel is accessible by a small footpath or by boat and offers incredible views of the sea. Pilgrims come to the chapel twice a year – 19 August and 26 December – to honour Saint Stefanos.

2. Kastri

Archaeological site

In northeast Syros, at the very top of a hill, is the prehistoric settlement of Kastri. The fortified archaeological site dates back more than 5,000 years, while the surrounding area of Chalandriani has one of the earliest Cycladic cemeteries. The area is surprisingly well preserved and worth exploring. There are two paths to the top, both difficult, but they’re worth hiking to get to see the incredible views of the Cyclades.

3. Ano Meria

Natural Feature

Meaning “the upper part”, Ano Meria is an area of rough, once-barren terrain in the northern part of Syros that has been landscaped in an attempt to beautify it. Its ruggedness makes it less visited than other areas on the island – perfect for a calm and quiet escape. The scent of wildflowers and herbs wafts through the air as you drive through the winding mountain roads, while the gorgeous landscape, secluded beaches and views along hiking paths will catch your eye. Dine in the small tavernas along your route for the best traditional food.

4. Ermoupoli

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

View to the Neo Classic Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas at the background, Ermoupolis, Syros, Cyclades Islands, Greek Islands, Greece ,
© Cem Canbay / agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

Once the shipping capital of Greece, Ermoupoli still has an amazing seaside experience, and if you come to Syros by ferry, you will land here. The aristocratic past of the city is still evident in its neoclassical architecture dotted along the coast. Today, Ermoupoli is the cultural centre of Syros, with many scheduled events throughout the year. Visit the Apollo Theater for an opera, or stroll through the Archaeological Museum of Syros. Alternatively, do as the local people do and people-watch in Miaouli Square.

5. Gria Cave

Natural Feature

Gria Cave is on Americanou Beach. It’s a short hike from Kambos or accessible by boat from Kini. The area around the beach was transformed by the American economist John Pearson, who made it his life’s mission to plant trees on the northern part of the island to create a lush environment. The trees provide lots of shade for a relaxed all-day visit to the beach. However, pack snacks and water, as it lacks amenities.

6. Agia Pakou

Church

Professional and amateur photographers flock to Agia Pakou, a chapel up the hill from Galissas Beach. It’s one of the best spots on the island to watch the sunset. It’s a small hike to the top, but the unspoilt views are worth the climb. The church itself is lovely and picturesque and houses beautiful icons. If you’re spending the day at the beach below, visit this gem.

7. Villa Tsiropina

Building

Beautiful mansion at Posidonia (Dellagrazia) village, Syros island, Cyclades, Aegean sea, Greece.
© Hercules Milas / Alamy Stock Photo

You can see the historical wealth and importance of Syros on a visit to Villa Tsiropina. Businessman Konstantinos Tsiropinas built it in the early 20th century, and it has functioned as a residence, an exhibition hall and a theatre over the years. Now it’s the City Hall of Poseidonia, but it still welcomes guests to visit and tour the building. In addition, there are often public events and cultural activities scheduled in the mansion halls or the fragrant gardens.

8. Paralia Kini

Natural Feature

Paralia Kini has all the amenities you need to spend an entire day at the beach. It has calm, pristine waters and a long stretch of soft golden sand with umbrellas and sunbeds provided by the local tavernas and cafes. Be sure to check out the statue Panagia Gorgona, which was sculpted based on the legend that a mermaid saved a fisherman’s life and swam him to shore. Then, stay into the evening for the incredible sunset views.

To explore more of Greece, check out the best hotels in Mykonos and the best hotels in Hydra. These are bookable with Culture Trip. During your stay, explore the top things to see and do in Santorini, and relax on the most beautiful beaches in Syros. Make sure you book at least one of the best restaurants in Heraklion to sample some delicious Greek cuisine.

This is an updated rewrite of an article by Ethel Dilouambaka.

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