Kalymnos

Kalymnos is an island in the Dodecanese group of the South Aegean Islands of Greece. It is known for its sunshine and limestone rock climbing cliffs.

Cities

Other destinations

Understand

Kalymnos is most commonly visited during the summer months as Greek nationals and tourists escape the mainland heat for the sea breezes. Still, the summer months of July and August can be quite warm with daily high temperatures ranging in the mid-thirties Celsius. Spring (May - June) and autumn (September - October) tend to be more comfortable but more variable in terms of daily temperatures. Towards the end of October, the colder winds come in from the north, bringing winter, and the temperature drops drastically.

Talk

Most bars, restaurants, hotels and tourist shops exist mainly for the tourist trade and speak a variety of languages, including English (often fluent), French and German. Greek is only needed for using the buses and for more complicated situations. There is a fantastic small booklet on sale everywhere - THE SLOW GUIDE TO KALYMNOS - it is advert free and just 2 Euros - it is worth 10x that!

Get in

The Arch, one of many natural rock wonders on Kalymnos.

By plane

Kalymnos has a new airport that commenced operations on August 10, 2006. The airport is located at Argos, Kalymnos (IATA: JKL), located a few kilometers from Pothia. Olympic Airlines has scheduled service daily from Athens International airport. It is possible to book flights FROM Kalymnos Airport on line - or you can ring Olympic Airlines or visit a travel agent.

Airsea Lines also flies schedule seaplane service from Lavrio Port, a few kilimeters west of Athens, to Kalymnos.

The next closest airport is on nearby Kos (IATA: KGS) which has a regularly scheduled service on Olympic Airlines, and is well-served by low-cost airlines during the summer months to Central and Western European nations.

By boat

Most visitors arrive from the nearby island of Kos via frequent ferry service. There are two services; 'Anem Ferries' runs a large boat, the 'Olympios Appollon' or The 'Olympios Zeus' which can take vehicles, and the 'Kalymnos Star', a smaller, faster, passenger-only boat (occasionally replaced by the even smaller 'Kalymnos Dolphin'). Both vessels arrive in Pothia on Kalymnos. Both ferries depart from Mastihari on Kos island. Each makes several sailings a day, the number depending on the season and trade. There are alo a number of direct ferries from Kos town which stop at Pothia - they run every day from Rhodes to Athens and stop 'en-route'. Also the 'Dodecanese Express' - a fast and classy catamaran runs almost every day from Kos town also, as do the 'Flying Dolphins' - cigar shaped hyrofols.

It is also possible to travel directly to Kos as well as Bodrum, Turkey, and other nearby Greek islands. There is regularly scheduled ferry service to/from Athens year round, and a seasonal service to Thessaloniki in the summer months.

Get around

Emporios village in northern Kalymnos.

See

Do

Telendos at sunset

Beach - Kalymnos is a relatively small draw compared to the neighbouring island of Kos but during the summer months the island swells with Greeks and tourists enjoying the sun and sand.

Rock Climbing - Since 2000, Kalymnos has become one of the premiere world destinations for rock climbing. The season spans year round though the most popular months tend to be the spring and fall when the heat is less intense and there are fewer visitors. At last count, there were almost one thousand sport routes on the superb limestone crags. The routes are almost entirely bolted (sport climbing) with fixed anchors, most featuring lower-offs. A 60m rope will suffice but more and more routes that are being put up (including many of the well-worn classics) require a 70m rope. You'll also want to have no less than 16 quickdraws.

If you are in Kalymnos to climb, your first trip should be to the Outdoor Athletic Association (called such because they coordinate and track the climbing on the island). The association runs a small office north of Myrtes (near the Poets wall) and is open daily during the mornings. Here you'll be able to get the latest route information and a free print-out of the routes—a listing of the grades with directions on how to get to each crag, from there you'll find the routes as they are painted at the base of each route.

Take a taxi, or a bus, from Pothia to the top of the island. Massouri and Myrties are pretty busy and right on the road. But, the last village on the island, Emborios, is a haven of tranquility with a great beach (some of the hungriest, most persistent goats you'll ever meet), convivial bars and restaurants and a discerning crowd of visitors from around Europe. Harry's Paradise on Emporios is located in an olive garden with a lot of flowers where you can taste traditional dishes with unique receipes and also enjoy your stay at the really wonderful studios and apartments located in the beautiful garden. You could also take a one-way boat trip here from Myrties, a breezy, enjoyable way to arrive. There are plenty of rooms for rent in the village.

Be there at Easter - Kalymnos is undoubtedly the Easter Capital of the World. Although many Greek communities celebrate Easter with fireworks, the Kalymnians celebrate by throwing Dynamite (yes the actual Hi-Explosive kind) from the high country surrounding the populated areas of the island. If you're into loud noises it's an awesome experience. The practice started shortly after WW2 using left over German ammunition. The explosions start a few days before Easter and broken windows and other kinds of damage are not uncommon.

Buy

Kalymnos is famous for its sponge harvesting. Within the larger towns of Pothia and Massouri you'll find stores with barrels full of natural sponges.

Eat

For those being on a low budget, many restaurants in the tourist area will serve a pita gyros sandwich for 2€ which tastes perfectly with half a liter of local beer (2,50€).

A promenade of restaurants and bars lines the harbour in Pothia, advertising everything from 'traditional Greek cuisine' to 'Fast Food Donald Duck'. The only real Greek food available are the ever-present gyros, souvlaki, calamari, and feta cheese; many different varieties of burger and pizza are also on offer, although there are 2 restaurants on the Platia in Pothia (near the Prefecture Building) that are always full of Kalymnians, which says it all. (Kafenes and Paradosiako - both do good fish and are the locals choice)...

Walk a street back from the harbour and find (ask directions to) the old-established and friendly Taverna Xefteris, for excellent (occasionally), unfussy food (memorable chickpeas slow-baked under a stack of caramelized onion and Kalymniot salad with chunks of olive-oil drenched crisp bread), fantastic rustic relaxed terrace with authentic atmosphere and easily affordable prices. Another good bet for the gourmet is to ask a restaurateur what fish they have in, which can lead to very pleasant results. (2012 update - recently refurbed outside and disappointingly so :-(

The best food can be found in the small villages and on the island of Telendos which tends to be better than Kalymnos although it also tends to be a little more expensive. The best 2 island restaurants are probably on the seafront at Linaria. On Telendos, Kapsouli is known for fish, Rita's is the hotspot next to the jetty, On The Rocks is a nice setting if you like overpriced microwave food and the rest are fairly non-descript, apart from the stunning waterside setting. The best little kafenion (actually the only one on Telendos) is Nauftica, next to the jetty and the public telephone: Drinks and cakes with the locals, and almost neutral ground - this small community of Telendoans can be political...

Harry's Taverna and Artistico in Emborios offer wonderfully fresh Greek food. At Harry's, the restaurant is a delightful garden, while at Artistico the views from the terrace out to sea are superb.

The food at Barba Yiannis at Pothia is terrible, Greek salad is served with grated carrots and cabbage.

At Massouri two restaurants are worth a visit, namely Aegean tavern and Archipelagos, which serves terrific lamb and mediterranean chicken. Both are over-rated, although nothing wrong with them. Try Kokkinidis in Masouri square, or Mitilinos which is cheap, and reasonably rated by the cheap-skate climbers who congregate there...

Drink

There are 3 actual small bars in Masouri: Scorpion Bar - Nick & Becky and the best classic of Rock music. Also the only Draught Guinness on Kalymnos! Bossa plays chilled lounge music in a chilled bar with a great balcony and views. Nadir is the alternative playing eclectic rock, and is a local hangout.

Sleep

Stay safe

The risk of crime in remote Kalymnos is considerably less than in most parts of Europe - a combination of traditional values and a small population: everyone knows everyone here - nearly. The locals say 'The only criminals on Kalymnos are the ones that come here on Holiday'.

Go next

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