Kalymnos, an island with legendary fame for sponge divers and sponge diving, has transformed into a modern paradise for the world of climbers and serves as a world-class diving resort. Kalymnos has become one of the most popular travel destinations for adrenaline enthusiasts and nature explorers.
History of Kalymnos
Kalymnos has been inhabited since the Neolithic era. Later, it was inhabited by the Phoenicians. By the end of the Archaic period and the beginning of the Classical era, Kalymnos was an autonomous city-state. However, its autonomy did not last long, as it was occupied by the Persians when they dominated the Ionian cities of Asia Minor. It was liberated in 477 BC, became a member of the Athenian Alliance, and paid tribute to the alliance treasury located on the island of Delos.
During the Byzantine times, Kalymnos was a powerful island, like all the other Dodecanese islands, until around the 7th century AD when it started attracting various conquerors due to its strategic position. In the 10th century, it was destroyed by the Turks, and in the 14th century, it was taken over by the Venetian Knights of Saint John. In 1522, it came under the rule of the Turks, and in 1912, it fell under Italian occupation. When the Italians surrendered, the British took control until 1947 when Kalymnos was finally and definitively liberated and incorporated into the newly established Greek state. The official union with Greece took place on March 7, 1948.
Beaches in Kalymnos
- Antouni: Enjoy a sandy beach with pristine, blue-green waters and breathtaking views of the majestic mountain and the Monastery of the Holy Cross. This beach has a cosmopolitan atmosphere and is particularly popular among young people, with several beach bars that stay open 24/7.
- Platis Yialos: Located near Panormos, this beach features black sand, crystal-clear blue waters, and stunning sunsets. It is renowned as one of the island's most famous beaches and is definitely worth a visit if you decide to take one of the ferry tickets to Kalymnos.
- Emporeios: This pebble beach boasts crystal-clear waters and is adorned with large plane trees. It is a favorite spot among windsurfing, kitesurfing, and water-skiing enthusiasts due to the strong winds in the area.
- Arginontas: Nestled within a deep bay and surrounded by trees, this beach offers round pebbles and vibrant blue-green waters, creating a beautiful and exotic landscape. It provides a perfect combination of seclusion and the conveniences of an official tourist beach, located 16.5 kilometers from Pothia.
Food in Kalymnos
- Indulge in the local specialty, Anama sweet wine.
- When you opt for one of the tickets to Kalymnos, make sure you don't miss out on the delectable flavors of myrmizeli, a local salad consisting of tomato and cheese served on a twice-baked barley roll. Additionally, try the mouthwatering mououri, which is goat or lamb stuffed with rice and liver, cooked in a clay pot in a wood-burning oven. Don't forget to savor the dolmades (also known as fylla), chickpea fritters, and kapetanato (pork cooked with potatoes in a clay pot).
- Delight in the taste of charcoal-grilled swordfish and indulge in the exquisite lobster linguine.
- Experience the renowned spinialo, a unique fisherman's dish made with sea urchins, skate, and pinna, preserved in seawater and served with onions and olive oil.
- Satisfy your sweet cravings with gyristes, a local type of doughnut served with honey, and relish in the delightful flavors of galaktoboureko, a traditional milk pie.
Sights in Kalymnos
- Discover the fascinating history of Greek sponge diving at the Naval Museum of Kalymnos. This impressive museum houses a remarkable collection that includes sponge diving equipment, sponge processing tools, nautical instruments, maritime maps, artifacts from shipwrecks, photographs, and much more.
- It's worth visiting the Metropolitan Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior (1861), which dominates the waterfront of Pothia. The marble iconostasis of the church was created by the renowned Tinos sculptor Giannoulis Halepas.
- Explore the wonderful New Archaeological Museum in Pothia as well, where you will find artifacts ranging from prehistoric to Byzantine times. One of the most significant attractions in the collection is the bronze statue known as the "Lady of Kalymnos," an exceptional example of Hellenistic sculpture that was discovered in 1995 by a fisherman's nets in the waters of Kalymnos.
- A stroll through the medieval Castle of Chrysocheria (15th century), built by the Knights Hospitaller, is also worthwhile. You will admire the three stone windmills located on the outskirts of the castle.
- Don't miss the opportunity to take a day trip to the beautiful island of Telendos, just a 10-minute boat ride from Myrties. There, you will be impressed by the stunning beaches and picturesque alleys adorned with charming taverns. The island is also ideal for hiking and diving.
Activities in Kalymnos
- Enjoying magnificent views of the Pothia Valley and the Aegean from the courtyard of Saint Savvas’s Church in Kalymnos Town.
- Discovering the island’s beautiful hiking trails. The 4.5-km route from Pothia to the lush Vathy valley along a path paved with small rocks, built by the Italians during their occupation of the island, is unforgettable.
- Exploring the stunning Kefala Cave (also known as the Cave of Zeus), considered the most beautiful on Kalymnos. Its most impressive chamber, containing huge stalagmites and stalactites, is 103 metres long.
- Taking a day trip to the island of Pserimos, 50 minutes by boat from Pothia. It is also known as Kapari, due to the capers that grow there, and you will be captivated by its stunning beaches.
How to travel to / from Kalymnos?
Popular ferry routes to Kalymnos:
- Ferries from Athens (Piraeus) to Kalymnos: There are usually 5 ferries from Piraeus to Kalymnos every week. The route from Piraeus to Kalymnos is operated by Blue Star Ferries. The ferry trip from Piraeus to Kalymnos takes about 11 hours. The ticket cost is 75€. The ferry route to Kalymnos includes stops at Piraeus, Agios Kirikos (Ikaria), Fournoi, Patmos, Lipsi, and Kalymnos.
- Ferries from Kos (Town of Kos & Mastichari) to Kalymnos: There are frequent daily ferry connections between Kos and Kalymnos. The ferries to Kalymnos depart from both the port of Kos town and the port of Mastichari. The ferry companies that operate the routes are Dodekanisos Seaways and Blue Star Ferries. The duration of the trip from Kos to Kalymnos is 30-45 minutes. The ticket cost ranges from 7€ to 22€, depending on the type of ship and the class of seats.
It's important to note that ferry schedules are more frequent during the summer, but there are ferries to Kalymnos all year round. Also, the exact departure times, ticket prices, and trip duration may be subject to changes. Please visit the ticket booking platform of booktickets to stay informed about the most up-to-date schedules and prices.