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Quick Facts: Syros
Pronunciation Seer - ohs
Alternate Spelling Syra
Transportation Air, ferry, hydrofoil
Main Attractions Cyclades capital, sophisticated island life
Food Plentiful and excellent choices
Accommodations Plentiful and excellent choices

Syros' Characteristics

Capital of the Cyclades, Syros, population 20,000, lies 83 nautical miles from Piraeus. Syros' has 84 sq. km of predominantly barren land area and 87 km of rocky coastline which contain many small coves, nice sandy beaches and two large bays. The island of Syros is mountainous in its northern section while its southern end is flatter. The southern and western parts of Syros are the most densely inhabited.

greek island syrosgreek island syrosSyros' natural harbor is large and deep with facilities to repair and build ships. The prominent industrial facilities of the Neorion Shipyards mar a visitors first impression of this other wise very interesting and friendly island capital.

Island Features

greek island syrosgreek island syrosSyros provides a good mix of tourism with real Greeks going about their business. Many 'in the know' foreigners return devotedly year after year and many more have moved to the island. Syros has several charming villages including Dellagracia, Finikas, Vari, Chroussa, Faneromeni, Azolimnos and Gallisas.

The pretty white Church of Aghios Dimitrios greets your ferry as you round the point towards the harbor.

Ermoupolis' Twin Peaks

greek island syros

Syros main port and capital Ermoupoli, population 12,000, is named after the ancient Greek mercantile god Hermes. It's the largest city in the Cyclades, the capital of the Cyclades, and was once the premier port in all of Greece.

The Venetians built the hilltop, predominantly Catholic, Ano Syros or upper-Syros on the left, or north, of the two peaks overlooking Ermoupoli.

greek island syros

The right peak. settled primarily with Greek Orthodox islanders, come to govern the fledgling state. The right peak is called Deeli or Vrondado. In Vrondado, the elegant buildings have been restored to their original colors. There are old street lamps and palm trees adding to the charms in this quarter.

Lower Ermoupolis

greek island syrosElegant Mialouli Sqare is the center of the lower town and ringed with cafes, shops and administrative buildings. There's a statue of Admiral Miaoulis, a revolutionary hero.

The most important buildings in the Square are the Town Hall (1876) and the Apollon Municipal Theatre, a copy in miniature of La Scala, Milan. The Apollo was the first ever Opera House in Greece and until 1914 had regularly scheduled Italian productions. The Historial Archives are near the Town Hall. The Historical Archives are the scene of the Ermoupolis Seminars in summer.

Ermoupoli has had many of its elegant, neo-classical buildings and restored mansions that make wandering pleasant.

greek island syroscivic syrosThe Archeology Museum (8:30-3, closed Mon, fee) is in the left of the square and contains finds from Syros and other islands dating from Pre-Cycladic through the Roman era. The nearby Velissaropoulos Mansion has elaborate ceiling and wall decor characteristic of old Ermoupolis and is open to the public during business hours.

Chios Street is where you find the bustling markets. Chios Street and the surrounding closely packed streets leading from the harbor offer picturesque views and interesting shopping for local delicacies and staples.

Several Churches of both denominations serve the town. The Transfiguration or Metamorphosis is the main Greek Orthodox Cathedral and sits immediately behind the square. It possesses a baroque interior, a style rare in Greek Orthodoxy. Just up from the harbor is the Church of the Annunciation with its unique icon The Assumption painted by El Greco.

greek island syrosThe Karavia (also known as Vaporia) quarter of town, which begins along the upper waterfront, contains unique, old and restored mansions belonging to now departed ship owners and wealthy merchants. Their elaborately carved marble facades and richly decorated interior frescoes and painted ceilings are a testament to the inexpensiveness of labor in bygone days. The local square holds the Church of Aghios Nikolaos with its blue and gold dome. This church is dedicated to the patron saint of the city. The church contains a carved marble iconostasis by Vitalis of Tinos. In front of the church is the world's first Monument to the Unknown Soldier, also by Vitalis.

Three town beaches are further along the shore and attainable by marble steps leading down.

The Vrodado district and Ano Syros

greek island syrosTo ascend to Ano Syros, you pass through Vrondado (also spelled Vrondado and Vrontado), with its mix of Cycladic and medieval it's a bit like being transported to another time and place. Its stone walls and cobblestone streets, narrow lanes and many arches resound to your footsteps. And step you will, as there are over 870 steps to climb to its peak. (It's also possible to take the bus.) Vrondado has a fine old Byzantine Church, Anastasis, and excellent tavernas which spread over the steps at night.

greek island syrosAt the top of the steps Ano Syros. The main entrance to Ano Syros is an ancient vaulted passageway called the Kamara. Ano Syros is a whitewashed predestrian-only quarter. Catholic since the Crusades, this quarter houses Cathedral of St. George, with its star-fretted barrel roof. Next door is the Center for Historical Studies. Not far below are the Jesuit (1744) and Capuchin (1400) Monasteries. The Town Hall is central with the Historic Archives of the Municipality, and the Museum devoted to the popular composer and exponent of Greek blues, Markos Vamvakaris. Various folklore events take place in Ano Syros, generally during the summer. The main drag is called the Piatsa with tavernas, shops and domiciles.

Ancient Sites

around the islandA 45 minute walk from Ermoupolis is the church of Ag. Dimitrios. All ships coming into port hoot as they pass it. In Dili, just above, is and the ancient Temple of Isis built in 200 BC. Little remains of it or the site across the harbor at Lazaretta where a 5th Century BC Temple to Poseidon once stood. There is speculation that this is the Poseidonia mentioned in The Odyssey.

Syros northern section contains lagoon like Grammata Bay where sailors from classical to Byzantine times found refuge from storms and engraved still visible epigrams in the rocks in thanks. In fact 'Grammata' means just that: letters.

At Halandriani (Chalandriani) on the east coast a trove of grave goods were discovered in 1898 in the 500 tombs of the Bronze Age necropolis. An hours walk north to Kastri, there stands the ruins of an ancient Bronze Age citadel, with walls, six towers and foundations still visible.


syros beachesbeaches on syrosGrammata Bay is only reachable by sea but has a very nice and quiet beach. Easily reached by bus and quite crowded is sandy Galissa and next door Armeos the small, rocky, nude beach.

Buses go to Kini on the west coast. It has two sandy beaches and is popular for sunset watching. There's a taverna famous for its authentic bouzouki music.

Poseidonia or Delagratsia, is a coastal area with the good beach of Angathopes and neo-classical houses of interest. Vari has an attractive beach. Finikas Bay mentioned in Homer, is a gritty sandy beach. Megas Gialos is shady and family oriented. There are good swimming beaches at Kimata, Agios Nikolaos, Ambela, Delfini and Ahladi.

Drinking and Dining

In Ano Syros, dine at Lilli's for an excellent view and local cuisine.

There are several excellent tavernas in Vrodado. The Nest or Folia Taverna is considered the island's best with fresh game such as rabbit and pigeon and locally grown legumes.

Island Specialties

  • Loukoumia: sweet rose, quince or pistachio flavored squares, also known as Turkish Delight
  • Halvadopitas: sweet molasses flavored flaky nougat
  • San Michaeli Cheese (like Romano)
  • Louza sausages
  • capers
  • thyme
  • honey
  • Local liqueurs: Grandma's or "Yaya's" brand is delicate but authoritative
  • Locally made moonshine: Tsipouro!!!!


The first inhabitants were possibly the Phoenicians who made off with Homer's swineherd Eumaeus. They settled at Dellagracia and Finikas. Poseidon was the chief god of Syros. A heiotrope was constructed on Syros in his honor in the 6th Century BC.

In Roman times, the population shifted to Ermoupolis. After the collapse of the pax Romana, Syros sat abandoned until the 13th Century. The Venetians arrived then and founded Ano Syros. Because Ano Syros was Catholic, the island enjoyed the protection of the French and was neutral during the Greek War of Independence. After the war, refugees arrived with their Orthodox faith and began the settlement on Vrondado.

Since then the harbor has boomed with trade, refueling and shipbuilding. The new town that grew from the two settlements on the hills was named for Hermes: Ermoupolis. The god of commerce has indeed blessed Syros with great fortunes.


I recommend visiting both the hilltop communities in Ermoupolis to get a totally different impression of Ermoupolis city life. You'll find nice views, medieval and cycladic style architecture, good food and a little peace and quiet.


greek island syros

greek island syros

Lower Ermoupolis

greek island syros

The Complete Details

Helpful Information
Transportation Facts
  • By Air: Twice daily with Athens
  • Syros is connected daily with Piraeus, Tinos, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos and Amorgos.
  • To Syros From Piraeus By Ferry: Four times a week with Andros, Santorini, and Ios
  • Three times a week with Folegandros and Sikinos
  • Once or twice a week with Astypalea, Koufonissia, Schinoussa, and Heraklia, Lesser Cyclades
  • Once a week with Ikaria, Samos, Serifos, Sifnos, Kythnos, Kimolos, Milos and Anafi
  • In summer frequencies increase
  • To Syros from Rafina by Hydrofoil & Catamaran: In summer mostly and more sensitive to high wind restrictions, 1 to 3 depart daily, are faster and cost more
  • Bus Service: Syros has one bus station with service around the island departing the hectic ferry port. Thrice daily, a bus circles the island via Azolimno with other specific destinations served according to schedule
Island Resources
  • Tel. code: 2281
  • Port Authority: Tel. 82633
  • Syros Airport, Tel: 22255
  • Syros Tourist Police, Tel: 82610
  • Syros Taxi, Tel: 86222
  • EOT / NTOG, Tel: 86725
  • Syros Port Authority, Tel: 82633
  • Syros Archeology Museum, Tel: 28487
  • Syros Bus Station, Tel: 82575
  • Caique Hire: Tel: 83400
Island Holidays
  • Last Sunday in May: Carnival in Ano Syros
  • June: Folklore Festival Azolomnos
  • Late July: Ermoupoli Arts Festival
  • September 24th: in Faneromnei Catholic and Orthodox celebrations
  • October 26th: Aghios Nikolaous in Ermoupoli
  • December 6th: Aghios Nikolaous in Ermoupoli


Ikaria - Armenistis
New Maisonettes

Price: €209,000
 -  125 m2
Bedrooms: 3  Baths: 2


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