"The Lady of the Cyclades"
Syros or Syra is the largest island of the Cyclades in population and one of the most impressive ones in Greece. It is located in the center of the complex of the Cyclades islands and is their capital. Its name originates from the first inhabitants of the island, the Phoenicians, and from the word “Sur” or “Osura” which means “rocky” in ancient Phoenician.
The access to the island from Athens is either by air, from Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”, or by ferry from the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio. There are also many ferry routes that connect Syros with various islands inside and outside the Cyclades.
With a glorious history and unique sights, it stands out for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and stunning architecture. The Cycladic sun meets the clean and precious Aegean Sea and the friendly and hospitable people. Syros is full of history, beauty, music and spectacles. To discover them just visit one of the traditional settlements with its beautiful mansions testifying to the island’s glorious past. Dive into the crystal clear waters and taste the special local delicacies. Wander around Ermoupoli alleyways and the alleys of Ano Syros as well as through the many remnants of past times, which are scattered throughout the island. Let your sense of adventure lead you to the north of the island to enjoy one of the most enchanting sunsets, in Sa Michalis. Don’t hesitate to sail or go hiking to the northern pristine beaches of the island. The “enchantress Syra” of the favorite Greek musician Markos Vamvakaris who is the “Patriarch” of the rebetiko song, has the power to captivate every visitor.
My enchantress Syra
You lit many fires
and dizziness in my head
and you made me forget
every other love.
I have made my decision
to forget you
but unfortunately now
can’t live without you.
Syros has a long and rich history, as it has been inhabited since prehistoric times and has played a leading role in recent years as an industrial, shipping and cultural center of Greece. For this reason there are a variety of monuments and attractions all over the island. Some of these are:
- Miaoulis Square: The majestic square in the heart of Ermoupolis will take you back in time. The buildings that surround it stand proudly since the 19th century, displaying their wonderful architecture. The buildings that surround it, with their remarkable architecture, stand proudly since the 19th century. It is the meeting point of residents and visitors, ideal for a walk, coffee and excellent donuts.
- Ermoupolis Town HallThe town hall holds a dominant position in the center of Miaouli Square as one of the largest town halls in Greece, dating back to the 19th century.ο It dazzles with its grand staircase and imposing architecture inspired by three different hues.
- Apollo Theater: Built in 1864 by an Italian architect whose inspiration came from ‘La Scala di Milano’, the theatre is rightfully considered one of the architectural gems of Ermoupolis. The theatre functions normally and is open to the public, for them not only to admire one visit but to enjoy one of the exquisite performances that take place in it.
- Vaporia – Agios Nikolaos District: Located on the eastern part of Ermoupolis, this district is renowned for being the most aristocratic. It is a beautiful and picturesque area with the well-known, unique beach “Asteria”. In this area we can also find the majestic temple of “Saint Nicholas of the Rich” whose doors have been open since 1870.
- Ano Syros: It is the oldest settlement on the island and was founded by the Venetians in 1200. The castle city of Ano Syros takes you back in time with its unchanged medieval character that perfectly ties the past with the present. Visit the “Church of St. George” or “San George”, as it is known by the catholic metropolis of Syros, which dominates the top of the hill. Here you will also find the “Museum of Markos Vamvakaris”, where photographs and personal items of the great rebetiko singer shed light on unknown aspects of his life and work. Finally, do not forget to make a stop to taste local sweets, homemade lemonade or tsipouro and indulge in the assortment of luscious delicacies accompanied by a drink and the view of Ermoupolis from above.
- The Church of Resurrection of the Savior: The majestic church built in the classical Byzantine style and dedicated to the “Resurrection of the Nation” stands proudly on the opposite hill. It stands out because of its blue dome, the impressive bell towers, the special icons and the fantastic view of Ermoupolis.
- The Assumption of the Virgin: Here you will find, from 1850, the icon with the same name as the church, signed by the famous painter-sculptor-architect of the Spanish Renaissance, Dominic Theotokopoulos – “El Greco” (1541-1614).
Culture – Sports
The agenda of the cultural programs in Syros is full of old favorite habits but also new surprises. With a background of the neoclassical Ermoupolis, the medieval alleys of Ano Syros, the picturesque villages and its beautiful beaches, Syros promises unique moments of culture. Combining traditional and modern elements, it has the power to take the young and the elderly on a journey through the Arts, Letters, Tradition and noble rivalry in Sports
Every year locals and visitors enjoy unforgettable multicultural experiences consisting of great music, dance and theatrical performances, exhibitions by renowned artists and a variety of art events. Also, there are many music evenings culminating in big concerts of older and more contemporary artists, as well as traditional festivities in the villages
Of course, the world famous Festivals such as the “International Argentine Tango Festival” and the “Rebetiko Festival” as well as the “International Film Festival” and the “International Animation Festival”, which attract people from all over the world, hold a prominent place in this cultural agenda.
Finally, we cannot fail to mention the sports activities that the island has to offer, where the well-known “LG AegeanBall Festival” takes place as the largest basketball summer event in Greece, the “Syros Triathlon” with participants from many countries and Syros Run the most important road sporting event in the Cyclades and one of the best in all of Greece. It is also worth noting the “Syros SUP” the competition of stand up paddle surfing in Finikas, the Beach Volleyball and Racket Tournaments and even the “Hellas Beetles Synchro Cup” International Synchronized Swimming Tournament.
Loukoumi of Syros
It was brought to the island around 1832 by refugees coming from Chios and since then it is the number one product on the island, an integral part of their history and tradition. It is made from water, starch, sugar, through a demanding and time consuming process. You can find it in various flavors, such as mastic, bergamot, rose, with or without almond and coconut. It is said that Syros’ loukoumi is incomparable due to the local water used.
This is the second most popular sweet of the island, made of local products such as honey, sugar, glucose, vanilla, egg whites and almonds.
Fennel, which is found in abundance on the island, creates a very unique flavor in the so-called “aromatic” pork sausages. The second option which is equally as delicious as the first, are the spicy sausages with added garlic.
It is a Cycladic pork meze from sirloin that is marinated in red wine. After flavoring it with pepper, allspice, cinnamon and cloves they hang it to dry in the air.
Cheese San Michalis
This spicy cheese, whose name originated from the village of San Michali in Syros, possesses a protected designation of origin since 1996. It is a hard, yellow cheese made of pasteurized cow’s milk, with a special flavor similar to Italian parmesan.
Dried figs, a favorite food of the inhabitants of the Aegean, opened in the middle and joined in pairs. Between them they either have a walnut / grated almond or sesame and sometimes a little cinnamon and laurel. They are a worthy substitute for cereal bars as they provide a boost of energy.
On all the rocks and steep slopes of the island this unique Mediterranean, shrubby plant-spice emerges. The intense sunshine and sea breeze together with the drought give the capers of Syros a special flavor and texture which is why they are used in various recipes of gastronomy of Syros.
Syros offers many activities but is also ideal for quiet vacations that combine both relaxation and fun that suits everyone’s taste. From the atmospheric cafes and restaurants in Ermoupolis, Poseidonia, Galissa, Ano Syros, Kini and San Michalis to the nightclubs in the heart of the city and the romantic bars and beach bars, everyone’s mood is gradually risen. Furthermore, a tempting escape would be watching a movie in the summer cinema located in the heart of Ermoupolis, under the starry sky
We can find basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, football fields and other sport facilities almost all over the island. Of course we cannot forget the nautical and water sports and their facilities and amenities.
Here you will experience a Greek summer at its best!