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So, how did I get to decide to visit the sponge-fishing island? Well, it was March 2001 and... What happened? Word leaked out about the biggest archaeological finds in years: the accidental discovery, by shepherds, of a trove of sculpture that the Christians in the 4th century had gathered from Kalymnos' pagan temples and buried in a pit under a now ruined basilica. What were the finds? Well, the ones I remember are a kouros that was unusually clothed, a giant head of Asklepios and a hermaphrodite.

As you can imagine, this caused a wave of tourists and Greek visitors to Kalymnos that year. My wife and I were two of these visitors. That was the first time I visited Kalymnos.

 kalymnos island - map of kalymnos

Kalymnos Hotels

If you search for accommodation in Kalymnos I recommend you to visit Kalymnos Hotel Online Bookings. There, you can make your reservations directly to the hotels and find rooms in low prices and useful guest reviews.

Creta Grecia

What does Kalymnos look like?

Kalymnos is a noisy, colorful typically Greek island. Brightly painted houses rise in tiers; lovely old mansions and walled orchards appear along the backstreets of the island; two castles, Chryssocherias and the Byzantine fort of Pera kastro loom to the northwest. The east coast is relatively harsh and uninhabited, except for a green citrus-planted valley. The capital and main port of the island, Pothia, is a rather busy working harbor, wedged between two mountains. As for Vathi ("the Deep"), it's the beauty spot of Kalymnos, a lush volcanic valley containing three lovely villages, Rina, Platanos and Metochi.

pothia town pothia town

Are there any places I should not miss in Kalymnos?

traditional house of kalymnos.jpg

As usual, I'm going to start with Kalymnos' archaeological museum. Housed in a Neoclassical mansion that belongs to the Vouvalis family and that has been lavishly reconstructed. It contains a collection of Neolithic and Bronze-Age finds from the island plus local memorabilia but what will impress you more, in my opinion, is the 'Victorian' furnishings, portraits and panoramas of Constantinople you'll also find there.

Kalymnos also has a Nautical and Folklore Museum. Its collection is traditional regional dresses plus a section on the history of sponge diving and it's really worth visiting.

Then there's the Muses Reading Room. Founded in 1904 as a club to further Greek education and preserve national identity during the Turkish occupation, it was turned into the Caf Italia by the Italians after they destroyed all Greek books and art, which caf was in turn destroyed in the war. The club started up again in 1946 and in 1978 the building was restored to house historical documents and books, some in English. You will also find Corinthian columns and bronze reliefs.

kalymnos island - kalymnos Nautical museum kalymnos island - kalymnos Nautical museum

Finally, there's the islet of Telendos. Telendos (or 'the Lady of Kalymnos', as some people call it) used to be one with Kalymnos until it broke off in a 6th century AD earthquake. This little islet is just as beautiful as Kalymnos itself, with a fort and a monastery facing the strait and ruins of Roman houses scattered around. High above the beaches you will find the monastery of Agios Konstantinos that is definitely worth visiting.

kalymnos island - Telendos island

What about the archaeological and historical sites of Kalymnos?

kalymnos - statue

The Cave of the Seven Virgins or the Shelter of the Nymphs as it's alternatively known is the first place I personally visited when we got there with my friends. Located at the foot of mount Flaska near Chorio's hospital, the Cave has never been thoroughly explored. Actually, legend holds that seven maidens took refuge there during a pirate raid and were never seen again. But fear not: just take a torch and after only a few non-dangerous steps you'll be able to see traces of ancient worship, like holes in the rock where supplicants poured libations to the nymphs.

The ruined Castle of the Knights of Saint John, or Kastro Chryssocherias (golden-handed) as it's locally known, is another place you should visit. It was named after the church of the Virgin that was built within its walls over an ancient temple of Dioscuri.

Are there any good beaches in Kalymnos?

kalymnos beaches - linaria beach

Kalymnos is well known for its many beautiful beaches and its secluded coves, ideal for water sports. The beaches are thankfully quite clean, with crystal-clear waters.

The first beach I remember visiting was Arginonda Beach, about 17 kilometers from Pothia. Don't worry, you can reach it by bus. At least that's what we did. So, Arginonda beach is a ravishing sandy and pebble beach with umbrellas and sun beds available for rent.

One of the beaches we enjoyed the most was the beach of Platis Yalos. Located nearby the village of Panormos, Platis Yalos is an excellent beach with soft sand and azure clean waters. A word of advice: make sure you get the chance to watch the sun set from this beach. It's simply remarkable.

Emborios beach near the serene village of the same name is another bright example of Kalymnos' beaches' beauty. It has smooth pebbles, scattered rocks and clear, crystalline waters.

There are so many other beaches I'd like to describe, but since it's going to take me forever to do so, I'm just going to give you some names and you can discover their astonishing beauty by yourselves. So, take a pencil are write: Kandouni Beach, Myries Beach, Linaria Beach, Vlichadia Bay, Melitsahas and Akti Beach. They're all worth your time.

Where should I eat in Kalymnos?

kalymnos greece - greek salad

I'm going to start with restaurant Xefteries, because it was my wife's favorite. She truly adored this place (which explains why we ate there three times within two weeks of vacation). So, this restaurant can be found in the centre of Pothia. It looks like a canteen and it serves simple but really good food (or if you listen to Leela's words, "exquisite!"), with Greek specialities but no fish.

Uncle Petros in Pothia is another good place, very popular with the locals. It's a fish restaurant with a large terrace on the waterfront and, well, the dishes are quite delicious.

The Harbour Taverna on the Vathis quayside serves fish as well, along with traditional Greek fare. This Taverna, quite popular with the locals just like Uncle Petros, is a very friendly place (even when you're a 20-year-old) where the village's old men come to chit-chat.

Marinos Restaurant in Panormos may not have the greatest of settings, but the Kalymnos specialities it serves are definitely excellent. According to the locals (and I'm going to agree), this restaurant is the most authentic one still open on the island.

Finally, Harry's Paradise in Emborios is the restaurant at the hotel of the same name. It's got a lovely garden terrace and quite tasty dishes and it's surely the best one you'll find in the area.

What about Kalymnos' nightlife?

kalymnos island - kalymnos bar

Kalymnos, being one of the smallest Dodecanese islands, is not quite famous for its nightlife. That doesn't mean there are no bars worth visiting though.

For example, there's Rock Blues. Located on Kantouni beach near the sea, Rock Blues serves coffee, snacks and cocktails under the sounds of (what else?) rock and blues music. It's open from the morning unti l late hours.

Domus Caf Bar on the same beach is one of the must-visit places on the island. Like Rock Blues, it serves coffee and snacks and plays quite good music until late hours.

If you want something traditional now, Nea Afrikaner in Pothia is a bouzouki bar. But if wild music is what you're looking for, visit Apollo or any other bar on the waterfront that are popular after dark and Rebel Saloon and Look Disco (near Kastelli).

How will I get to Kalymnos?

Until recently, the only way you could reach Kalymnos by air was by going to Kos and then catching a shuttle boat. After years of planning though, the airport in Kalymnos was finally opened. I don't remember exactly when, but the point is it's open and there are daily flights from and to Athens. That's all you really need to know, isn't it?

By sea now, there are frequent ferry links with Piraeus (14 hr crossing) and Thessaloniki. In summer, there are also connections with Rhodes, Patmos, Kos, Leros, Nissiros, Samos, Lipsi etc.

Book online your ferry tickets to the greek islands and have them delivered at home easily.

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