“Syriani are aware of their cultural heritage, their manners are courteous, their habits and interests up-market – even the beaches and farms are cleaner, more picturesque.”Mike Sweet, Travel Writer, Australia
Top Things To Do in Syros
Churches of Syros
The stunning Church of the Metamorfosis in town is open to the public. In the main square is the Dormition of the Virgin, housing a painting by El Greco, built in 1828. Agios Nikolaos and Dimitrios, Orthodox churches are close by. On top of the twin peaks, highly visible as you sail into Syros, are the twin Churches of Ermoupoli. On the right is the Church of the Assumption, Greek Orthodox. On the left peak, the Catholic Cathedral of St George founded in 1200AD.
There is also a Jesuit Monastery, from 1700, with thousands of ancient manuscripts still in their vaults.
Beautiful Ano Syros, the hilltop settlement, was built around 1200 CE by the Venetians, and ranks at the top of our best things to do in Syros. Overlooking the port, it offers an amazing view over the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea and gave the early settlers a clear view of in coming danger.
During the day, wander by foot through the old walled town, there are curiosities at every turn. In the evening you can eat in tiny tavernas, listen to live rembetika (island soul music) and look at the stars. Get there by taxi, or walk the hundreds of steps up hill through Ermoupoli.
Syros, with a permanent population of more than 24,000, has two universities which means there are a lot of students on the island and a lot of bars for them to hang around in. The waterfront area is alive day and night. In the back alleys and squares are some of the finest restaurants in Greece.
Spend a few days walking the back streets, visit the Churches and if you are in Syros at the right time, make sure to catch a Festival event or Art Gallery opening. There are so many things to do!
The Archaeological Museum is housed in the Town Hall, the huge building that dominates the main square, it’s small but interesting. The Industrial Museum on the waterfront has early industrial machinery and some fascinating oral testimonies from that period. Next to the Town Hall is the Goulandris Cycladic Art Museum as well as local exhibitions.
At the top of the hill, in Ano Syros, the Municipality houses a collection of household appliances and other domestic displays from the 17th and 18th century. The great composer of rembetika is remembered in the Markos Vamvakaris Museum, his old home, in Ano Syros.
The International Music Festival of Cyclades, the Classical Music Festival, Ermoupolia and Musical May are only some of the island’s internationally acclaimed annual festivals. Many events are held in the beautiful Apollo Theatre, a mini version of the La Scala Opera House in Milan. The Festival of the Aegean performs full scale operas every year in the July and classical concerts all year round. The Guitar Festival lasts 5 days and show cases young and emerging new talent in popular music as well as rembetika and classical guitar.
At the north of the island is Chalandriani, essentially a cemetery of the Early Cycladic period, first discovered in 1895 by Christos Tsountas. About 45 minutes walk from Chalandriani is Kastri, a prehistoric settlement from the later years of the Early Cycladic period. It covers an area of 3.5 to 5 acres. Excavaters here found a graveyard of 600 tombs as well as ruins that indicate ceramic, stone and metalwork had been developed in the area. Various vases, jewelry and household items were also found, many now in the Archaeological Museum.