Greece has something for everyone with 170 holiday islands to visit. But Syros, unlike most islands, has an amazing variety of attractions. It has something for everyone in ONE island. So if your time is limited when visiting Greece, choose Syros.
Here are 7 reasons why Syros is the best Greek island to visit.
1. It has a vibrant main town – Ermoupoli
On holiday, when you want a break from the beach, it’s great to have a real town to visit.
People live in Syros all year. It’s the administrative capital of the Cycladic Islands, so there are real shops, great restaurants, serious cultural events and high standard facilities.
The town was the Greek capital for many years and has been inhabited by Romans, Arabs, Franks and Venetians. The main town is mostly neoclassical, with exquisite squares, marble buildings and sea views.
2. Wonderful beaches without the crowds
Most Greek islands have lovely beaches. But in summer time, the more popular islands are usually packed with tourists.
Syros has some beaches that can get busy, especially those that have beachside tavernas and coffee shops. But it also has quiet sandy beaches, remote bays and secluded swimming spots.
All of Syros’ beaches are Blue Flag standard (highest rating for cleanliness and safety).
Syros is not a high traffic tourist destination. There are no package tours or cruise ships stopping here. It has many clean, shallow, child-friendly beaches where you can teach your child to swim.
3. Easy to reach
Syros is at the heart of the Cyclades, and the first stop on the ferry out of Athens (3.5 hours only). Mykonos is only 45 mins away. Tinos 30 mins away, and Santorini, Naxos and Paros are all easy to reach from Syros.
Syros is an ideal base for island hopping. Flights go daily to/from Athens.
4. A centre for the Arts and Architecture
Syros was a wealthy significant city and experienced a Renaissance. European architects helped construct the marble streets and buildings of the main town in the late 18 and early 19th century.
The Apollon Theatre is a mini LaScala and is home to the annual classical musical, jazz and contemporary music festivals.
All the arts flourish in Syros, with thriving pan-European Dance, Film and Art collaborations. In summer you can go into town every evening, enjoy a cocktail, a music or dance event, then dine out in one of many amazing restaurants.
5. The Home of Rebetiko Music
The distinctive local music, Rebetiko, began in the medieval town of Ano Syros where Markos Vamvakaris was born. Rebetiko is known as the “Greek blues.”
Each summer musicians from all over Greece gather in Ano Syros in a month long festival of traditional Greek bouzouki playing. Vamvakaris grew up in the 30’s and sang of the poverty and hardship of those years.
Warm summer nights high up over the town, the medieval streets and cafes of Ano Syros echo with the music of Vamvakaris.
6. Great Food and World Class Chefs
Greek food is clean and simple, traditionally using fewer carbohydrates and meat than other diets.
A typical Greek meal will include bitter greens (horta), dried beans (fava), a simple Greek salad, fresh sardines cooked on coals, or calamari.
Syros has a large agricultural emphasis. Most islanders grow their own vegetables, and make their own wine, oil and olives. The ingredients are fresh, local and always in season.
More recently, young chefs have trained overseas so that the standard of experimentation and presentation has risen. There are now many excellent world standard restaurants on the island.
7. Budget priced, high standard accommodation . The perfect family island
Unlike Santorini or Mykonos, Syros is not a major destination. Prices for food and accommodation are designed to suit the local pocket as the island is open year round.
“Value for money” hotel beds and meals on Syros is exceptional. Children and families are well catered for on Syros.
You can choose between learning to sail (lasers for children 7+), swim in the clean waters, surf or wind surf (schools on the beach), horse ride, as well as cycling and walking.