Located 78 nautical miles from Athens in the Aegean Sea, Syros is poised to become the next “it” place to visit in Greece.
I recently spent three weeks exploring the island and came up with the top reasons you should start planning your own visit!
The island is only 84 square kilometers and about 20,000 people living on it (the largest population of all the Cyclades Islands), but it still feels almost like a village.
Syros has an interesting and varied history. The island was even mentioned in Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ as Syrie.
The island was once one of the most important commercial shipping centers in all of Greece and acted as the portal to Turkey and Egypt. During that time, the island was very prosperous. You can still see evidence of this is the impressive neoclassical architecture of the town hall, one of the largest in all of Greece.
Syros is covered in hills, and Catholic churches sit on several of them. Catholicism was the island’s primary religion during the Latin period.
It was fascinating to tour several of the churches and learn about Catholicism’s long standing influence over the island.
No visit to a Greek island would be complete without some time spent on the beach.
Syros has several amazing beaches, and because it’s not yet as touristic as other places in Greece, they weren’t nearly as crowded!
Syros is actively courting tourism; they genuinely want to share their island with visitors. Unlike other Greek islands that are overrun with tourists, Syros still feels a bit undiscovered, especially when you venture outside of Ermoupolis.
What does this mean for you? You’ll find friendly shop owners excited to open their businesses to you. You’ll encounter restauranteurs glad to go over their menus with you.
And occasionally, you might even encounter fisherman modeling the days catch for you:
Syros is unintentionally littered with Instagram moments just waiting to happen.
All over the island, as you wander the narrow, winding streets, you’ll find picture perfect scenes.
If you want even more shots of the gorgeous scenery Syros has to offer check out World Travel Bug’s post that is loaded with incredible shots of the island!
I remarked several times about the colors during my time on Syros. The colors are just different in Greece, specifically on Syros.
The aquamarine shades of the ocean are more vivid.
The bright colors of the flowers set against the whitewashed buildings are more intense.
I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest animal lover in the world. However, the cats of Syros are gorgeous and seriously photogenic.
Rumor (legend?) has it that as Syros was a port town, ships were frequently coming in and out, as they tend to do in port towns.
With the ships came rats. Lots of rats.
To combat the rat problem, snakes were brought in (But why? I’m unsure — this is how rumors and legends go) and became quite the problem themselves.
So to fight the now combined rat/snake issue, cats were introduced.
Why weren’t the cats brought in before the snakes? Who knows. But, the cats are here to stay, and I didn’t see one rat or snake the entire time I was on the island, so it must be working.
The cats even have their own hashtag on Instagram:
Of course it wouldn’t be one of my posts if I didn’t talk about the food. I had tried Greek food before, but as I’m sure you know, having a country’s food when you’re actually there is an entirely different experience.
Being an island in the middle of the ocean, as islands are known to be, Syros has an amazing selection of seafood.
There are also Greek dishes unique to or specialties of Syros, such as this delicious fennel pie known as marathopites:
Nearly everyday of the the trip, we made sure to find our way to the beach or a beachside restaurant to watch the sun set over the ocean.
We were never disappointed as we watched the sky turn brilliant shades of orange, red and yellow before finally disappearing.