yros is at the heart of the Cyclades, and the civic and judicial centre of the island group. As such, many of the ferries destined for the tourist-laden ‘trendy’ Cycladic islands stop over at Ermoupolis, the port town and capital which was once the busiest port in all of Greece. Sailing into this stunning town will take you aback as you see the two dominant hills each crowned with a church: Vrontados topped by the Orthodox Agios Nikolaos, and Ano Syros with the Catholic Church of Saint George framing the amphitheatrically built Ermoupolis, with houses tightly packed and winding down the steep slopes of each. They merge into the stylish and grandiose neoclassical mansions and architectural masterpieces that the town is known for, lining the port and contrasting the traditional imagery of whitewashed cubist settlements that are commonly associated with the Cycladic island group.
This is a lively town year-round, of course more so in summer when many ‘ex-pat’ Syros residents return for their summer vacation and international visitors flock to one or more of the island’s acclaimed cultural events and festivals. What’s more, those seeking a buzzy sun and sea experience will be happy to know there are great beaches at Posidonia, Vari, Kini, Agathopes and Azolimnos, all lovely spots for a swim and with charming beachside taverns. Whilst those looking for peace and isolation can find it in the mountain villages in the centre of the island or in the remote north, which has a wild beauty and secluded beaches like Aetos, Marmari, Gramata and Gria Spilia.
The heart of the Cyclades