Kalymnos is a somewhat apical Greek island. It’s an island of mountains and rocky outcrops overlooking a blue sea that attracts more climbers looking for adrenaline rushes and avid hikers looking for walks in the green than lazy sunbathers.
The landscape of this island, the fourth largest in the Dodecanese, is very different from the stereotypical image of the postcard Greek island, with the typical cascade of white houses perched on arid hills. It is a varied landscape, which alternates cliffs overlooking the sea, fjords, forests to green valleys covered with olive trees and dotted with beehives for the production of honey.
Despite the fact that today are the climbing routes the stars of tourism, the link of Kalimnos with the sea is deep and indissoluble, sometimes painful. In the past, the economy of the island was entirely linked to sponge fishing, a risky activity that has forged the identity and traditions of the island.
Today the sponges are a souvenir for tourists and to dive are only vacationers, equipped with modern and safe diving equipment, the heavy and risky diving suits are closed in the cases of local museums. To remind visitors of the importance of the sea and sponge fishing in the history of Kalymnos remains the statue of Poseidon and the diver who scrutinize the port of Pothia, the main city of the island.
The large number of tourists climbers has led to a good number of hotels open all year round and not only in the summer season as is the case in most Greek islands. You can therefore come to Kalymnos in search of adventure or relaxation at any time of the year and be sure to find what you want, including beautiful beaches.
In Kalymnos people come more to do than to see, and doing usually implies a good amount of physical effort.
Thanks to the quantity and variety of rock faces, Kalymnos has established itself as a top destination for climbing for about 15 years now, and it is this sport that attracts the majority of tourists to the island. There are almost 2500 routes, which include different levels of difficulty, from those suitable for beginners to the most difficult ones reserved for experienced climbers.
Every year climbing enthusiasts from all over the world meet in Kalymnos for the Climbing Festival, a three-day event in which one has the possibility to climb with international champions or to experience climbing for the first time.
After climbers, divers are the most enthusiastic visitors of Kalymnos. Also thanks to the tradition of sponge fishing that has forged its identity, the island has many centers and services for those who want to dive in the transparent waters that bathe it and admire a varied marine flora and fauna.
Those who prefer more relaxing activities can explore the island on foot following ancient mule tracks, small roads leading to isolated churches or easy mountain paths.
Experienced hikers can tackle the Kalymnos Trail, a route of about 100 km rather challenging but rewarding. The trekking route offers a fascinating combination of mountain landscapes, cliffs, monasteries, Byzantine ruins and castles.
Other sports that can be practiced in Kalymnos are windsurfing, sailing, fishing and tennis.
Unlike other Greek islands, the beaches are not the main attraction of Kalymnos, but a pleasant addition: they are enchanting places where you can enjoy a few hours of well-deserved rest after climbing, hiking or diving.
For those who are not looking for long white sandy beaches with a Caribbean atmosphere, Kalymnos can also be suitable for a sea vacation. The waters are blue and clean and from the most famous beaches you can enjoy a splendid view of the nearby islets.
The most popular beaches are those of Myrties and Masouri: easily reachable, they are mixed beaches of pebbles, sand and rocks, with equipped areas and many services.
If you love the beaches of black sand of volcanic origin the destinations for you are Platys Gialos and Kantouni, very suggestive and generally not crowded.
Other beaches not to be missed in Kalymnos are Emporios and Arginondas along the west coast and Vlyhadia in the south.
Although it is the magnificent landscapes that attract tourists to the island, Kalymnos is also an island to consider if you love cultural attractions.
There are no less than four museums that are worth a visit:
Among the things to see in Kalymnos one cannot fail to mention the pretty Agios Savvas, a characteristic church with an imposing cross overlooking the bay of Pothia. The view from the top of the church is breathtaking, but it is also worth visiting the interior, decorated in Byzantine style. At night the church is illuminated in blue and is a very impressive sight.
More than 50 caves have been identified on the island, all linked to fascinating myths and traditions; you can visit two of them: the Cave of Epta Parthenes (or Cave of the Seven Virgins) and the Cave of Kephalas.
Do not miss a trip to the islets in the surroundings: the easiest to reach is Telendos, an island forbidden to cars where you will find nothing but a handful of houses and taverns. It can be reached by water cab in just 10 minutes.
Kalymnos is also an excellent base to explore with a day trip the more famous islands of Patmos, Leros, Kos and Nisyros.
Kalymnos has about ten inhabited centers scattered throughout the territory, but the hotels and vacation homes are concentrated in three locations: Pothia (also called Kalymnos Town or Chora), Myrties and Massouri.
In all three prevail the low-medium hotels, studios and apartments simple but comfortable; it is possible to find some more elegant accommodation, such as boutique homes and charming b&b, but for the super-luxury is better to stay on other islands.
Pothia, capital of Kalymonos, is the third most important city of the Dodecanese, after the capitals of Rhodes and Kos. It has as many as 11,000 inhabitants and is a lively city throughout the year.
It is an ideal base for exploring the island, particularly recommended for those who want a comfortable vacation, with everything you need at your fingertips, those who love city life and those who during the vacation want to carve out some time for cultural visits.
The two main tourist resorts of the island are Myrties and Massouri, two villages about 10 km from the capital; once they were separated, while today they are a continuous line of hotels, studios and vacation villages. The choice of hotels is really wide and many of them remain open all year round to welcome tourists fond of climbing.
Myrties and Massouri are two typical vacation resorts, with plenty of stores, bars, restaurants and a lively nightlife. For the amount of services and premises are suitable for families with children and young people looking for fun, although not unrestrained and transgressive as in the most fashionable Greek islands (first of all Mykonos).
The island of Kalymnos has a small airport served only by domestic flights: it is therefore not possible to reach it with a direct scheduled flight from abroad.
The easiest and cheapest way to get to Kalymnos is to take a flight to Kos and from there a ferry to reach the final destination. The ferries to Kalymnos leave from the town of Mastichari, not far from the airport; they are quite frequent and take only half an hour.
Another possibility is to fly to Athens and from there take an internal flight to Kalymnos, but usually this solution is more expensive than the plane+ferry trip.
What's the weather at Kalymnos? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Kalymnos for the next few days.
The island of Kalymnos is part of the Dodecanese archipelago, the easternmost of the archipelagos of Greece; these islands are closer to Turkey than to mainland Greece.
Kalymnos is located between the islands of Kos (to the south) and Leros (to the north); to the east it faces the coast of Turkey.