Visiting Syros feels like being in on a secret.
When planning our trip to the Greek Islands, we wanted to balance touristy destinations with quiet, lesser known and more authentic islands. Syros was a short ferry ride between Athens and Mykonos so we originally viewed it as a stopover. However, I quickly realized it is an incredible destination on its own.
We stayed in Ermoupoli, a charming port town, where the sea breeze blows through winding streets and narrow alleyways full of shops and cafes. Immediately, you could sense the island was less touristy; American accents were rare, prices were fair and no restaurant owners were trying to coax you into their establishment.
In the morning, we hiked up countless stairs through the town towards the Church of the Resurrection of Christ to get a view of the city. We passed sleeping cats and magnificent bougainvilleas in front of colorful homes along the way, turning a 15 minute uphill hike into an hour long leisurely stroll. At the top of the hill, we were rewarded with a magnificent view of the port and sea.
We spent the rest of the morning weaving in and out of Syros’ little shops. Compared to the other islands we visited, the shopping on Syros was the most authentic and fairly priced. I bought hand crafted pottery and jewelry. I drooled over gorgeous leather sandals and hand weaved handbags.
The afternoon was hot and we cooled off with lemonade at a seaside terrace cafe and a plunge in the Aegean sea. In lieu of a beach, the town had a concrete slab- sprinkled with sunbathers. Old Greek men, practically brown from the sun, laid in the spots that were clearly “their spot”. Whether or not they could get any darker- I do not know. Little boys ran up and down the slab with fish nets and swam through the water with homemade spears. Teenage girls laid out, slowly applying their sunscreen, trying to get the attention of nearby boys (it worked).
We spent hours lazily circulating between baking in the Mediterranean sun and dipping into the refreshing sea. After Aperol Spritzes at a nearby beach bar, we returned to town to find it completely empty, as if the apocalypse had occurred and we had just missed it. The entire town rests from 2-6pm.
We spent just a little over 24 hours in Syros, but it was enough to charm us completely, our only regret being not staying longer. If I could go back in time and redo our itinerary, I would have chosen more time in Syros over visiting Naxos and Paros, but we live and we learn!
As a reminder, you can access all of my favorite places in Syros via Pauline’s Google Map Pins: Greek Islands.