Kalymnos: the island of sponges, paradise for climbers

Kalymnos, an island in the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea, is known for its ancestral fishing with natural sponges. But with its mountainous relief, it has also become a paradise for climbers of the whole world. Do you want a relaxing holiday, but alsoadventure and of sports outdoors this year? Land at Kalymnos: beaches, creeks, boating, diving, climbing, hiking, fishing, everything is there ! And your taste buds will not be left out, also discover our nuggets among the fabulous taverns from the island. How to get there and where to stay? We reveal everything to you!

A tradition of natural sponge fishing since antiquity

sponges – Kalymnos

Kalymnos is renowned worldwide for its fishing traditionnatural sponge since antiquity. Homer, in his stories, already evoked these sea flowers used by Penelope to sublimate her dishes. Moreover, the history of this demanding fishing, which the men often practiced at the risk of their lives, is preserved in Maritime Museum of Kalymnos. Do not hesitate to visit it, it is located in the heart of the port of the main town Pothia. You will discover vintage diving suits, wrecks of old ships, artefacts and nautical maps. It has a little kitsch side, very seductive!

This fishing tradition remains deeply rooted in the identity of the island. Upon your arrival at pothia harbor, you are greeted by wooden stalls of natural sponges of all shapes and sizes. You are of coursesponge island ! Small problem, the sponges offered are no longer from Kalymnos…

But to cope with the decline of the sponge industry, the inhabitants of Kalymnos are betting on the potential linked to the rugged terrain of the island, made of high limestone cliffs to the north and east. So, traders are equipping themselves with useful equipment and maps for sporty travelers in search of thrills. A new type of tourism is emerging.

An island with a unique relief that attracts climbers and hikers from all over the world

Majestic limestone mountains, thousand-year-old caves, green valleys, secluded coves. Kalymnos offers an ideal playground for hikers and lovers of outdoor sports ! In addition, we advise you to buy on site the 1:25000 map n° 337 from SKAI MAPS. This is a map full of details and details for a modest amount of €4.90.

The village Masourilocated in the east, the most touristic part of the island, marks the starting point of the majority of routesescalation, with a highest point at 680m. With more than 2,000 routes of all levels of difficulty, Kalymnos is a real paradise for enthusiasts, who meet from April until the end of November.

The success is such that theInternational Kalymnos Climbing Festival was created in 2006 with the support of the Greek Tourist Board. This competition brings together in October about 300 international participants each year.

Kalymnos climbing

What if you try this unique experience!

Hikes in Kalymnos, to meet a splendid nature

You prefer the hiking ? Throw yourself to the top of the mountain Profitis Ilias to admire a panoramic view of the surrounding islands. Absolutely magical! Indeed, the island is home to many hiking trails that wind through grandiose landscapes. Beautiful family walks are coming! Kalymniote pharmacists also offer unusual botanical discovery tours !

During the hottest hours, visit the many natural caves on the island which, according to Homer, once housed the sirens of Odysseus! The cave of Seven Virgins or that of skalion For example. Don’t miss the cave Kefala and its huge stalactites and stalagmites along a 100-meter corridor, passing in front of Saint Catherine’s Monastery. After the coolness of the caves, head for the beach!

Aquatic activities: beaches, diving, sailing, fishing

When it’s time to relax, morning or late afternoon, the beaches of Kalymnos won’t disappoint, and there’s something for everyone!

  • There Kantouni beach is popular with families, because it offers calm and shallow waters.
  • That of Massouri and Platy-gallos are beautiful sandy beaches.
  • If you are looking for a quieter beach, go to Emporiosa pebble beach, surrounded by rocky cliffs.

Preserved from mass tourism, Kalymnos promises you many coves and secluded coves all over the island.

Kalymnos water activities

THE nautical sports are not left out. There scuba diving is a favorite activity of many travelers in search of colorful reefs and rich seabed. They will discover impressive cavities, remains of boats, and maybe even some sponges! Kalymnos has two diving schools to accompany you.

Surface, sailboardhull with or without skipper, fishing aboard small local boats, caique to reach neighboring islets such as Telendos every 30 minutes, or sailboat or yacht to go on an adventure of the archipelago! We recommend an authentic experience with the Captain Adonis !

Getting to and staying on the island: all our advice!

Getting to Kalymnos from abroad

To get to Kalymnos from abroad, the best option is still to fly, which will take you toKos international airport, the neighboring island. Then we recommend the flight comparator Ulysses which has the advantage of having real customer service, in French. From the airport, it will only take you 10 minutes to Taxi or bus to reach the coast and 20 minutes crossing on a boat to reach Kalymnos.

From Athens

You can choose between a domestic flight at variable times from Athens airport to Kalymnos airfield (timetables and reservations on Ulysses). Or bet for a crossing of 5 to 6 hours in ferry whose timetables you will find on the site Ferry Hopper.

Where to sleep on Kalymnos?

Tourist accommodation has developed considerably on the island:

  • We recommend the site Booking : hotels with breakfast or villas with sea view, there is something for all tastes and budgets!
  • You will also find many accommodations on Airbnb : apartments, villas, Cycladic houses…
  • But if you’re looking for advice on finding that rare pearl, there’s a real estate agency on site run by a French woman of Greek origin who has lived on the island for 15 years. Contact her via her agency on Facebookshe will be able to give you the best advice.
Kalymnos town

The best restaurants: word of Kalymniote!

As you explore the island, you will discover many excellent quality restaurants. But we have chosen here to present you only the nuggets! Of the ultra fresh products cooked by local families to delight the taste buds of the locals and … yours! To be tested: the Kalymnos salad.

To Pothia

AT pothiado not miss theOuzeri, to steki your naftikon in French the HQ of sailors. This is where the locals have lunch and the place is always uncrowded by tourists. It is a family tavern where the products are the same day. The calamari is outstanding! In summer, tables set up on the marina side allow you to eat facing the sea and the sailboats. Unforgettable !

The best souvlaki (meat skewer in a pita with sauce) is in a small discreet passage, the Souvlaki bar, a small family business where everything is homemade. The burgers and fries are also fabulous. Perfect cooking for tender and moist meat. A delight…

Kalymnos souvlaki bar

In Massouri-Armeos

If you are in the tourism sector, Masouri-Armeosdo not miss the restaurant Avra, its terrace and its view are magnificent! Then have a drink on the panoramic terrace of thebar atmosphere, at sunset. Finally, end your evening at Club Loca, the famous nightclub in Massouri, if you feel like it! In the evening, the whole port is bathed in nocturnal lights, and the animation is very lively.

Small bonus : for vegetarians, enjoy Italian ice cream or homemade dishes at Nicoletta and DanielItalians who have become real locals.

To Melitsacha

AT Melitsachatreat yourself to the Tavern at Yannis which is located at the end of a small road on which few tourists venture. It serves traditional Greek family cuisine on the heights of Melitsacha beach. An idyllic setting!

Above the small port of Melitsacha, the restaurant Fountagio is open all year round and is typically Kalymniot. The locals meet there regularly to play cards. The sweetness of Greek living. And do not hesitate to ask the locals for recommendations to discover another thousand delicious restaurants!

So, lovers of nature, climbing, adventure, seabed, or simply in search of tranquility, the island of Kalymnos promises you unusual and unforgettable holidays! Would you like to know more about this climber’s paradiseto know the essentials to do with the family or get to know her better history at the crossroads of multiple cultures ? Do not hesitate to tell us about your experience! And take a look at our other article on Kalymnos.

And to finish, ” the more or less » of VivreAthens on Kalymnos, in all subjectivity!

Port of Vathi and its cove with Akti West coast “too concreted”
The northern tip between land and mountain
thyme honey Florida sponges

Article written by Ingrid

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