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Syros Recommendations?

Making a quick stop in July on the Island of Syros before headed back to Athens.

Arrive Friday afternoon and Leave Sunday afternoon. As we (2 couples) set about trying to choose which part of the island to stay on, we'd be curious any recommendations from those who have been. We choose Syros for a change of pace from Naxos/Santorini/Mykonos. So definitely, a low-key wind-down.

Thinking of taking in perhaps one site (or spending a bit of time on a nice beach) per day, but otherwise leisurely afternoons enjoying the views and tavernas.

Open to renting a car if that helps too.

Posted by
1249 posts

Probably don't need a car. The bus service is pretty good and circuits the main villages.

Syros is a great choice for somewhere that isn't dominated by the tourist trade. Its economy is very much based around the fact that it's the capital of the Cyclades.

We've written up some of our experiences which you might find interesting

http://www.greekramblings.org.uk/Syros.html

I'd really recommend making the effort to get up to Ano Syros. It's beautiful and has great views.

If you're at all interested in Greek music it's worth noting that Syros is the birthplace of Marlos Vamvakaris, one of the fathers of modern Greek music. One of his most famous songs is Frankosyriani. It tells of a love for a Catholic (a Frank) girl in Syros.

https://youtu.be/m2J3kWWIHAA

Cheers

Alan

Posted by
2580 posts

After idly wondering about Syros for years, about 5 years ago, in June, I finally stopped at Syros for 2 days, on my way back from Naxos to Athens. I wanted very much to see the famous Town Plaza with church towers crowning the hill behind ... the famous view always shown in guide books. My visit was an insight into a very different island. I stayed in Ermopoulis, found a room in the Old Town area to the right of the Square, in an old Decayed SeaCaptain's Mansion (In a former drawing room - chandelier, 20-foot ceiling, parquet floors and NO lamps of any kind!). That area very much reflects the former wealth, though only partially restored. I wandered the old town, spent the evening in the square which truly IS gorgeous, next day took a bus route that went around the whole Island, & got off at a beach for lunch & a swim.

What I learned:
• Syros is FOR the Greeks, 99% of visitors are Greek, they don't much care about nonGreeks, nor welcome them. I'd heard people say they had a great time there, but further inquiry revealed they went there with GREEK relatives.
• Island in 19th C was THE business Center of the Cyclades, very prosperous -- its orientation STILL. I wanted to find some art, crafts, creative local items -- walked the town for an HOUR and found Not a single gallery or arts-oriented shop -- lots of banks, realty, lawyers offices. Main evidence of The Arts: the miniature La Scala, pridefully built by those 19thC merchants.
• Beaches are Meh, compared to Naxos... smallish & crowded. No one speaks English.

A last indicator: It's impossible to take a photo in that impressive Town Square that fully reveals it, PLUS the churches above, so naturally, I wanted a postcard showing the aerial view. During that fruitless hour-long trudge through Ermopoulis streets, I not only didn't find that postal, I found NO postcards, or Guide books, Or calendars with views, Anywhere, Only when I was at the pier, waiting my Blue Star ferry did I see a candy store right by a dock for day-trips, and it had a postcard rack on the counter. That was IT. But of course, Syros Greeks don't buy postcards of their own island, so why bother.

I've visited over 25 Islands in Greece, some of them 7-10 times, and never before have I felt excluded. I don't mean hostility, I just mean I felt totally ignored. Perhaps since there are 4 of you, and you'll stay somewhere upscale, it will be different. I have been to many less-known islands, not the ones you mention ... places like Samos, Chios, Serifos, Kia ... and on every other island I've felt a welcome, had rewarding interactions, and look forward to returning if I'm fortunate. I have no urge to revisit Syros... I have my postcard, that's enough.

Posted by
1249 posts

Obviously our experience of Syros has been very different to Janet's! In a curious way though I think we agree: the majority of visitors to Syros are Greeks and it isn't an island particularly set up for foreign visitors.

Our experience though is that makes people more interested in talking to us and finding out what we're doing. We didn't go with Greek friends but we did make some there.

The only island I've experienced the kind of disinterest Janet describes is Santorini and I've always assumed they were just saturated with tourists. That's why I'd see Syros as a nice balance.

Still, that's the joy of a site like this. We all contribute our views and other people make of them what they will.

Alan

Posted by
844 posts

Last October I considered combining Tinos & Syros but after lots of research on Syros decided it wasn't for me. There are areas in the main town that are very nice as Janet stated but other areas that as she also stated as "Meh!"

The ferry did stop at Syros on the way to Tinos and it looked very nice from afar, especially the houses & other buildings cascading down the hill toward the port, but appearances can be deceiving.

It does have an airport which makes it easy to get but it seems to be not one of the best of the Cyclades to go to. I'm not saying don't go but there are a number of other islands in the Cyclades and elsewhere that may offer you more of a pleasanter experience.

Posted by
6741 posts

We enjoyed Syros and liked that it was off the non-Greek tourist radar. Look at Hotel Ploes if you decide on Syros.