11 must-do things to do in Syros

Galerie des Cyclades

Visiting Syros: what to see and do when you visit this real gem of the Cyclades?

Syros is a tourist destination like no other. This relatively unknown Greek island is home to the capital of the Cyclades archipelago: Ermoúpoli (Ermoupolis), the city of Hermes. Today, visiting Syros is like discovering a fabulous natural territory.

Superb sandy beaches line the Aegean Sea, which in summer oscillates between deep blue and turquoise. Towns and villages with their typical Venetian and neoclassical Cycladic architecture are home to an exceptional historical heritage. Centuries-old archaeological sites and beautiful seaside cruises complete the picture.

Wondering what to do on Syros, an authentic island with a strong character? We recommend the best things to do on the island: follow the guide.

1. The beaches

Les plages de Syros

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What to do in Syros when you don’t feel like doing anything? Well, like everyone else: visit one of the island’s splendid beaches. Start with Galissas, with its deep blue waters and Olympian calm.

Nearby is the Arméos cove, which can be reached by following an impressive path along the coastline. Useful note: this cove is popular with naturists. You can also relax in Agathopes, a few kilometers from the village of Poseidonia. The water is crystal-clear and shallow, with all the necessary facilities and restaurants.

Then, on the outskirts of the seaside resort of the same name, there’s Kini beach with its fine sand. And last but not least, Lotos beach, one of the most unspoilt of the island’s beaches, is ideal for snorkeling enthusiasts. Naturally protected from the wind, it’s a true haven of peace!

2. Miaouli Square, Ermoupolis

Place Miaouli à Ermoupolis

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Miaouli Square is the historic heart of the island and one of the must-see places in Syros. Here you can admire majestic historic buildings such as the town hall, inspired by the Trojan palaces.

A statue of Andreas Miaoulis, an admiral in the War of Independence, stands in the square. He gave it its name! Beautiful drawings depict scenes from Greek mythology. More than just a place to talk, it’s a place where people can meet and exchange ideas.

Miaouli Square hosts musical performances all summer long and, to make matters worse, picturesque cafés and a host of delicious restaurants. Indulge in stuffed grape leaves, pita smeared with tzatziki or moussaka: yum!

3. Scuba diving

Plongée sous-marine à Syros

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Syros has three diving schools. These are essential for safe access to the underwater world. Syros is a beautiful offshore resort that attracts many scuba diving enthusiasts. The local underwater landscape is dotted with wrecks, reefs and caves. Fish nestle here when they’re not foraging in the fields of amphorae dating back to antiquity…

Dives are generally easy and rarely go below 20 metres. A little family adventure in Syros that’s completely out of the ordinary!

4. Ermoupolis Industrial Museum

Musée industriel d’Ermoupolis

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To visit the island of Syros is to visit the only Cycladic island with an industrial heritage. The museum is located at the entrance to the town of Ermoupolis, in four 19th-century factories. Here you can learn about the techniques used throughout history and the impressive diversity of know-how on the island.

Shipbuilding, mechanics, textiles, leatherworking: the space boasts some fine collections that can be visited in just an hour. Machines, tools, 3D exhibits and video archives are all on show.

The museum’s exhibits even include the first electric car to be manufactured in Greece. It’s a cultural outing that’s sure to please everyone – so take a trip!

5. Cyclades Gallery

Galerie des Cyclades

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The Gallery of the Cyclades is one of the most visited cultural sites in Syros. It is located to the south of the town of Ermoupolis, in warehouses on the north pier of the port. Built in the 1830s, they were used to unload cargo from ships.

In fact, these impressive buildings are probably the first you’ll see if you arrive in Syros by sea.

The site of the Gallery of the Cyclades is brilliantly managed by the Municipal Cultural Center. It features temporary art exhibitions as well as concerts and theater performances.

Do you appreciate contemporary art, or would you like to take a refreshing break before heading off to the beach? You know what you have to do…

6. Archaeological museum

Musée industriel d’Ermoupolis

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The Syros Archaeological Museum is housed in the town hall of Ermoupolis. The building itself is impressive and well worth a visit. The museum features a variety of fascinating exhibits on the history of the Cyclades archipelago. Paintings, sculptures and various artifacts retrace the region’s rich past.

Greek mythology is never far away, imbuing historical facts with legends. From the beginnings of Antiquity to the influence of the Byzantines, from the top of this museum you can contemplate forty centuries of history. An imperial outing in Syros, wouldn’t you say?

7. Festivals

Ano Syros

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Syros is as much a tourist destination as it is a cultural one. Take the many festivals that take place here in summer! Syros Culture » offers visitors concerts, shows, plays and artistic performances of all kinds. It’s the best-known of them all. The Easter festivities, shared by Orthodox and Catholics, are lit up with fairy lights and give the streets a mystical atmosphere.

Then, in the town of Ano Syros (next to Ermoupolis), the island’s great carnival takes place. As picturesque as it gets, it features folk dances, customs and gastronomic specialities prepared for the occasion. Finally, Ash Monday (Koulouma), celebrated throughout the country, is transformed in the village of Galissas into a kite festival. Hundreds of them soar into the azure sky: splendid!

8. Kini Aquarium

Aquarium de Kini

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The Kini aquarium? This is one of the most popular attractions for adults and children alike. This outing will give them the chance to admire beautiful marine species from the Aegean Sea. Traditional boats and fishing gear are also on display.

You can also admire shells, corals and much more in just under an hour. Fun and educational, this enriching getaway in Syros is all about environmental awareness. Want to find out more? It’s open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Tuesdays!

9. Boat trip

Balade en bateau

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Who can resist the crystalline blue of the Aegean Sea? Sailboat or catamaran, with or without a skipper, discover Syros from a different perspective than from land, and let yourself be tempted by a boat trip around the island!

10. Visit the surrounding islands

Visiter les îles alentours

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The Cyclades archipelago is a true splendor, whether on land or sea. Interconnected by a dense network of ferries, and accessible via the ports of Piraeus and Rafina, it’s easy to get to and around.

Looking for an unforgettable odyssey? Visit other islands such as Ios, Santorini, Kimolos, Naxos, Anafi, Mykonos, Amorgos… A cruise to the uninhabited island of Delos, a major archaeological and historical site, is a must. Speedboats provide fast connections to get you around in no time, hair in the wind.

11. Places of worship to visit

Les lieux de culte à visiter

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St. George’s Cathedral, Áno Sýros

Syros stands out from the rest of Greece, a predominantly Orthodox country, for its high proportion of Catholics. St. George’s Cathedral, located in the town of Ano Syros, is a famous place of worship. Built on a hilltop around 1200, destroyed by the Ottomans four centuries later, it was finally rebuilt in 1834.

Today, it comprises a church, a beautiful bell tower, a baptistery and an episcopal palace. Its apparently modern appearance does not prevent it from being packed with period treasures, such as the icon of St. George and the Mother of God. This three-aisled basilica with its marble columns and marble paving is a must-see when visiting Syros.

The church of Agios Nikolaos

The church of Agios Nikolaos is a splendid example of Byzantine-inspired architecture. It is located near Miaouli Square and was built between 1848 and 1870 in honor of St. Nicholas, patron saint of Ermoupolis.

Admire its complex, colossal structure and sumptuous interior. The two-storey temple features a bell tower, staircase and marble propylaea. Ionic columns and finely sculpted elements complete this refined space.

Church of Agios Stefanos

Here, it’s almost a pilgrimage. Let us explain: built into the rock, Agios Stefanos, a pretty, picturesque chapel on the outskirts of Galissas, is only accessible by footpath. To get there, there’s only one solution: hike among the rocks, fifteen minutes from the main beach.

The path is completely accessible and requires no special precautions. For the record, Agios Stefanos was built by a fisherman who was miraculously saved from the tentacles of an octopus after praying to the saint for help. It is located 30 minutes from the main beach. The approach walk is a bit of a challenge! If you park at the end of the nearest path and have good shoes, nothing is impossible!

The chapel is also accessible by boat, and processions in honor of Agios Stefanos are held on August 19 and December 26.

How do I get to Syros?

By plane

There are several ways to get to Syros. Getting there by plane is possible, as the island has a small airport. There are daily flights from Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport. It will only take you half an hour to reach Syros.

Our advice? Take the headache out of flying and take advantage of Ulysse, an intelligent flight comparison service. It’ll help you get there by finding you a flight at the best price.

By boat

Syros, the capital of the Cyclades, can also be reached by boat from a number of ports: Piraeus (four hours by ferry, two by express boat), Rafina (one and a half hours) and other Cycladic islands. Naxos, Paros, Kea and Lávrio, Santorini, Ios, Serifos… the list goes on! The Dodecanese archipelago and the town of Kavala are also within easy reach.

Where to stay in Syros?

For a relaxed visit to Syros, we recommend that you make Ermoupolis your HQ. The town of Hermes, with its pretty alleyways and multicolored facades, is an invitation in itself. A far cry from the immaculate habitats of Santorini!

The pedestrian streets around Place Miaouli are home to a wide variety of hotels. There’s something for every budget! To help you, use this hotel comparator to find the room of your dreams.

Ermoupolis, built on a hill, offers apartments for rent on Airbnb, for example: ideal for feeling at home.

Ano Syros, a typical little village opposite Ermoupolis, is an interesting alternative: you can only get there on foot, as the alleyways are too narrow. There are no restaurants, bars or hotels here, just authentic dwellings: a total immersion experience.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Cyclades