Syros is in the Cyclades group of the Greek Islands, off the normal tourist track. Known as the grand dame of the Cyclades, Syros provides an authentic Greek island culture experience. Ermoupolis, the main town of 13,000 people, is the Cyclades' centre of government and features magnificent neoclassical architecture. The majority of residents do not work in the tourist industry.
The main towns are 1 Ano Syros, a classical cycladic medieval settlement that is densely built with narrow roads, circular order and a radial street plan, and 2 Ermoupoli, the capital of the South Aegean region
Ermoupolis isn't only the capital of Syros, but also the capital of the Cyclades and thus well-connected with Athens. The itineraries from Piraeus, the port of Athens, to Ermoupolis (Syros) are daily and the trip takes about 4 hours by normal ferry. Syros is also connected to Thessaloniki, northern Greece, in 18 hours. There is also a ferry leaving from Lavrio, to the south of Attica and reaching Syros in about 5 hours.
Apart from the mainland, there are many ferries and hydrofoils to connect Syros with other Aegean islands. Normal ferries connect Syros to Aegiali, Amorgos (5 hours), Andros (3 hours and a half), Donousa (6 hours), Folegandros (6 hours), Heraklion, Crete (12 hours), Ios (5 hours), Karlovasi, Samos (4 hours), Katapola, Amorgos (7 hours), Kea (4 hours), Kimolos (6 hours), Kos (4 hours), Koufonisia (8 hours), Kythnos (2 hours and a half), Leros (3 hours and a half), Milos (8 hours), Mykonos (1 hour and a half), Naxos (3 hours), Paros (1 hour and a half), Patmos (3 hours), Rhodes (8 hours), Schinoussa (9 hours), Serifos (4 hours), Sifnos (5 hours), Sikinos (5 hours), Skiathos (9 hours), Skopelos (8 hours) and Santorini (7 hours). Regular hydrofoils connect Syros to Mykonos (1 hour) and Tinos (40 minutes).
The airport of Syros Island is located south of Ermoupolis.
Syros is small enough to enjoy by foot or bicycle. Taxis are also available, and the local bus service is cheap and reliable.
- City Hall, designed by Ernst Ziller, also home to the Archaeological Museum (tel. 22810-88487)
- Apollo Theatre, inspired by Italian and French architectural styles, seat of the International Classical Music Festival of the Cyclades
- The Vaporia neighborhood, with stately mansions and the Church of St Nicolas
- Industrial Museum (11 Georgiou Papandreou, www.ketepo.gr)
- Ano Syros, the city's medieval quarter. Further uphill, the 13th-century St George's Roman Catholic Cathedral with a view of the Greek Orthodox Church of Anastaseos.
- Chiou Street. Provides the opportunity to buy local San Michalis cheese and handmade pasta flavored with saffron from Prekas grocery store (4 Chiou St) and halvadopita (nougat) from the Korres workshop (29 Chiou St).
From Ermoupolis take the bus to Kini (about 30 minutes) or Galissas (20 minutes direct or 45 minutes through the southern part of the island). Also, you can visit some of the northern beaches by boat.
The best beaches are in Finikas, Kokkina, Galissas, Delfini, Poseidonia, and Agathopes. Other beaches are in Kini, Vari, Megas Gialos, and Angathopes.
Small boats conduct tours from Kini to Varvarousa, Aetos, Lia, and Grammata.
The island's prettiest villages are Galissas, Kini, Parakopi with its delightful pine groves, Delagrazia, Chrousa, Episkopio with its fine mansions, and Finikas.
- Walk the narrow back streets of Ermoupolis and discover the city's charm.
- Visit Ano Syros and the Catholic Cathedral of Agios Georgios. Take the bus or a taxi to Ano Syros and then walk downhill through the medieval city.
- Hang out in Plateia Miaouli, one of Greece's best public plazas.
- Walk to the Holy Church of the Resurrection of Christ to view the opulent interior and splendid views.
- Traditional products, such as herbs and traditional sweets (loukoumia and chalvadopita). There are lots of shops offering traditional products at Hiou street.
- Local San Michalis cheese with saffron at Prekas grocery store (4 Chiou Street)
- Halvado-pita (nougat) at the Korres workshop (29 Chiou Street)
- Loukoumi (chewy sweet) at Denaxas (52 Ethnikis Antistaseos Street)
- Django Gelato Syros, Emmanouil Roidi 10, Ermoupoli. Snacks and very good Italian style ice cream.
- Stin Ithaki tou Ai or Ιθάκη του Αή, Stefanou 1. Traditional tavern offering local specialties.
- Iliovasilema or Ηλιοβασίλεμα, Galissas. Fish tavern near the beach. Try the "saganaki" (fried San Michali cheese) and "gouna" (Fish prepared in a unique traditional manner).