majestic sunsets, windswept hills, elaborate stone formations
Clear blue waters, majestic sunsets, windswept hills, elaborate stone formations, endless stretches of sea spattered with tiny islets, Kalymnos is one of the most beautiful islands of the Dodecanese island cluster in the southeastern Aegean Sea. The land mass is largely rocky and mountainous with sparse greenery but lush with herbs and thyme which gives the famous Kalymnian honey its characteristic aromatic flavor. Surrounded by a large number of islets of which only Telendos and Pserimos are inhabited, Kalymnos is located between the Greek islands of Kos and Leros and the western shores of Turkey.
Pothia, the island’s capital village, is amphitheatrically built around the main port, one of Greece’s largest. Two 1930’s Italian architecture buildings - today accommodating administrative offices – dominate the entrance to the port, along with a church dedicated to Saint Savvas, the island’s patron saint overlooking the port.
Rich in history and myths, the island was originally inhabited in the Neolithic Age by Carians. It appeared for the first time in the Trojan War mentioned by Homer in his epic work “Helliad” as one of the participants in the expedition against Troy. Kalymnos had its share of conquistadores that left their mark on the local culture, mostly Venetians, Genovese and the Knights of Saint John who ruled the island until 1522 when they were succeeded by the Ottomans and later in 1912 by the Italians. Finally, in 1948 Kalymnos was reunited with Greece.
By long tradition, Kalymnians are known for harvesting sponges from the sea-bed as close as Pserimos or as far as North Africa. Much has been written, sung and filmed about this ancient and dangerous occupation and much more concerning the legendary courage and recklessness of the sponge divers. The island has a good tourist infrastructure and offers a broad range of activities in a beautiful environment of mountains, sea-gulfs, hills and valleys. In addition to the sun and sea, visitors can enjoy a great variety of activities, cultural and sport events, visits to archaeological sites and churches, trekking and gastronomy.
Kalymnos, the island of the sponge divers, is also the island of the climbers, with numerous limestone cliffs offering hundreds of bolted sport routes. There are three diving centers offering complete services. Tens of signed and mapped routes of natural, historical, religious and environmental interest traverse the island’s mountain masses, opening to unique views of the immense blue of the Aegean. Richly decorated with stalagmites and stalactites, the caves on Kalymnos are true works of nature’s art. Archaeology, beautiful churches, castles and stone windmills add to the island’s unique charm.
The local airport is new and modern. There are daily flights to and from Athens. Frequent ferry schedules connect Kalymnos with Piraeus, as well as with the islands of Rhodes, Patmos, Samos, Lipsi, Leros and Crete. Catamarans and hydrofoils connect it daily with Kos and other Dodecanese islands all year round.