Kalymnos is a beautiful rocky island, one of the Dodecanese, located not far from the coast of Turkey. The best way to travel to Kalymnos is to fly from Athens. Kalymnos is a top climbing destination due to the amazing rock formations on the island. Climbing is an extremely popular activity in Kalymnos and every year a climbing festival is taking place in the island.
10 best things to do in Kalymnos
- Rock climbing some of the 3400 routes on the island of Kalymnos.
- Visit neighboring Telendos, an island with picturesque villages, secludes beaches and coves
- Visit the Sponge Factory in Pothia, the capital of Kalymnos
- Visit the Sea World Museum in Vlychadia village – private collection of items related to the marine world
- Climb to the hilltop of Agios Savvas, a beautiful church with amazing view of Pothia port and town
- Chryssocheria Castle situated on another hill above Pothia was built by the Knights of Saint John. Visit this Citadel of the Knights and see the little chapel of Panagia Chrysochera inside the castle
- Go scuba diving in Kalymnos – in Pothia Town you will find Kalymnos Diving Center
- Go on a painting trip: Try a workshop where you can be taught anything from watercolour to portraiture in Pothia, Kalymnos
- Go shopping in the souvenir shops in Pothia, Massouri or Panormos. Find local objects like natural sponges, leather goods, craft ceramics, sculptures, woven rugs, and wild herbs and spices
- Enjoy the evenings dining in the great taverns of Myrties, Massouri, and Vlychadia or have a drink in a bar or dance the night away in a night club in Pothia
Where is Kalymnos Greece?
Kalymnos Greece lies in a short distance from the Turkish coast in the south eastern Aegean Sea. The island belongs to the Dodecanese. Thanks to its proximity to the other Dodecanese islands it is perfect for island hopping, so on vacation do not miss the opportunity to go island hopping to nearby islands of Kos, Patmos, and Leros.
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What is Kalymnos famous for?
Kalymnos is first famous for its landscape with the strange rock formations. Because of these spectacular rock formations Kalymnos has become famous worldwide as a top climbing destination and hosts many climbing clubs already. Read more about rock climbing in Greece
Kalymnos is also famous for its long sponge fishing tradition. The islanders used to fish sponges for a living, but you will still find many sponge sellers at Pothia beachfront.
When to climb in Kalymnos?
Courses, coaching and guiding in climbing the routes in Kalymnos take place from the start of the summer and in fall through September and October.
Each year Kalymnos Climbing Festival takes place in October. This is an international event attracting climbers from all over the world.
Perfect sport climbing routes
Around the world Kalymnos is considered a must-see climbing destination for every sport climber. On the island you will be surrounded by some of the finest limestone crags in the world with more than 3400 routes suitable for any level and style. It also has a great reputation according to safety with bolts. It is one of the best spots in the world to learn outdoor climbing, lead climbing or to improve your climbing technique!Read more
Since 2000, Kalymnos has become one of the premiere world destinations for rock climbing. The season spans year-round though the most popular months tend to be the spring and fall when the heat is less intense and there are fewer visitors. At last count, there were almost one thousand sport routes on the superb limestone crags. The routes are almost entirely bolted (sport climbing) with fixed anchors, most featuring lower offs. A 60m rope will suffice but more and more routes that are being put up (including many of the well-worn classics) require a 70m rope. You will also want to have no less than 16 quickdraws.
If you are in Kalymnos to climb, your first trip should be to the Outdoor Athletic Association (called such because they coordinate and track the climbing on the island). The association runs a small office north of Myrtes (near the Poets wall) and is open daily during the mornings. Here you’ll be able to get the latest route information and a free print-out of the routes — a listing of the grades with directions on how to get to each crag, from there you’ll find the routes as they are painted at the base of each route.
Kalymnos – Where to stay?
Kalymnos is perfect for you who love relaxing at the beach. Moving away from Pothia you will find the best seaside villages on the western coast of Kalymnos. Both Kantouni, Myrties and Emporios have good hotels, apartments and studios and stunning beaches with crystal-clear waters.
Kalymnos – What things to do?
On your visit to Kalymnos do not miss the chance to visit the neighbouring island of Telendos. Originally the two islands were one, but a major earthquake around 500 A.D. separated Telendos from Kalymnos. Telendos boasts an amazing natural landscape with naturist beaches, secluded coves, and traditional villages – really THE place for relaxing in tranquillity.
The beaches on Kalymnos are spectacular. There are many of them and they promise to cover all preferences and desires. They all have the deep blue crystal-clear waters. Many of them combine natural beauty and amenities that provide you with all the necessities for you to enjoy your favourite water sports.
Kalymnos is famous for its great and most spectacular rock-climbing routes, but it also has the most crystal-clear waters, perfect for diving in rocky underwater surroundings. Of course, in this kind of rocky environment hiking is an obvious choice as well, offering you the most breath-taking views.
Kalymnos Beach Guide
• Arginonta Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 15 km north of Pothia
• Myrties Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 8 km northwest of Pothia
• Kantouni Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 5 km northwest of Pothia
• Emporio Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 24 km northwest of Pothia
• Massouri Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 9 km northwest of Pothia
• Linaria Beach – Pebbled, located 6 km northwest of Pothia
• Town Beach – Pebbled, harbour, in walking distance from Pothia
• Kalamies Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 23 km northwest of Pothia
• Lagouna Beach Vlychadia Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 6 km southwest of Pothia
• Platis Yialos Beach – Pebbled, located 7 km northwest of Pothia
• Melitsahas Beach – Pebbled, located 7 km northwest of Pothia
• Agios Nikolaos Beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 1 km east of Pothia
• Akti Beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 7 km east of Pothia
• Agios Soulas Beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 2 km east of Pothia
• Ton Toicho Beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 23 km northwest of Pothia
Kalymnos – What to see?
Monastery of Saint Savva, Pothia
An attractive monastery perched high on the hill above Pothia. The church has typically beautiful decoration, and the view is particularly good. Open 10AM to 2PM, 5PM to 7PM. Either take a bus from Pothia towards Vilhadia; take a taxi; or take the short but hilly walk from Pothia.
Sea World Museum, Vlychadia
This is a private museum, a work of the Valsamidi brothers born and living on Kalymnos. With their love of the sea and a willingness to share the joys and wealth with the world, they built this museum with a great deal of effort and zeal. They worked as architects, builders, collectors, decorators without ever stopping their favourite activity, diving.
The result is impressive. The findings come from thousands of dives in the seas around the world. There is a large variety of fish, cochlea, shellfish, starfish, corals, shark, chelonioid and, of course, all kind of sponges. Part of the museum is devoted to the profession of sponge diving and includes all the tools and diving suits used by divers from 1872 until today.
In a specially designed area, you will have the opportunity to see amphoras from the 6th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd centuries BC. There is also a collection of 2000 photographs related to the history and tradition of fishermen.
This museum exists in the seaside village, Vlychadia, and is open daily:
November to March: 10:00-16:00
April to October: 9:30-21:00
Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos, Pothia
The Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos is to be found in the district of Agia Triada in Pothia. It discloses the historical and cultural progress of the island from the prehistoric to the Post-Byzantine times through the presentation of many bronze and marble sculptures, pottery, figurines, tools, coins, devotional objects, and weapons. Open from Tuesday until Sunday 08:30 – 15:00. Closed on Mondays.
Naval Museum of Kalymnos, Pothia
At the Naval Museum of Kalymnos, founded in 1994, we can learn about the naval tradition of the island, history and methods of sponge diving and view many objects from ancient shipwrecks. In four rooms of the museum there are many objects dealing with the profession of sponge diving. It is located on the coastline of Pothias in the building of the old Vouvaleiou Technical School, next to the City Hall. Open daily: 7:00-13:30 – Saturday and Sunday 10.00-12:30
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Weather and climate in Kalymnos
Just like in the rest of the Dodecanese the climate in Kalymnos is Mediterranean characterized by warm and dry summers with sunshine. The winters are mild, and during autumn and winter months heavy rains can occur. During the months of July and August the refreshing winds make the otherwise high temperatures bearable. Being an island humidity of course is quite high.
Kalymnos – How to get there?
Kalymnos is connected by ferry to Piraeus port in Athens, with approximately 3 routes per week. Beware though of the long trip which lasts about 10 hours. You can reach Kalymnos by ferry from some of the other Dodecanese islands, including Rhodes, Patmos, Kos, and Leros. From Mastihari port in Kos you will find very frequent departures for Kalymnos, about 2, 3 per day.
Who flies to Kalymnos?
Kalymnos Island National Airport receives only domestic flights from Athens where the flight duration is approx. 1 hour. From the airport in Kalymnos you need to arrange for transfer. The airport is seated almost 6 km from Pothia Town.
How big is Kalymnos island?
In 2011 the island had a population of 16,235, making it the third most populous island of the Dodecanese, after Kos and Rhodes.Read more
It is known in Greece for the affluence of much of its population and stands both the wealthiest member of the Dodecanese and one of the wealthiest Greek islands overall. The Municipality of Kalymnos includes the populated offshore islands of Pserimos, Telendos, Kalólimnos, and Pláti, as well as several uninhabited islets, has a total population of 16,441 inhabitants.
The island is roughly rectangular in shape, with a length of 21 km and a width of 13 km and covers an area of 109 km². Moreover, on the north side there is a peninsula which stretches in a Northwest direction.
The Kalymnos landscape
Kalymnos is mainly mountainous, with a complicated pattern. There are three main mountain chains going from W-NW to E-SE, and a fourth one which innervates the peninsula. The coastline is very irregular, with many sheltered coves. There are some springs, one among them being thermal. The soil is mainly made of limestone, but in the valleys, there is a compact bank of volcanic tuff, relic of an ancient volcano, located near the village of Kantouni. The island is mainly barren, except the two fertile valleys of Vathi and Pothia, where olives, oranges and vineyards grow. Earthquakes are a frequent occurrence around Kalymnos.
The sponge of Kalymnos
The usage of sponge was first mentioned in the works of Aristotle and Homer. Since the ancient times, the life and culture of Kalymnos Island was linked to this marine animal; this is the reason Kalymnos is also known as the “Sponge-divers’ island”. Sponge diving has always been a common occupation on Kalymnos and sponges have been the main source of income of the Kalymnians bringing wealth on the island and making it famous in the Mediterranean.Sponge diving with all its traditions and history still forms the very soul of the people of this island. There is a celebration called Sponge Week taking place on the island each year one week after Easter to honour the relationship between the people of Kalymnos and the sponge, which is also known as the Kalymnian “Gold”. As usual in these occasions, the people sing, dance, and eat traditional dishes.
In recent times, tourism has become important for the island, particularly for rock climbing. The island also acquired an airport, the Kalymnos Island National Airport near Pothia in 2006 to better link the island with the mainland.
Pserimos is a small Greek island in the Dodecanese chain, lying between Kalymnos and Kos in front of the coast of Turkey.Read more
It is part of the municipality of Kálymnos and reported a population of 130 inhabitants at the 2001 census.
The main industry is tourism, with Greek and other European holidaymakers attracted by its remote location. There are several beaches and a number of taverns, some of which offer accommodation.
Pserimos is served by a daily ferry from Pothia, on the island of Kalymnos, and is a destination on the itinerary of a number of cruise boats in the area.
Telendos islet – blessed with tranquility
Telendos is a tiny island, at a short distance from Kalymnos. Up to 535 AD it was part of Kalymnos, but an earthquake separated the two. It is a lovely island without cars, blessed with tranquility.Read more
You can reach the island taking the short boat trip from Myrties on Kalymnos, the trip costs 2 euros and within minutes you have crossed to Telendos. Sometimes the little boat is full, especially when the overseas flights arrive in Kos.
On certain days of the year celebrations take place on the tiny island; on these days you’ll find hundreds of Kalymnians heading for the ferry bridge in Myrties. This is chaos in the unique Greek style, where however mysterious this may seem to you, the job always gets done, mostly with a smile or a little laugh.
Telendos offers several choices of accommodation, all basic, but also comfortable within short distance to good beaches. The island has its own fair share of outstanding tavernas and restaurants, but what really gives you the strongest impression is the extremely welcoming attitude from the locals. If you stay for a while you soon will have many ‘new friends’ to share some pleasant time with.
The island is visited by rock climbers from March to the end of May and September to late November. There are 3 good climbing areas on Telendos, Eros, St. Constine and North Face.