Destinations, Dodecanese Islands

Kalymnos

Kalymnos

Kalymnos is one of the Dodecanese islands, between Kos and Leros and owes its name to Titan Kalydno, son of Gea and Uranus.

Kalymnos is known for fishing sponges. Until the 80’s the main activity of its inhabitants was fishing sponges but due to a disease hitting the eastern Mediterranean destroying a great number of sponges, fishing had to be abandoned. Currently, the “Voutichtades“, the so-called sponge fishing divers in Kalymnos, have extended their activities to other countries like the United States, Mexico and Florida.

Until only a few decades ago the Voutichtades dived naked, that is without any protection or suit. The Voutichtades of Kalymnos are famous not only for their sponge fishing skills but also for any operation related to diving. In fact, in Kalymnos is the National School of Diving that offers its graduates the public diploma of diving.

Kalymnos in recent years has become the paradise of sports climbing. The entire island is a unique climbing track in the world with various levels of difficulty that can be adapted to each level and style of climbing.

Every October in the village of Kalymnos Massouri the best climbers from around the world gather to participate in the climbing festival, a non-competitive international meeting.

Kalymnos is one of the Dodecanese islands, between Kos and Leros and owes its name to Titan Kalydno, son of Gea and Uranus.

Kalymnos is known for fishing sponges. Until the 80’s the main activity of its inhabitants was fishing sponges but due to a disease hitting the eastern Mediterranean destroying a great number of sponges, fishing had to be abandoned. Currently, the “Voutichtades“, the so-called sponge fishing divers in Kalymnos, have extended their activities to other countries like the United States, Mexico and Florida.

Until only a few decades ago the Voutichtades dived naked, that is without any protection or suit. The Voutichtades of Kalymnos are famous not only for their sponge fishing skills but also for any operation related to diving. In fact in Kalymnos is the National School of Diving that offers its graduates the public diploma of diving.

Kalymnos in recent years has become the paradise of sports climbing. The entire island is a unique climbing track in the world with various levels of difficulty that can be adapted to each level and style of climbing.

Every October in the village of Kalymnos Massouri the best climbers from around the world gather to participate in the climbing festival, a non-competitive international meeting.

What to see in Kalymnos

The capital of Kalymnos and the main port is Pothia. A colorful village built in the valley between two slopes. Strolling along Pothia you can admire ancient mansions such as the Vouvalis Mansion and elegant houses of captains and sponge traders. Each neighborhood has its church; the ones which impress are the church of Agios Nikolaos and the one of Christo Salvador (Sotiras Christos) that has the silver dome and marble figures of the Greek sculptor Giannoulis Chalepas.

Other significant buildings are the Town Hall and the prefecture, the two of Italian style that reveals the presence of the Italian conquerors on the island.

To know the history and culture of the island is worth visiting the Archaeological Museum, the most important work of the museum is a copper statue known as “the lady of Kalymnos”. The Maritime Museum is dedicated to the visions and customs of the “Voutichtades” sponge fishermen and “Kalymnio Spiti” Kalymnos House is a small museum of folk art that illustrates the daily visa on the island since the 9th century.

After strolling through the narrow streets of Pothia and enjoying the panoramic views from the church of Agios Savvas you can walk down to the seafront to dine in a tavern facing the sea and taste delicious local specialties such as spinialo (a dish with a variety of oysters preserved in seawater), mouri (lamb or goat fillings) and local wine called anama.

In the surroundings of Pothia, you can discover picturesque villages such as Panormos, Chorio, Skalia and Myrties. One of the highlights on the island is Vathy a village built in a very fertile valley full of citrus. The port of Vathy is called Rina; it is a protected natural bay which is very reminiscent of a small Norwegian fjord!

In Kalymnos, you will find some beautiful beaches! One of the most popular is the sandy beach of Masouri 9 km west of Pothia. Therma is the nearest beach to Pothia only 2 km away, while Vlychadia 5 km from Pothia is actually composed of two beaches, one sandy and one of gravel. Linaria is a family beach while young people opt for the cosmopolitan Kantouni beach. Platis Gialos is famous for its black sand and for being very good for fishing. Emporios is a favorite among lovers of windsurfing and kitesurfing.

For those who flee from the crowds, the bay of Arginontes or the beaches Almyres, Drasonta, Pezonta, Palionisos, Sikati and Petronta can only be accessed by boat.

Diving enthusiasts gather every year in Kalymnos at the “Skandalopetra festival of Kalymnos” which presents a complete program of various freediving activities in apnea where they teach the techniques of the “Voutichtades” sponge fishing divers.

Seminars and competitions of underwater photography are also organized. Participation in the festival is free.

Near Kalymnos are the islands of Telendos and Pserimos, are small islands that can be visited during the day from Kalymnos.

In Telendos you can visit the chapel of Saint George from where you can enjoy a beautiful sunset. It is worth visiting the Paleochristian necropolis and the castle of Agios Konstantinos.

The beaches of Chochlakas, Plaka, Potha are very nice and for diving enthusiasts, the ancient sunken city between Kalymnos and Telendos awaits for you to be explored. Hiking, climbing or fishing are also ideal sports to practice on these islands. The beaches of Pserimos are really beautiful with Vathy beach the best among them all.

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