Kalymnos in Greece
Facts, travel tips and tourist information
Population:|| ca. 17.000|
|Area:||ca. 109 km2|
|Country code:|| 00 30 (if calling Greece).|
|Language:||Greek, but many speak excellent English.|
Kalymnos (Kalimnos) is a small island north of Kos and close to the Turkish mainland. There are still fairly few tourists, but the number is increasing.
It is a rocky island, barren except for a couple of valleys, and most of the population live in the main city Pothia.
The wild and rugged limestone rocks have made Kalymnos a favourite destination for climbers from the whole world.
Kalymnos is one of the Dodecanese islands.
Kalymnos has a small airport near the main city Pothia. It has flights to Athens, but mostly during the summer. For most travellers it is easier to fly to Kos and take a ferry.
Kalymnos isn't big and taxies are cheap.
Buses and express buses are quite reliable, however the time tables are a bit like a suggestion, so it may be a good idea not to be late. Some times the buses are crammed, and that is quite an experience. You buy tickets in kiosks or at a ticket office before you get onboard.
You can rent a car or a scooter/motorbike. Many locals drive scooters. The terrain is definitely not fit for bicycles, unless you're training for Tour de France.
There are many ferries to and from the neighbouring islands. There are also ferries to Pireaus (Athens).
Most ferries go to/from Pothia. From Myrties you can go to Leros and Telendos, and there are tourist trips to the village Emporios in the islands northern part.
Where to stay?
Most tourists stay in Myrties and Massouri on the island's west coast. They are tourist ghettos, but far from the worst kind. However they are not "real" towns in my sense of the word. The setting by the sea is beautiful, and from Myrties you can take one of the small ferries to the tiny and car-free island Telendos.
If you want real peace and quiet, Telendos seems the perfect choice - or maybe the village Emporios further up north. If you find these places too sleepy and dull, Pothia is probably a better choice - it is more lively and there are things to see and watch.
We stayed at "Katina Studios" in Myrties. It is a family run apartment hotel with a pool. Nice functional one-room apartment with a nice terrace. The small kitchen had few utensils and didn't inspire anything but basic cooking. The hostess is kind and speaks perfect English.
Restaurants and Taverns
There are several good restaurants in Myrties and Telendos. I have described those, we visited, on the page Restaurants in Telendos and Myrties.
It is cheap to eat out. A dinner for two with the house wine will typically cost 20 - 30 euro.
Service is usually included, but it is natural to pay a round figure, and nobody will be offended if you tip 10 - 15 % (if you were satisfied with the service of course).
We were in Kalymnos in September, and the tap water had a distinct salty taste, so buy bottled water for drinking and cooking. Considering the shortage of water I wondered why so many taps were dripping. For watering plants they could also collect a lot from the many air coolers - I wonder why they don't.
There are some convents near Pothia if you enjoy churches and the like. From Pothia there are boat trips to an old Zeus shrine, Spilia Kefalas, on the south coast. It is a cave with stalactites.
In Pothia a villa has been turned into a museum. One of the old sponge tycoons used to live here. Pothia is an interesting city with atmosphere, and I tell more about it on my page about Pothia.
A trip to Telendos is a must, if you stay in Myrties or Massouri. There are ferries every half hour from Myrties.
You can also go to Turkey from Pothia.
Banks and Money
I don't think there are any banks outside Pothia. There's an ATM on the square in Massouri, and it accepts VISA and other credit cards.
Links and Resources
My Kalymnos travelogue.
I found most of the information here and there on the Internet, but I didn't find any "super page". There are quite a few pages written by climbers, and if you search blogs you will also find bits and pieces of holiday impressions.
Brian Sibley has several blog posts about/from Kalymnos and also some nice photos.
The page www.nostalgia.gr/otherisland-kalymnos.html offers some information about the island's history.
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Last update 26th April 2009