The Sensual Greek Island of Syros


Few people are familiar with Syros, and if they are, it is in passing. Syros, capitol of the cluster of Greece's Cyclades islands, has made significant contributions to the Greek culture and economy.

Syros is on route to the more popular destinations like Mykonos and Santorini. But it has not been spoiled by droves of tourists from around the world. The tourists are mostly from Athens. Syros has retained its small island outlook, distancing itself from the big metropolis, Athens. It has not yet been spoiled by the commercialism of the more well-known islands.


However, that is starting to change. The residents of Syros island looked surprised recently as American actor Harrison Ford walked the scenic backstreets (April 2012). Ford was spotted walking around like an ordinary tourist, without yachts or security, dressed casually, enjoying a sunny Sunday morning in Ermoupolis ( the main municipality of the island). The famous actor enjoyed the picturesque houses, as well as a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea.



He was accompanied by a Greek woman, who guided him around during his walk in the alleys of Syros. According to sources, he seemed amazed by the history of the Cycladean capital and the buildings’ neoclassical architecture. Ford rode his motorbike after their tour, which was parked in the central Miaoulis square, and then headed for the Patron Saint Nikolaos’ church.

Syros has been and continues to be a major ship-building hub. Many of Syros’ inhabitants make a living off the shipping industry either working on the boats or sailing out to lands far and wide. Syros is also known for its loukoumia. Leivaradas and his protégé, Serres, are two of the biggest producers of this cloyingly sweet dessert.

This beautiful island has many historic buildings and was once the epicentre for justice, medicine and architecture for the Cyclades until the early 1900s. The island boasts many idyllic beaches: Galissa, Finika, Parakopi and have been immortalized by the late great Markos Vamvakaris who wrote and sang the famous rembetiko song Frangosyriani in 1932.


Syros is the birthplace of legendary Markos Vamvakaris the "patriarch of rebetiko" (O Πατριάρχης). Markos used to play the bouzouki with his fellow band mates at the Taverna O Katoga O Lili in Ano Syros. They have a painting maintained as a shrine in his memory on their wall.

Hotel Aktaion in Ermoupolis, the capital of Syros, overlooks the Aegean Sea. I spent five beautiful days admiring the sea, the fishing boats with their bounty and the myriad of cafes strewn along the shore. The hospitality of the hotel owner, Kiria Maria and her husband were second to none.

So this year, if you’re planning a trip to the Greek islands, why not check out Syros and all it has to offer. You will not be disappointed.

What is your favourite Greek island and why? Will you include Syros in your itinerary this summer? Let us know below.

By Staff Writer: Irene Fantopoulos | Irene’s blog