Luxury holidays in Syros

One of the smallest (but grandest) of the Cyclades’ sun-spangled islands, Syros owes itself to the tide’s good fortunes. When the ship of the island’s ancient king, Koiranos, sank between Paros and Naxos, it was a dolphin that came to his rescue, transporting him back to the safety of his native shores. Likewise, the Agios Stefanos, a chapel built among the rocky caves of Galissas was created by a fisherman whose life was saved by a giant octopus. Indeed it seems that Poseiden has been keeping an eye out for craggy old Syros, whose next maritime miracle came in the form of merchant refugees fleeing the Greek war of independence. Among them were skilled stonemasons from neighbouring Tinos and Paros who paved the streets with marble and erected decadent neoclassical buildings that transformed the island from a rocky port to an architectural hotspot full of aristocratic flair. Today, the island is a cultural banquet that extends far beyond the beach (though you’ll certainly find them, too). The swaggering locus of Ermoupoli has all the pizzazz of a Venetian fever dream, with ornate palazzos, gold-domed theatres and prodigious piazzas, but outside of the capital things get a little more Cycladic; think rugged hillsides, ancient churches and the indulgently idle passage of time.

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When to go

If there’s one thing the Cyclades have in common, it’s their near-perfect Mediterranean climes. Even in the winter months the temperature rarely dips below 10 degrees. And with 15 festivals a year – from opera to cinema – you’ll never be short of things to do.

Getting there

  • Planes

    The nearest International hub is Athens. Find direct flights from most major UK and European cities, as well as the US, Asia and the Middle East. From Athens, express bus X96 will take you to the port of Piraeus, where scheduled ferry services depart for Syros twice a day. Journey times vary from two to four hours, but make sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment.
  • Automobiles

    While a car can be useful for exploring the island at your own pace, the island is compact enough to explore by public transport, or better still – by bike. Road conditions are generally good but if you do decide to drive, park up before heading into Ermoupoli where streets tend to be narrow, steep and parking spots rare.