Welcome to the Kalymnos Island guide, your go-to source for practical Kalymnos travel advice and a treasure trove of things to do in this captivating Greek paradise. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a beachcomber, or traveling with kids in tow, Kalymnos has something special in store for you.
Nestled in the heart of the Dodecanese Island chain, Kalymnos is a hidden gem. Our mission? To equip you with all the Kalymnos travel tips you need for an unforgettable experience.
So, if you’re ready to dive into the Kalymnos experience, keep reading. We’ve got the lowdown on must-visit Kalymnos sites, family-friendly adventures, and everything in between. Let’s embark on this journey together, making your Kalymnos vacation a breeze.
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General Information About Kalymnos Island, Greece
The Greek island of Kalymnos is located between the famous islands of Kos and Leros; it is the fourth largest island in the Dodecanese and is surrounded by small, rugged islets, some uninhabited, other ones, such as Pserimos and Telendos, with only a few houses and cafeterias.
The island has a rocky, very rugged landscape, with hills and mountains ideal for rock climbing; Kalymnos is a top climbing destination in Europe and is famous worldwide for this sport. A few isolated valleys offer a contrasting scenario.
Here is the short list of the best-guided tours you can join to get the most out of the island:
Best guided tours in Kalymnos:
- 🚢 Venture north of Kos for a full-day sailing adventure to the scenic location of Pserimos and Kalymnos
- ⛰️ Explore Kalymnos with a professional climbing guide who knows the island and can custom-make a program to suit your needs
- ⛵ Enjoy the sandy beaches, clear-blue waters, and traditional villages of Greece on a scenic cruise to Plati, Kalymnos, and Pserimos
The island is also famous for being home to some of the finest sponge divers in the world. Although this tradition has been lost for a while, life on the island still revolves around sea-related activities, including fishing and other marine water sports.
The island offers a great base to explore other Dodecanese islands, many of which can be visited with a short day trip, including Lipsi, Patmos, Kos, Leros, and Nisiros.
Where Is Kalymnos – Getting To Kalymnos
You can reach Kalymnos port by ferry (from Piraeus or other islands in the Dodecanese), with daily departures, or by plane from the International Airport of Athens, either with a direct flight or via the island of Kos.
It is also possible to reach Kalymnos from the airport of Bodrum in Turkey (also directly or via Kos).
When Is The Best Time To Visit Kalymnos Island
Located a short distance from the Turkish coast, in the eastern Aegean Sea, Kalymnos enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and sweltering and sunny summers, reaching 25 to 30 degrees in July, the hottest month.
The island has perfectly mild weather from the end of May until the end of September.
Top Things To Do In Kalymnos Island, Greece
These are some of the most interesting sites on Kalymnos Island, as well as a remarkable list of things to do in Kalymnos during your visit, in no particular order…
Discover The Former Capital, Chora
The small settlement of Chora is located in the center of the island. It was once the capital town and grew under the shadow of a vast Byzantine fortress over 300 meters above sea level.
It is possible to check the old ruins of former houses and nine different churches in the area, some of them with impressive frescos. The views from the top of the fortress are spectacular, spreading across the sea, the nearby island of Kos, the port of Kalymnos, and the nearby valleys.
Today, the island’s capital is Pothia, a seaside settlement worth a visit, home to the main port, countless restaurants, and all kinds of accommodations.
Check The Temple Of Kalymnian Apollo
If you are interested in ancient sites and ruins, it is a good idea to visit the Temple of Apollo, just minutes from the island’s former capital, Chora.
Built in Doric style and belonging to the Hellenistic period, it is said that parts of this ancient temple were used to make the church of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.
Visit The Archaeological Museum Of Kalymnos
Located in the village of Pothia, the museum is also home to the magnificent Vouvalis Mansion, an extraordinary example of urban architecture from the nineteenth century. The museum focuses on the island’s history from the Prehistoric Period, with finds dating from the Neolithic down to the Mycenaean times.
There are also findings from the Minoan era and large marble Cycladic statuettes. There are also collections of old silver and bronze coins and jewelry, both from Kalymnos and Kos, and relief oil lamps, altar miniatures, figurines, and metal tools.
The island also has a few caves which you can visit. The biggest is The Cave of The Seven Maidens, close to Pothia. It is thought this cave is haunted by several local girls who were trying to run away from pirates.
Kefalas Cave is another option, with a huge corridor inside and very impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Inside, there are old items that were placed there to worship Zeus, and there are six chambers to explore.
Finally, we have Skalion Cave, which has some weird and beautiful stalagmites and stalactites to check out. However, this cave is less accessible than the others, so make sure you wear suitable footwear and take your time.
Admire The Findings At The Valsamidis Museum Of Marine Life
This private museum is in the coastal village of Vlichadia. It features exhibits related to the local sponge fishing, sea plants, sea animals, and an exciting collection of trade amphorae and other findings from ancient shipwrecks.
This is a fascinating place to visit with children who will love to check the different kinds of sponges, corals, shells, fish, and strange sea creatures, but also all the sponge diving equipment, ancient findings, coins, and even an ancient wreck from the collection.
Pothia Old Town
This small and very picturesque port town sits on two hills and is surrounded by lush greenery all around it. You’ll find winding, cobbled streets and old buildings to check out. Walking through the streets is really relaxing, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into history. However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing modern to explore, as you’ll find cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops.
Vathy is a small village that is stunningly beautiful and very natural. Here is a very low-key and slow pace of life, which is so refreshing from the rest of the world’s fast-paced speed. You’ll find small fishing boats and people milling around, yet walking is a beautiful way to find something new. There are some great photo opportunities here.
Rina’s Natural Fjord
This natural bay is so stunningly beautiful that you have to visit it. You can swim here, and the water is crystal clear, and there are small bays where you can chill out and sunbathe. There are some ruins of old houses and some fantastic diving opportunities if you’re experienced.
Sea World Museum
This large museum is quirky but fabulous fun and an excellent way to escape the sun for an hour or so. There are many different types of sea sponges and shells on display, as well as some weird and wonderful creatures found in the local area. However, the main attraction is a shipwreck, complete with its cargo.
Learn About Kalymnos’ Traditions At The Traditional Kalymnian House
This fantastic exhibition is a ten-minute drive from the town of Pothia. It is a private folklore museum featuring objects of popular culture and household items.
Among the exhibits are attractive local costumes, bridal dresses, houseware, a curious hand mill, and traditional furniture; areas of the museum are also dedicated to paying homage to the strong and close relationship that the islanders have always maintained with the sea.
The Great Castle is one of the island’s best attractions, and the views are amazing. It was built back in the 1400s by the Byzantines, and it was used right up until the 19th century before being abandoned and now used for tourism purposes. You will need to walk quite a few steps to get to it, but it’s definitely worth it for the view.
The other castle on the island is Chrisoheria Castle or Pera Castle. This castle was built when the Knights of Rhodes were in power, yet it was abandoned in the 15th century. Despite all the time that has passed, it’s incredibly well-preserved, and you can walk around with ease.
Try The Local Food
Wherever you go in the world, it’s important to try some local cuisine, and Kalymnos is no different. Mermizeli is a famous salad from the island, which you’ll find served with most dishes.
Kalymnian dolmades are vine leaves stuffed with various fillings and rice, and you have to try octopus fritters, with octopus caught locally. Another thing to add to your list is spinalo, a shellfish caught in the waters around the island.
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Other Remarkable Places To Visit In Kalymnos And The Nearby Area
Kalymnos is full of many other interesting places to discover, such as the magnificent Kastelli Fortress and the ruined Byzantine Fortress of Agios Konstantinos on the tiny islet of Telendos.
In the small settlement of Vathi, there is an impressive ancient Christian Basilica worth a stop when checking the area.
Climbing On Kalymnos
The most popular thing that you can do in Kalymnos is climbing. No matter your skill level, there’s always an opportunity to take your first steps or go for adventurous experiences if you are an experienced climber.
During the past 20 years, Kalymnos has been considered one of the world’s top sport-climbing holiday destinations. With a rocky landscape featuring rock faces of unique quality for sport climbing, the island is also known for the breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea.
Kalymnos features almost 2500 well-equipped sport climbing routes for all levels, ranging from easy routes for beginners to tough ones for the experts, both single and multi-pitch routes, including technical wall climbs and wild overhanging.
There are many climbing instructors on the island that you can contact for climbing lessons and guiding. Every year, Kalymnos holds the Climbing Festival too. Remember that the island has a special Rescue Team that offers help in any accident concerning climbing or other on-land activities.
Diving On Kalymnos
Home to one of the wealthiest and most beautiful seabeds in the Mediterranean, Kalymnos is known for its impressive submarine vegetation and sea life.
The island boasts an excellent infrastructure for safe diving conditions combined with an ancient sponge harvesting and diving tradition. It is good to remember that the local hospital is equipped with a modern decompression chamber for those still uncertain.
Check Other Sports Available In Kalymnos
Although climbing and diving are the top experiences that have made Kalymnos rather famous, you can enjoy many other sports on the island.
Hiking is one of them; with dozens of well-marked paths, the island is a perfect place to explore a unique landscape while walking either along the coast or far from the sea. On Kalymnos, it is also possible to go fishing, sailing, and even practice windsurfing.
Best Beaches In Kalymnos
The island, still relatively unexplored and wild in some areas, is home to beautiful beaches, some of them hard to access but owners of stunning beauty. These are some of the most remarkable beaches in Kalymnos that you should visit when traveling to the island.
Reasonably family-friendly, Arginonta is a pebbled beach, well-organized, and relatively calm since it is about 15 km from the town of Pothia; therefore, it is not so easy to access if you don’t have your own car.
The beach is on a picturesque bay with loungers, umbrellas to rent, and a few good seaside restaurants. If you’re not renting a car, you can visit with the bus that departs from Pothia, the island’s capital.
Probably the most crowded and popular beach on the island, this pebbled shore is a few steps from the harbor and the center of Pothia. The beach is not so big, so it is easy to find it overcrowded in summer. There is some organization, and it is easy to reach on foot.
Located about 8 kilometers from the capital, Myrties remains one of the most popular beaches in Kalymnos.
Organized and featuring an excellent touristic infrastructure, the beach tends to be overcrowded during summer. The beach has shallow waters and small pebbles and is a good and safe place for families with small kids.
Another organized beach with pebbles suitable for the whole family is Kantouni, featuring long extensions of soft, golden sand and crystal clear water, appealing to those in long swimming and sunbathing sessions.
Home to a resort of the same name, Massouri Beach is a partly organized pebbled beach, suitable for families, about 10 km from Pothia.
The area is calm and quite relaxing; there is a good organization, and staying in the area can be an excellent alternative to the more crowded and noisy Pothia. The beach features an impressive surrounding landscape of rocks and high hills and offers incredible sunset views.
Platis Yialos Beach
Look no further if you are after some bizarre and unique landscape. Platis Gialos is an unorganized beach featuring black sand and pebbles located about 7 km northwest of Pothia Town.
The landscape is stunning, with imposing rocks and a clear contrast between the pristine waters and the dark coast.
Kalymnos With Children
Kalymnos is a fine destination for families that want to give their kids adventurous experiences. Whether climbing, diving, snorkeling or even hiking, the island’s landscape is unique for children interested in outdoor adventures.
Older kids good at swimming can take the challenge of swimming the one kilometer that separates the island from Telendos.
The whole family can take up this challenging adventure and enjoy some time exploring the tiny islet. If you are too tired to return swimming, you can arrange the pick up with a local boat before the departure.
Best Places To Eat In Kalymnos
Excellent fish and seafood are the main ingredients on the island. Don’t miss the locally produced honey and the fresh local aromatic herbs such as oregano, thyme, and rosemary. If you’re looking for the tastiest places to eat on the island, check the following suggestions:
This restaurant is located in the village of Vlychadia, specializing in seafood and Med cuisine. Although it can be a bit hard to find, once there, you will not only love the fantastic homemade cuisine, but the seaside panorama is also to die for.
The perfect romantic spot by the sea, Dreamcatcher is located in the fishing village of Emporio and serves a mix of seafood, Mediterranean, and international cuisine. The place opens for breakfast, lunch, and dinner too. The place opens for breakfast, lunch, and dinner too. Book a table with privileged sea views if you are in the mood for an unforgettable evening and an excellent location.
Ambiance Cafe Bar
Located in Massouri, this is an informal place perfect for a drink, a cold coffee, or a snack after a whole day spent at the beach. It features comfortable seating areas and a variety of delicious and refreshing cocktails. It is a perfect place for breakfast and brunch and opens for lunch and dinner.
Top Kalymnos Hotels
If we have convinced you that Kalymnos is an excellent place for family and adventurous holidays, the next step is to book your place to stay.
Here, we present our selection of the best places to stay on the island to compare and check the best option according to your budget. These are some of the best hotels in Kalymnos; take a look.
Budget Places To Stay In Kalymnos
Manolakis Pizanis is the perfect place to stay in Kalymnos if you are looking for a very budget-friendly property a few minutes from the capital. Located in the village of Emporio, this accommodation enjoys top reviews by dozens of happy guests.
Each unit has a beautiful terrace for relaxing after hiking and fishing in the nearby area, featuring free private parking, air-conditioning, and a private kitchen. The hotel is a few minutes from the beach, while the National Airport of Kalymnos is only 9 km from the property. More information here
Oasis Hotel is a sustainable property located in the well-known village of Massouri. Located only 50 meters from Massouri Beach, the hotel boasts beautiful stone-paved terraces and sunny rooms open to a furnished balcony. The hotel offers stunning views of the nearby islet of Telendos and the Aegean from almost every unit.
The on-site snack bar with comfy stone-built sofas serves a wide variety of homemade sweets and snacks, while a delicious buffet breakfast is prepared daily. Guests can enjoy a lounge area, a library, and a gift shop among the hotel facilities. There are plenty of local taverns and restaurants within a short walk from the property. More information here
Mid-Range Places To Stay In Kalymnos
Hyperion Hotel is near the port of Myrties, a top location for a relaxing holiday in Kalymnos. The hotel is close to Pothia, while Pothia Beach is less than 2 km from the venue.
The hotel offers perks such as express check-in and check-out and allergy-free rooms. Guests can take advantage of the gorgeous terrace and use the dedicated luggage storage space if visiting other nearby islands.
Kalypso Studio is a stunning property in Myrties, only 50 meters from Myrties Beach. The property has a beautiful outdoor pool with a sun terrace, snack bar, and self-catered studios, all opening to a balcony with views of the Aegean Sea and Telendos Island. They include modern amenities, including a satellite TV and a kitchenette with a refrigerator. Guests can enjoy massages and beauty treatments arranged upon request, too.
The area has several restaurants, shops, and a mini market, while the beaches of Melitsaha and Massouri Beaches lie within meters of the property. The island’s airport is only 4 km from the hotel. More information here
Luxury Places To Stay In Kalymnos
Petra Boutique Homes offers straight views of the Aegean in Arginonta, only 200 meters from the beach. The complex features holiday homes built according to the local architecture, fitted with beamed ceilings and built-in beds and sofas.
The houses open to a private terrace; some also come with a private pool. Each unit has a fully equipped, colorful kitchen, a fireplace in the living room, and a flat-screen.
Via Ferrata House is probably one of the most excellent holiday homes on the island. It is located on Massouri Beach Road and boasts breathtaking mountain views. The accommodation has a curated garden and a balcony, two bedrooms, a bathroom, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with sea views.
The villa is about 4 km from the Castle of Kalymnos and 1.5 km from Pothia Beach. The property offers free parking, while the airport is only 3 km from the property. More information here
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How To Get To Kalymnos
Kalymnos is straightforward to get to during the summer months in particular. You can choose to travel there by ferry or plane, or you can do a combination of the two. The island has a small domestic airport, so you’ll need to connect to another city, usually Athens, and then get a domestic flight over to Kalymnos, which only takes about an hour.
You could also choose to travel by ferry from the mainland. There is a ferry from Piraeus Port, Athens’ main port, over to Kalymnos. However, it will take about 10 hours to get there, so booking a comfortable cabin will make the whole thing much easier. There are ferries around three times per week, so it’s a good idea to book your ticket ahead of time.
If you’re on another island, such as Kos or Rhodes, which both have large international airports, you can then take the ferry over to Kalymnos and save travel time. Of course, that also means you’re seeing more of the Greek islands during one visit, which is never a bad thing.