Kalymnos may be known for its imposing rocks and rock climbing, but there is much more to the island. Take a day trip to the neighboring island of Telendos, visit a traditional house that tells a story of community evolution and enjoy the incredible beaches!
In addition to hiking, there are also dozens of beach options. From organised beaches like Massouri and Myrties to the natural fjord of Rina, there is a beach for everyone on Kalymnos!
1. Visit the Archeological Museum of Kalymnos
Kalymnos, one of the most beautiful islands in the Dodecanese chain, is renowned for its magical beaches and incredible rocky landscapes. It also has a welcoming culture and delicious local food.
The new Archeological Museum of Kalymnos was inaugurated in 2009 and is located in the heart of Pothia. It houses antiquities from the prehistoric and post-byzantine era, including marble and bronze sculptures. A major highlight is the ‘Lady of Kalymnos’, a magnificent Hellenistic bronze statue of a woman wearing a fringed garment. This was found in the sea in 1995.
A visit to the Archeological Museum of Kalymnos is essential for any tourist, especially for those interested in learning about the island’s history. Its compact layout makes it easy to navigate and provides a great overview of the island’s rich past.
Another popular attraction in the center of town is Kefalas Cave, a massive limestone cave that was once used as the political and cult center of ancient Kalymnos. It contains a temple of Apollo and Asclepius as well as remains of the Kalymnian parliament building. Inscriptions, vases, and fragments of figurines are just some of the finds inside.
Kalymnos is a hiker’s paradise, with a multitude of trails that lead around the pristine coastline. The paths are clearly marked and are perfect for both experienced and casual walkers alike. There are even a number of paths that lead to the top of the island’s highest mountain, Mount Tzoukali.
Although climbing and diving are the main activities that make Kalymnos famous, it offers much more than just these two water sports. Sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, and competitive swimming are some of the many other activities that can be enjoyed on this stunning island.
The local cuisine of Kalymnos is a mix of Greek and Mediterranean flavors. Some dishes that you must try include the Kalymnian take on stuffed grape leaves, called fila, as well as the savory soup of sardines and thyme, called avgolemono. Other highlights include grilled octopus with feta cheese, the island’s signature sweet treat, spinialo, and fouskes, a shellfish with a rock-like shell.
2. Visit the Maritime and Folklore Museum
Kalymnos is a small island that packs big adventures and deep traditions into its compact footprint. It is best known for rock climbing and sponge diving, but there are plenty of other things to do on the island too. You can visit the Archaeological Museum with its beautiful bronze female figure of the Lady of Kalymnos, the Maritime and Folklore Museum, which showcases the way people lived on the island in the past centuries, and the impressive Valsamidis Museum of Marine Artifacts.
During your stay in Kalymnos, you should not miss visiting the Kefalas Cave, which has six chambers and is also known as Zeus’ Cave because remnants of worship of the god were found here. The cave is spectacular, with a huge corridor of 103 meters that is filled with giant stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is located near Pothia and it is one of the most famous sights on the island.
Another attraction that shouldn’t be missed is the Castle of Chora, a stunning medieval castle that overlooks the sea. Its historic structures and unique architecture make it a must-see for history lovers. You can climb up to the top and enjoy the gorgeous view from here. There are also many shops and taverns that you can visit.
You can also take a boat from Kalymnos to the tiny island of Pserimos, which has a tavern and some nice beaches where you can swim and sunbathe. It is an ideal place for families with children, as it is not as windy and has calm waters. There are also many beaches that have crystal-clear water, perfect for snorkeling.
The cuisine of Kalymnos is delicious and the island has a lot to offer. You can try the local delicacies like the octopus fritters, which are meatballs made of octopus and herbs, as well as Spinialo, which is a soft white cheese with a nutty flavor. Other must-try dishes include thyme honey, which is one of the most famous products on the island, and mizithra, a buttery type of cheese.
Kalymnos is a fantastic destination for anyone looking to get away from the noise and stress of city life. Its natural surroundings, picturesque beaches and quaint villages are perfect for a relaxing vacation. You can even go hiking on the island’s many trails or explore the rocky landscape and admire its breathtaking scenery.
3. Visit the Sponge Museum
Kalymnos is known as the sponge capital of Greece, with a long tradition in this industry. The locals have made a name for themselves as sponge divers and this has been commemorated in the Sponge Museum located in Pothia. This is an interesting museum to visit as it tells a very different story of the island.
The museum is housed in the old Technical School and it was established in 1994. Its collections include a variety of documents that depict the life of the locals. They also have an interesting photograph collection from the beginning of the 20th century, which gives visitors a glimpse into the island’s past. It is interesting to see the various ways in which sponge diving was practiced back then.
Aside from this, the museum is also home to a variety of objects that are related to the culture of Kalymnos. This includes costumes, dishes, and furniture that are a part of the local heritage. The museum is worth visiting because it tells a very different story of Kalymnos.
Other attractions in Kalymnos include the impressive Castle of Chora, which was built in the 15th century. It overlooks the city of Kalymnos and is an important landmark that should not be missed by any tourist. Another interesting site is the Kefalas Cave. This cave is located very close to the city of Pothia and it has a very long corridor filled with amazing stalactites and stalagmites.
Among the other things to do in Kalymnos is to explore its beaches. The island has a number of different beaches that are both organized and secluded. Some of the beaches are sand while others are pebbles and all have crystal clear blue waters. Another popular activity is rock climbing. This is something that people can do at all levels of skill and it is a great way to enjoy the stunning landscapes of the island.
There are a lot of places to visit in Kalymnos and this is why it is such an attractive destination for tourists. People can get to the island through a combination of flights and ferries, depending on their budget and preferences.
4. Take a Tour of Pothia
The island’s capital, Pothia, is the perfect place to spend the day exploring its quaint streets and getting acquainted with the local culture. The town’s streets showcase everyday life in Kalymnos, featuring neo-classical architecture and a variety of beautiful pastel colored houses. Visit one of the sponge factories in town and learn about the history and traditions of Kalymnos’s famous sponge divers.
The Great Castle is another major attraction in the city, standing tall above Chora and offering a breathtaking view of the island. The castle was built by the Knights Hospitaller and is one of the most significant landmarks in Kalymnos. Those looking for a break from the beaches can also visit the many monasteries and churches scattered around the city.
Aside from the aforementioned attractions, there are many other things to see and do in Pothia. The Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos is a must-visit, as it showcases some of the island’s most valuable ancient artifacts. There’s also the Maritime and Folklore Museum, which is a must-see for those who love learning about Greece’s rich history.
There are also several food and drink options in the capital, including a wide selection of traditional Greek cuisine. Some of the most popular dishes include octopus fritters, spinialo and fouskes. Other tasty treats include thyme honey, kopanisti and mizithra.
In the heart of Pothia, you’ll find a variety of shops, as well as a few bars and restaurants. The best way to experience the town is by foot, as the streets are quite narrow and winding.
Pothia’s ties to the sea are evident everywhere, from the sponge museums to the numerous fishing boats that fill the harbor. The town also hosts festivals and events to celebrate its deep-rooted connection to the sea, ensuring that visitors will leave with a true taste of Kalymnos’s vibrant cultural heritage. The next time you’re in Pothia, be sure to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee and soak in the wonderful atmosphere! The town’s friendly residents are sure to make your stay a memorable one.