|Introduction - About Kalymnos Island
is a Greek
island and municipality
in the southeastern Aegean Sea.
It belongs to the Dodecanese
and is located to the west of the peninsula of Bodrum
(the ancient Halicarnassos),
between the islands of Kos
(south, at a distance of 12 km) and Leros
(north, at a distance of less than 2 km): the latter is
linked to it through a series of islets. Kalymnos lies
between two to five hours away by sea from Rhodes.
The island is known as
In 2001 the island had a
population of 16,235, making it the third most populous
island of the Dodecanese, after Kos and Rhodes. It is known
in Greece for the affluence of much of its population, and
also stands both the wealthiest member of the Dodecanese and
one of the wealthiest Greek islands overall. The
Municipality of Kalymnos,
which includes the populated offshore islands of Pserimos
(pop. 130), Telendos
(54), Kalólimnos (20), and Pláti (2), as well as several
uninhabited islets, has a combined land area of 134.544 km²
and a total population of 16,441 inhabitants
Kalymnos is one of the most interesting Islands of Dodecanese.The Island is also called "Nisi ton Agalmaton" (Island of Statues), because it has many statues, which were made, by expenses of the sculpture Mihali Kokkinou and his daughter Irinis Kokkinou-Lalopoulou. Its coasts have beautiful beaches, some pebbled and some sandy. The cave of Nymphon and of Kefala, in the south, and the cave of Dascaleio, in the north, places of worship in ancient times, are today among the attractions of island. The most important product of the fertile valleys of the island is citrus fruit, which also are exported. In the waters of its sea, 700 m. from Kalymnos, there is the small barren island of Telendos, a quiet characteristic place of fishermen and of sponge divers.
The most beautiful beaches are on the west coast of the island and are Panormos, Kantouni, Linaria and Plati Gialo.Other beaches on the west coast are Mirties, Masouri, the gulf of Arginonta and Emborios.On the east coast of the island there are beaches in Ormo Akri and at the harbor of Bathi.
Kalymnos is a great place for a holiday. An island that is really Greek, but quickly feels like home. You'll want to come back! The holiday season starts in late April/early May, peaks around mid August and ends in October. Late October is the quietest time. You'll always find somewhere to stay - and even in August the resorts aren't uncomfortably crowded. The availability of flights is less certain. It's wise to book ahead. Package holidays are sold at reasonable prices in many European countries - especially the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Holland, Germany, Belgium and France.
Sponge fishing has been carried out in Greece since time immemorial. The use of sponges was described by Aristotle and mentioned in both Homer"s Iliad and the Odyssey. For centuries now the Greek sponge trade has focused around the Dodecanese, with one indisputable epicenter - the island of Kalymnos.
Finding sponges, diving to harvest them from the ocean bed and selling them throughout the world is a commerce in which Kalymnos has excelled. Little wonders that sponges have been called "the Kalymnian gold". But sponge diving represents much more even than this. It is a skill, a challenge, a saga of loss and gain, of appalling tragedy and fierce pride that remain to this day a poignant and inextricable part of the very soul of this rugged island. To know this story is to understand something of the essence of Kalymnos and its people.
According to mythology, Uranus and Gaia had many children: the Titans, the Giants, the Cyclopes, and the Hundred-handed. Aware of the fact that one of his sons would dethrone him, Uranus threw them to Tartara, the bottom of the earth. One of his sons was Kalydnos who fell on a piece of land, which later emerged, to the surface forming a complex of island called "The Islands of Kalydnos". Today, every island has its own name and they all surround the largest, called Kalymnos. The island, with its huge mountains, has two small plains, which, if viewed from above, resemble the legs of Kalydnos. According to myth, Kalydnos, once the god of Ades, became a sea god, yet no evidence of his worship was ever found. The first people who inhabited Kalymnos were Kares, Leleges and Pelasgians.
The Achaians came to the island after the end of the Trojan War, establishing the town of Argos in the area of Amfipetres. Later, Dorians from Peloponnese settled here, living harmoniously with the locals. After the Greek cities of Asia Minor submitted to the Turks, Kalymnos came under the rule of Artemisia, queen of Alikarnos a true friend of the Persians. The island was a member of the First Athenian Alliance supporting the Athenians in the Peloponnese war, only to come once more under the rule of the Persians and Artemisia B', as the Peace of Andalkides (387 BC) left the islands exposed. Ptolemeus, a General of Alexander the Great, liberated Kalymnos in 333 BC. During the Hellenistic Era, Kalymnos submitted to Kos, while, in 44 BC, the Romans who removed all the art treasures and imposed heavy, unbearable taxation, on the locals, conquered the island. In the Byzantine Era (330-1204 AD), the island suffered pirate raids and the rule of the Persians and the Saracenes while the universal earthquake in 535 AD altered the shape of Kalymnos.
In 1306, the Knights from Rhodes who imposed heavy taxation and work on the locals, without providing any protection from pirate raids, occupied the island. In 1495, the fierce Turk, Hamza, who occupied the island and raided and massacred the locals, while Kalymnos was destroyed by a new earthquake, attacked the island. Ten years later, Vayiezit B’attacked the island, but the coordinated effort made by both the locals and the Knights scared him away. The Turks occupied the island again in 1523 AD. Kalymnos, like all the Dodecanese islands, participated in the Greek Revolution in 1821, but in London Protocol (1830), did not include the island inside the boundaries of the Greek state. The Turkish Occupation lasted until 1912, when Kalymnos was occupied by Italian troops. In 1943 the island was given over to the Germans until 7 May 1948 when it was united with Greece. As early as the 12th century B.C., Homer wrote that the island sent two kings and thirty ships to the battle of Troy. After the Trojan War (according to Diodoros) four of Agamemnon's ships were wrecked near Kalymnos on their return journey. Their crews stayed on the island and built a settlement in Argos.
In 535 AD, KALYMNOS experienced a huge earthquake, with vibrations that lasted 14 days. As a result, the old capital of Kellaris was lost under the sea and Telendos became a separate island.
From the 14th century, Kalymnos suffered hundreds of years of occupation by the Turks, who made it part of the Ottoman Empire. Kalymnians always resisted, as far as possible, the influence of their foreign rulers and fought bravely in the Greek War of Independence, which started in 1821
Ottoman rule was again established in 1830, but throughout the 19th and early 20th century KALYMNOS struggled to maintain its own identity, providing education, health care and a literary and culture center. This was also the period when sponge diving thrived and created prosperity for the island. In ancient times, the Dorians colonized the island, the history of which had no important events and is tied with that of nearby Kos. In Classical times, it was an ally of Athens and later it passed under the domination of Rome. Later in its history, the Venetians in 1204, the Turks in 1522 and the Italians in 1912 conquered the island.
Kalymnos has a new airport that
commenced operations on August 10th 2006. The airport is
located at Argos, Kalymnos (IATA CODE: JKL), located a few
kilometers from Pothia. Olympic Airlines has scheduled
service daily from Athens International airport. It is
possible to book flights FROM Kalymnos Airport on line - or
you can ring Olympic Airlines or visit a travel agent.
Airsea Lines also
flies schedule seaplane service from Lavrio Port, a few
kilimeters west of Athens, to Kalymnos.
The next closest airport is on nearby
Kos (airport code KGS) which has a regularly scheduled
service on Olympic Airlines, and is well-served by low-cost
airlines during the summer months to Central and Western
Most visitors arrive from the nearby
island of Kos via frequent ferry service. There are two
services; 'Anem Ferries' runs a large boat (The 'Olympios
Appollon' OR The 'Olympios Zeus') which can take vehicles,
and the 'Kalymnos Star' is a smaller, faster, passenger-only
boat (occasionally replaced by the even smaller 'Kalymnos
Dolphin'). Both vessels arrive in Pothia on Kalymnos. Both
ferries depart from Mastihari on KOS island. Each makes
several sailings a day, the number depending on the season
and trade. There are alo a number of direct ferries from Kos
town which stop at Pothia - they run every day from Rhodes
to Athens and stop 'en-route'. Also the 'Dodecanese Express'
- a fast and classy catamaran runs almost every day from Kos
town also, as do the 'Flying Dolphins' - cigar shaped
It is also
possible to travel directly to Kos as well as
Turkey, and other nearby Greek islands. There is regularly
scheduled ferry service to/from Athens.
- Kalymnos is a relatively small draw compared to the
neighbouring island of Kos but during the summer months the
island swells with Greeks and tourists enjoying the sun and
- Since 2000, Kalymnos has become one of the premiere world
destinations for rock climbing. The season spans year round
though the most popular months tend to be the spring and
fall when the heat is less intense and there are fewer
visitors. At last count, there were almost one thousand
sport routes on the superb limestone crags. The routes are
almost entirely bolted (sport climbing) with fixed anchors,
most featuring lower-offs. A 60m rope will suffice but more
and more routes that are being put up (including many of the
well-worn classics) require a 70m rope. You'll also want to
have no less than 16 quickdraws.
If you are in Kalymnos to climb, your
first trip should be to the Outdoor Athletic Association
(called such because they coordinate and track the climbing
on the island). The association runs a small office north of
Myrtes (near the Poets wall) and is open daily during the
mornings. Here you'll be able to get the latest route
information and a free print-out of the routes -- a listing
of the grades with directions on how to get to each crag,
from there you'll find the routes as they are painted at the
base of each route.
Take a taxi, or a bus, from Pothia
to the top of the island. Massouri and Myrties are pretty
busy and right on the road. But, the last village on the
island, Emborios, is a haven of tranquility with a great
beach (some of the hungriest, most persistent goats you'll
ever meet), convivial bars and restaurants and a discerning
crowd of visitors from around Europe. Harry's
Paradise on Emporios
is located in an olive garden with a lot of flowers where
you can taste traditional dishes with unique receipes and
also enjoy your stay at the really wonderful studios and
apartments located in the beautiful garden. You could also
take a one-way boat trip here from Myrties, a breezy,
enjoyable way to arrive. There are plenty of rooms for rent
in the village.
Kalymnos - Panormos
Kalymnos - Massouri
Kalymnos - Mytries
Kalymnos - Pothia
Kalymnos - Vathi
Kalymnos - Vlihadia
Kalymnos - Kastelli
Kalymnos - Arginondas
Kalymnos Island Airport
Kalymnos Getting There
Kalymnos Get Arround
Kalymnos Island Sponge Diving