Kalymnos is an island located on the northern side of the Dodecanese chain of Greek islands, and sits near the Turkish coast. This island is set apart from the others near it by the dramatic mountains that cover a large part of the island. Most visitors are initially drawn to the western side of the island, where the scenery is the richest from the coastal highway. Pink oleanders sprinkle the lush green island that is surrounded by turquoise blue waters.
Traveling from the United States to Kalymnos is an endeavor, but worth the travel. You can expect to spend about 18 hours of travel, on average, when flying from Denver or the surrounding area to Athens. You can expect to spend longer if you have a layover in the UK before making your way to Greece. Once you arrive in Athens, there are three ways to make your final destination to Kalymnos. You can charter a plane or take a secondary flight to Kos and then take a boat to Kalymnos. Or, you can take your chance of booking a flight directly to the island, although flights are often cancelled due to high winds, though the good news there is in Europe some weather-caused flight delays can leave you eligible for flight compensation. The least expensive but most time consuming option is to take a ferry from Athens to Kalymnos.
Exploring the Area
There are a number of beach resorts on the island of Kalymnos, which offer luxurious relaxation and comfort. If you enjoy sunbathing in your birthday suit, you will not want to miss a couple days on the smaller island of Telendos. Telendos is a world renowned nudist destination where many Greeks flock to in the summer months. There are a number of beaches on the small island so make sure you look for signs for Paradise Beach, after arriving and before disrobing. For a bit of added fun, bring along your metal detector to explore the area’s beaches for precious items left behind by tourists before you. Delightfully enough, the island of Telendos is completely free of cars so, you can enjoy your sun bathing on these stony beaches without the sound of motors in the distance.
The cliffs that line the island are very enticing to the adventurous tourist. Luckily, if you forgot to bring your gear or have never been to rock climbing school, there is the Kalymnos Climbing School. The school offers lessons and rental equipment to allow for you to experience the beauty of available to you after ascending one of the numerous cliffs. The temperatures are super favorable for climbing, as they rarely hit 90 degrees fahrenheit, even in the dead of summer. During the annual International Climbing Festival every September, you expect to see temperatures right around 70 degrees, making it the perfect time of year to be scaling the beautiful rocks of the island. The islands have over 2,500 sport climbing routes, making it a desirable destination for any rock climber.
Make sure to visit Pothia, a town known for selling the natural sponges that the island is famous for. The water surrounding the island used to hold a large amounts of soft fibrous material that the today synthetic sponge is modeled after. The divers of Kalymnos used to deep sea dive, to gather the spongy material to sell in the local stores, but the resource has long since been depleted. Some of the locals still know where to find sponges, so they can still be found in local shops.
Museum and History
For the history buffs, there is the Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos located in the Vouvalis family’s 19th century mansion. The family were local sponge fishers and their home now is the holding place for figurines, pottery and coins from the 7th-1st BC era. It is here that you can learn about the rich history of Greece and, specifically, how Kalymnos came to be what it is today. To learn more about the tradition of sponge making, visit the Factory of Natural Sponges to learn more about the local art. The factory is located in Pothia and is run by the natives and locals.
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W.M. Chandler is a Colorado native and works best with her head in the clouds. She is an avid researcher and enjoys writing about unfamiliar subjects. She writes passionately about nature and the outdoors, human connections and relationships, nutrition and politics.