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Dodecanese Islands | Kalymnos

Kalymnos ...more on Kalymnos

... The island of Kalymnos lies just to the north of Kos and is only 45 minutes distant by ferryboat.  It is a dry, rocky island with two fertile valleys wedged between three limestone ridges, which today attracts rock climbing enthusiasts from around the world.  In fact, the west coast area of and around Massouri could be called a rock climbers “hangout,” and even local accommodation in the area features “climbing sector views.”
The holiday season starts in late April/early May, peaks around mid-August, and ends at the end of October.  Late October is the quietest time, when most of the package holidays have finished for the season.  The weather is still very good, and the beaches and resorts are not crowded.  Though Kalymnos does not have an international airport, many of the large European tour operators feature the island in their programs, with charter flights arriving at Kos, connecting with taxi for the 10-minute drive from its airport to Mastichari on the north coast of Kos, then by short 45-minute ferry trip across to Kalymnos.  The island also serves very well as a two-center holiday combined with either Rhodes, Kos, Leros, or Patmos. 
The main town and port serving the island is called Pothia and is situated on the southeast coast of the island.  This is the second largest city in the Dodecanese (Rhodes Town is the largest), and it is picturesquely situated amphitheatrically overlooking the port.  The majority of Kalymnians make their home here (currently about 16,000), and lovely old mansions, with large walled gardens, can be found along its back streets.  Of particular interest in the town are the sponge diving school, several excellent museums, and the nearby therapeutic springs of Thermapiges.  All of the island’s tourist services are centered here, as is the bus terminal and ferry terminal with departures for nearby islands and the mainland. 
Scuba diving is permitted at the beach of Vlihadia, at the southernmost part of the island, which also features an interesting museum dedicated to the sea and, of course, to sponges.  From here, you can view the islet of Nera, former home to monks long since gone, though their monastery still remains.  It is possible to visit the islet for a simple day of swimming, walking, and eating at the only existing taverna on the tiny island.  Small caiques depart from the main port of Pothia, on the southeast coast of the island. 
In the waters of its sea, just 700 meters west of Kalymnos, you will find the small barren island of Telendos, a quiet characteristic place of fishermen and sponge divers, and blissfully free of all motor vehicles!! This makes an ideal day trip to enjoy lovely walks, good fishing, nice tavernas, and interesting scenery, including the ruins of a 13th Century monastery.  Frequent daily boats depart from the town of Myrties, a popular beach resort on the west coast of Kalymnos. 
The most important product of the fertile valleys of the island is citrus fruit, primarily oranges and tangerines, which also are exported.  Since the island is dry, many herbs grow in the wild, such as thyme and oregano.  Kalymnos also produces its own honey, and has plenty of olive groves, especially in the area of Elies (the Greek word for olives).  The island also has a thriving fishing industry, as can be seen by the many seafood varieties available at tavernas and restaurants. 
The former capital of the island, called Hora, lies approximately 2.5 kilometers inland from Pothia, and has about 3,000 inhabitants.  It is a delightful town to explore, with lovely whitewashed houses and tiny back streets, and it offers superb views over the island.  From here, you can visit and explore the Pera Kastro, a former citadel of the Knights of Saint John, and currently being reconstructed. 
Today Kalymnos surely reflects the great charm and kindness of its people, who proudly display their rich and ancient cultural heritage.  It offers an incredible variety of places to explore and activities to pursue, the simplicity and freshness of an outstanding cuisine, and the stunning natural beauty of an island so firmly united with and bound by the treasures of its deep blue sea.