This is what a few days on the Greek island of Syros look like
Bays with soothing beaches, taverns and restaurants serving fresh food straight from the sea, and quiet on every corner.
This is what a few days on the Greek island of Syros look like. Hiday Biran managed to go on vacation in Greece before the corona returned.
When we booked our summer vacation early there was a feeling in the air that the corona was behind us. Not only Greece, more countries were opening their gates to the vaccinated Israeli tourist. As the departure date was approaching the fear was increasing, as the plague situation in Israel, as well as in Greece, was getting worst. Luckily for us, the concept we chose for the holiday turned out to be most appropriate for this crazy period – in a private home, without unnecessary contact with a hotel staff and without friction with other guests.
The article was published on the Israeli website Yediot.co.il
Ferry from Athens
We chose the Greek island of Syros which although considered central to the Cyclades is less touristy. We were promised a real Greek experience.
A short flight to Athens – while paying close attention to masks at both Ben Gurion Airport and the plane – because who wants to check out on the island without being able to board a flight back home.
A pre-booked taxi ride and we are already in the port of Piraeus: Dozens of cars that will also board the impressive and modern ferry are Already waiting on the pier. Wearing their white uniforms, the Greek Coast Guard checks our vaccination certificates and in a short time the passengers and vehicles are already on board.
The two hours and 45 minutes of the cruise pass pleasantly as we sit in comfortable armchairs in an air-conditioned space. On the right you can already see the island and also feel the rising level of our excitement towards the approaching to the harbor. The ferry door – which is also a ramp through which passengers and cars descend – opens and the port city of Hermoupolis is revealed in full isolation and the heart expands. It looks like in the movies.
Marina with yachts and a variety of vessels, old and stylish houses. Colorful restaurants. And especially an atmosphere of relaxation. Thanos, our landlord, is already waiting on the platform with the red car we ordered and instructs us to follow his scooter on the way to happiness.
Leaving the city, which is currently temporarily noisy due to the arrival of the ferry, we are already winding on the mountain road on the way to the village of Fabrika named after a ceramics workshop that used to be there and is about 7 kilometers from the port.
Turn off the main road brings us to the narrow streets and typical villages of the Greek islands. The houses are built up to the narrow road, and the driving is slow and careful taking into account the drivers in the vehicles coming from the opposite side because only one vehicle can pass here at a time.
The lights of Mykonos
We arrived at our spacious house that sits as promised in front of charming coves in the sea and between them a small mooring for fishing boats. Because the house is so close to the sea, we make sure when parking to pull the handbrake and engage the first gear in the vehicle so that we do not find it in the morning at sea. The house is properly equipped: kitchen with full equipment (including dishwasher), rooms with clean sheets, soap and shampoo like in a hotel and even a washing machine.
The design is also pleasant and inviting. But most important is and the covered balcony, into which we will wake up in the coming days: there is no end of deep blue in a variety of shades, and in the distance – if there is good visibility – the lights of neighboring Mykonos Island can be seen at night.
Thanos gives us a short briefing and provides recommendations on restaurants, beaches and entertainment options on the island, and we say goodbye to him until the next (and last) meeting that will take place on the pier before sailing back to Piraeus.
Now we are already on our way back to the city in order to visit one of the restaurants he recommended, and enjoy the wonderful dishes of Greek food: lots of fresh seafood and fish, fresh Greek salad at every meal, traditional and stuffed dishes. In the coming days we will visit the excellent restaurants again, each according to its special style and unique location. On the way back to our house by the sea we enter a supermarket to fill the fridge with fresh supplies.
We will open the next few days with a homemade breakfast that I will prepare and eat on the terrace facing the sea: fresh salad, toast and good coffee. The main thing that will keep us busy will be how to choose the one beach where we will spend the day among the many and wonderful located in the surrounding bays.
Whether to go to Kini Beach, which sits in a deep natural bay, and includes all the necessary services at various levels – including taverns, restaurants and bars, and whether to rent a thick sunbed mattress or settle for a towel on the sand, and what drink to order.
Another option is to go to the wonderful Agathopes beach and sit on the popular beach or alternatively book a place in advance for the prestigious ONO complex located on a reef between two bays and rub shoulders with the local elite of the island, or rather go to the nearby Komito beach with the selection of services it offers. The deliberation may seem difficult, but in the end everyone will be able to find their favorite beach, and the delicate balance between services and pampering and a pristine beach. Between a diverse human landscape and the desire to be alone on beaches that are almost private. Nudism lovers will also be able to find the right beach for them here. Each beach and its special beauty. They all sit in spectacular coves where the sea twinkles for you in a selection of shades of blue and turquoise and the water is so clear that you can see your feet. The coves also make the water calm and calm even on days when the wind is blowing and the sea outside is a bit stormy.
In these peaceful days on the island, all we cared about was whether to eat at the beach at noon or wait until the afternoon to visit one of the restaurants. Those who choose the latter option will be able to combine it with an evening walk in Hermoupolis – on the harbor promenade or enter through the alleys, bars and restaurants with the yuppie look. In any case, it is advisable to dedicate one of the evenings to visiting the impressive town hall, built in the 19th century, the large plaza in front of it, as well as the ancient and impressive theater nearby.
One evening it is recommended to dedicate to Ano Syros, the ancient Catholic city perched on a hill above Hermoupolis, to walk through the alleys and dungeons that are typically reminiscent of the ancient cities of Jaffa and Jerusalem, to visit St. George’s Cathedral at the top of the mountain. During the trip, which includes quite a few ups and downs, you can sit in one of the restaurants and taverns. You can also visit a small museum dedicated to the Greek musician Markos Vamvakaris, one of the forefathers of the Rembetico music whose island of Syros is considered its home. Listen to sounds, look at pictures and instruments and watch a documentary about it.
Forms and codes
72 hours before we return to Israel and we are on our way to the center of Hermoupolis again, this time to perform the corona test without which we will not be able to board the flight back. This should be taken into account and no form should be forgotten. Even before you fly to Greece you will have to fill out a statement to the Greek Ministry of Health. Only at midnight before your departure will you receive an email from the Greek authorities without which you will not be able to board the plane. For example we get the requested codes only at midnight before our departure.
We booked the cruise back to Athens for the day before the flight home to take a safety factor against delays in the ferry schedule. We spent a night in Athens and even managed to tour the three squares that define the heart of the Greek capital and we were already on our way home, back from the dream to reality.