Known throughout Greece as the island of the sponge-fishers – although Symi also built up a good reputation for this – Kalymnos has had to diversify in order to survive.
Many of the best sponge fields were wiped out by blight, others were simply overfished, some such as Libya’s went off-limits for political reasons, and then there was also the introduction of synthetic sponges. These aren't as good as the real thing but are much cheaper. Kalymnos did diversify, into shipping and also a modest amount of tourism, but there are still a few of the old sponge-fishing fleets around, which set sail for a few months in the late spring and early summer.
There is no doubt when you are in Pothia, the main town and also known simply as Kalymnos Town, that you are in a sponge-fishing centre. Souvenir shops have sponges by the hundred, and many shopkeepers will offer to show you how to tell the best sponges… which of course they naturally all sell. Others go a little further and will demonstrate the entire process, showing how sponges are turned from black, odorous objects to clean and pleasant ones that you are happy to share your bathtub with.
Away from the very busy harbour, the back streets of Pothia remain truly Greek, and life goes on pretty much as it has for centuries. The main sights in town are the 19th-century cathedral of Agios Christos, with its distinctive silver dome, the Archaeological Museum and the Nautical and Folklore Museum, which you'll find on the waterfront.
The main holiday spots are on the west coast, at Myrties and Masouri, which have good beaches and where you can also catch boats across to the offshore island of Telendos, where there are quieter beaches and a few places to eat and to stay. East of Pothia is Vathi, often called the Fjord of Kalymnos, a deep inlet of the Aegean that leads into a lush valley with several beautiful old-fashioned villages. It is one of the loveliest places on the island.
Photo by Milan Gonda (see more of his photos on our page Photos of Greece).
Flights to Kalymnos
Kalymnos has its own small airport, which connects it to other parts of Greece although there are no international flights. Olympic Air flights link Kalymnos with Athens, Astypalaia, Kos, Leros and Rhodes. To get to Kalymnos by air from overseas, you need to fly to the neighbouring island of Kos and take a ferry from there, or get a connection in Athens.
Greek authorities have announced strict lockdown measures for Kalymnos in the Dodecanese, after the island recorded a significant rise of coronavirus (Covid-19) infections.
German travel giant TUI will begin its summer 2021 holiday packages to Greece as of May 14, the date the country has scheduled to officially open for tourism.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece was ready to welcome travelers in safety this summer citing the priceless experienced gained last year.
Alonissos Mayor Petros Vafinis recently presented the municipality’s plan for the creation of an underwater archaeological park – the first of its kind in Greece – during a recent meeting with the lea…
Athens this year will welcome direct flights from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Newark and Washington DC, the Greek Tourism Ministry confirmed on Friday. The new flight from Washington to Athens wa…
Ryanair on Tuesday announced that the Greek islands are among the popular summer destinations included on its list of routes for Summer 2022. The airline’s early release of its Summer 2022 schedule al…
The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) has released updated Covid-19 aviation directives that extend travel restrictions for international flights landing in Greece.
Organized beaches in Greece will open on May 15 when the country opens for tourism, Greek Secretary General for Trade and Consumer Protection Panagiotis Stampoulidis said on Friday. Speaking to state…
You can get from Mykonos to Santorini, and of course from Santorini to Mykonos, by ferry, by plane (sort-of) or even by helicopter.
Greece is expected to lift its ban on intra-regional travel (movement between regional units) on May 15, which is the date the country will officially open for tourism. Non-essential movement between…