Best time to travel to Kalymnos is during the months June – September when the weather is perfect and the water is ideal for bathing, diving and generally for all kind of activities. The climbers tho who want to avoid the extreme heat are visiting the island from September – November and in the spring starting from March. If you want to experience the traditional side of Kalymnos then we recommend joining the locals during the Easter week when Kalymnian customs revive and there is plenty of delicious dishes and traditional music.
📅 June – July – August – September
There are two ways to reach the island of Kalymnos. First is taking the overnight ferry boat from Athens – Piraeus, which takes around 10 hours and costs 40€ one way. The second way is flying from Athens or Thessaloniki airport directly which will save you lots of time. The flights though are not available all year round so the other option would be flying to the island of Kos and taking a fast ferry to Kalymnos afterwards. We did this route ourselves intentionally in order to explore both islands.
The public transportation in Kalymnos, and in the most Greek islands, is not operating frequent enough and almost all the locals use their cars or motorbikes to move around. But you don’t have to worry as there are a few car rental offices where you can always have a decent vehicle to rent. Don’t leave it for the last moment tho as there are always other visitors on the island. We personally travel around Greece with our own motorcycle when possible or rent online.
Where to stay
Kalymnos is a pretty quiet island and you won’t have trouble sleeping from the noise of party lovers. If you want to be near the harbour, the museums and the multiple choices for restaurants and bars then you should stay in Pothia, the capital of the island. From there you can arrange your daily escapes to the rest of the island if you rent a car or motorbike. On the other hand, there are hundreds of remarkable studios and villas on the island that will not disappoint you. We stayed on the west part in Masouri area, at the Vouros Palace. The view to Telendos from our balcony was just, amazing!
Masouri offers fewer options for food and shopping but choosing to stay there one will be near the beach in more tranquil surroundings and with jaw-dropping views. Other areas around to consider for your accommodation in Kalymnos are Mirties and Panormos.
Find below our list with the best hotels and Airbnbs on the island of Kalymnos or use the map to browse yourself.
What to do
Despite Kalymnos is a small island there are numerous things to do while you are here. First of all, you must visit the Archeological and the Maritime museums to have some glance of history. Put on your schedule the Kalymnian House to get deeper in the lifestyle of the locals. Drive up to the Agios Savvas monastery to enjoy the amazing view to the harbour and the nearby islands.
You should definitely trek to the Prophet Elias church and maybe organize to stay for the night. The rocky trail is about 2 hours and is pretty hard but the sunrise from the highest point of the island absolutely worth it. Go snorkelling at the Vathi (Vathy or Vathis) Bay and have lunch at a nearby tavern. Stroll at the narrow streets of Pothia which is the island ‘downtown’ and grab a traditional chicken pie along with a cup of Greek coffee at the harbour promenade.
When you have finished exploring all the beaches of Kalymnos and tried your climbing skills with the Climb in Kalymnos school then you can cross opposite to the beautiful Telendos. This astonishing tiny island is ideal to enjoy a relaxing day on the beach and a romantic dinner overlooking Kalymnos.
Discover the most beautiful sandy beaches and bays around the islands of Pláti and Psérimos with a sailboat. Psérimos with its 130 inhabitants and the uninhabited rocky island of Pláti are must day tours from Kalymnos or Kos. Don’t forget to jump from a cliff into the cool turquoise waters and be prepared to take a photo of the ‘flying’ dolphins.
Kalymnos is a unique gastronomic destination. Not only the visitors outside of Greece are unfamiliar to its cuisine but also the Greeks are excited to explore the plethora of the local delicacies. Even ourselves, although we travel around Greece for many years we were delighted to taste new dishes that we haven’t met elsewhere.
What to taste?
Octopus meatballs, Lolos – octopus ink paste, the misunderstood Spinialo with the strong flavour of iodine, smoked tuna fillet, stuffed grape leaves, chickpea meatballs, Mirmizeli salad, Mouri – lamb stuffed with rice and of course the Kalymnos Pastries like Loukoumades and Galaktoboureko.
Where to eat?
Our favourite place for traditional fresh sea ‘meze’ and ouzo is called ‘Sfougaras’ and is hidden in the alleys of Pothia. There you can taste almost all the local sea delicacies. The Aegean Tavern or Aegeoplagitiko in Greek, that is offering traditional dishes since 1989 is another great restaurant to explore the local flavours. Located in Masouri it not only will delight you with its food but also with the stunning view.
What about drinks?
If you are in Kalymnos then the house wine, the Greek beers and the ouzo is something you can’t avoid during your meal. But when it’s time for a late-night drink there are some interesting bars to explore. Kafes kai Alati is a nice cafe where you can have a cocktail or just a tea with crepe. As an alternative visit the Ambiance Cafe Bar in Masouri. Domus in Kantouni beach is the perfect location for a sunset with a glass of wine and even for some dancing till midnight while next to the port of Pothia there a few bars that are recommended for their cocktails and the cheerful atmosphere.
It’s always nice to bring some souvenirs for friends and family when you return home from vacations or even shop something for yourself. Kalymnos has various local products to offer such as herbs, thyme honey, traditional nuts – kouloures, donkey milk products, decorative shells, sponges, olive oil soap and ceramics. All the above can be found anywhere on the island if you are willing to search a bit. Otherwise visit KalymnosShop.gr and shop online.
At the moment there are no co-working spaces on the island and to be honest, Kalymnos is not a digital nomad hub and won’t be anytime soon. There is a decent wi-fi connection at some cafes in Pothia and almost at every hotel. Before sitting somewhere with your laptop be sure to ask for internet password in advance.
Not to miss
📌 Visit one of the local sponge workshops
📌 Enjoy a romantic dinner on the tiny island of Telendos
📌 Explore the island of Pláti or the bays of Pserimos
📌 Go rock climbing or diving in the crystal clear waters
📌 Visit the Maritime museum in Pothia
📌 Taste the traditional ‘Mouri’ dish
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