We didn’t initially plan to go to Syros when we first made our Greek island hopping itinerary, but what a wonderful surprise we had in Galissas beach! This diverse island is off the typical tourist track, and after visiting we think that will change very quickly. The locals are proud of their home, extremely welcoming, and excited to share it with you. So how did we end up deciding to travel to Syros?
Arriving by flight into Mykonos, it was actually cheaper to take the ferry to Syros island then continue on to Paros and Naxos. For the same cost to go from Mykonos to Naxos, it was cheaper to go Mykonos, Syros, Paro, and then Naxos! So we got three islands for the same price as one by playing around with our dates and the ferry schedules.
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Arriving on Syros Island
Your first introduction to the island will be stepping off the ferry and into the heart of downtown Ermoupoli. The administrative capital of the Cyclades is stunning, especially with the pink, yellow, and blue buildings sprinkled between the traditional white Greek architecture. We decided to take a break from the bigger towns and head straight to the more secluded Galissas, which also happens to be one of the best Syros beaches!
Getting to Galissas Syros
Bus (45 minutes): The bus is a good option for Syros travel, but comes with a warning… No one really seems to know when it’s running! When you get off the ferry take a left and the bus stop will be just past the gas station. Our boat arrived at 2:45pm and we caught the 3:30pm bus to Galissas Syros. We enjoyed this loop to get a feel for Syros island, but if you don’t want a long ride it’s best to pay for a taxi.
*FOOD ALERT: If you’re taking the bus you HAVE to stop in and get the most delicious Gyro we’ve had in all of Greece! Believe it or not, it’s so local the name isn’t even listed online. If you continue on the street leading away from town, about 30 seconds after the bus stop is a small Gyro shop on your right. Once you get a waft of delicious lamb meat and see it spinning, you’ll know you’re there. Also, please send us the name if you go so we can add it to this post!
Taxi (10 minutes): From the ferry, you can grab a taxi for €10-12 Euros. Just make sure to set the price when you get in for this mode of Syros travel. Note that the bus wraps around the south of the island making Galissas one of the last stops. This is the reason it takes so much longer than a taxi, as the car just fires straight across to the beach!
Our Visit to Galissas Syros
The small town of Galissas Syros is a local bubble that comes alive during July and August for their busy summer months. Visiting the Syros beaches in May meant we were one of the few tourists there, and we really enjoyed the peace and quiet.
We spent our days hiking through the hills, swimming in the dreamy blue water, and drinking wine at a local watering hole. Locals we spoke with on other islands talked fondly of Syros and confirmed that it was indeed very traditional. This is definitely a place to relax, take in the beautiful Syros beaches, and fall in love with Greek culture!
Syros Beaches: Galissas vs. Armeos
Of course Galissas has its main spot in the sand, but there is also a secret place that not many tourists know about! So what’s the difference between these two Syros beaches?
Located in the center of town, the main beach stretches the entire cove with its soft sand and crystal clear ocean. A few restaurants and bars open during the summer months, and umbrellas and chairs line the water. The hillside to the left towers over Galissas with the Agia Pakou church shining atop. It’s only a 10 minute hike, and you’ll have an awesome view of Syros and the surrounding mountains.
Armeos Beach Syros
Up and over the small hill and church sits the hidden beach of Armeos. The beach is rocky and it’s much smaller than its counterpart of Galissas. Although it’s less crowded, you might be in for a different surprise when setting up your towel and getting ready to jump in. This is commonly a NUDE beach, so don’t be shocked about this part of Syros travel when you see everyone around you stripping down!
Eats and Treats in Galissas Syros
Our mornings started with a massive and delicious breakfast that was included with our accommodation. For lunch and dinner there are half a dozen restaurants to grab a meal in town, from cheap Gyros to upscale dining. Still, you know that if you visit in off or swing season most of the restaurants will be shut down.
There is however a small mini-mart that sells beach snacks and drinks. Make sure not to skip the massive freezer with trays and trays of homemade ice cream sticks at the store! Here are some of our favorite restaurants and bars that were open when we visited.
Manoúsos: This was our go-to place for dinner. The simple shop gets slammed at night serving giant Gyro plates, greek salads, and other local specialties.
Angelino: Right on the corner of the main street, this coffee shop is a perfect place to relax and take in the morning. The bus also pulls up right in front so you can grab a coffee while you wait.
Green Dollars: Great local spot to grab a craft of wine or beer for sunset.
Savvas: If you’re looking for a nice dinner out this place is for you! Savvas specializes in local homemade greek dishes so you’re sure to find something yummy here.
aVentoura: This is the only restaurant that we didn’t go to because it was just starting to open. Yet, it is still worth mentioning because it is the only spot located right on the sandy beach.
Exploring More of Syros Island
Hike to Agios Stefanos Church: Just over an hour hike from Galissas you will find a one-of-a-kind church on the hillside. It was built by a local fisherman who was saved from the tentacles of an octopus after praying to the holy saint. I bet you weren’t expecting to hear that while planning your Syros travel!
Explore Ermoupoli: Take an afternoon to explore the main town during your stay. Walk through the streets and stop at one of the many cafes, or grab a bite to eat on the ocean in the port. For the best view work your way up to the beautiful Church of Resurrection that sits above the city.
Rent a Car or Motorbike: There’s no better or more fun way to see Syros island than renting a vehicle and circling the entire thing! This is the best way to see all the landmarks, eat local food, and find secret swimming holes of your own.
Visit More Syros Beaches: Syros is home to many nice beaches, but Galissas was definitely our favorite! If you can, check out as many as possible. Agathopes, Kini, Delphini, Vari, and Megas Gialos are all worth seeing and having a swim at.
Our three short nights flew by and we left excited to return again! If you’re looking for a more relaxed and local island to visit during your trip to the Cyclades, consider adding Syros Island to your itinerary. Have you been here, or have any other information to share about Syros travel? Please let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Where To Stay In Galissas Syros
Luxury (High End) – Hotel Benois – Located right on the beach with a beautiful pool behind the property. Bar on-site and just steps away from all the great restaurants.
Fun Vacation (Mid Range) – Ventoura Studios & Apartments – Our home during our stay! Just a few steps back from the beach you’ll find these wonderful studio apartments. Each room has a balcony with a view, and the property has a jacuzzi and steam room as well.
Budget Life (Longterm Travel) – Manousos’ Rooms – Most central location you’ll find and right across from the bus stop. The rooms are above a restaurant and happening bar during the summer.
For more places to stay on Syros Island you can check the latest prices here!
Greece Travel Planning
Information: Explore all our articles on Greece, amazing destinations around the world, street food guides, and more travel planning tips!
When island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies.
Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Crete to Athens for under $50 USD!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: You can book a rental car for around $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities in Greece. You can find everything from visiting the Acropolis in Athens to wine tasting in Santorini, and a boat tour in Milos.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
Rhodes: Planning a Trip – Renting a Car – 23 Things to Do – Old Town – Elli Beach – Kallithea Springs – Lindos Guide – Lindos Acropolis – Monolithos – Melenos Art Boutique Hotel – 11 Best Beaches – Anthony Quinn Bay
Karpathos: Fun Things to Do – 1 Week Itinerary – Must Try Food – 6 Best Beaches – Olympos – Saria Island Boat Tour – Sky Express Review
Crete: 10 Day Itinerary – 19 Food & Drinks – Matala Hippie Caves – Elafonisi (Pink Sand) – Renting a Car – Bus Tips – 20 Facts – Vai Beach Palm Trees – Best Things to Do
More Dodecanese: Halki Island – Symi Island Guide – Symi Things to Do
Cyclades: Moon Beach Milos – Adamas Milos – Ios – Naxos Beaches – Naousa Paros – Galissas Syros – Mykonos Old Town – Santorini
Corfu: Old Town Food – Greece to Albania Ferry
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I SPENT A WEEK OR SO SLEEPING ON THE BEACH AT GALISSAS AND ARMEOS BACK IN 1971! I WAS WITH MY BEST FRIEND AND WE MET OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES CAMPING OUT UNDER THE PINES AS WELL. WE BUILT A HUT OUT OF DRIFTWOOD ON ARMEOS TO SHADE US FROM THE SUN. VERY UNCROWDED BACK THEN. I SPENT TIME TWICE A DAY UP AT THE TINY CHAPEL ON THE HILL, GAZING OUT AT THE SEA, AND THANKING THE GODS AND GODESSES. IT WAS A VERY SPECIAL PLACE. WOULD LOVE TO GO BACK ONE DAY, BEFORE I GET TOO OLD!
Wow what an amazing story. Syros is still so beautiful. Thanks for sharing!