Ano Syros is the perfect destination for those who love wandering through the picturesque alleyways of a historic town. This sort of fortress settlement perched on a hill dates back to the 13th century and it’s still well preserved.
Its historical buildings are an example of traditional Cycladic architecture mixed with medieval Venetian influences and they were all built during the Venetian domination, that is between 1204 and 1207.
The narrow streets are winding and uphill and they are lined with white and colorful buildings, flowers, bougainvillea, typical taverns, and souvenir shops. Don’t miss the amazing view of the Aegean Sea from the highest point of Ano Syros and take your time to get some of the best pictures of your entire trip!
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A Guide to Ano Syros
History of Ano Syros
Ano Syros was established by the Venetians soon after the end of the Fourth Crusade when they conquered the Cycladic archipelago. For this reason, Ano Syros is still home to a catholic community gathering in the Cathedral of Saint George, which is located at the highest point of the town.
Ano Syros was conceived as a defensive outpost and it was made inaccessible thanks to its concentric structure, its narrow and winding alleys, and a complex system of gates. For all these reasons, it remained unchanged over the centuries despite the pirate attacks.
How to get to Ano Syros
- On foot from Ermopoulis: Ano Syros is just 1,5 Km away from Miaouli Square, so you can walk and get there in about 30-40 minutes. The uphill path is quite steep (especially the final staircase) and you shall be reasonably fit to really enjoy this walk, but it’s suitable for everybody wanting to have some exercise. Don’t walk up there in the middle of the day, especially in summer when it will be too hot and sunny.
- By taxi: you can get to Ano Syros in about 10 minutes at a cost of about 5 euro.
- By bus: it takes 15 minutes and the ticket costs 1,60 euro. For more information visit https://www.syrostoday.gr/KTEL
The best time to visit Syros / Ano Syros
The best months are April, May, September, and October when you’ll find the perfect weather conditions for some sightseeing on the island. You’ll also find fewer tourists around, which will make your visit even more pleasant.
July and August are also great months to visit Syros but the temperature is usually higher and it tends to be more crowded. Especially, August as Syros is an island a lot of Greeks prefer for their summer holidays.
If you are spending your summer holiday on Syros Island, the best time of the day to visit Ano Syros is from 7 p.m. on: it’s cooler and you’ll have the chance to watch the sunset from its top and enjoy a night out when the town comes alive. It’s not necessary to stay overnight because Ano Syros can be fully visited in just a couple of hours.
Things to see in Ano Syros
Historical Archive of Ano Syros: learn more about the history of the town thanks to a number of official documents, letters, manuscripts, and ancient objects.
Exhibition of Traditional Professions: a wide collection of everyday objects (from the barber’s scissors to a sewing machine) telling you the stories of local workers. Opening hours: 2 – 10 p.m. closed on Monday
Museum of Markos Vamvakaris: this house museum was set up in 1995 to celebrate the life and the works of this famous local composer. He was “the father” of a Greek musical genre called “rebetika” and it’s still an important place for music lovers. In his house, you’ll be able to see his everyday objects, his pictures and even his passport! Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (closed on Sunday and Monday)
The Piazza: the heart of the town where you’ll find the Museum of Markos Vamvakaris
Catholic Complex of Saint George: the complex overlooks the town and the sea and it includes the cathedral, the bell tower, a baptistry, a sacristy, a hospitality room, the historical archive building, and the Episcopal Palace. The interior of the cathedral is worth a visit thanks to its rich marble decorations and the statues made by some Italian artists in the XVIII century.
Monastery of the Capuchins: it dates back to 1653 and it’s dedicated to Saint John. At present, no monks live there, but it used to play a major role in this community managing both the school and the hospital. The inhabitants of Ano Syros used to hide inside the crypt of Saint John’s church during the pirate attacks.
Monastery of the Jesuits: close to the Monastery of the Capuchins, you’ll find another religious building dating back to 1744 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. At present, a couple of nuns live there.
Church of the Virgin Mary of Karmilou: it belongs to the Monastery of the Jesuits and it’s worth a visit to admire an icon of the Virgin Mary coming from Rome.
The Spring of Agios Athanasios: just outside Ano Syros, you’ll find a small church dedicated to Saint Athanasius and dating back to 1631. Its location is worth the detour since it overlooks the sea and it’s surrounded by trees and a natural spring giving this place a peaceful and charming atmosphere. That’s also the perfect place to watch the sunset.
Where to eat in Ano Syros
- Lilis: ideal for a summer dinner outdoor enjoying the view and tasting some grilled meat or fish. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll also be able to listen to some local rebetika music!
- Syrianon Kafepoteio: have a drink watching the sunset from the terrace and tasting some local snacks.
Air: Syros has its own airport, which is situated just two kilometers from Ermoupoli, the main town. There are domestic flights from Athens all year through. The flight takes 35 minutes. During the summer n months, there are also internal flights from Thessaloniki on most days.
Ferry: There are ferries from Pireaus (Athens) to Syros, almost daily and these operate all year round. During the summer months, there are additional ferries from Rafina Port which is situated close to Athens Airport.
The ferry takes 3.5 hours to the island and there is the opportunity to island-hop as there are many inter-island ferries. Tinos is just 30 minutes from Syros and Mykonos, 45 minutes. It is also possible to visit Andros, Ikaria, and Lesvos from Syros.