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In comparison with most Cycladic islands Syros has a sizeable population with over 20,000 permanent residents. As you might expect then it has a more substantial tourist infrastructure, with a wider choice of restaurant, bars, clubs etc. The largest town and main port, Ermoupoli, is not only the capital of the island but of the entire Cyclades and South Aegean region. 

Like most larger Aegean islands, it has been occupied since ancient times and fought over and occupied by just about every conquering nation that happened to be in the area. You don’t need to look too hard to find the cultural highlights. To the north of the island, on the hilltop at Kastri, the ruins are considered as one of the very first stone fortified settlements in ancient Greece dating back to bronze age days around 2800 BCE.  

Fast forward several thousand years and visit the wonderfully medieval town of Ano Syros, built during the Venetian occupation in the 13th century. Sitting high on the hill above Ermoupoli, dominated by the Cathedral of St. George, it’s network of narrow streets, colourful doorways, taverna and bars is mostly accessed by marble steps. Walk to the top for views over the water to neighbouring Tinos, Delos, Mykonos Paros and Andros.  

Ermoupoli is relatively modern, build during the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s. The architecture here is wonderful, with neo-classical buildings, old Sea Captains’ mansions and white Cycladic  rising up away from the harbour, which is the usual point of entry to the island (although there is an airport running internal flights). Miaoulis Square is the centre of social life, ringed with cafes and bars. 

Our recommendation: definitely ‘on the beaten track’ so a place to visit when you feel the need for civilisation and people around you. There’s definitely enough to explore for a whole day here and why not stay a couple of nights to enjoy the bright lights?  

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