Falling in Love with Ermoupolis

Stone-paved streets, light earthy tones, ornate doors, and historical buildings characterize this brilliant capital of Syros island. Once you step foot here you will notice the uniqueness of Ermoupolis, a clean city with a charming and aristocratic vibe, blossoming voukamvilia trees, affectionate cats, and a vibrant past.

Named after the god Hermes and founded during the 1821 Greek Revolution, Ermoupolis is home to elaborate residences and churches. In the past, Syros island was host to a number of shipyards, making Ermoupolis a popular commercial center.

Interesting sites to visit here include the picturesque Vaporia area, which is famous for its waterside mansions. From the port, climb some 400 to 500 stairs (depending on which route you take) uphill while you explore neoclassical neighborhoods all the way to the bright blue-domed Church of the Resurrection. On your way to or from the church, take a peak into the tiny Cycladic Art Museum which features a number of figurines, artifacts, and statues dating back to the Cycladic civilization and Roman Era unearthed on Syros and nearby islands.

At the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary you will find iconography painted by renowned artist El Greco. In Miaouli Square you will find Ermoupolis’ neoclassical Town Hall, constructed by Ernst Ziller in 1898. Impressively large, this building is open to the public and worth a visit.

Nearby monuments include the Apollo Theater of Syros. Built in 1864 from marble and limestone, this theater is considered a miniature replica of La Scala di Milan and continues to host performances to this day. The Apollo and its display of historical photographs, texts, and costumes belonging to some of its famous historical performers, is open to the public for visits.

A tribute to the island’s modern history and economic development, the Industrial Museum of Ermoupolis is housed in old paint and tannery factory buildings. Exhibits here include vintage machinery, photographs, maps, tools, and architectural designs from the 18th and middle 20th centuries. For music fans, there’s also the Markos Vamvakaris Museum. Housed in the residence of this famous composer of Greek blues, or Rebetiki Mousiki, the museum features a collection of items from Vamvakaris’ life.

Ermoupolis makes for interesting walks full of things to see, and hosts a number of restaurants serving delicious and well-prepared local dishes with flavorful twists. Among them are “To Petrino” and “To Archontariki” which you will find in the quaint streets behind the port area. If your taste buds crave ice cream, try some interesting flavors made with local ingredients (including the black in color and spicy in flavor chili and cinnamon mix) at “Django.”

For a dip in the crystal clear Cycladic waters, visit your choice of Vari, Kini, Posidonia, and a number of other beaches. Or take a refreshing dip (without sand) in the port area. There’s a very clean spot right behind Hotel Hermes accessible by platform with a great view of the Vaporia neighborhood, but note the waters here are wavy.

The city’s center is full of streets lined with restaurants and shops, and the portside comes to life at night as locals and visitors flood the area for dinner and drinks. Despite its seemingly calm demeanor in the blazing afternoon, the port during the summertime stays wide awake with cafes and bars in operation until the early morning hours!

Chic and sophisticated with a great history, Ermoupolis is one of those places that stand out not only for its style, but for its calming, yet lively atmosphere. One of the less advertised Greek destinations, Ermoupolis maintains a tradition and flair that will make for a memorable visit.