If you are looking for a reasonably priced quiet week away on the Greek islands, Syros is the place. Flights go from London airports to Mykonos, where a Blue Star ferry will take you the hours journey to Ermopouli, the capital of the island and surrounding Cyclades.
A peaceful island of only 32 square miles, Syros has a striking landscape, winding roads and beautiful rocky coastline. The hills of the small town of Galissas on the west coast are home to the blue and white holiday apartments which overlook the shallow, clear bay below. The town is clearly a Greek treasure, as tourists are few and far between and mostly of Greek nationality.
Galissas has three restaurants which all offer authentic Greek dishes and live music Friday to Sunday, with the possibility of eating outdoors on their whitewashed decking at night. Adjust to the ‘as and when’ Greek restaurant culture by ordering starters and salads to share with a meat or fish dish, which will all arrive whenever they are ready!
Though it looks a little run down, the cafe close to the beach is a gem, frequented by locals twiddling their worry beads and serving delicious chicken souvlaki, which the owner will proudly announce was made by his wife with the freshest ingredients. The tranquil environment means there is little to do on Syros besides lying on the beaches and exploring nearby coves on foot.
However, its close proximity to Mykonos means you can stop to explore the vibrant island en route to or from Syros. Mykonos Town is bustling by comparison, and consequently rather more expensive than Syros. Never the less it is definitely worth a visit as the architecture and harbour are stunning.
There is a lot to do on the island; from hiring scooters to enjoying beach parties; it is a lively, friendly place with great history and roots in Greek mythology. The 16th century windmills overlooking the town are a must-see, as are Little Venice and the pelicans on the waterfront. The trendiest of the Cyclades by far (the Kardashians holidayed there this year), a stopover in Mykonos is a great idea for those seeking a quieter retreat to the surrounding islands.