This island of barren rock, golden beaches and tiny green valleys owes its fame to its celebrated sponge fishers. This is the main profession for men on the island, and the theme for many local dances and folk songs. Sponge-fishing means a yearly excursion to the seas off the North African coast. Sponge-fishers of Kalymnos leave with their boats every spring. Their departure is a moving and important event which is therefore accompanied by glamorous religious ceremonies. After approximately five months' hard work sponge-fishers return to the island. One feels then the relief and joy that overtake the people of Kalymnos. The whole island puts on festive dress and prepares to celebrate the return of the sea-beaten sailors.
Kalymnos or Pothia, the island's capital, amphitheatrically built, descends to the port like a multicolored torrent of bright houses, churches, and belfries.
Roads are scrupulously clean and full of oleander. On the coast lies the church of Jesus Our Savior; its interior is decorated with murals and old icons painted by local artists. The temple has been constructed by Giannoulis Halepas, the famous sculptor. With the city as our base we shall visit the wonderful countryside and villages.
In the southwestern part of the island (35 minutes by motor-boat) we shall visit the cave of Kefala or Trypa, (=hole of Kefala) with its stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the caves of the Seven Virgins or Cavern of the Nymphs at the foot of mount Flaska, the cave of Scalia to the SW, also Therma - radioactive springs (about 1 km south of the city) recommended for many illnesses. Therma is equipped with modern bathing facilities, specialised personnel and rooms for visitors.
Chorio, the old capital of the island, is built as the foot of the medieval castle. As we approach we can discern on our left the remnants of the Franco-Byzantine "Outer-Castle". Around Chorio there remain ruins of the church of Jesus of Jerusalem, built towards the end of the 4th century AD. To the southwest we see the monasteries of the Evangelist and St Catherine, both equipped with hostels for visitors. On the 27th of July, feast of St Panteleimon, there are celebrations for the Saint with folk dances and songs.
Along the island's western coast there are places full of beauty - Linaria and the villages Myrties, Masouri among others.
With its tiny bays and surrounding islands, Kalymnos is ideal for amateur fishermen. And its transparent sea flavors underwater fishing.
Visitors of Kalymnos also have the chance to taste traditional local dishes: "lei", "mirmizeli", "psises". From Kalymnos we can easily visit the nearby tiny islands of Telendos and Pserimos, which offer idyllic sites for swimming and fishing. Kalymnos has a yacht refueling station.
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Municipality official website:www.kalymnos-isl.gr