Kalymnos

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Getting to Kalymnos

Dodekanese map

Where is Kalymnos? Located just north of Kos off the coast of Turkey, Kalymnos is one of the Dodecanese group of islandss.

There is no internional airport on Kalymnos, despite its size, but domestic flights from Athens land at Argos, a few kilometres from the island capital of Pothia.

Most arrive on Kalymnos by ferry with Dodekanesos Seaways providing a daily catamaran service with other routes operating from Kos int eh south and Leros in the north.

There are only two main roads on Kalymnos; one folows the south coast and the other runs up the west coast to the main beach resorts. The rest of the island is reached along tracks or mule trails.

Kalymnos is noted for its challenging cliffs and peaks and it attracts rock climbers from all over the world

Updated for 2016

Kalymnos flights: travel by air

A small Kalymnos Airport (JKL) is located at Argos, a few kilometres from the port capital of Pothia on the west coast near the resort of Panormos. There are scheduled services daily from Athens International airport.

The nearest international airport is on the neighbouring island of Kos, which not only takes domestic flights from Airlines but is also served by UK summer charters and some low-cost airlines during the summer months.

Kos International Airport (KGS) is located 26 kilometres west of Kos Town and about 10 kilometres south of the ferry port at Mastichari and many holidaymakers choose a flight to Kos and a ferry to Kalymnos.

The recent growth in cheap flights to Kos by no frills carriers such as easyJet and Ryanair have made a flight to Kos and a ferry to Kalymnos a popular option.

Kalymnos ferries: travel by sea

Kalymnos is on the main Dodecanese ferry route for long and middle-distance traffic so trips to nearby islands like Kos, Leros, Patmos and Samos are not a problem.

The fast catamarans of Dodekanesos Seaways run daily services to and from Kos Town with a crossing time of around 45 minutes.

Blue Star Ferries also has three sailings week from Kos Town harbour with a journey time of about one hour and four sailings on the Piraeus to Kastellorizo route calling at Kalymnos, Kos and Rhodes.

Daily ferry services operate from the small port of Mastichari on the north coast of Kos. ANEK Kalymnos runs car ferries, the 'Olympios Appollon' and 'Olympios Zeus' while the smaller, faster passengers boat Kalymnos Star travels to Pothia on Kalymnos via the islet of Pserimos. There are several sailings daily but times depend on the season. It also runs services to Samos three times a week and to Astypalia on Monday to Thursday.

The Bodrum Ferryboat runs service from Kalymnos to Bodrum and Turgutries in Turkey with a crossing time of about 75 minutes.

Kalymnos map: getting around

Kalymnos belongs to the Dodecanese chain off the Turkish coast between Kos, about 12 kilometres to the south and Leros just two kilometers north.

A population of about 16,500, makes Kalymnos the third most populated island of the Dodecanese after Kos and Rhodes and its roughly 21 kilometres long and three kilometres wide at its narrowest with an area of 109 sq km.

Kalymnos is a mountainous island with three main chains running north-west to south-east and two valleys in between. The steep limestone bluffs make for ideal rock climbing country.

The coastline is highly irregular, with many sheltered coves. Once the capital of the Greek sponge fishing industry, Kalymnos divers noted for their skill until disease wiped out most of the sponge beds in 1986.

Kalymnos has a pleasant Mediterranean climate with dry summers. At the height of the summer temperatures can soar upwards of 30°C, with average highs of 32°C.

Prevailing northerly winds start in June and strengthen until September helping to keep humidity lowr.
Spring and autumn see mild days with 7-8 hours of sunshine and showers quite common in April and May. Heavy rains can be expected in winter months.

Kalymnos transport: travel on land

Car rental

The two main roads on Kalymnos run along the south coast through Pothia and north-west from Pothia to the west coast resorts. Another small road that runs north-west from the east coast village of Vathi to Stimenia.

Steep bends and narrow roads make driving difficult. The streets of Pothia were resurfaced in 2005 after years of neglect.

Taxis cruise the main route from Pothia to Massouri but disappear around 11pm when the last ferries have pulled in from Telendos. Buses are cheap and punctual, though not very frequent, and you must get a ticket before you board from the local supermarket or kiosk. Kalymnos bus timetables can be found here.

The rugged limestone landscape makes Kalymnos ideal for walkers and rock climbers. In spring, the hillsides are swathed in thyme and oregano making for pleasant aromatic walking and food for the Kalymnos island bees and flavour for the honey on sale in many island shops.

A paved donkey track that leads from Pothia to Vathi is considered one of the best walks in the Greek islands.

Kalymnos rooms: places to stay

Rooms

Most visitors arrive at the large port of Pothia, the island's capital and the second biggest town in the Dodecanese after Rhodes. Pothia is a busy, bustling town, sandwiched between two mountains on the hillsides which curve around the bay. There are plenty of hotels and other accommodation as you would expect in a busy port on a major ferry route.

Most holiday accommodation is found along the west coast which has the beach resorts geared to the package holiday market. Visiting rock climbers stay in the beach resorts of Massouri, Armeos and Myrties, as these are located below many of the most popular crags. The resorts have a wide range of accommodation from expensive hotel complexes through to budget hotels, self-catering apartments, villas and rooms to let.

It is recommended to book accommodation in advance especially when visiting Kalymnos in May or October, the most popular months for climbing and the Kalymnos Hoteliers Association has a website

The monasteries of the Evangelist and St Catherine have hostels for visitors. There are no campsites on Kalymnos and casual camping is not encouraged.