The island of Kalymnos, Greece boasts great treasures that are waiting to be found. This small island of pristine beaches, a captivating valley, stunning rock faces, late night party scenes and of course, delicious authentic Greek food makes this a place that you must discover for yourself.

Kalymnos is situated between Kos and Laos and is the fourth largest island in the Dodecanese. The island is very rocky, known for being one of the top destinations for rock climbing. However, it's also extremely relaxing, with visitors and locals sipping frappes on one of over ten beaches with crystal clear waters and awe-inspiring views. Kalymnos is a unique island that can satisfy any travelers no matter what they are looking for. If you are in need of adventure, find yourself diving deep in the Aegean Sea looking for underwater treasures with one of many scuba instructors, or if you want to unwind, have a coffee or adult beverage on the Platia, or town square, where visitors will find a line of beaming cafes awaiting your arrival.

This lesser known Greek island holds a lot of history and culture. While it isn't as popular as other more common Greek islands, its people are genuine and its places are serene and just as charming. Travelers will love this hidden gem and all that is has to offer.

21 A Hidden Gem

Kalymnos, Greece is a part of the Dodecanese, a group of fifteen larger and 150 smaller Greek islands in the southeastern part of the Aegean Sea. The island is the third most populous island of the Dodecanese, after Kos and Rhodes, with approximately 16,000 people. Kalymnos is known as being the home of the sponge diver and is considered the oldest occupation on the island. It's also famously known for rock climbing, with people around the world visiting the island to test their skills on these massive dramatic mountains. However, if you aren't into climbing, there are over fifteen beaches to explore with pristine blue waters and sandy beaches.

20 A Rock Climbers Paradise

Kalymnos is known for its large mountains, vast sea, beautiful beaches, and villages. However, it's most stunning geographical features is its mountains that overlook the towns and beaches and make the island that much more magnificent. Kalymnos is considered one of the greatest sport climbing areas in the world with over 2500 routes where expert climbers will find a variety of pockets, thin vertical climbing, beautiful limestone walls, and of course views that will take anyone’s breath away. Sports climbing began in the mid-nineties on the island, with even the goats used to the steep climbs. One of the best climbs is the Arginonta Valley, with shade all day and well bolted, easy to mid grade routes, it has become one of the most popular climbing routes.

19 Pristine Beaches

With the island being surrounded by the Aegean Sea, there are numerous beaches to visit. Whether you want to relax on a quiet pebble beach or hang out with locals on a more popular beach, there are plenty of options for everyone. Some of the most attractive beaches on Kalymnos are Massouri, Emporio, Kantouni, and Myrties, where you'll find sunbeds and umbrellas lining the sand. However, there are also more secluded beaches like Arginota beach, which is located off the main tourist resorts and Linaria, which is quieter than the other main resort beaches.

18 Stunning Views

Dazzling blue waters surrounded Kalymnos and are a paradise for those traveling to see its mountainous views and relaxing beaches. One of the most popular destinations for vast beaches is Masouri, which lies on the slopes of a mountain that ends at the beach. You'll find many sunbeds and umbrellas that line the shore, cute beach bars with delicious food and drinks and the most stunning views of Telendos, a large island with no roads or cars, that sits right across from visitors who are spending a day on the beach in Masouri. You'll also see amazing views making your way to the village of Vathy, the most fertile areas on the island, and at the top of Kalymnos Monastery of Agios Savvas, where you'll literally get to see views of the entire island, its ports and the Aegean Sea that surrounds it.

17 Visit The Lively Capital Of Pothia

One of the ways to make your way to Kalymnos is by a ferry from the island of Kos. The ferry takes travelers to the capital city of Pothia, a bustling and lively city where travelers will find colorful cafes lining the streets, boats bouncing along the shores, charming shops, numerous old churches, and museums. Most of the local population counts on tourism to make ends meet, and you'll find an extremely friendly atmosphere with hard working people who want your experience to be filled with fun and lasting memories. At night, sit along the pier to try fresh seafood like octopus, and after, choose one of the many vibrant cafes to sip your choice of drink.

16 Fertile Valleys

Kalymnos is also a lot greener than its neighboring islands, with fertile valleys like the village of Vathi, located in the middle of an arid and mountainous site and located at the most fertile spot on the island. Driving up and around a mountain, you'll spot goats lying in the shade and you can even see the entire village and its picturesque homes and port filled with fishing boats, starting at the gorgeous Port of Rina up to the Stimenia area. Vathi contains the largest and most productive farmland growing grapes, tangerines, and you'll also find honeybee farms and goat farms. When you make your way to Rina, you'll find hotels, cafe shops and restaurants serving traditional Greek food.

15 Secret Beaches All Around

With the island being surrounded by water, you'll find plenty of beaches that aren't as crowded as those in Masouri, Myrties or Kandouni, which are very popular with both locals and visitors alike. One of the quieter beaches is Akti beach, which is located near the road leading to the valley of Vathi. The beach has fine sand and crystal clear blue waters and on the sand, you'll find a small tavern offering mouthwatering Greek food. There are various sandy spots you can even find yourself that won't have loud music playing or tons of people, just a relaxing atmosphere with the sounds of the ocean and views of continuous mountains and hills.

14 A Rich Collection Of Caves

There are a collection of caves scattered in the many mountains of Kalymnos that can be visited, with other caves never being explored or are closed to visitors for fear of getting lost. Most of these caves were discovered by oceanographer Anastasios Christomanos and are overhung with massive stalactites and stalagmites and have a lot of humidity inside. The most popular cave is the cave of Kefala, which is considered one of the most beautiful caves on the island. In the Kefala cave, visitors will see traces of worship of Zeus, which is why the cave bears the alternative name "Cave of Zeus." There are also stories about "secret schools" located in the many caves, where students were taught the Greek language and culture when the country was occupied by both the Turks and later the Italians after WWII.

13 A Picturesque Monastery On Top Of A Hill

While in Kalymnos, you must visit the Monastery of St. Savva, located on the top of a hill above Pothia. The church is stunning, made of stone with a red tiled roof and is dedicated to Agios Savva, the patron saint of the island. Agios Savva was known as a miracle worker, and you can find numerous items, like photos, crutches, trophies, and awards that people have given to the church as tributes to him. The location is also one of the best places to see amazing views of the town, the port, and the sea. These panoramic views of the entire town of Pothia are simply magical; so make sure you visit the monastery while on Kalymnos.

12 A History Of Sponge Diving

Kalymnos was well known for sponge diving, which helped this island succeed since the ancient times. The southeastern Mediterranean waters provide the best conditions for the sponges to thrive and where you’ll find the finest quality of sponge. Sponge diving has been called "the oldest profession" in Kalymnos and for centuries, the island remained as the center of the sponge diving industry in Greece. The sponge diving industry contributed to this island's economic and social development, and even though you won't find as many sponge divers today, you can still find numerous shops selling sponges, as well as a nautical museum showcasing articles related to times when sponge diving flourished on this island.

11 Scuba Dive In The Aegean Sea

If you're looking for more adventure, go scuba diving in the Aegean Sea, whether you are a beginner or an expert, you'll be around qualified divers who will show you how to carefully dive in the waters and see the stunning seabed. As a beginner, you will practice how to breathe underwater and learn the basic safety measures. For your first dive, Kalymnos Diving Center's instructors will take you six meters deep, witnessing marine plants and animals. For your second dive, you can go twelve meters deep, exploring Posidonia meadows, the forest, and lungs of the Mediterranean Sea, sponges and touch a sea urchin!

10 Walk Along The Ports

Pothia is the best area for tourist shopping with numerous shops selling handmade items, jewelry, and crafts. After you've explored the many shops, head to the pier for a snack like a fresh grilled octopus, barley-bread salad, tuna or swordfish with views of the boats rocking back and forth on the water. Many of these boats are used for fishing and you'll also find a number of impressive yachts and tour boats. It's a splendid time when the sun sets where you'll find cafes bustling with locals hanging out with friends and family and enjoying a few cocktails. While the cafes can get packed at night, you'll always find a spot with waiters hurrying to accommodate everyone and make their night enjoyable.

9 Eat Fresh Seafood At A Lovely Taverna

There are a bunch of tasty restaurants on the island serving the freshest food around. Of course, there is a plethora of seafood like swordfish, tuna, octopus, squid, sea urchins and a variety of other dishes cooked in every possible way and caught every morning from the ocean. You'll also find traditional Greek food such as lamb or goat stifado, dolmades, moussaka, and souvlaki. While you sip exceptional Greek white wine, you'll have amazing harbor views or views of the sea depending on where you choose to dine on Kalymnos. Pair fresh grilled octopus with a glass of ouzo, or have a Mythos of Alfa beer with practically anything on the menu.

8 Important Historical Museums

To understand the history of the island, visitors should check out a few of the museums. Three of these museums are located in Pothia and include the Archaeological Museum, Sea World Museum and Folklore Museum. Housed in an impressive mansion constructed in the 19th century and exhibiting numerous ceramics, statues, and traditional furniture is the Archaeological Museum. The Sea World Museum showcases items related to sponge fishing, with photographs, ship models and folk pieces about traditional life on Kalymnos. Lastly, one of a few traditional houses of Kalymnos has been turned into the Folklore Museum, exhibiting local costumes, kitchen items, and old furniture.

7  Rooms With A View

Imagine waking up and opening your balcony door to views of a never-ending ocean with mountains aligned with one another and zero clouds in the sky. Book a stay at the many hotels that offer these spectacular views in Kalymnos. The Carian hotel is one of the island's newest and most modern hotels with romantic and relaxing views of the ocean and the island of Telendos. Book a long vacation stay at Maria's Apartments, a family run business located at Skalia, which offers visitors an independent apartment with a living room, sea views, balcony, snack bar, free WiFi and is only a few meters away from the sea and many climbing fields.

6 Unforgettable Nights

Kalymnos' nightlife is unforgettable with locals and visitors alike dancing until the sun rises. You'll find clubs located right next to the ocean, where you'll have to walk on narrow wooden planks to get too. If you love to dance, then traveling to Kalymnos is your best bet with clubs blasting both Greek and American music all night long, serving alcoholic beverages and even offering VIP sections for any special occasion. You can even find cafes in Pothia playing great music and serving cocktails like at Cielo Espresso Baror Neon Cafe with locals hanging out with travelers and always having a good time. If you want a quieter night but still want to listen to some music, head to a beach bar, like Veliero Beach Bar in Masouri, where you can find cover bands playing American rock hits right on the beach.

5 A Quiet Seaside Village

Emporios Village is a quiet seaside village where you'll find seafood restaurants, cafes, traditional taverns and rooms for rent. It is a picturesque village located about 12 miles northwest from Pothia. There are cute little blue houses with and marrow alleyways you can walk through during your visit here. There is also a delightful blue domed church at the center of the village with a bell tower, which overlooks the Aegean Sea. The route to Emporios is just as impressive as the village, on one side you'll see high cliffs, and on the other side, a dazzling blue sea. You'll also find several quieter pebble beaches away from the bustling popular ones.

4 Rent A Scooter And Explore Kalymnos

With narrow alleyways and tight streets, you'll see many locals using scooters to get in and around Kalymnos. There are many shops where travelers can rent a scooter and go from the capital of Pothia to the fertile valley of Vathi for instance, or ride to the over fifteen beaches scattered on the island. Renting a scooter is a great and fun way to see all of what the island of Kalymnos has to offer. You'll feel like a local, but just be cautious of the winding streets that can sometimes be quite steep.

3 Take A Day Trip To Telendos

Right across Kalymnos is the island of Telendos, which consists of a single flattop mountain whose side’s plunge directly into the sea. Telendos Island is a true getaway and makes for a fantastic day trip because it embraces peacefulness, with no cars and a beach that's a lot less populated. There are approximately sixty people living on this island and it can only be reached by boat. While there it's recommended to visit the chapel of Ai-Giorgis and the castle of Aghios Constantinos. The island is simple and a great place for those who are looking to discover a more quieter and peaceful Greece.

2 Drink Ouzo And Tsipouro

Ouzo and Tsipouro are usually found at most tables in Greece and is offered with small plates of various foods called mezedes. These Greek spirits have a distinct taste and many people add water and ice to their tall glasses. The drinks are typically given with appetizers and no matter where you are; the classic Greek appetizer served with ouzo is olives, slices of bread, cheese, tomato, and cucumber. Unlike Ouzo, Tsipouro is not as sweet and served with "heavier" foods like sausages and cheeses. Both spirits are highly alcoholic and usually sipped while eating. To understand a real summertime meal in Kalymnos, ouzo and tsipouro should be at your table, even if you just take one sip from the experience.