KALYMNOS



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Kalymnos - Pothia, the Vathys Valley, and the south of the island - South of Pothia

South of Pothia
The main road to Vlichadia (6 km) and the southwest of the island climbs up to the convent of Aghii Pantes which is often referred to as ‘Aghios Savvas’ after the monk, later canonised as a saint, who spent the last 20 years of his life here. Aghios Savvas (1862–1948) has now become the patron saint of the island, though he was born in Thrace. After a period on Mount Athos, he spent almost 10 years as a hermit in the Jordanian desert, and then returned to Greece, where he became a priest at the Holy Trinity convent on Aegina with Nektarios (later Aghios Nektarios), of whom he painted an important icon. He came to Kalymnos in 1927 and lived here at Aghii Pantes, as a spiritual teacher and ascetic, until his death in 1948. The vast convent—almost an independent city—gives today an impression far from the ascetic aspirations of Savvas. The views over Pothia, however, are very fine.
   In the village of Vothi­ni (3.5km), to the right of the main road, shortly beyond the turning for the convent, is a Folklore Museum and traditional Kalymniot house (open daily 9–3). The display is informative and well-presented on sponge-fishing, as well as on the customs of marriage and of domestic life on Kalymnos. Samples of traditional Kalymniot wine (similar to port) are offered. Continuing 2.5km further south, on the shore-front at Vlichadia, is another ‘home-grown’ museum, the Balsamidis Museum of the Sea and Sponge-diving (open daily 9–6), created with considerable dedication and energy by the local diving master, and giving a vivid picture of the variety and interest of the seas around Kalymnos—its fish, shells, sponges, corals, shipwrecks, and buried amphorae. It is one man’s elaborate paean to the seas. A number of remains from Early Christian and Roman times are visible in this area. A track uphill and to the south from the opposite side of the road from the Folklore Museum of Vothi­ni leads (1.7 km southeast) to the isolated monastery of Aghios Giorgios built on the site of, and incorporating carved marble elements from, an Early Christian foundation, which in turn replaced a place of pagan worship on the panoramic hill-top. At the same site, to the north of the church, is a group of barrel-vaulted tombs of the late Roman/Early Christian era. These are a recurring element in the landscape of Kalymnos and of Telendos: three more may be seen just west of the village of Vothi­ni. Two kilometres southwest of Vothi­ni is the cave of Kephala (open June–Sept daily 10–6) reached by a newly made track heading west from the monastery of Aghia Ekaterini, just to the west of the village. This is the most accessible of the many caves on the island: the almost 1,000 sqm area of the cave’s six interconnected chambers is entered by a narrow passageway and provides an impressive display of stalactites and stalagmites. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘cave of Zeus’: this is more a tribute by local tradition to its large size than a reflection of any cult of Zeus which might be suggested by archaeological evidence. Cai―ques in the harbour of Pothia also offer a service round to the shore below, from which it is a 200m walk up the cave: these trips give the possibility of stopping on the islet of Nera to see the attractive monastery of the Ti­mios Stavros.


Kalymnos Island is part of the Dodecanese Island group
Pothia, the Vathys Valley, and the south of the island. South of Pothia.


Random information you might what to know about Kalymnos Island
Hellenistic fortress of Kastri
Hellenistic Fortress of Kastri

 

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access

Kalymnos Island, Greece.

By air: Kalymnos now has a small and dramatically sited airport at a distance of 5.5km from Póthia, served by Olympic Air, providing connections with Athens five times a week, mostly with a stop en route at Astypalaia.
By boat: There are daily services by catamaran (Dodecanese Express), and four times weekly by car ferry (F/B Nisos Kalymnos), south to Kos, and north to Leros, Patmos (& Samos—ferry only). There are daily boats to Piraeus and to Rhodes, operated by GA Ferries, making also twice weekly stops at Tilos, Nisyros and Symi on the way to Rhodes.
The faster Flying Dolphin services link Kalymnos (Póthia) also with the smaller Dodecanese Islands between Samos in the north and Rhodes in the south, and run daily in summer. There are daily services in summer (only intermittently out of season) between Póthia and Pserimos, and between Myrtiés and Xerókambos on Leros, weather permitting.

Kalymnos Travel Guide

eating

Kalymnos Island, Greece.

The taverna "Pandelis", in a tiny square directly behind the Olympic Hotel on the waterfront, does not have a wide choice, but what is offered is prepared well—with care and attention to freshness, lightness and flavour.
The ouzeri "Sphoungaras", in an alley behind the Emporiki Bank (where Patr. Maximou Street meets the promenade) has excellent mezé, and is crowded with locals at lunch time.
Around the island— both "Popy"s" at Vathýs, and "Akti" in a delightful setting at Emboreió, are good for fresh fish dishes.

Kalymnos Travel Guide

further reading

Kalymnos Island, Greece.

On the sponge trade:
Bitter Sea: The Real Story of Greek Sponge Diving, by Faith Warn (2000); and,The Bell stone

Greek Sponge Divers of the Aegean, by Michael Kalafatas (2003).

Kalymnos Travel Guide

lodging

Kalymnos Island, Greece.

For character and tranquillity, *Villa Melina is the most congenial place to stay in Póthia (T. 22430 22682; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). It is a Belle Epoque, family mansion, with high-ceilinged rooms (and some newer studio rooms around the swimming pool), run by the hospitable owners in a quiet area close to the museum.
With more straightforward facilities, and a good view of the town, is the Hotel Panorama (T. 22430 23138, 22917; www. panorama-kalymnos.gr).
For beach-side accommodation in Kantouni Bay, on the west of the island, Koletti Studios are in a delightful setting (T. 22430 47922, or, out of season, 210 692.8909);
and the tiny shore-side guest-house, On the Rocks, facing Kalymnos from Telendos (T. 22430 48260, 48261; www.otr.telendos.com) is perfect for a peaceful retreat.

Kalymnos Travel Guide

practical info

Kalymnos Island, Greece.

85 200 Kalymnos:
area 110sq km
perimeter 96km
population 15,706
max. altitude 676m
Port Athority: T. 22430 24444.
Travel and information: Kalymnos Municpality, www.kalymnos-isl.gr; Magos Travel, T. 22430 28777.

Kalymnos Travel Guide

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