Syros attracts upscale travellers who prefer a quieter vacation, particularly the western villages of Finikas and Posidonia. Here you’ll find seafood tavernas and pistachio and olive harvesting experiences.
The island’s cuisine combines dishes from around Greece with tastes exclusive to Syros. You’ll find classics like kaparosalata and maindanosalata, but with an aromatic twist; lahanodolmades are sweetened with raisins; and marathopita (wild fennel pie) is a must.
1. S Seariani’ Fish & More
Syros may not be the first Cycladic island that comes to mind when booking a holiday in Greece, but this unique and vibrant capital is well worth a visit. From PDO-protected cheeses and cold cuts flavoured with wild fennel to strongly spiced savoury dishes and icing sugar-dusted loukoumia, the food of Syros is a major part of its heritage.
In the town, you’ll find cosmopolitan eateries overlooking Ermoupoli and traditional tavernas in the hills of Ano Syros where old streets, churches and mansions create a timeless elegance.
There are plenty of Greek classics (moussaka, pastitsio and souvlaki) but if you’re looking for something different try the local specialties such as kaparosalata and maindanosalata which aren’t found elsewhere in the world, or kotopita which is like a fish pie, or marathopita, which sounds plain but explodes with flavour. In the seaside village of Posidonia there are seafood tavernas that make an evening walk along the beach even more tempting.
2. Kouzina Restaurant
A taverna with the feel of a restaurant, Kouzina is run by Penny Christopher and her son Paul. They’ve made this unassuming strip mall spot a North Shore mainstay with their hospitality and authentic recipes.
The menu features all the traditional favorites – moussaka, feta pie and spanakopita, as well as local seafood and a huge selection of wines. They also use wild herbs that grow on the island, such as fennel and thyme, in their dishes.
While the relaxing beaches and quaint villages are at their busiest during summer, Syros is an all-season destination. The cosmopolitan capital, Ermoupoli (or Hermoupolis), offers high-concept restaurants and traditional Greek tavernas in a cityscape that mixes the old and new. The medieval Ano Syros district is a maze of alleys to get lost in, and stray cats abound. The Markos Vamvakaris Museum, dedicated to the composer who lived on Syros, is another top attraction in town.
3. Azolimnos Taverna
Syros suffers upgrade-fever (think white painted chairs and bland pan-European menus) but in the village of Posidonia and along the coast and hilly interior villages you’ll find traditional tavernas where locals dine. There’s kaparosalata (caper salad), maindanosalata (parsley salad with lemon, onions and capers), the delicious cheese of San Michali and cold cuts that are flavoured with herbs such as wild fennel seeds.
The capital, Ermoupolis, is a charming mix of Neoclassical mansions turned hotels and boutique luxury accommodation such as the art-filled Aristide House. Nearby, the waterfront Boutique Hotel Ploes has suites with plunge pools.
The beaches of Galissas, Kini, Azolimnos and Voulgari are all backed by cafe-restaurants with great views and the wild north coast has the gorgeous sandy beaches of Varvaroussa, Aetos and Lia. There are also secluded beach-villas in the villages of Apano Meria and Finikas. And you can take a hike to the lighthouse at Viglostasi for impressive views over rugged rock formations and vineyards.
4. Agios Georgios Restaurant
Located near the beach of Galissas, this restaurant is a favorite among locals. Here you can enjoy fresh seafood and traditional Greek cuisine. The view is beautiful, especially during sunset. The food is good, but the price is a bit high for what you get.
You’ll find well-tended restaurants and taverns scattered throughout Syros Island. Many are located in the elegant capital of Ermoupolis or the quaint upper town of Ano Syros. Others line the famous beaches of the island such as Galissas, Azolimnos, Kini and Poseidonia.
Syros’ cuisine reflects the island’s varied history. Besides classics like moussaka, pastitsio and souvlaki, the menu offers tastes exclusive to the island such as kaparosalata (caper salad), maindanosalata (parsley salad) and marathopita (wild fennel pie). The cheeses of the island are also well-known – particularly PDO-protected San Michali. Locals adore pork sausage, prepared in different ways such as with cabbage or quince. Sweets are also a must – look out for loukoumia, a trademark of the island similar to Turkish Delight.