The beautiful capital of Kalymnos stretches across the foothills and slopes of two hills separated by a valley of pines and cypress trees. It is well worth exploring its narrow streets and the seafront near the port, which are full of imposing captains’ houses and traditional residences embellished with Italian influences and neoclassical elements.
The Great Castle
This ruined Byzantine fortress, built in 1495, was the medieval capital of Kalymnos until 1812, and can be reached by climbing up 230 steps from Pothia. Inside, there are several houses, some water cisterns, the remains of an olive mill, and 10 little churches.
Kalymnos Maritime Museum
Divided into four rooms, the museum’s collection offers a fascinating tour of the history of Greek sponge fishing, with a spotlight on the islanders who dived for them.
Built in 1861 on the Pothia seafront, the Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour has some fine religious paintings by local artists, as well as a marble icon screen carved by the great sculptor Yannoulis Chalepas.
The New Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos contains unique exhibits from the prehistoric to the post-Byzantine era. The jewel of the collection is the famous “Lady of Kalymnos”, a superb Hellenistic bronze sculpture of a woman wearing a robe, which was brought up from the sea in 1995 in the nets of a local fisherman.
Built in the 15th century by the Knights of the Order of St. John, this imposing fortress-watchtower stands at the top of a small hill west of Pothia. At the foot of the hill are three stone-built windmills dating from the 16th century. They are surrounded by walls bearing the coats of arms of eminent knights.
Just ten minutes from Kalymnos, this enchanting island offers an unforgettable experience of outdoor and historical interest. Visit the fortified Byzantine settlement of Agios Konstantinos, built between the 6th and the 10th century, and the early Christian necropolis; wander the picturesque streets of Telendos Town with its excellent tavernas; and enjoy swimming and diving around its magical beaches.
The most stunning cave on Kalymnos is one thousand square metres in size, with six chambers. The most striking, containing huge stalagmites and stalactites, is 103 metres long. The god Zeus was once worshipped here.
The verdant Vathy valley and fjord are among the most beautiful landscapes in the Aegean. The narrow cove with calm blue-green waters flanked by tall cliffs is a remarkable setting, while the area behind Rina harbour is full of citrus groves.
The Sanctuary of Apollo
The most important place of worship on ancient Kalymnos was dedicated to Apollo, the island’s protector and patron. The sanctuary was used continuously from the 1st millennium BC to the Early Christian era. Today, visitors can tour the archaeological site and admire the temples of Apollo and Asclepius, the assembly house, and the theatre, as well as two early Christian churches dating from the 5th and 6th century.