- Region : Cyclades
- Population : 600
Your authentic Cyclades experience on Kimolos Island.
Kimolos is what many call the "real Greece" and has it all: sheer natural beauty, picturesque villages, volcanic rocks, rich flora, azure skies, turquoise and aquamarine waters, secluded beaches, happy people, rich flora and fauna, amazing rock formations, delicious food, the castle, many wonderful churches and it's unspoiled with far less tourism than other islands in the Cyclades.
So true, Kimolos Island is a rugged jewel in the Aegean that is bound to captivate all visitors with its incredible architectural wealth and geological beauty
If you're looking for a hidden retreat, a lesser traveled Greek island experience, where you'll be welcomed with open arms by friendly villagers, may feast on traditional Greek delicacies, and be lured in by stunning scenery and dazzling, reclusive beaches, then Kimolos may just be right for you.
Belonging to the Cycladic group of islands, Kimolos floats nearby Milos. As a matter of fact, it is at just 30 minutes by ferry from Pollonia port of Milos. It is also connected to Piraeus several days per week and to other more or less neighbouring islands. Given that most of the tourists stop at Milos, Kimolos is like a hidden gem in the Cyclades.
Unlike cosmopolitan and more touristy Milos Island, Kimolos is pretty much different as to its tourism culture. Here the concept is that tourism is not for the masses: at its few apartments and accommodation facilities and it attracts that different kind of travellers who are willing to walk around, relax, meet the locals, communicate, and even make friends with each other.
Along with its differences from Milos, Kimolos also has a lot of things in common with it: both owe their existence to a volcano eruption, which endows them both with stunning rocky scenery and breathtaking beaches.
The port of Kimolos is called Psathi. A few apartments, a couple of tavernas and cafes are the only buildings there. The main village of Kimolos is not called Chora, like in most of the Cyclades, but Chorio, which in Greek means “village”. It is quite small, but that is its winning card; one would be literal calling it “a beauty”: Old white houses, paintings on the roads, the medieval Castle and its remnants, significant churches, and some squares make up an unforgettable scenery. What is more, you will feel very welcome in it: even since your first day, the locals will start talking to you, and will probably invite you to their places for a “glass of fresh water”, which is the grandmothers’ line for an invitation over, just like nowadays we invite people over “for a cup of coffee”. Locals are very enthousiastic about their island. In Chorio there are most of Kimolos’ tavernas, restaurants and some bars. During summer, one can find many children playing around in squares too.
On Kimolos you can go around on foot, by car and by bike (bring your own or rent a car in Milos), by bus (only to some beaches) and by taxi (useful to visit Prassa beach). When in the mood for touring, there are a lot of attractions worth visiting. First of all, the famous Skiadi (its name comes from the Greek word for “shadow”). It’s a unique monument of nature consisting of a piece of rock carved by the wind. It is in the middle of the island, up on the mountain, and it looks like a gigantic mushroom. A 20 minutes walk will take you to it, so you’d better start off early, when the sun is not yet burning hot. Ask the locals about the best path.
Don't miss to visit the nearby island of Poliaigos (inhabited by 2 people, lucky ones), meaning "many goats" in Greek, is an uninhabited island with magnificent beaches, mainly on the southern part and belongs to the Cyclades group. It is located on the South Aegean volcanic arc and lies to the West of Kimolos island and, further South-West, of Milos island. The remnants of the monastery founded in 1622 and dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, the stone lighthouse on the Maskoula cape built in 1898, and two quarries used for the extraction of trachyte for millstones, all testify to the human history of the island’s past. In spite of its dry climate, the island harbours many rare plants and certain Greek indigenous species. Also, because of its special fauna – such as the Mediterranean Monachus monachus-seals and numerous bird species, Polyaigos island has been included in the Natura 2000 network.
Once the time has come to depart, all the visitors tend to leave this small paradise feeling nostalgic courtesy of its quiet beaches, the authentic local food and rugged trails.
The Venetians and the Franks called the island “Arzantiera”, that is Silvery, for the grey-white rocks they saw as they approached the island. Some travelers believed that the name was due to ancient silver mines, but they have not been discovered so far. In contrast with most of the islands of Cyclades which belong to the Attica-Cyclades Mass and consist mainly of transformed rocks, Kimolos is for the largest part the product of intense volcano activity as it lies on the outer zone of the volcanic arc of the Aegean and the traces of volcanic activity are visible all over the island: hot springs and unusual geological formations that create sites of extraordinary beauty.
How to get there
Kimolos is located in the southwest of the Cyclades, and around 90 miles from Athens. It takes approximately 6-7 hours to arrive as the ferries make many stops at islands along the way. It has no airport, which means there are no charters with hordes of Europeans with seven day, six night package deal vacationers who cannot enter. However, one can fly to Milos and then take the 20 minute ferry to the Kimolos port of Psathi.
Where to stay
The Windmill Hotel, on the tiny volcanic island of Kimolos in Cyclades, dates from 1852 and remains one of the few traditionally restored windmills in Greece today. Located between the port of Kimolos and "Chorio".
Bonatsa Beach House, just a few steps from the water’s edge comprises three beautiful, newly furnished rooms, each with its own direct access to Bonatsa’s enticing sandy beach.
Alikaki Kimolos, an attractive three-studio complex with panoramic views of the local beach in all its natural beauty and amazing vistas of the Aegean sea.
Milaki Kimolos is just a few minutes’ walk from Psathi, Kimolos’s port, and very close to ‘Chorio’, the island’s charming principal village.
Thalassa Beach House is located directly on the Zaharias Beach, 2kms away from the port of Kimolos, Psathi.
What to see and do
Skiadi : on the northwestern part of Kimolos, west of the “Sklavos” height, there is a huge stone mushroom, which the people of the island call “Skiadi”. A natural monument that lies in the middle of a barren plateau with excellent view: overlooking the southwestern and western coasts of the island (Ellinika, Mavrospilia, Athinia) and a large part of Milos. “Skiadi” owes its creation to the various rocks that is composed of and the very strong winds that blow in that area. The softer rock that lies at its basis is corroded by the wind, which transfers dust or grains of sand. The result of this process is that the basis slowly becomes narrower and narrower while the top, which is harder, remains almost intact. A rare monument, not only for Greece but for the whole world, impressive due to its size and shape, which is part of the Atlas of Geological Monuments of the Aegean.
Churches : In spite of its small size, Kimolos is full of churches. The religious islanders have built more than eighty churches throughout the island, some in the most remote places on the island. Each church reflects experiences and faith in God. The religious islanders scattered churches around the island that were built because of a dream or a sign. Many of them are unique regarding their architectural importance, their screens and their icons. At Chorio you will find some remarkable post-Byzantine churches that will take your breath away. Eight have been characterized as historical monuments. The crown jewel is the cathedral of Panagia Odigitria. The church of "Christos" or God is of particular interest as it is the oldest church on Kimolos. Another gem is the small church of Panagia Eluosa, which was built in the ruins of St. Methodia's cell.
At the south end of Kimolos there is the beach of Ellinika. At the end of the beach the visitor can see the remains of the sunken ancient acropolis of Kimolos, called Ellinika. Close to that, you will see the unique rocky formation of Aspragremna, a favourite spot for watching the sunset. In the same area, there is also Mavrospilia beach. It is accessible by car or on foot – about 20’walk from the last bus stop.
Kalamitsi, Bonatsa and Aliki are three beaches in a row that are easily accessible. There is also a taverna and a beach bar there, which makes them suitable for everybody, including families. Besides, shadow is available too, provided by tamarisk trees, those characteristic and thoughtful friends of the Greek beaches.
Close to Chorio there are some really nice small beaches, Goupa and Karras. There you can see the famous Syrmata – holes in the stone used as shelters for fishing boats from the wrath of the sea. There is also the Elephant – a formation of rocks looking like an elephant. Water is crystal clear and tempting, so gear up for long swims!
The most famous and beautiful beach of Kimolos is Prassa, also known as the White Beach, thanks to the white sand that accounts for the amazing colours of it.
Kimolos has been famous since the ancient times for its supplies in white rock that provides chalk. Actually, the Greek word for chalk is “kimolía”, and that is what the island is named after.
Opposite the church of Odigitria there is the new Archaeological Museum and in the Castle the Folklore Museum. To learn more about the island you can visit the Archaeological, Folklore and Maritime museums.
With the sea taxi you can tour the island and enjoy the beautiful beaches of the north side of the island.
For day trips, you can also visit the islands of Polyaigos, Milos or the neighboring island of Sifnos. Polyaigos (meaning “island of many goats”) is accessible by boat from Psathi. Those who have visited it are still under the spell of the colour of its waters. Some speak of it as a small piece of heaven! Negotiate the price with the boat renter, as larger groups get better prices. The only thing you need to take into consideration is the winds, especially meltemia (north-north east winds that blow over the Aegean Sea in August).
Kimolos island has many beautiful beaches (most of them secluded whith not a soul in sight) :
Rema : Sheltered from the wind, it features a giant rock and ‘sirmata’ (caves carved into the rock where locals keep their boats during winter). You can walk to Rema from the Windmill Hotel.
Klima : Sandy beach has a calm and serene atmosphere, and is on the way to Prassa.
Prassa : This beach features a beach bar with music and is the most popular of the island. It has natural beauty with white sand and light-blue water. At the entrance are soothing baths, with set opening times.
Aliki, Bonatsa, Kalamitsi : These beaches are clustered together and all feature clean, shallow waters with numerous tavernas nearby. Bonatsa also features a beach bar.
Elinika, Mavrospilia : Mavrospilia is a beautiful, long beach on the western side of Kimolos. If the sea is calm, you can see the nearby underwater ruins of the ancient city of Elinika while Mavrospilia is recommended for taking in the sunset. Both beaches are highly exposed to the north wind. They may be reached by car, by private boat or as part of an island tour by sea taxi.
The Gerakia cave : An exotic cave with wonderful turquoise waters that can be explored. It is reachable by sea taxi as part of an island tour.
Monastiria, Soufi, Agioklima : These are remote seaside hideaways. At Agioklima there is a natural hot spring. It is reachable by sea taxi as part of an island tour or with a 4x4 vehicle.
Where to eat & drink
Kiimolos Island has a very rich gastronomic tradition.
In Chorio there are most of Kimolos’ tavernas, restaurants and some bars.
At port of Kimolos Psathi there are a couple of tavernas and cafes too.
Try the local specialties like ladenia, salty cheese, pitarakia (pies with cheese), domadokeftedes (tomato balls made with sun dried tomatoes and mountain caper), localy raised goard wtih koulouridi ( a taliagtele-type pasta), saganaki fried cheese with manoura cheese, melopita ( a cace with local myzithra cheese and honey), fresh seafood and delicious seasonal salads. In the island grows a special kind of pumpkin, called ksylagouro. They make a fantastic jam from it. The island offers a fantastic ice cream too.
Xino is a sour fresh skim-milk cheese produced in Kimolos and you should leave the island without have tasted it. in addition, you should try the delicious tomato paste, a local snack prepared with flavorsome tomato paste and maybe combine it with the local rusks with lentiscus aroma. Some other local delicacies are the courgette croquets prepared by locally produced courgettes and the tomato meatballs which are prepared in rich tomato sauce or prepared with sundried tomatoes.
Depending on the season, two bakeries – Paradosiako (Tel. +30 22870.51257), run by Pavlos Paleologos and Hrysanthi Mouratou, and the Nikos Ventouris-run bakery (Tel. + 30 22870.51440) in the main market – also make cheese pies (tyrenies) filled with local manoura cheese, kolokythenies (zucchini pies) and other delights. The island also offers fantastic ice cream.