Kalymnos attractions include Agios Savvas Monastery in Pothia, sponge (spongia officinalis) workshop, Museum of Marine Life and Findings, Vathis, and the local food culture.
Agios Savvas Monastery, which is situated on a fantastic location, within a hill overlooking the village of Pothia, is named after the Saint patron of the island, who lived his last years here.
Highlights at the monastery include, in addition to the great panoramic views from the place, also its:
- magnificent bell tower,
- round domes, and
- impressive interiors.
The monastery is open daily — 10am-2pm and 5pm-7pm — and it can be reached by bus, taxi ride, or by walking a short, but steep route from Pothia.
Sponge (spongia officinalis) workshop, meanwhile, is one of the best ways to explore the region’s famous sponge plant industry .
Main centers and workshops producing these products include bigger villages such as Pothia and Massouri..
…which also have stores selling barrels full of these natural sponges, which make great gift items and souvenirs from Kalymnos.
Part of the offerings at these workshops are performances by local experts, who showcase the act of sponge collection and how they are manually processed to their final state.
Museum of Marine Life and Findings in Vlychadia, on the other hand, officially “Valsamidi’s Museum of Ocean Finds“, showcases findings made by local divers over decades, from Kalymnos’ waters.
The museum’s most important objects include remains of an ancient Greek ship, and the historical Greek urns that had been its cargo.
At the museum, you can also see rare marine species, as well as tools and equipment used by local divers and sponge collectors.
Of the Kalymnos attractions, Vathis is a small village on the eastern coast of the island, where you can find a beautiful, “hidden” port.
The village, which is located about 10 km (6.2 miles) from Pothia, is the island’s only green valley, offering, for example, amazing orange and lemon trees.
Vathis’ natural bay looks a lot like a fjord, which together with the crystal clear blue waters, has made the place a popular area for swimming on the beach, and for exploring the bay on kayaks.
Finally, local cuisine in Kalymnos features, typically for a Greek island culture, a wide range of seafood dishes, including a variety of dishes from octopus.
Among the unique characteristics of Kalymnos kitchen are:
- ‘krithines kouloures‘ (a kind of rusk, which historically was used by sponge divers as a snack),
- ‘Mermizeli‘ (‘krithines kouloures’ and a salad), and
- ‘karkani’ (lettuce and giant oceanic manta ray in mayonnaise sauce).
The local food culture are features specialties for public holidays and festivities, such as ‘Mououri‘, goat meat prepared in a special ceramic pot.