Island of the Sponge Divers

Kalymnos is affectionately referred to as the island of the sponge divers. Situated between the islands of Kos and Leros, it is the fourth largest island in the Dodecanese. Well informed travellers from Europe and across the globe visit the island to experience its natural structures, fresh seafood, idyllic streets, and of course, the local sponges. The island of Kalymnos is more fertile and greener that its neighbours which makes it ideal for local farmers and beekeepers.

Kalymnos is the sponge-harvesting trade centre of Europe where ambitious vendors from across the world travel in search of the best natural sponge. After World War 2, it remained the only Greek island that was actively engaged in sea sponge-harvesting and is responsible for supplying the domestic and international market with sea sponge products to this day.

Today, Kalymnos is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the Aegean and produces around 30,000 sponges each year. Visitors will be able to see the numerous species of sponge and witness the process that it goes through to reach the market in all of its various forms.

The capital of Kalymnos is the port-town of Pothia, a town that is characterised by its colourful settlement that expands over the foot and slopes of two hills and the valley that separates them. The City of Pothia is a mecca for lovers of traditional Greek architecture and is characterised by narrow streets, old mansions, elegant captain houses and modest one-bedroom townhouses that were home to the sponge harvesters of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Kalymnos is responsible for some of the most beautiful rock faces in Europe and has become a magnet for rock climbers from across the world. The island features more than 60 safe climbing venues that are suitable for climbers of all levels. There are also more than 1,300 marked hiking routes that make the island a paradise for adventure lovers.

Like many traditional Greek Villages, each neighbourhood of Pothia features its own church, with the most impressive being the Sotiras Christos which features a silver dome and marble iconostasis that was crafted by the revered Greek sculptor Giannoulis Chalepas.

The best way to get to Kalymnos is to fly to Kos and then take the ferry from Kos. Be wary though, the airline has a tendency to cancel these flights at short notice if the flights are under-booked. Alternatively, travellers can get to Kalymnos via a ferry that departs from the Piraeus Port.