Hermoupolis, on the island of Syros, was the industrial and mercantile heart of Greece, as well as its main port, before being eclipsed by Piraeus at the turn of the 19th century. Vast fortunes were made in shipping, shipbuilding and textiles, a wealth evident in the many stately mansions built at the time, the marble pavement in the town centre, and in the palatial proportions of public buildings. Visually, Hermoupolis offers a unique mix of urban, stately architecture perched on cliffs overlooking the clearest and most swimmable of Mediterranean waters.
Today, the town is the capital of the Cycladic group of islands. With employment provided by the many public institutions (university, hospital, regional court, marine academy, theatre etc) and the shipyard, tourism was never a necessity. Locals watched the quaint fishing villages of Mykonos, a stone’s throw away, become international party hubs, and were little inspired to follow in their tracks. Because of this the town and the island retained their authenticity, and a stable local population of around 25,000 that makes Syros an attractive and lively place to visit all year round.
The island offers the best of both worlds: an urbane, arty scene with numerous festivals (international film, jazz, street art, animation and many others), art galleries and opportunities for sightseeing, as well as the more established Greek-island experiences of secluded beaches, diving, hiking trails and authentic Cycladic cuisine.