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Kalymnos island news and views

Kalymnos is one of the Dodecanese Greek islands, about 100km north-west of Rhodes and near the Turkish coast. Kalymnos holidays are for those who like to go off the beaten track. Kalymnos beaches are pretty indifferent but the main Kalymnos holiday centre is on the west coast opposite the islet of Telendos. The rock cliffs of Kalymnos are a magnet for serious climbers and the interior is criss-crossed with mule trails which attract many walkers.

Kalymnos Myrties Beach
Kalymnos beach bar is tops

A family-run Kalymnos beach bar is voted a world beater in a survey by US TV news giant. A family-run beach bar on the holiday island of Kalymnos has been ranked one of the best in the world. A survey by TV news company CNN voted the Babis Beach Bar at Myrties beach the fifth best in its World's 50 Best Beach Bars. It ranks the Kalymnos beach bar alongside those in more exotic beach locations in Anguilla, Phuket, Cook Islands, Brazil and Bali. It calls the Babis a local hove of activity and a "well kept secret on the unsung Greek island of Kalymnos." It adds: "Babis and his family field everything a beachcomber could want. Once you're done with your hearty Greek breakfast, logging on to the free Internet, trying out all the various beers and wines and sleeping it all off by the free swimming pool or sun loungers, you can hop on a boat and take a ride over to its own sub-island of Telendos for one of the most spectacular sunsets in the Med." However, according to remarks about the list, some readers found it surprising that only one beach bar in Greece was mentioned. A family-run bat is linked to nearby apartments that were established in 1989 and boasts great hospitality and efficient service. Each apartment overlooks the sea and claims some of the most spectacular sunsets in the Aegean. The Babis Bar has its own private pool with sun beds as well as kayaks and canoes on the beach. They say the Babis Snack Bar is a very popular spot to meet, eat, drink and watch the world go by. Myrties is one of the most popular beach strips on Kalymnos island and the nearby mountains attract climbers from all over the world. The apartment ate close to the main rock climbing area of the island and it's only a three minute drive from the famous Odyssey and Grand Grotto climbs. CNN admits there is no formula or magic ingredients that guarantee a place in a list of the world's best beach bars. The survey has tried to include spots that range from the chic and smooth to the thrown-together shacks of driftwood. The only thing these places have in common, says CNN, is that once you've been, you start planning to get back there.

Kalymnos motorbikes
Kalymnos peace

Kalymnos holidays may be more peaceful. One of the first things visitors notice on sailing into the main port of Kalymnos is the level of noise that bedevils the waterfront capital of Pothia. Howling motorbikes clash with the thumping from music bars all around the main port area throughout the day and well into the night. Now Kalymnos council officials aim to put a stop to all the noise with tough regulations to curb the decibel output from shops, bars and drivers. The city council is to impose anti-noise regulations in Kalymnos to clamp down on the three main causes of noise pollution. Noise control and curfews on motorbikes with modified exhausts that create loud noise. A crackdown on drivers of private cars that fitted with speakers that emit music at high volumes. Curbs on the hours that bars can play music and the restrictions on the use of music at all shops and restaurants. The council claims noise pollution in previous years has created a bad image for Kalymnos and urges all islanders to keep noise levels down. Certainly island visitors can find the noise levels along the waterfront at Pothia quite disturbing with motorcycles in particular a great nuisance. The port has always been known for high levels of traffic around the harbour and a large number of motorbikes and mopeds in use at all times of the day. Police will be asked to make sure new regulations are enforced this summer so that summer holiday visitors to Kalymnos can enjoy the pleasures of a Greek Island holiday in peace.

kalymnos windmills
Kalymnos windmills plea

Plea to save Kalymnos windmills. The Greek government has been urged to do more about the Kalymnos island windmills before they disappear. Holiday visitors to Kalymnos quickly appreciate the beauty of this island and its cultural heritage but many of the old island windmills have already been lost. Now, the only remaining three windmills at the Chysocherias Castle, one of the trademarks of the island, are in danger of disappearing too. The trio of stone built windmills on the edge of the medieval castle have never had any government cash for restoration and repair. The government has been told that a revamp of the windmills could boost the island as a tourist attraction. Island leaders want immediate steps be taken to protect, restore and enhance the windmills in Kalymnos so as to "highlight the cultural heritage and join the windmills in residential, historical and geographical environment of the island". They have asked for the windmills to be integrated into a conservation project funded by national or European funds and they want them promoted as tourist attractions on the Internet technology along with other the pre-industrial monuments of architecture and folk-cultural heritage of the Dodecanese islands. Most Greek Island windmills are located in the Aegean Sea and on the mainland coast with an estimated 2,000 still in reasonable condition. In recent years, the windmills have been exploited as a tourist attraction, linking the traditional production process with alternative tourism development as well as the role they play in education and the environment. The government has been told: "Residents of Kalymnos is deeply concerned by the abandonment of three windmills of the castle. Given the consequences of the economic austerity measures on culture there is a serious threat to the preservation of the quality of cultural continuity. The symbols of our cultural heritage should be used in a way that respects their outstanding universal value as monuments " Restoration would help in tourism promotion of the island and alternative development, both as an attraction for locals and visitors, and because of easy accessibility, they could be used for educational purposes and form an integral part of the rich cultural resources of Kalymnos.

Kalymnos Museum exhibits
Kalymnos museum

No staff to open Kalymnos museum. One of the top tourist sights of Kalymnos may stay closed this summer through lack of staff. The Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos, which has many examples of pottery, sculptures and tools from the Neolithic, Minoan and Mycenaean periods, has only one member of staff. Now Kalymnos tourist officials have urged the Greek Minister of Education and Culture to provide some seasonal help so that tourist visitors as well as local people can visit the museum displays. A letter to the minister warns: "The Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos, with significant exhibits, is however devoid of the necessary personnel to function and thus not open to the public. It does not benefit anyone to have Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos closed." The museum covers an area of 1,000 square metres on two floors and has significant artefacts and archaeological finds. Experts say that without some seasonal staff the museum will stay closed for the whole summer holiday season when thousands of tourists visit the island. The letter adds: "Currently, however, there is only one employee who performs the duties of guardian. Clearly, the smooth operation of the museum, is a comparative advantage for the island and there is a need to recruit the necessary seasonal staff essential to support the smooth operation of the museum and to ensure traffic." Many public departments across Greece have suffered severe budget cuts as the country grapples with its economic problems and hopes of finding the cash to staff the museum this summer look slim. The archaeological museum is located in the island capital of Pothia, in the Agia Oriada district, and is housed in a two-storied mansion donated by the Vouvalis family. The interior is a reconstruction of the interior of a typical 19th century mansion house with dining room, living-room, storerooms, service rooms and Vouvalis photographic archives. In the courtyard are marble inscriptions, pillars and various statues on display while the ground floor has many artefacts, some dating from 5,000 BC. On the first floor is a substantial amount of pottery, some Renaissance paintings as well as vases, marble and statues. Among the best exhibits are a statue of Isis, and the heads of Pothia Aphrodite and Ygeia.

Telendos island off Kalymnos
Kalymnos peaks

Kalymnos offers a top peak challenge. The Greek island of Kalymnos is not only a popular summer beach holiday destination it is also a magnet for world class rock climbers. This is an island where many visitors combine a Kalymnos beach holiday with their favourite sport of mountaineering and rock climbing. The mountain cliffs of Kalymnos provide some of the best rock climbing in the world and is the second most popular destination in the world for climbing. Thousands of climbers head for the peaks of Kalymnos all year round to test any of the 2,200 rugged climbing routes that have been opened on the island and maintained with help from the Municipality of Kalymnos. Kalymnos is an island where climbers can combine a Greek island holiday with sports tourism, a combination which helps which boosts the local economy. In a bid to promote climbing on the island, Kalymnos this year organized its first World Climbing Festival and attracted more than 250 top climbers to tackle some very tough challenges for prize money of €10,000 and for €5,000 worth of equipment. The Kalymnos Climbing Festival included three different competitions,- at high, medium and low difficulty levels and eight new and unexplored climbing paths were opened specially for the festival. Participants not only had the opportunity to climb and take lessons from professional teams but also to participate in a series of events organised by the Municipality of Kalymnos. Every year the island attracts from 6,000 to 7,000 climbers from all over the planet. Most are from Europe, with Italy, France, Germany, UK, Poland, Spain, Belgium and Austria in the lead. But others come from as far as Australia, Japan, Brazil, USA and South America to combine their favourite sport of rock climbing with a Greek island holiday. Kalymnos offers both exceptional climbs with good organisation and mountain routes for of all levels of difficulty, from the testing requirements of world-class climbers to beginner tourists who just want to give the sport a try. Kalymnos is one of the islands in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands and is located about 100km north-west of Rhodes. the Kalymnos landscape is, in large part, composed of barren limestone ideal for creating good quality climbs. The beach holiday resorts of Kalymnos are mainly confined o the west coast with the main tourist strip at Massouri where the imposing islet of Telendos sits offshore. The east of the island is virtually uninhabited and the mountainous interior is also criss-crossed by attractive green valleys etched with mule trails that help make Kalymnos an attractive island for walkers as well as climbers.

Kalymnos sponges on display at museum
Sponge divers event

Kalymnos sponge divers inspire world diving event. Anyone who has taken a holiday on Kalymnos will know the island is hugely proud of its sponge diving traditions. The Greek island of Kalymnos was once renowned as a centre of the Greek sponge diving industry and its divers were considered the best in the world. Now the techniques once used by Kalymnos sponge divers have been adopted for the world 'Skandalopetra Free Diving Event' to be held in the northern Caribbean in May this year. The first divers of Kalymnos gathered sponges from the sea bottom after diving in naked and carrying a 'skandalopetra' – a flat stone of marble or granite weighing about 15 kilos. This helped them sink to the sea floor quickly and skilled Greek divers could stay up to 30 metres down and for as long as five minutes gathering the sponges in a special net. Although it was difficult and dangerous, the diving method resulted in an abundance of top quality sponges and sponge exports brought great wealth to the island of Kalymnos. Now, modern free divers have organised the 'skandalopetra' contest in honour of the Greek sponge diving tradition and teams from all over the world have already joined diving events in Italy, Greece, Turkey and now the Caribbean. The two world wars seriously disrupted the sponge diving industry of Kalymnos and many skilled divers resettled in other parts of the world, but the 1980s saw the end of sponge diving when sponge beds in the eastern Mediterranean were decimated by disease and pollution. Now all that remains on Kalymnos of the once-thriving sponge industry are a few shops in the capital of Pothia, selling sponges to tourists. But those Kalymnos holiday visitors interested in the island's sponge diving history can visit the Kalymnos Museum of Maritime Findings which is the life's work of former Kalymnos sponge diver Stavros Valdamides. The museum at Vlychadia, Kalymnos, is one of the best private museums in Greece and, as well as a history of Kalymnos sponge diving, are exhibits that include the remains of an ancient Greek boat and an eclectic mix of undersea findings that range from ancient amphorae to World War Two ammunition. The museum opens daily 9am – 7pm and Sunday 10am – 2pm and entrance is is free.