STATELY Syros, the administrative hub of the Cyclades precinct, is the island Greeks go to to avoid mass tourism.
With its legion of Neo-classical mansions and impressive Italianate monuments (such as the Apollon Theatre, a replica of Milan’s La Scala), Syros possesses a noble grace lacking on some of its island neighbours.
The heart of Syros is the grandiose capital of Ermoupoli (the city of Hermes), spread across two hills: one crowned with a Greek Orthodox church; the other a Roman Catholic cathedral. Ermoupoli port was once more important than Piraeus and today, it’s still home to many of Greece’s wealthiest sea captains.
Beyond Ermoupoli’s spiderweb alleyways, the island’s most popular seaside resort is to be found in the tree-lined streets of Possidonia (where Onassis was a frequent guest at the casino). Elsewhere, Galissas in the south-west packs a mini-Mykonos “boho vibe” with a small secluded beach (a magnet for skinny-dippers) and a cosmopolitan beach bar set against the dunes.