Kalymnos' central valley Vathi is a verdant place with three villages and many fragrant citrus orchards. Metochi, dead in the center of the island is an agrarian community. Platanos, the most central of the three is named for its large plane tree and has pre- Myceanaen cyclopean walls close by. Rina is the port and sits at the mouth of a deep fjord. Near the mouth of the fjord is the Cave of Daskeleio. In its inner stalactite chamber were discovered a horde of Neolithic and Bronze Age items, now on display in Pothia.
In Pothia, Octopus Row at the far right of the harbor and behind the Police Building has most of Pothia's restaurants. Vouvali's is good and so is Minore.
Near the Church of Metropolis is Xefteris with a garden and traditional cuisine. Harborside, Ouzerie Athinas has good shrimp and mezedes.
See our Greece hotels for a complete look at accommodations available on this island.
In the 11th Century, almost everyone on the island was killed during a Turkish invasion. Later the Knights of St John came to the island and strengthened the fortress of Kastro. They left the island in the 1500s.
During the Italian occupation many local citizens were jailed or exiled for opposing the Fascist line.
Local women have a tradition of independence since the men are off at sea frequently and for long stretches of time. Women lead the protests against the Italians and in 1996 painted everything the blue and white of Greece as an act of defiance. Things are peaceful now, I'm happy to report.
Sponge fishing was a flourishing industries on Kalymnos for centuries. As early as 500 BC there are examples in Greek art of sponge divers. In those days, there were no rubber suits, helmets, or any other protective gear. In fact, the diver carried a heavy stone to hold himself underwater near the sponge beds.