The tiny Greek island town named the most welcoming place in the world – with £3 pints and cheap hotels
GREECE is home to thousands of different islands, with some places like Corfu, Santorini, and Mykonos receiving plenty of attention from holidaymakers.
But one little-known island in Greece has been named as one of the most welcoming places in the world by a team of travel experts.
Part of the Cyclades island group, and located in the Aegean Sea, the island of Syros is just a stone’s throw away from Mykonos.
Despite not being the most well-known island among holidaymakers, Syros has plenty of qualities, including its friendly disposition.
Earlier this year, the online travel agency Booking.com revealed the ten most welcoming cities in the world as part of their annual Traveller Review Awards.
The destinations were ranked based on more than 309 million verified reviews, and they recognised businesses that consistently provided excellent service and hospitality.
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While Brazil’s Arraial d’Ajuda came out on top, a little-known town in Syros, Greece, took second place.
Ermoupoli, also known as Ermoupolis, was named as the second-most friendliest destination in the world based on the reviews of holidaymakers.
Arjan Dijk, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Booking.com said: “Whether it’s a tip on hidden local gems to explore at the car rental counter or a personalized [sic] welcome note from an apartment owner with recommendations for the best spots in the neighborhood to grab a bite, our partners make trips more memorable and enjoyable for our customers each and every day.”
The history of Ermoupoli
Located on the island of Syros in the Cyclades, Ermoupoli was named after the Greek God Hermes.
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Ermoupoli is the capital of Syros and it became the first commercial and industrial centre of Greece.
According to Visit Greece, the coastal town saw unprecedented economic growth in the 19th century, with its harbour becoming the most important shipping centre in the entire country.
Things to do in Ermoupoli
Despite its history as an industrial powerhouse, there are plenty of attractions and activities for the average holidaymaker to enjoy.
One of those is the Industrial Museum, which is housed in four different structures and illustrates the town’s economic growth.
Items on display in the museum include tools, equipment, and machinery, with plenty of workshops taking place.
The Greek town is also home to plenty of examples of neoclassical architecture, including houses, public squares and buildings like the Town Hall, which is considered to be one of the most impressive town halls across all of Greece.
The Archaeological Museum of Syros is housed inside the town hall.
Other important landmarks in the town include the churches of Metamorfosis Sotiros, Agios Nikolaos Plousios and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (Kimisis Theotokou).
There’s also Mnimeío Ethnikís Antístasis – a Greek statue dedicated to the country’s resistance during World War II.
While Ermoupoli doesn’t have a beach, public buses run to other beaches on the island, including Galissas, Megas Gialos, Kini, and Poseidonia.
Other things to do on Syros
There are plenty of other towns and villages to visit on Syros, including the village of Galissas.
Located 9km west of Ermoupoli, the village is home to ancient ruins, which can be found on the Agia Pakous hill.
There’s also the village of Kini, which is known for its seafood restaurants.
Meanwhile, Chalandriani is known for its archaeological sites, which were unearthed at the end of the 19th century.
Prices in Ermoupoli
According to the price comparison website, Hikers Bay, a pint of beer costs €5 (£4.27), while a meal in a cheap restaurant is said to cost €15 (£12.81) per person.
However, these figures could be a little steep, with a recent forum on TripAdvisor, disclosing cheaper prices.
One person wrote: “One of the cheapest Greek islands we’ve visited as it has a large resident Greek population.”
Another person added: “I definitely do not consider Syros expensive and return every year.”
A third disclosed how much they’d spent during their holiday including €3.50 (£2.99) for a pint of beer and €1.80 (£1.54) for the bus.
Accommodation in Ermoupoli seems relatively affordable too.
For example, Sun Online Travel have found an overnight stay at Hotel Hermes, a three-star hotel, for £35.50 per person per night, based on two people sharing a room.
Other rooms are even cheaper too, with an overnight stay at Pefkakia Park, a bed and breakfast in Ermoupoli, costing £22 per night per person.
How to get there
The easiest way to reach Syros is via a ferry crossing from the Piraeus ferry port in Athens, with passenger crossings starting from €36.50 (£31.17) for a one-way ticket.
Journeys can take between two to four hours, depending on the type of ferry used.
Syros can also be reached from other islands in the Aegean, including Mykonos, Tinos, Lemnos, Samos and Chios.
The island is also connected to the Greek mainland with flights operating between Syros and Athens.
Flights are operated by Sky Express and take just 35 minutes, with tickets costing £63 for a one-way journey.
Meanwhile, an expat living in Greece has revealed the six cringey things Brits do when they’re on holiday in the country.
But Syros isn’t the only lesser-known Greek island that’s flown under the radar in recent years.
The overlooked island of Patmos attracts famous faces like Julia Roberts, David Bowie, Richard Gere, and Tom Hanks, but is yet to become popular with British tourists.
Not only does it see temperatures reach 22C in the winter, but it’s also home to colourful beaches.
Whitewashed houses line the coast in Patmos, and the town of Chora is home to tiny restaurants serving local Greek seafood.
Meanwhile, the island of Naxos is cheaper the many of the other islands – with more goats than locals.
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