Ano Syros is a picturesque medieval settlement located on the island of Syros, part of the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea, Greece. Established by the Venetians around the 13th century, it stands as a testament to the island’s rich historical tapestry, blending Byzantine, Venetian, and Cycladic influences. The town is characterized by its narrow, winding alleys, traditional whitewashed houses, and colorful doors, creating a charming and labyrinthine atmosphere that invites exploration.

Further reading: A Visitors Guide to Syros

Ano Syros is the hill on the left

Ano in Greek means ‘upper’ or ‘above’ in Greek. Ano Syros is located on the island of Syros, which is part of the Cyclades archipelago in the Aegean Sea, Greece.

It is situated on the eastern side of the island, perched on the hills ‘above’ the port  town of Ermoupoli, the capital of both Syros and the Cyclades.

Ano Syros is known for its medieval architecture, narrow winding streets, and panoramic views of the surrounding Aegean Sea. The town’s elevated position on the hillside offers a commanding view of Ermoupoli and the azure waters beyond, making it a prominent and picturesque part of the island’s landscape. 


    How to get to Ano Syros

    There is both an airport and ferry port on Syros making it fairly accessible, and it is a year round destination – one of the few greek islands that you can enjoy at any time.


    Syros airport has a direct flights from Athens taking just 25 minutes. Oddly there is only one a day though so it pays to book this well in advance especially in summer.


    Syros is well connected by boat, and reaching it by sea is simple. The ferry to Syros from Piraeus, the main port of Athens, takes between 2.5 and 4 hours depending on which ferry you book.

    There is a also a ferry from Rafina, near Athens airport, which runs from May to October and takes 1.5 hours. 

    Being the capital Syros is well connected to many of the other Cycladic islands, especially Tinos, Mykonos, Kythnos, Andros and Paros. These are regular services, and make it easy to island-hop around the area. Its even possible to do a few days trips as Tinos and Mykonos are only 30 minute trips.

    Ermoupolis to Ano Syros

    Once you’ve arrived at the Port or Airport its a short taxi ride up to Ano Syros – about 10 euro, or there are buses too. 

    We often hire a car on Syros, at least for a day or two, so we can explore the whole island, especially the lovely beaches in the west and south. You can park outside Ano Syros on the road, mostly along the east walls.

    If you’re feeling particularly energetic you can also walk! It’s not an easy walk as it is so steep but many people catch a taxi up and walk back down.

    damouchari beach

    The History of the town

    The history of Ano Syros dates back to the 13th century, when it was established by the Venetians, who ruled over many of the Cycladic islands during the Middle Ages.

    This medieval settlement was constructed as a fortified village on the hill of Syros island, aiming to provide protection against pirate raids, a common threat in the Aegean Sea during that era. The architecture and urban planning of Ano Syros reflect its medieval origins, with narrow, winding streets designed to confuse invaders and small, closely packed houses built into the hillside for defense purposes.

    Ano Syros was primarily inhabited by Catholics, under the influence of Venetian rule, which led to the establishment of a strong Catholic community that exists to this day. The Catholic Cathedral of Saint George, located at the highest point of the town, symbolizes the historical and cultural influence of the Catholic Church in Ano Syros.

    Throughout its history, Ano Syros has been a melting pot of cultural influences, blending elements from the Byzantine, Venetian, and traditional Cycladic heritage. Despite the changing political landscapes over the centuries, including Ottoman rule and later integration into the modern Greek state, Ano Syros has preserved its unique character and traditions.

    Today, Ano Syros is famous for its historical significance, architectural beauty, and cultural festivals. It offers visitors a glimpse into the past, with its well-preserved medieval layout, traditional houses, and narrow alleys that provide a vivid representation of its rich history.

    Things to do in Ano Syros

    Ano Syros offers a variety of engaging activities and sights for visitors, combining its rich history with stunning views and cultural experiences.

    Exploring the town is like stepping back in time, offering a tranquil escape from the bustling modern world, while also providing a rich cultural experience through its historical sites, culinary delights, and panoramic beauty. 

    Explore the Medieval Streets

    Wander through the narrow, winding alleyways of Ano Syros, which are characteristic of traditional Cycladic villages. The labyrinthine streets offer surprises at every turn, including beautiful archways, hidden squares, and picturesque doorways.

    Visit the Cathedral of Saint George

    The cathedral, located at the highest point of Ano Syros, is not only a religious landmark but also offers panoramic views of the surrounding islands and the Aegean Sea. It is a testament to the strong Catholic presence on the island.

    Enjoy the Panoramic Views

    The hillside location of Ano Syros provides breathtaking views over Ermoupoli and the blue waters of the Aegean. There are several vantage points throughout the town where you can enjoy the scenic landscapes.

    Discover the Historical Museums

    Ano Syros is home to the Historical Archive of Ano Syros, which provides insights into the history and culture of the area. Another notable museum is the Markos Vamvakaris Museum, dedicated to the famous rebetiko musician born in Ano Syros, offering a glimpse into the life and work of this influential figure.

    Devour Local Food

    The town has several quaint tavernas and cafes where you can taste local delicacies and traditional Greek dishes. The local cuisine reflects the island’s rich cultural heritage and offers a delightful culinary experience.

    Attend Cultural Festivals

    Depending on the time of your visit, you might have the chance to experience one of the many cultural festivals or musical events that take place in Ano Syros. These events showcase the island’s musical traditions, including classical, jazz, and traditional Greek music.

    Visit the Capuchin Monastery and the Jesuit Monastery

    These religious sites are not only places of worship but also hold historical significance for the island. They offer a peaceful retreat and a chance to learn more about the religious history of Ano Syros.


    Browse through the small shops offering handmade crafts, jewelry, and art pieces. These shops are a great place to find unique souvenirs and gifts that reflect the traditional craftsmanship of the Cyclades.

    damouchari beach

    Where to stay in Ano Syros

    Most first times to Syros will stay in Ermoupoli but it is possible to stay up on Ano Syros as well.

    Wind Tales is a beautiful small hotel with sweeping views across the city and is our pick of the accommodation choices on the hill. There are also some lovely guest houses such as Emilia’s, Blue Vorna and Fimaira at the back of the town.

    For something really different you can rent a room at Anemomylos Windmill, a wonderful conversion of this heritage building and again with incredible views. There is parking right outside too.

    Where to eat and drink

    There are not many bars and tavernas in Ano Syros, but the few there are very good.

    The best place to eat is arguably Hygge Ano Syros, although they are only open May-September. Cafe o Vornas, Maison De Meze and Apanochoritissa are also excellent.

    Despite lack-lustre online reviews for Lilis, we have had several good meals there, and the views are absolutely stunning. They los stay open longer and into the off-season.

    There are several cute bars, some very small. Most are located along the same narrow alleyway as Lilis and are easy to find. It’s also worth the trek up the hill near the church for a drink at Syrianon Bar, just for the views alone. Braziliana Snack Bar is really a bar rather than a ‘snack bar’ but they do serve small dishes of Meze and things like Pizza too.

    ano syros taverna
    damouchari beach
    ano syros taverna

    Maison de Meze

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