BETA PHOTO: Port town of Pothia
Kalymnos may be one of the greatest climbing areas in the world. With about 2000 routes (1700 in the 2012 guide) all accessible with a short hike and/or scooter and great amenities you'll wonder why you've ever climbed anywhere else. Many of the routes feature tufas and are steep, but there is also an array of pockets, thin vertical climbing and LOTS of moderates on the lower angle grey limestone. There is something for everybody with grades from 5a to 9a (5.7 to 5.14d). In addition, the hardware is almost all very safe and inspected/replaced frequently. Many of the popular areas/routes have a steel lowering biner for quick and easy cleaning. With some exceptions, the bolting is generally close together and safe, with particular attention paid to the first three to avoid deck potential. The atmosphere is quite different here than other locales, the climbers tend to be a little older and tend to travel as couples as opposed to a place like Thailand.
60m rope: This will give you access to many routes but you will be limited.
70m rope: This is highly recommended and gains you access to most routes. Still - tie a knot in the end as there are many rope stretchers even for a 70.
80-100m rope: Talendos is now boasting routes requiring ropes of this length, and some on Kalymnos. Many big extensions will be easier with this.
You do not need to bring a stick clip.
14 draws would be a minimum for one person. Bring a few slings and longer draws to get around tufa features and depressions that cause rope drag on these long routes. 28 draws for a couple worked.
Leaver biners: Do not leave quick-links and try not to leave biners. The environment permanently freezes quick links shut, and perhaps biners as well on less popular routes. You can rap or lower directly on a single cold shut if that was used.
Kneebar pads: This place is kneebar heaven. You may want one or two of these if you're going to push your grade or be climbing above 5.11. Durable pants will be sufficient on many routes. The grades often assume you're taking the rests into account. On the stalactite routes you'll also want a shirt on as you'll get creative back rests, headlocks, chicken wings, threadthroughs, laydowns, rodeos etc.
Grades: Kalymnos has 'vacation grades' for the most part although the 2012 guide did a nearly wholesale downgrade. Because of this, many of the grades painted on the rock will be higher than that of the guide. You will note a substantial increase in difficulty on humid days or when the rock seeps a little, so be weary of your desire to downgrade any further, you may have just had good weather.
Old post: [A Greek Island near Turkey and North of the Island of Kos.
This island is loaded with great sport climbing. The locals appreciate climbers and there are a number of markets from which to purchase the very necessary "Kalymnos, Rock Climbing Guide", by Aris Theodoropoulos. Names and grades of many of the climbs are painted on the rock below the climb. The climbs are well bolted and each one is unique. Bring about 18-20 draws (you may need more for some climbs) and either a 60 or 70 meter rope.]
(Updated Nov 2012)
During the summer months up to about Nov 1st, Europeans have the option to fly diretly to Kos island from many major cities. After Nov. 1 many of these flights are discontinued until spring and they will have to route through Athens for a higher cost.
Folks making a longer journey in will likely find it most convenient to fly to Athens then grab one of the many flights to Kos on Olympic or Aegean.
Once in Kos go to the town of Mastahari and grab the ferry to the Kalymnos port town of Pothia. Take the bus from there to Massouri or wherever you are staying for a couple Euro, or 15 Euro cab (2012).
There is usually one late ferry to accommodate the last flight into Kos from Athens. If for whatever reason you miss it, there are plenty of hotels to grab in Mastahari walking distance from the ferry.
Take ferries between islands all the way from Athens. This will be more expensive and take a long time but you may enjoy several of the islands on the way in. Santorini or Crete would be well worth a stay.
You can also fly to Istanbul for some tourism then fly to Bodrum Turkey and take the ferry over to Kos (Kalymnos is much closer to Turkey than to mainland Greece).
Ryan Air flies from many European cities directly to Kos (before Nov 1st)
Traveling after Nov 1st?
Many of the island-island ferries and flights start to disappear but connections to Athens are still frequent. Tourism is basically over for all the islands except Kalymnos...
There are many places to eat in Massouri, some better than others. I won't rate each of them, but a few things should be noted:
In central Massouri above the liquor store with the dark brown wood railings you will find a place with a nice atmosphere and marginal food. The servings are small and the food is all canned or low quality.
Water can be obtained at spring inside a small stone hut right on the main street, down from Fats.
There's a supermarket in Panormos (on the way to Pothia) with much better prices.
The Pirate Bar in Emporios is awesome.
Coffee and espresso is mostly instant. The exception is at the climbers nest and Glaros.
The proprietor at Glaros is a suckubus. Go there to try and make him smile as a challenge. Climber: "Can I get cheese on the omelet?" Glaros "Do you want me to fuck up my kitchen just so you can have cheese?" If you're having too much fun and want to hate your life, go here.
Fani Market has great bread but it sells out quick.
Kalymnos can be climbed all year around but the dominant season is spring/fall with most climbers going in October so crags will get a little full during this time.
The dominant reason that people do not climb as much in the winter is simply because the tourism season has died and many of the amenities in Massouri have shut down about Nov 1st and less direct flights are available from the rest of Europe. That said, there will still be a few restaraunts and at least one market open. Since most Kalymnians live and work at the same place, their studios usually remain available all winter so lodging should not be an issue. In addition there is more rain in Dec/Jan. During Oct/Nov rain usually doesn't last long or affect your climbing day much (hint: when the forcast shows rain, go climbing to avoid crowds since it probably won't rain anyway).
Browse More Classics in Kalymnos
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Kalymnos:
Featured Route For Kalymnos
Picture Perfect, Kalymnos.
The Grande Grotta
Panorama Wall, 6b
BETA PHOTO: Climbers Nest: Located in Armeos, just under Gran...
View of Kalymnos (Pothia).
Looking toward Sectors Arhi and Sea breeze from se...
Pimpin' on the porch, Kaly, 2011
Yes...do climb Kaly...
Kalymnos is a fantastic place to be a climber. Kal...
You WILL come to Kalymnos.
You WILL push your gra...
Even graduates of the Ray Charle...
Local sea food prepared by a local.
Thrashed climbing shoe tree at the climbers bar.
View of Massouri from Telendos. Most climbers sta...
Pothia, the main port town on Kalymnos.
Lots of steep walls on Kalymnos!
Goats everywhere! There might be more goats on th...
|By Keegan Dimmick|
From: Winchester, VA
Apr 3, 2008
Any Americans on here that can give me travel and lodging info for Kalymnos. I want to hear from people that have actually been there, not what you might have read on the net.
Apr 5, 2008
I spent a month there in fall 2005. It's a great place, nice rock, chill scene, and (at least then) fairly cheap. We stayed at the Fatolitis Studios in Massouri. Has a pool, it's own little private beach, and is nice. We paid 25 euros a night. From Massouri you can walk to many of the crags (Grande Grotto, Jurassic Park, Spartacus, Odyssey) and is a 10 minute scooter ride from Arhi. You can walk or take a short scooter trip to the grocery in Massouri; it's a 20 minute scooter ride to Pothia. We flew from Athens to Kos and then took the ferry from Kos Town to Pothia. This was before the airport on Kalymnos opened.
Hope this helps.
|By Erik Olson|
May 20, 2008
My wife and I went there in September of 07 for our 1 year anniversary. We took a ferry from Pothia (the main port for Athens) and stayed at the Melinda's Apartments. They were great and cheap even though Kalymnos is becoming more and more touristy. We toured some of the other Greek islands and overall we just loved Kalymnos the most. The climbing is all really accessible and most climbs have their name painted on the bottom of the climb. There is a great guide book that is sold everywhere and was the most expensive thing we bought while we were on the island. I highly recommend renting a scooter even if you have never driven one. It is cheap and allows you access to many places to climb that most people don't get to. Feel free to email me with any more questions.
|By Brian in SLC|
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 13, 2010
Note that Kalymnos is NORTH of the island of Kos.
|By Steven Lucarelli|
From: Moab, UT
Jun 23, 2010
Kalymnos has the best sport climbing I have ever experienced in my life! The Grande Grotta is spectacular!
We stayed at Melina's www.melinas-apartments.gr/ which is very cheap for the amenities you get and George is one of the most energetic people I have ever met. Rent a scooter for sure, they are cheap and the best way to get around the island. Plus if you decide to visit other islands while your there you can just take your scooter on the ferry so you'll have a ride wherever you go.
We also took an overnight ferry from Athina to Pothia and just got a sleeper cabin. This is a good option since its cheaper than an airplane and saves you money by not having to pay for an extra night somewhere.
|By Amy V|
May 6, 2011
My husband and I spent the past month here in Kalymnos, from about 4/10 to 5/6. Weather was perfect (cool) in the beginning, shade or sun. The past week or so, shade has been mandatory in the afternoons. Ambiance Cafe is a great local resource for climbers. The owners are both Kalymnian locals but have lived in the US and so they speak perfect English. They know everything about the island and are super friendly. They're even learning to climb! The coffee and breakfast is awesome and they have the only pool table in Masouri. Just wanted to pass along that little bit of info but I'm happy to answer any other specific questions about our stay here too. It's an effort to get to Kalymnos, but so worth it!
|By Ron Grat|
From: Dumont, Co.
Jun 23, 2011
Does anyone know of any camp grounds on Kalymnos? I've read a lot about the lodging, but nothing on (legal) camping. Just trying to go as low budget as possible. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
|By Top Rope Hero|
From: Was Estes Park, now homeless
Aug 20, 2011
There's no camping at Kaly. Anywhere. Period. It's just not done on this part of the planet. And? The locals (including and especially the poe-lice) are pretty dead set against others doing it.
Don't try it unless you wanna get kicked outta Kalymnos.
Still, there WAS evidence that SOMEBODY was sleeping in the hills above Odyssey...
Your best bet is simply to find the cheapest studio and stuff it with dirtbags.
|By dnoB ekiM|
Sep 19, 2011
I just returned from 2 weeks in Kalymnos. Incredible!
We stayed at: www.vasilisstudios.gr/
This is a great choice for studios! It is about a 5-7 minute scooter ride from the Massouri "strip" and well priced (30 Euro per night during our Sept 2011 stay).
Importantly, they picked us up at the port and dropped us off when we left. More importantly, Poppy (the owner) was extremely nice and keeps the place immaculately clean! The rooms are well equipped. My wife and I did a lot of looking at other studios and were really happy with our selection of Vasilas. There are much cheaper options out there (as low as 10 Euro) for the really budget conscious...but we would have been very unhappy with the conditions at these very budget places.
Another place that caught our eye was Elenahotels.com. These looked great and are in the heart of Massouri.
As far as food, Fatolis (spelling?) and Sunrise were great quick meal (omelets, gyros, etc) places. Both have nice owners with great service. For dinner...Kokkiniahe Tavern (Upstairs just past Fatolis but on the left) and Panos O Miltilinios were our favorites.
We did not have one bad meal the whole time we were there. The seafood is all good! Definitely try the stuffed Calamari (grilled full calamari with feta). Fatolis' greek omelet is not too be missed...and Sunrise's Chicken and Bacon Gyro is sinfully good. Zorbas is also a good choice for dinner.
|By Nathan Hollingsworth|
From: colorado springs
Oct 16, 2011
I’m going to Kalymnos in a couple of weeks and had some questions. On my first trip to Kalymnos, a couple of years ago, the hotel we stayed at only had salt water in the faucets. Is this normal and if so where can we get clean drinking water for free? Has anyone eaten at Imia or Prego's restaurants? Or does anyone have any specific recommendation for cheap food? Is the Kefalas Cave tour any good?
Anything would be great,
|By Ken Kisiel|
Apr 9, 2012
Looking to travel early November. What should we expect for crowds? Water temperature? Lodging availability?
|By Chris Perkins|
From: Avon, Colorado
Jun 3, 2012
Bring a 70 or 80 meter rope!! 60 works, but I felt I missed out on a lot of stellar routes.
Love this place!
Nov 19, 2012
Ryan Air flies to Kos from several cities in Europe. My ticket from Milan to Kos cost 6 Euro. Nuff said...
Dec 1, 2012
Headed there in early to mid June- is this a bad idea with weather? Also, going with my wife and looking for some easier climbing sprinkled in. Will we be in for a disappointing time or will it be all good? Thanks!