This post you will find everything you need to organise a climbing trip on Kalymnos. Read on to find out a little bit about the history and geography of Kalymnos, how to get to the climbing areas, Masouri, where you can stay and enjoy some specialties. Importantly, I discuss information about climbing, the best times to visit, the range and variety of climbing available and a few words about safety.
A few words about the island
If you climb a little and you have done some climbing trips, it is very likely that you have heard of Kalymnos. This magnificent island of the Dodecanese in the Aegean Sea has many assets for both novice and experienced climbers. Kalymnos has the particularity of being very rocky, with limestone cliffs. The island is very dry for most of the year (May to November) and has little vegetation.
The island’s reputation and economic activity developed rapidly from the middle of the 19th century onward thanks to sponge fishing. These were almost completely eradicated by an epidemic of rare violence in 1986. The island lives economically from a small seaside tourism (2 months in the year) and since now about fifteen years of tourism related to climbing (6 to 7 months per year).
If the archaeological aspect is not very interesting (Rhodes is not far away for that!), Greek culture and the friendliness of its inhabitants are omnipresent. The culinary aspects make it possible to discover a beautiful facet of it!
Climbing trip logistics
Kalymnos is organized to welcome climbers from April to November. The majority of the island’s equipped cliffs are concentrated is in the western part of the island between Masouri and Arginonta.
It is along the main street of Masouri that you will find all the logistical aspects for your stay: accommodation, restaurants, grocery stores, bars, scooter or car rental and 7 climbing shops!
THE WAY TO MASOURI
There’s an airport on Kalymnos but I wouldn’t recommend it, flights can be cancelled or delayed due to wind and prices are generally not very attractive. A better option is to fly to Kos, (Hipocratos international airport). Travel from Kos airport to Mastichiari, you can take a taxi (15/18 €) or the bus (2.5 €) in 10/20 minutes. It is a small village from where ferries (7 €) leave for Kalymnos, the journey takes 30 to 45 minutes and you arrive in Pothia, the main city/port of Kalymnos, situated on the eastern side of the island. On arrival there will be taxis at the port available to take you to Masouri (15/18 € and approximately 15 minutes).
If you decide to rent a car for your stay, it could be smart to rent it in Pothia.
It’s also possible to arrive on Kalymnos by boat from Athens, it takes 12 hours and approximately 50 € per person.
The cliffs are situated on the western side of the island. The most convenient place to stay is Masouri and adjoining villages, Myrties and Armeos. Accommodation consists mainly of studios for 2 or 3 people with prices starting at around 20€. It is possible to rent a house and there are also some hotels.It’s easy to access many cliffs on foot from Masouri, Armeos or Myrties. However renting a scooter will offer you the freedom to visit a number of other crags and explore the island.