Introduction

Kalymnos' capital, Pothia has a low-slung harbourfront of cream and white facades, and backs up the hill in a labyrinth of streets, beneath hulking mountains. If arriving by boat, this is most likely your first taste of the island. You may find some Kalymnians a little gruff, but don't be offended – these rugged islanders have been known throughout history for their toughness and terse manner. Pothia is not a resort, and makes no attempt to be one, though for the curious traveller there's an excellent museum and tourist office. Wander the quayside peppered with old mansions and sea-god statues, past nut-brown fishermen and ex-divers in kafeneia (coffee houses) and bars, nursing retsinas and ragged lungs.