Outside Ermoupoli, Syros comprises a series of hills and valleys folding down to small bays and beaches, most well served by buses.
The old resort town Galissas has seen better days, but it has an appealing beach and is still popular with French travellers, and has a couple of excellent tavernas. Behind the Dolphin Bay Hotel is Armeos, the nudist beach.
South of Galissas, reachable via a short bus ride or a 40-minute walk, Finikas has a long and narrow strip of sand against a backdrop of tamarisk trees. South of the headland is Posidonia, another narrow, sandy beach, beyond which lies the delightful and popular Agathopes beach, with golden sand, calm waters and a smattering of tavernas. Another ten-minute walk south brings you to Komito, a sheltered bay backed by olive groves.
The beaches south of Galissas all have domatia, and some have hotels. It takes only about an hour to do a loop drive from Galissas around the south coast, so go exploring with your own wheels.
The south-coast town of Megas Gialos has a couple of roadside beaches with pedal boats for hire, but they are rather exposed when the meltemi (dry northerly wind) sweeps in in the summer. Gorgeous (and sheltered) Vari Bay, further east, is the better bet with its light grey sandy beach, though the waterfront and tavernas get packed with families in high season.
Kini Beach, on the west coast, has a long, thin stretch of beach popular with families due to its shallow waters.
Worth a Trip: San Michalis
If you have your own wheels, don’t miss the drive to the northern village of San Michalis, along the spine of Syros, with spectacular views of unspoilt valleys and neighbouring islands on either side. Famous for its cheese, San Michalis is now a small hamlet of stone houses and vineyards.
Walk the winding rock path to the hilltop church and get Syran food at its best at Plakostroto. It serves local cheese plus rooster, lamb or rabbit grilled on the open wood fire. Views sweep down the hillside to Kea, Kythnos and beyond.