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General Information

Kalymnos, is a Greek island and municipality in the southeastern Aegean Sea. It belongs to the Dodecanese and is located between the islands of Kos and Leros the latter is linked to it through a series of islets.Kalymnos lies between two to five hours away by sea from Rhodes. In 2010 the island’s population was around 14,000 people making it the third most populous island of the Dodecanese, after Kos and Rhodes. It is known in Greece for the affluence of much of its population, and also stands both the wealthiest member of the Dodecanese and one of the wealthiest Greek islands overall. The Municipality of Kalymnos, which includes the populated offshore islands of Pserimos ,Telendos, Kalolimnos, and Platti, as well as several uninhabited islets, with crystal clear waters and isolated beaches perfect for relaxing and enjoying your time on the island. Kalymnos is mainly mountainous, with a complicated pattern. The coastline is very irregular, with many sheltered coves. There are some springs, one among them being thermal. The soil is mainly made of limestone, but in the valleys there is a compact bank of volcanic tuff, relic of an ancient volcano, located near the village of Kantouni. The island is mainly barren, except the two fertile valleys of Vathi and Pothia, where olives, oranges and vineyards grow. The usage of sponge was first mentioned in the works of Aristotle and Homer. Since the ancient times, the life and culture of Kalymnos Island was linked to this marine animal; this is the reason Kalymnos is also known as the “Sponge-divers’ island”. Sponge diving has always been a common occupation on Kalymnos and sponges have been the main source of income of the Kalymnians bringing wealth on the island and making it famous in the Mediterranean Nowadays tourism has become a second resource of economic growth for all residents, who every summer see their island full of visitors mainly those who appreciate the island’s tranquility and lovely beaches. 


Here’s how it all started: we first heard about the climbing potential of Kalymnos in 1995 when one of the best Greek climbers out of Patras, Giannis Torelli, visited the island. He didn’t do any climbing, but he did take some rather uninspiring photos of the crags. All Greek islands are littered with cliffs anyway, so we didn’t jump to any conclusions. Why should Kalymnos be any different?  


Everything changed by chance, when the Italian climber Andrea di Bari visited Kalymnos for his summer holidays in 1996. Seeing the excellent quality of the rock and the huge potential of the area, he returned to Kalymnos in May 1997 with some climbing friends to put up some routes. They opened 43 sport routes on Kalymnos (in the sectors Arhi, Odyssey and Poets). Andrea di Bari returned to Kalymnos in October of the same year, this time with Andrea Gallo, a photographer working for Alp magazine. Articles ensued in Alp and Rotpunkt magazines in the spring of 1999, and the rest is history.   Climbing on Kalymnos took off. Our own Aris approached the local municipality and proposed a set of guidelines for developing and promoting climbing on Kalymnos; the municipality was supportive.

scr: Climb Kalymnos Website


Hotel Philoxenia is located at the center of rock climbing on Kalymnos. Within a distance of 1km you can get to the most famous and best climbing sectors on the island. Starting from North to South : Dolphin Bay , Kasteli , Apollo , North Cape , School , Odyssey , Ocean Dream , Olympic Wall , Iliada , Jurassic Park , Spartacus , Spartan Wall , Afternoon , Grande Grotta (Right Above), Panorama , Stankill , Ivory Tower , Kalydna , Iannis , Poets , Meltemi , and Zeus. There are more than 600 climbing routes within this distanse. Hotel Philoxenia even has a route at Syblegades climbing sector with a difficulty of 6a.


Diving has flourished on the island of Kalymnos since the ancient times. The first divers of Kalymnos gathered sponges from the bottom of the sea naked, carrying a flat stone weighing about 15 kilograms in order to sink faster( skandalopetra). Through the years Kalymnian divers became a legend worldwide.


Kalymnos is known and billed as the "Sponge-divers' island". Sponge diving has long been a common occupation on Kalymnos and sponges were the main source of income of Kalymnians, bringing wealth to the island and making it famous throughout the Mediterranean. The Kalymnians harvested sponges from the sea-bed as close as Pserimos or as far as North Africa. Early diving was done without equipment (free diving), using a harpoon. Sponges are still fished individually, by hand.

The Greek sponge trade was centered close in the Dodecanese, featuring Kalymnos until mid-80s, when a disease hit the eastern Mediterranean destroying a great number of sponges and damaging the sponge-fishing industry as a result. Today, Kalymnos faces a lack of sponges due to the outbreak of a disease which has decimated sponge crops.

An annual celebration, Sponge Week, occurs a week after Easter to honour this "Kalymnian gold.” Much has been written, sung and filmed about the legendary courage and recklessness of the sponge divers themselves.


This is the reason diving is a “must” during your holidays on this beautiful island. Make a gift to yourself and explore the underwater world. Live the adventure and the magic of the fascinating depths of the sea world. Swim ammong various creatures of the marine life, dive through canyons ,tunnels , corals and sponges. Live the legend. In addition to all these, Scuba diving is an exercise for both body and brain. The health benefits of it are countless and invaluable. Do not wait any longer! Take your family and friends visit our facilities and enjoy!

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