Syros isn't as enchanting for walking as Andros or Sifnos, but there are still some nice walks to be done. It can get very hot as there is little shade on the rugged slopes of Syros, so walking out of season, and out of the main heat of the day, feels even more crucial.
If you are looking for more and longer walks than we offer here then, as usual, we'd recommend Raymond Verdoolaege's excellent Walking, Hiking and Trekking in the Cyclades.
The Anavasi walkers map of Syros is available in Ermoupoli, and does have trails marked. There are also some signposts on routes, and the usual red and white markers indicating trails. We haven't explored these extensively, but they aren't always as clear or reliable as you might hope!
From Ano Syros to Kini
This walk takes about an hour - allow more if you are starting in Ermoupoli, or if you want to take the diversion to the spring. It takes you to the pretty little bay of Kini, where there are a couple of good tavernas, cafes and good swimming.
If you wanted to extend it you can walk to the right along the bay and pick up a path leading to another beach - Raymond gives details of how to do this here.
It starts from the Portara exit from Ano Syros. You could get a taxi straight to Portara from Ermopouli, or walk up to Ano Syros.
To find the Portara exit once you are in Ano Syros requires a bit of weaving about in the side streets.
Find your way along the main street to the Taverna 'Epano Hora', and turn right just after it. Then take a left below the church. You should spot a rather faded blue and white sign to Portara here.
Take a right, and keep straight on - the streets go slightly downhill. There are more signs, and eventually the streets will open out to a small terrace above the road.
From here you can see up and across the valley. There's a dry riverbed and an old stone bridge just ahead - make your way to this.
On your left is a stony path leading to the bridge. At the top there is a wooden sign telling you that it is a 20 minute walk to the village of Alithini.
From here you will see the old stone stairs climbing steeply up the hill. This is a steep but beautiful old path, and as you slog your way up it you are rewarded with fanatastic views back over Ano Syros.
If you don't fancy the full walk to Kini, it's worth coming up this path for the views - especially beautiful in evening light.
At the top of this path turn left along a concrete road. You'll go past an old well on your right, and then a taverna, also on your right.
You are now in the village of Alithini - basically a few houses strung along the road, a church and a taverna.
The views back over Ano Syros and Ermpouli continue all along this road and are stunning.
Keeping to the left, follow the road until you meet a bigger road running from Ermopouli to Kini. Turn right here and follow the road until you come to a modern windmill at the top of the hill.
For the next bit of the walk you have to go along the road - not as nice as the footpaths, but not that busy.
Follow the main asphalt road as it curls down the hillside towards Kini. Soon you will start to get glimpses of Kini bay as the valley opens out before you.
After a short while you'll come to a big white church on your left. Apparently sometimes there are local women here selling handmade woven goods.
Close to the church there is a big wooden sign post indicating footpaths going off on your left, behind the church.
You have a choice here of taking a little diversion along this footpath to a spring. This is only a short 15 minute walk, but is worth doing - it's a really pleasant footpath along the side of the hill. The path takes you between stone walls and big boulders to a small spring.
If you wanted to explore further, signs indicate that the path continues for a short while (and possibly further) but I haven't done this.
If you take this diversion you'll find an obvious sign to Kini on the footpath, which takes you down the hill back to the road. Immediately opposite you is another footpath, also signposted, to Kini.
If you don't take the diversion then just follow the road until, not long after the church, you'll join the same signposted footpath, which goes off to the right from the road.
The route is obvious now - just follow the stone pathway down towards Kini and the sea. When you meet the road at the bottom keep to your left and it will take you out on to the beach.
Kini is a pretty little seaside resort, a low key development with rooms to rent. The beach is lined with tavernas and beach cafes, where you can sip freddo cappucino under a beach umbrella and recover from your exertions.
If you have the energy and wanted to find a more secluded beach, then there is a bay around to your left, with trees for shade. Or you could walk a bit further to Delfini beach, a long, quiet beach to the right of Kini bay.
There are buses back from Kini to Ermopouli. It takes about 20 minutes. In September 2012 we noted that the afternoon buses back from Kini were at 13.50, 14.50, 16.20, 17.25 and 20.25 but it's best to check the timetable rather than rely on these times. You'll find a timetable posted up in the harbour area, close to where the ferries come in.
There's no clear bus stop in Kini - the pick up point is by the rather quirky mermaid statue just back from the beach. Usually people gather around here when a bus is due.
If you've missed the last bus, or don't want to wait, the other option is a taxi (or walking back, of course!) If you don't have a number with you, ask at one of the cafes or tavernas, and people will call a taxi for you.
Exploring the windmills and washing wells
Behind Ano Syros there is an interesting area which it is worth spending some time exploring.
You'll find windmills on the hill tops, while in the leafy valley bottom there are old fashioned washing wells
and a lovely old plane tree.
You also get nice views back to Ano Syros, down to the docks in Ermopouli and across to the mountains that surround the town.
We haven't kept detailed directions for this walk, but basically it's easy to explore and find out for yourself. You can start your walk either from the Portara exit (and walk up to the windmill above you), or Pano Terma - the top entrance into Ano Syros. You'll see a couple of windmills and tracks leading to them.
You'll also spot Agios Athanásios church nestled into the side of the valley. If you are interested in seeing the washing wells aim in the general direction of this church, and then take the foot path down into the valley.
You'll find Raymond's longer and more detailed walk in this area here.
We haven't followed this, but it looks enjoyable.