When to Go
It is possible to climb all year round but the best times are September to the end of October, and March to the end of May. Winter is a possibility and the locals are now very accommodating to groups of climbers who make the effort in the winter months. The only drawback at this time is that getting to the island is time consuming.
In summer it is possible to climb but you will need early starts to get a good morning’s worth of climbing in while the crags are still in the shade. The hot afternoons are better spent on the beach or taking a siesta which I am sure is something that we can all live with. Flights may be a little more expensive in the summer but accommodation doesn’t vary much and there is still plenty of it available. Rain is seldom a problem late in the year but it can be in April and May. In addition, if it has been a wet winter, the tufas and stalactites will be dripping.
Direct to Kos – Chartered flights to Kos are available from most major airports for £100-£200 between April and October. Once you have landed take a bus or a taxi to Mastichari (12 Euros) and then catch the ferry to Pothia on Kalymnos (3 Euros, takes 45 mins) The ferry travels between Mastichari and Pothia three times a day but it doesn’t sail when the wind is blowing so allow plenty of time if the weather is bad.
Package Deals - There are also flight and accommodation packages available for under £300. As long as you end up in, or near, Massouri then these can be the cheapest option and you also have cover if the ferry doesn’t sail.
Out of holiday season (October to March) via Athens - Fly to Athens, then take the metro to the nearby port of Piraeus on the outskirts of Athens (under 1 euro, 20 mins). The overnight ferries to Pothia on Kalymnos take 10-12 hrs, leaving at 2pm and 4pm and cost 20-25 euros for deck class, returning from Pothia at 7pm and 9pm. There are also faster hydrofoil boats that make the crossing in under 5 hrs, but you may need motion sickness tablets! During the winter months you should allow for a day or two at either end of your trip as the ferries won’t sail if there are high winds.
There are also occasionally offers from Olympic Air who will give you a free onward connection flight to Kos with your flight to Athens. These are not always available though; check with your travel agent since there is nothing online.
The big advantage of Kalymnos is that you don’t need a hire car once you get there. All the best climbing is within walking distance of Massouri and there is also the option to hire mopeds or bicycles.
On your arrival, and possibly on rest days, you will need to get between Pothia and Massouri. A taxi is relatively simple to sort out (10 Euros and about 20 mins drive) and there is a regular bus service for less than 1 Euro, running every hour or so from 7am until 9pm.
Moped Hire - There are several places in Massouri and Armeos where you can hire mopeds/scooters for 7-9 Euros/day. The larger scooters can just about fit 2 climbers and 2 rucksacks. You will need your driving licence with you if you want to hire a scooter.
Shops and Restaurants
There are three general shops in Massouri. Mini Market Maria is a small market close to the Glaros Bar and the larger Ibiscus Supermarket, and Anna’s Supermarkets, are 5 and 10 minutes walk further towards Myties, respectively. All stock a useful range of food and drink, including fresh bread daily. If you need a bigger shop then the large town of Pothia is only a short bus ride or drive away.
There are a large number of bars and restaurants on Kalymnos. Apart from those in Pothia, there is quite a strip of restaurants and tourist shops all along the road from Myties to Massouri, however many are closed during the climbing season. The ones that are open are all keen to get a slice of the lucrative climbers market, as the many signs offering ‘climbers special discounts’ will attest to.