A church in Chorio

Kimolos- Cycladic Perfection

The perfect Cycladic Island has an elemental purity: in its landscape, its culture, and its cuisine. We found all of this in Kimolos, an island whose beauty is matched by people of character and cuisine of intergrity.

Kimolos’ Chorio

Enjoying Kimolos without crowds

Kimolos is welcoming and hospitable. It’s also by no means starving for tourism. There are just enough restaurants, tavernas, cafes and bars- not one too many. Each fills its own perfect niche. No one is standing outside with a menu trying to drag you in. There are few places to stay for an island of so many attractions, but they are places with character. There are a couple of tasteful shops, with courteous owners who are usually outside socializing with neighbors rather than hovering over you. It’s very low-key, discrete. They have a beautiful life here, and they’re glad to share it, just like it is.

The terraced hills and the sea beyond
White boulders meet a crisp sea

The rugged landscape of Kimolos

Kimolos’ landscape packs in a lot of drama. This small island is mountainous, rocky, and windswept. There are remote beaches with exotic rock formations and steeply terraced hills. The Greek word for chalk- Kimolia- comes from here, and the island glows with it. This is “Kimolia Gi” (Kimolian earth), and Kimolos was once called “Argentiera” because it glittered like silver in the sunset. The sands are white with it, and so is the floor of the sea. The colors of the Aegean are unparalleled in their beauty and brightness. The cars are coated with a dust as white as powdered sugar and just as fine- even the dirt here is beautiful.

Kyria Mpempa of Sardis

Kyria Odigitria presides over a beautiful breakfast table at Kimolia Gi

The authentic people of Kimolos

The people seemed in every aspect to mirror their island- immaculate of spirit, spare in the elegant simplicity of their lifestyle, and rugged in their utter lac of pretension. Kimolio Gi was also the name of the agroturism complex hosting some of our group. We had met Giorgos the night before- he was waiting by the roadside in the middle of the night to guide us to our room. Now we would meet his mother, Kyria (like saying “Ms”) Odigitria.We drove down to breakfast. It’s in an outdoor room- a grass roof, and walls on just two sides. Kyria Odigitria was there to greet us, and showed us to the buffet. She takes joy in the table. We liked this island character very much- never boastful, but with a quiet, well-founded pride.

This pride is reflected in the way places are called- by the name of the owner, not the name of the business. Everyone seems to call Kimolia Gi “Kyria Odigitria’s” for instance. With 600 people on the island in winter, there is no anonymity. Sardi’s is called Mpempa’s, for the charming owner and first chef, and I Kali Kardia (“The Good Heart”) is Bohoris. for Kyrios Apostolos Bohoris. These warm personalities shape the lie of the island. We’ll long remember the classic Greek songs of the earlier 20th C, played on vinyl 45’s on the jukebox of Bohoris- the music as memorable as the classic perfection of the dishes.

Ladenia at Kimolio Gi
Mussels at Mpempa’s, made by her daughter-in-law, Anna

The honest cuisine of Kimolos

Our first day’s breakfast with Kyria Odigitria featured a Kimolos specialty- “Ladenia”. Nothing could sound more humble. It’s simply a light, moist flatbread, topped with a smear of tomato. Yet I think about it every morning still.

Elemental perfection is the hallmark of the cuisine of Kimolos. This is a cuisine with integrity: the best ingredients, the most skillful, honest preparation, and nothing more. Rice pudding is made with milk from their own goats (if you haven’t tried goat’s milk you should- it has a rich, clean taste). The jams and the cakes, the pies and the breads are homemade. The produce was from her garden; the cheese from their own goats, the oil from their trees. At Bohoris, we had the best moussaka of our lives. The goat was braised simply in its own juices with salt, perhaps a little lemon. Grazing on the wild herbs of the hills, its meat tasted like the landscape itself.

Kimolos has integrity in its every aspect, offering an authentic experience of Greece- not just the beauty of the landscape but the traditions and values that are the country’s true wealth.

Places not to miss in Kimolos

Travel Bloggers Greece were invited to Kimolos by the Afentakeio– a charitable foundation benefiting the health and well being of the people of Kimolos. This was a lasting gift of Giorgos Oikonomou Afentakis- a prominent citizen of the 19th C, to his island.

While we there, we enjoyed the hospitality of the following, all of which I warmly recommend:

Kimolio Gi Studios offers a complete agrotourism experience.

Aria Hotels Kimolos Blue is beachside Cycladic chic, with a lovely pool.

We dined exquistely! Don’t leave Kimolos without trying:

I Kali Kardia, set in a charming alley of Chorio, has been in business since 1920. Go for the authentic village atmosphere, the premium quality home-style dishes, the selection of ouzo, and not least, Kyrios Apostolos’ wonderful jukebox.

To Kyma in Psathi, right on the beach, has perfect fresh caught fish and a romantic atmosphere.

Meltemi View & Taste has creative Kimolian cuisine- inventive dishes with authentic roots.

Sardis, popularly called Mpempa’s, is the perfect place for a beach-side pasta with langoustines or any of the excellent home-style dishes that keep people coming back year after year.

Open day and night for coffees, drinks, snacks, and fresh delicious meals, Postali is a perfect anytime. You can see the ferry arrive right in front so it’s a perfect place for a festive send off.

We enjoyed the playful, clever cocktails at Agora, set right in the center of Chorio.

Stavento, right on the plateia of the main church Panagia Odigitria, is the perfect place for an iced espresso, a cocktail in an elegant glass, and a little Miles Davis, day or night. Perfect Cycladic decor.

They also have an ice cream shop- all homemade with local milk and absolutely delicious

Don’t miss the bakery. Kyria Margarita makes traditional wedding cookies almost too beautiful to eat, and other delicious island specialties. Ask for directions in chorio