Kalymnos: the mountainous island

Kalymnos is a picturesque Greek island in the southeastern Aegean Sea that has gained significant attention in recent years for its world-class rock climbing. But the island has a rich history that goes back thousands of years. In this blog post, we will take a look at the history of Kalymnos and how it has become a popular destination for rock climbers.


Kalymnos is believed to have been inhabited since prehistoric times, with evidence of human settlement dating back to the Neolithic period. The island has been ruled by various empires throughout its history, including the Byzantine Empire, the Knights of St. John, and the Ottoman Empire. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Kalymnos experienced significant growth as a result of the sponge diving industry. Kalymnian sponge divers were renowned for their exceptional diving abilities and their contribution to the economy of the island was crucial.

 Natural sponges on sale in Kalymnos, Greece.

However, following the introduction of synthetic sponges in the mid-20th century, the sponge diving industry declined rapidly, and Kalymnos was faced with an economic crisis. The island turned to tourism to revive its economy, and in the 1990s, the island's rocky terrain and beautiful scenery caught the attention of rock climbers.

The natural rock arch in Kalymnos. 

The island's rocky landscape, featuring impressive limestone cliffs and steep overhangs, offers a range of climbing opportunities for beginners and advanced climbers alike. In the late 1990s, a group of Italian climbers discovered Kalymnos and established many of the routes that are popular today. Since then, the island has become a mecca for climbers from all over the world.

In addition to its beautiful climbing routes, Kalymnos also boasts an excellent climbing community, with local climbers and business owners working together to create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. The island has several climbing festivals throughout the year, which bring together climbers of all levels and nationalities to enjoy the sport and the island's stunning scenery.

In conclusion, Kalymnos has a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. The island's economy has transformed over time, from sponge diving to tourism, and its rocky terrain has become a popular destination for rock climbers. Whether you are a seasoned climber or just starting out, Kalymnos offers an unforgettable climbing experience in a unique and beautiful setting.


  • "Kalymnos: A Brief History." Greek City Times, 16 Nov. 2020, greekcitytimes.com/2020/11/16/kalymnos-history/.
  • "The Island of Kalymnos: A Climbing Paradise." Greece Is, 27 Apr. 2018, greece-is.com/the-island-of-kalymnos-a-climbing-paradise/..