Symi is a beautiful Greek island that belongs to the Dodecanese archipelago. It is situated just off the coast of Turkey, and it is known for its stunning beaches, turquoise waters, colorful houses, and rich history.
Symi’s laid-back atmosphere attracts visitors looking for a peaceful and relaxing vacation. This travel guide will provide you with all the information you need to plan your trip to Symi, including things to do, how to get there, and more.
Getting to Symi
Symi does not have an airport, so the only way to get there is by boat. The closest airport to Symi is the Rhodes International Airport, which is served by several airlines from various destinations.
From Rhodes, you can take a ferry to Symi. The ferry ride takes around two hours, and several ferry companies operate daily trips between Rhodes and Symi.
Here are some of the most popular ferry companies:
- Dodekanisos Seaways: This is the main ferry company that operates between Rhodes and Symi. They have several daily departures from Rhodes and Symi, which takes around two hours. The ferry has both indoor and outdoor seating, and there is also a cafe on board.
- Blue Star Ferries: This is another popular ferry company that operates between Rhodes and Symi. They have daily departures from Rhodes, and the journey takes around two hours. The ferry has several seating options, including economy, business class, and cafes and shops.
- Sea Dreams: This ferry company operates between Rhodes and Symi several times a week during the summer season. The journey takes around two hours, and the ferry has both indoor and outdoor seating.
Another option is to take a direct ferry from Athens. The ferry ride from Athens to Symi takes around 24 hours, and several ferry companies operate this route. If you choose to take this route, we recommend booking a cabin to make the journey more comfortable.
Things to Do in Symi
Visit the Symi Port
Symi Port is the island’s main hub and is located on the island’s northern coast. It is a picturesque and charming harbor known for its colorful houses, fishing boats, and yachts.
A visit to Symi Port is a must-do activity when visiting the island, as it is one of the most beautiful and vibrant parts of Symi.
As you approach Symi Port by boat, you will be struck by the stunning view of the harbor, with its rows of brightly colored neoclassical buildings and the imposing clock tower standing tall in the center.
The harbor is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops, making it a lively and bustling place to explore.
One of the best things to do in Symi Port is to stroll along the waterfront promenade. Here, you can admire the traditional fishing boats and yachts moored in the harbor and watch as the local fishermen unload their catch of the day.
The promenade is also lined with colorful houses and shops, and there are plenty of benches where you can sit and enjoy the views.
Another popular activity in Symi Port is to explore the nearby streets and alleys, which are filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants. This is a great place to try some of the local specialties, such as fresh seafood, souvlaki, and local wine.
If you’re interested in history and culture, you can visit the Archaeological and Folklore Museum, which is located near the harbor. Here, you can learn about the history of the island and see a collection of ancient artifacts, including pottery, coins, and sculptures.
Explore the Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis
The Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis is one of the most important cultural and religious sites on the island of Symi.
Located on the island’s southern coast, this beautiful Byzantine monastery is dedicated to the Archangel Michael and is a place of pilgrimage for many Orthodox Christians.
The monastery was founded in the 18th century and has a rich history that is closely tied to the island of Symi.
According to legend, the monastery was founded after a group of sailors were saved from a storm by the Archangel Michael, who appeared to them in a vision and told them to build a monastery in his honor.
The monastery complex consists of several buildings, including a church, a bell tower, and a museum.
The church is particularly impressive, with its ornate marble floor, intricate frescoes, and beautiful iconostasis. The bell tower is also worth visiting, as it offers stunning views over the surrounding area and the Aegean Sea.
The museum houses a collection of ecclesiastical artifacts, including rare manuscripts, icons, and other religious objects. The museum also has a small gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and other religious items.
One of the most impressive features of the Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis is its stunning location. The monastery is built on a hill overlooking the sea, and the views from the top are truly breathtaking.
The surrounding area is also home to several small beaches and coves, which are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history and culture of the island of Symi, a visit to the Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis is a must.
The monastery is open to visitors daily, with a small entrance fee. To get to the monastery, you can take a taxi or bus from Symi Town or arrange a guided tour through one of the local tour operators.
Relax on the Beaches
Symi is known for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers. The island has several stunning beaches that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. Here are some of the best beaches to visit in Symi:
- Nos Beach: Located on the southern coast of Symi, Nos Beach is a secluded and quiet beach that is surrounded by rocky cliffs and green hills. The beach is small, but the water is calm and perfect for swimming.
- Marathounda Beach: Marathounda Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island, and for good reason. This beautiful sandy beach is located on the western coast of Symi and is surrounded by rocky cliffs and lush vegetation. The water is crystal clear and perfect for swimming, and plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas are available for rent.
- Nanou Beach: Nanou Beach is a small and secluded beach on Symi’s eastern coast. Rocky cliffs surround the beach and have crystal-clear water, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
- St. George Bay: St. George Bay is a beautiful and secluded beach on the western coast of Symi. Rocky cliffs and green hills surround the beach, and the water is calm and perfect for swimming.
- Agia Marina Beach: Agia Marina Beach is a small and peaceful beach on the eastern coast of Symi. Rocky cliffs surround the beach and have crystal-clear water, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
No matter which beach you visit in Symi, you will have a relaxing and enjoyable time. Most beaches have sun loungers and umbrellas available for rent, and there are also several beach bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a refreshing drink or a delicious meal.
Hike to the Symi Viewpoint
Hiking to the Symi Viewpoint is a great way to explore the island’s natural beauty and get some exercise at the same time.
The viewpoint offers stunning panoramic views of Symi Port, the surrounding hills, and the sparkling Aegean Sea. Here’s what you need to know to plan your hike to the Symi Viewpoint:
The starting point for the hike is in the village of Horio, which is located above Symi Port. To get to Horio, you can either walk up the 500+ steps from the port or take a taxi or bus.
Once you’re in Horio, follow the signs for the Symi Viewpoint, which will take you through the village’s winding streets and up a steep trail.
The hike to the Symi Viewpoint is a bit challenging, as the trail is steep and rocky in places, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The trail is well-marked, and there are several rest stops along the way where you can catch your breath and take in the views.
The hike takes about an hour to reach the Symi Viewpoint, but you can take your time and enjoy the scenery along the way.
When you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Symi Port and the surrounding hills. There’s a small chapel at the top where you can rest and enjoy the views.
Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes, as the hike can be quite hot and strenuous. Bringing a camera to capture the stunning views is also a good idea.
Explore the Chorio Village
Chorio is a picturesque village that is located on a hill above Symi Port. The village is full of narrow streets, traditional houses, and charming shops and cafes.
Exploring Chorio is a great way to experience the island’s rich history and culture, and to get a taste of everyday life on Symi. Here are some of the top things to do and see in Chorio:
- Visit the Panagia tou Kastrou Church: The Panagia tou Kastrou Church is a beautiful Byzantine church that is located at the highest point of Chorio. The church is known for its stunning frescoes and beautiful architecture, and it offers sweeping views of Symi Port and the surrounding hills.
- Explore the narrow streets: Chorio is full of winding, narrow streets that are lined with colorful houses and shops. Take a stroll through the village and discover hidden courtyards, ancient houses, and quaint cafes.
- Visit the Folklore Museum: The Symi Folklore Museum is located in Chorio and showcases the island’s rich cultural heritage. The museum features exhibits on traditional clothing, crafts, and music, and it offers a fascinating glimpse into the island’s history and traditions.
- Enjoy a meal at a local taverna: Chorio is home to several traditional tavernas that serve delicious local dishes. Try some fresh seafood, grilled meats, or traditional Greek specialties, and soak up the charming atmosphere of the village.
- Shop for souvenirs: Chorio is a great place to shop for unique souvenirs and handicrafts. You’ll find everything from handmade jewelry and ceramics to local herbs and spices, and there are plenty of charming shops and stalls to explore.
Go Scuba Diving
Symi’s crystal-clear waters are perfect for scuba diving. Several dive centers on the island offer diving trips to explore the island’s underwater world. You can see a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, octopuses, and even ancient shipwrecks.
Take a Boat Trip
One of the best ways to explore Symi is by taking a boat trip. Several boat tours on the island will take you to some of the most beautiful beaches and secluded coves that are only accessible by boat.
Try the Local Cuisine
Symi has a rich culinary tradition, and there are several local dishes that you should try during your visit. Here are some of the most popular dishes to look out for:
- Symi Shrimp: Symi Shrimp is a local delicacy and one of the island’s most famous dishes. The shrimp are small and sweet, and they are typically grilled or fried with garlic, lemon, and olive oil. You can find Symi Shrimp at many of the island’s tavernas and seafood restaurants.
- Fish soup: Fish soup is another local specialty that is popular on Symi. The soup is typically made with a variety of fresh fish, vegetables, and herbs, and it’s served with a side of crusty bread. It’s a hearty and delicious meal, perfect for a cool evening.
- Moussaka: Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish that is popular all over the country, and Symi is no exception. It’s made with layers of eggplant, minced meat, and potatoes, and it’s topped with a creamy bechamel sauce. It’s a filling and comforting dish that’s perfect for a satisfying meal.
- Stuffed vine leaves: Stuffed vine leaves, or dolmades, are a classic Greek dish that’s popular on Symi. The vine leaves are stuffed with a mixture of rice, herbs, and sometimes minced meat, and they’re typically served with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of yogurt.
- Baklava: Baklava is a sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough, chopped nuts, and honey syrup. It’s a delicious dessert that’s perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth after a meal.
- Loukoumades: Loukoumades are small, fluffy doughnuts that are drizzled with honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon. They’re a popular dessert in Greece, and they’re a must-try when visiting Symi.
Visit the Symi War Memorial
The Symi War Memorial is a tribute to the island’s residents who fought in World War II. The memorial is located in the center of the town, and it is a great place to learn about the island’s history.
Where to Stay in Symi
Symi has a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Symi Town and Pedi Bay are the most popular areas to stay on the island. Symi Town is the island’s main town and has a range of hotels, guesthouses, and apartments.
Pedi Bay is a quieter area perfect for those looking for a more secluded and peaceful vacation. Some of the most popular hotels on the island include the Symi Garden Studios, the Hotel Fiona, and the Hotel Aliki.
Symi is a beautiful Greek island that is perfect for those looking for a peaceful and relaxing vacation. The island has stunning beaches, beautiful natural scenery, and a rich history and culture.
Once you arrive on the island, there are plenty of things to do, including visiting the Symi Port, exploring the Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis, relaxing on the beaches, hiking to the Symi Viewpoint, and trying the local cuisine.
With a range of accommodation options available, Symi is the perfect destination for your next vacation.
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