Symi, a colorful dot on the map

02/05/2023
Symi, with its characteristic colored mansions, is a popular Mediterranean destination with dozens of small, unexplored beaches. At the same time, it is also a famous religious destination, due to the Monastery of Panormitis.
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This island of the Dodecanese lays discreetly in the southeast Aegean, offering its visitors beautiful nature and relaxing holidays. Symi is just a tiny dot on the map that is both close to Rhodes and the coast of Turkey. Today it is a popular Mediterranean destination, with visitors arriving here every summer by boat. It is characterized by neoclassical buildings and dozens of small, unexplored beaches. The island's colorful mansions are more beautiful up close than in any photos you have seen, especially when washed by the sunset. Discover Symi by booking ferry tickets right here, at Let's Ferry.

The picturesque port of SymiThe picturesque port of Symi

Holidays in Symi

If you are looking for vibrant nightlife, bars, ethnic cuisine and beach parties, before you start planning your holiday, you should know that you will not find such things in Symi. This is an ideal island for romantic holidays, with traditional flavors, endless strolling and non-stop diving in blue, crystal clear waters.

Symi together with its surrounding islands, has been declared an Archaeological Site that features 159 sites related to the history and tradition of the island. Its main settlement is Gialos, the one you will stumble upon right as you walk off the boat. This is the place with the most accommodations, restaurants and services such as ATMs or car rentals. The capital of the island is Chorio, built amphitheatrically on the mountain of Vigla. Kali Strata has 500 steps that lead from Gialos to Chorio, also known as Ano Symi. Before you book accommodation in Symi, remember that if you stay in the capital, you will have to go down and up the 500 steps every day, in order to go swimming or visit other parts of the island.

But you will also find hotels in Pedi, a settlement that you can reach either by walking for half an hour from the port, or by car.

Gialos and Ano Symi are connected via Kali Strata with the 500 steps!Gialos and Ano Symi are connected via Kali Strata with the 500 steps!

Guided tour of Symi

Without a doubt, Symi has enchanting alleys that are usually quiet and private, just waiting for you to explore them on your own. Starting from Gialos, you will see the Clock Tower in the port, which was built in 1881 and is a classic meeting point for the locals. If you want to explore museums, it is worth spending time in the Archaeological & Folklore Museum in Ano Symi, as well as the Maritime Museum. There is also the Castle of Symi, built in 1407 to protect the islanders from pirate raids. On the island there are also many monasteries and chapels, such as the church of Saint Emilianos, which looks like an islet surrounded by exotic waters. Another well-known chapel is Saint Ioannis Tsagrias that hosts frescoes dating back to the 13th century.

The Clock Tower in the port of SymiThe Clock Tower in the port of Symi

Panormitis in Symi

A point of reference is Archangel Michael in Symi, also known as the Monastery of Panormitis or Taxiarch Michael Panormitis. It is one of the most famous religious sites in Greece, with visitors coming here to pray to the Archangel for a miracle. The Monastery is located in the greenest part of the island, surrounded by pine trees. It was built in the 15th century and today, in addition to the church, operating on its premises are the Museum of Ecclesiastical Art, the Folklore Museum and a Library. At the same time, there are specially designed “cells” for visitors, who wish to spend a few days at the Panormitis Monastery.

Excursions around Symi

The best way to get to know Symi, is to rent one of the available boats every day in order to go to the beaches that have no road access. The "Poseidon" is the most famous boat in the area, which goes around the island every day and stops at the most important points. The next way to explore, during hours that the sun is not too hot, is to stroll its paths. The most famous route, apart from Kali Strata, is the one that starts from the port heading to Panormitis, through Ano Symi.

Seskli

A small paradise is located next to Symi, an islet untouched by tourism. Seskli is uninhabited and only once a year, a festival is organized on June 29th for the feast of the Apostle Paul. The Metropolitan Bishop of Symi, political authorities, locals and tourists arrive on the island for the service and the traditional meal, that follows. As for the waters in Seskli, they are so clean that they are even preferred by whales!

The islet of SeskliThe islet of Seskli

Beaches in Symi

If you want beaches with sunbeds and beach umbrellas, head to pebbled Nanou which has tavernas right on the beach. Saint Marina takes its name from the small church located on an islet opposite the beach. The sunbeds here rest on a concrete jetty and in order to get into the water, you need to walk down a few steps. Marathousta is located very close to the Panormitis Monastery and is accessible by car. Be ready to share this beach with the goats of the area, which roam undisturbed and calm among people. Nos is probably the most popular beach of Symi, with all the basic amenities and unforgettable colored waters. More quiet and secluded is the beach in Agios Georgios Dysalonas, where you can only get to by boat, and in Toli, where you can get by car, but the road is a little bit difficult. Nimos is an islet that has been declared an Archaeological Site and has pebbly beaches for diving in waters, that claim to be better than those in the island of Bali.

The amazing beach of Agios GeorgiosThe amazing beach of Agios Georgios

The Simian shrimp

There are four species of shrimp that live in the Greek seas and one of them is found in Symi. Tourists come prepared and ask for it, as soon as they sit at the ouzo tavernas that are laid out leisurely by the sea. The secret of its deliciousness lies in the seabed of Symi, which offers special types of flora as food for the shrimps, types that do not even exist on the seabed of neighboring islands, such as Nisyros and Kasos.

Don't miss to taste the famous Symian shrimp!Don't miss to taste the famous Symian shrimp!

How to get to Symi

There is no airport on the island, so if you want to have a shorter trip than with a ferry from Piraeus, you can take the plane from Athens or Thessaloniki to Ikaria or Rhodes, and from there on travel by boat. Symi is connected by ferry not only to Piraeus and many islands of the Dodecanese, but also to the Cyclades and the North Aegean. Some of them are Ikaria, Samos, Astypalaia, Kos, Kastelorizo, Paros and Patmos. The easiest way is the route Rhodes - Symi. To check out the Rhodes - Symi routes, prices and time schedules, visit our Let's Ferry platform.