Mini Guide to Symi Island, Greece

Symi_Greece

If you’re planning on traveling to the Greece this summer, you may be wondering where to go. Greece has nearly 8,500 miles of coastline and over 1,200 islands. Due to increasing media coverage, Santorini and Mykonos seem to be enjoying the bulk of Greek island tourism, but if you can get the images of whitewashed villages and blue shutters out of your head, you may find that there are several other Greek islands worthy of your precious vacation time. Rhodes, in particular, is large enough to hold your interest for several days, but small enough to conquer by car.

Rhodes has ancient cities, award-winning gastronomy, gorgeous beaches, and a major airport, making it easy to fly there from Athens or Thessaloniki airports.

Click here to watch our episode on what to see and do in Symi.

Welcome to Symi!

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Luckily for visitors, Rhodes enjoys a close proximity to Symi Island, which can easily be reached by ferry from Mandraki Harbor in Rhodes Old Town. Upon approaching Symi port, you will be greeted by a number of colorful fishing boats bobbing in the harbor and an expanse of neoclassical island homes stretching up the hillside. Gialos is the main harbor on Symi and the island’s capital. From here it is easy to rent a scooter for the day, which is definitely the best way to see the island’s sites! If you are looking for a regionally appropriate souvenir, buy yourself a natural sea sponge. Symi’s fishermen have been widely respected as some of the Aegean’s most courageous sponge divers for centuries!

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Panormitis_Symi_Greece

The 15th century monastery of the village of Panormitis is amongst the island’s main attractions. The monastery is dedicated to Symi’s patron saint, the Archangel Michael. Many boats will stop over for an hour or so on their way into Gialos, making it a convenient part of your day trip.

Chorio_Symi_Greece

Situated on the hill overlooking Gialos is the village of Chorio. Those who do not wish to enlist a scooter for the day will have to contend with the “Kali Strata”, a long stepped-street leading up to the village. Regardless, the slope is gentle and the steps are mercifully spaced. The top can easily be reached in 15 minutes. Chorio’s streets are narrow, dotted with herb sellers, and lined with neo-classic dwellings. The 19th century apothecary is one of the town’s highlights. It is located near the peak of the village, where you will get the best panoramic views of the city and the harbor.

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Andorra’s Top Towns: Pal and Santa Coloma

Beaches

Pedi_Symi_Greece

If beaches are what you seek, then head over to the small coastal village of Pedi. There are a few options for accommodations, and a number of welcoming tavernas. If you want secluded relaxation, off the grid and away from fellow tourists, head to the beautiful Marathounda Bay. It is located roughly 45 minutes away from the main harbor on scooter, and is one of Symi’s best kept secrets. There is nothing at Marathounda except for an exceptional natural backdrop and crystalline waters, so be sure to bring whatever you are going to need, including water, sunscreen and a towel.

How to Get There

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Round trip tickets are the most logical, as it is the same price for same-day and next-day returns. However, if you intend to stay the night on Symi, be clear of your intentions at the time of purchase. There are two types of ferry that service Symi; passenger-only and passenger-vehicle. The passenger-only ferry (recommended) takes approximately one hour and ten minutes. During high season (March through October) there is a daily ferry service to Symi and back. You may have to go to the ferry ticket office in Mandraki Harbor to purchase your tickets if the website doesn’t allow you to pay online. All tickets are sold on a first come, first serve basis.

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Megalithic Temples of Malta and Gozo

Book your Boat Trip to Symi here!

Getting Around Symi

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We recommend the family-owned Jimmy’s Rent a Moto shop (+30 22460 72110/ jimmysmoto@gmail.com) in Gialos. They have a wide selection of scooters and a good safety record. Helmets and gasoline are included in the price.

Dining

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Due to its size, Symi has a limited amount of restaurants. The majority of them are clustered in and around Gialos. Manos Fish Tavern is hands-down the most famous restaurant in Symi, with an excellent reputation for super fresh seafood and a casual, friendly vibe. Frequented by several famous figures throughout the years (Prime Ministers, actors, royalty), Manos Fish Tavern specializes in grilled fish and mixed seafood platters. For group reservations contact the restaurant directly at +30 22460 72429.

Manos_Symi_Greece

Other recommended restaurants in Symi include Aris Taverna (next door to Manos Fish Tavern), and Muses (Gialos, behind the bridge; only open for dinner). The Olive Tree Café is also a good spot for breakfast or lunch. It is located top of the Kali Strata just above the SymiDream photo gallery and below Georgio’s Taverna.

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Amazing Gothic Structures: Gdansk Poland’s St. Mary’s Church

Accomodations

Odyssia_Apartments_Symi_Greece

Odyssia Apartments offer beautiful water views, modern facilities, and are located just a five-minute walk to the port and a two-minute walk to the Nautical Club of Symi. Each apartment is equipped with a kitchen, air conditioning, satellite television, free Wi-Fi, and veranda. Prices range from €50 to 90 per night (double occupancy). Hotel Aliki is another good option for those wanting a more boutique hotel experience. The offers four room types, each with a different view, as well as high-speed internet, and turndown service. The hotel has a sun terrace facing the ocean and free Wi-Fi connection. The building dates back to 1895, but was extensively remodeled in 2000. Prices range from €60 to 200 per night (double occupancy).

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Have you ever been to Symi, or want to go? We would love to hear from you about your top recommendations and experiences. Leave us a comment below!

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