Symi

Dodecanese

Symi is a little jewel of a Greek island, a short ferry ride from Rhodes, and it's most magical if you can take the ferry that arrives in the evening. Symi harbour is one of the most beautiful in Greece, but especially at night when the boat sails slowly into the harbour that's lit up all around, from lights in the streets and houses that cover the steep slopes. 

Symi in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, https://www.greece-travel-secrets.com/Symi.html

Getting to Symi

Flights to Symi

Symi is too small to have its own airport. You need to fly to Rhodes, get a transfer from Rhodes Airport to Rhodes Town, and catch the Symi ferry at the harbour.

Ferries to Symi

In summer there are several daily excursion boats making the journey to Rhodes as well as the regular ferry services. The trip can take anything from 50 minutes to two hours, depending on the boat. There are also daily ferry links in summer with many other islands such as KalymnosKosLeros and Patmos, and less frequently to Piraeus and Tilos.

Ferries in Greece

Ferries in Greece has an excellent and very thorough website where, in addition to checking ferry schedules and times, you can also book tickets and get lots of useful information about travelling by ferry in Greece.

Symi in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, https://www.greece-travel-secrets.com/Symi.html

What to Do on Symi

Because of Symi's understandable popularity with day visitors from Rhodes, the main harbour area gets very busy during the day, from about 10am-4pm. Symi isn't at its most appealing during this period, and its real charm is only discovered if you stay here overnight. Many regulars escape the crowds by going walking or heading for one of the island's beaches (which aren't great by Greek island standards, it has to be said).

In the evening Symi harbour is a buzzing place, lively with bars, cafés and some really good restaurants.

Symi, Greece

Yialos and Chorio

Symi's only town, around the harbour, is split into two parts. Yialos is the lower town around the port, while Chorio is the upper town, and the two merge into one. In the upper town there's the remnants of a castle, and on the way up to it if you take the main steep cobbled street from Yialos is a very enjoyable Archaeological and Folk Museum that tells the fascinating story of the island. Down in Yialos is a small Nautical Museum too.

The main attraction, though, is just being on Symi. The upper town is full of narrow streets, and everywhere there are handsome mansions from when the island was a prosperous ship-building and sponge-fishing island. It's hard to believe but once there were more people living on Symi than there were on Rhodes! Today some of the mansions have been restored while other remain in ruins, but with an imposing charm about them.

Symi, Greece

Pedi Bay and Beach

Walk up from Yialos to Chorio and down the other side and you reach Pedi, which is a small and separate fishing village with a few hotels, rooms to rent, and places to eat. It also has a decent beach, which is very popular.

Panormitis Monastery

Symi's only major sight is the Monastery of St Michael (the island's patron saint) at Panormitis, at the far end of the island from Symi Town. Some excursion boats call in at Panormitis on their way to the main town, or if you're staying on Symi there's a daily bus service there and back.

The monastery was built in the 18th century, on the site of a much older monastery, and it's certainly an interesting place to look around. It has its own small museum, a café, and a few rooms to rent in its guesthouse, if you really want to get away from it all.

Where to Stay on Symi

See some of our other Dodecanese pages...

  • Wild Abandon

    Wild Abandon by Jennifer Barclay and published by Bradt Guides is A Journey to Deserted Places of the Dodecanese islands in Greece, including Rhodes and Kos.

  • Tilos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Tilos is a small island in the Dodecanese between Rhodes and Kos with regular ferry connections, hotels, rooms to rent, beaches, tavernas and ancient remains.

  • Rhodes

    Travel advice, information on Rhodes in the Dodecanese, with ferries from Piraeus for Athens, Symi, Crete, Kos, Patmos, Santorini, and flights from Europe

  • Patmos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Patmos in the Dodecanese islands is famous for the monasteries of St John and the Apocalypse and on this page you can also read about flights and ferries

  • Nisyros

    Nisyros is a unique volcanic island in the Dodecanese and easily reached on day trips from Kos Town and Kardamena.

  • Lipsi

    Travel information on Lipsi in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Leros in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Leros is a sizeable island in the Dodecanese with flights from Athens, ferries from Rhodes and Piraeus, good beaches, restaurants and hotels.

  • Kos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Kos in the Dodecanese islands of Greece has good beaches and night-life, and archaeological remains.

  • Kastellorizo

    Travel information on Kastellorizo in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Kasos

    Travel information on Kasos in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Karpathos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Karpathos in the Dodecanese islands of Greece is noted for its traditions, its music, and mountain villages like Olympos.

  • Kalymnos in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Kalymnos in Greece in the Dodecanese islands is most famous for its history of sponge fishing, and see here information about flights and ferries.

  • Agathonisi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece

    Agathonisi is a small island in the Dodecanese with quiet beaches, a few hotels, pensions and rooms to rent.

  • A Walk in the Old Town of Rhodes

    This walk through the Old Town of Rhodes takes you through this World Heritage Site and along the main streets and past the city walls, palaces and mosques.

  • Halki

    Travel information on Halki in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, including flight and ferry information from Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Dodecanese

    Travel and vacation information about the Dodecanese islands of Rhodes, Symi, Kos, Patmos, Halki, Tilos, Karpathos, Leros, Lipsi, Astipalea.

  • Astypalaia in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece

    Astypalaia in the Dodecanese islands of Greece is a largely unspoilt island with good beaches.

  • Arki

    Arki is a small island in the Dodecanese close to Lipsi, with beaches and tavernas with rooms to rent and ferry connections with Patmos, Samos and Marathi.

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