The island is located very close to Rhodes facing the coast of Asia Minor. It might look remote on the map, wedged in on the edge of the Aegean Sea, but certainly it’s not forgotten. Modest, quiet and hospitable, stately Symi always welcomes you warmly…
From all Greek island cities Symi’s welcome is one of a kind you’ ll never forget!
As the ship enters the port, two and half thousand neoclassic mansions look like they have been painted on the adjacent hills with colourful brushstrokes.
Surrounding the small port is a solid wall-like settlement made of hundreds of traditional buildings, showcasing Symi, the noble island of Dodecanese, as one of the most enchanting corners of the Mediterranean!
Walks in town
Everyone congregates at Gialos. This is where boats dock, and the island’s heart is pulsing. The old clock(1884) dominates the end of the port’s pier. In front of it stands the statue of the Small Fisherman by Kostas Valsamis the renown Symian sculptor.
You can stand and gape at the colourful caiques (traditional fishing boats) in the old shipyard at “Harani” battling with rust and salt. You can haggle for shells and sponges in the shops around the deck. Later on you will go swimming and enjoy “mezedes” (sea appetizers) with ouzo at Pedi fishermen village -Symi’s haven(1km).
In the evening when the sun has cooled down, you can climb uphill the cobbled alley with its 375 steps – called “Strata Kali” by the locals – to the heart of the capital’s core. The island’s heart was beating in the traditional Horio(Village) with the old mansions, pebbled courtyards and old-fashioned shops. It is certainly worth climbing all the way to the Castle, to the”Kyra tou Kastrou” church, to enjoy the panoramic view.
The Nautical museum in Kampou square is dedicated to the long history of the sponge divers – a traditional profession on the island(+30 22460 72363). The archaeological collection and the Folklore museum are housed in the same building in Horio (+30 22460-71114).
The Festival is without doubt an important cultural event for all islands of the Dodecanese. Celebrations start in July every year and are completed in mid-September.
Of course the island does not have the best roads in the world. But you can however reach the southernmost end of Symi’s land (16 km), dominated by the historical Panormitis monastery, one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in the Aegean. It is worth visiting the Ecclesiastical and Folklore museum.(monastery tel. +30 22460 71354)
With Horio as the starting point, many interesting inland routes can be explored, to the monasteries of Panagia Myrtariotissa and Michaili where icons from the 14th century are kept. To the northwest, the small naval village of Niborio is built on the opening of a rocky bay, and it is accessed by an asphalt paved road from the port (3 km).
The beaches of Symi are small in size, well hidden under the cliffs. Most of them are not served by road, only accessed by short boat trips leaving the port on a daily basis.
The tiny beach Nos, can be found in Gialos after the old clock at “Harani”. To the south of the port we find village Pedi (2 km), with its seafront taverns.
The best beach is Agios Georgios (Dysalona) with vertical steep rocks (cannot be approached from land). To the south, in the recess of a cove we find the pebbled Nanou, with a tavern, while to the west the pebbled beach of Agios Vasileios stands out.
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Copyright photo: Theo Athanasiadis / Views Of Greece
Copyright text: Germaine Alexakis/ Views Of Greece
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