Postcards from Symi and Halki

This Summer it was time to visit the island of Symi. It had been on my travel bucket list for a long time.

Actually we were supposed to go last Summer, but one of my travel partners got covid just 5 days before our departure, so we had to postpone. The owner of the house we had rented, was kind enough to transfer our deposit for the following year. But don’t get me started on the cancellation of our Aegean flights to and from Rhodes…an extortion.

Anyway! This year everything went according to plan and this is my recite of the 8 days we spent there.

The easy way to reach Symi, is to fly to Rhodes and then take a boat trip of approximately one hour. We coordinated to have only 2-3 hours between the two, just enough time for a short walk and a coffee in Rhodes. You can always choose to combine Symi with a stay in Rhodes. It was obvious this year the island was packed with tourists.

Symi is a Greek island, part of the Dodecanese island group, very close to the Turkish coastline. Needless to say that the small port was full of massive yachts with Turkish flags.

While approaching the port of Symi, one has the overwhelming feeling of looking at a colorful aquarelle! Two and three-storey traditional houses with red tiled roofs, cute little balconies, painted in terracota, indigo and ochre, make for the most istragrammable photos (not photoshopped!).



Upon arrival, we were greeted by a driver that took us up to the Aerino, the house we had rented in Chorio. Aerino is a renovated, well maintained  2-bedroom traditional house with a kitchen and a small balcony with a spectacular view over Gialos. We had long lazy breakfasts there every morning and enjoyed the sunset every evening before going out to dinner. I should add that the owner is very friendly and accommodating.



Accommodation in general

The selection (expecially of hotels) is rather limited and the prices are far too high for the facilities and services offered. You will need to research. If you choose to stay harbourside at Gialos, it makes it easier to take the boats to the beaches around the island but it is noisy and rather cramped. We stayed at Chorio (Ano Symi) reacheable by a stairway of some 500 stony steps from Gialos. We rented a car for flexibility and took the small boat from Pedi to the beaches.


Agia Marina – Organised beach with a sandy access to the sea and a good taverna.  Can only be reached by boat, prefered also by families.

Agia Marina

Agios Nikolas – Our beach of preference! Organised beach with shady trees and a good taverna, run by very friendly people. Can be reached by the small boats or on foot via a 20 minute pathway from Pedi. I spent hours daydreaming there, staring at shades of blue and listening to Manos Hatzidakis Gioconda’s Smile!


Other beaches: Ai Giorgis Dyssalonas, Nanou, Toli, Marathounta

Food & drinks

Firstly, it goes without saying that you must taste Symi’s shrimp! We did, every single day!

Tholos – Excellent food – Value for money – Book well in advance

Trata – Very good fish taverna

Pantelis – Famous taverna for Greek and Mediterranean cusine

Vaporetta – Nicely cooked spaghetti vongole, swordfish and prawns

Pachos – Traditional kafeneio at Gialos – Just coffee & drinks

Tsati cocktail bar – Drinks & cocktails


Monastery of Taxiarchis Michail Panormitis

No trip to Symi would be complete without a visit to this wonderful monastery. The monastery is situated on the sea front of the tiny village of Panormitis, on the southern coast, protected by a narrow inlet that opens out into a wide harbour and small, empty beach, set against a stunning backdrop of pine-covered mountain-sides which only seem to add to the feeling of remoteness and solitude. The 18th-century monastery is a large building, Venetian in style, with its high, baroque bell tower and the long white façade of the main buildings stretching away on either side of the main gateway. Ferries full of pilgrims travel daily from Rhodes as it is a very popular desitnation. If you are already on the island, try to get there by latest 08:30 in the moring to avoid crowds.


The revelation of this trip was Halki, the smallest inhabited island of the Dodecanese.
We decided to visit the island as a day trip, on the insistence of Georgia (LOL), renting privately a rather expensive fast boat! But I must admit it was worth it!
Halki is a jewel, a miniature of Symi, with a single beautiful village. It is very well maintained and clean, which is obvious at first sight. Clearly the municipality is doing a very good job. (Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Symi, which although beautyful, could be better maintained).


In Halki, we swam in crystal clear waters of amazing turquoise colour. The moment you step onto the shores of this beautiful island, you will feel as if you are part of an enchanting movie set. Even the small port has unbelievably clean waters with sea urchins on the rocks and fish everywhere. I caught sight of some lovely houses directly on the water, available for rental, an idea for future holidays…

For lunch we enjoyed lucious lobster pasta and the best Symi’s shrimp at Babis Tavern which was highly recommended to us and for good reason.

Lobster pasta at Babis – Halki

On the way back to Symi, we stopped briefly at the small island of Sesklia and swam in the most amanzing, velvety blue waters…


Overall a wonderful, relaxing holiday! Personally, I could stay there for at least another week!

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