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.
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
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.