We are working our way through the Greek Islands with our holiday guides and today we are looking at Symi.
Symi (pronounced Ky-mi in Greek) is a wonderful island destination off Rhodes. Visitors can catch a ferry from Rhodes’ main port, which whisks them to this secluded Greek gem in under two hours.
With no independent water supply, the island has been hampered in large scale development and it must be said this is where much of its charm lies. There are many day-trippers to this beautiful island but the real charm of a trip here lies in seeing off the masses at sunset and enjoying the serenity of the bay without the hoards.
Symi Town is the capital of the island and also the only major town on the island. It centres around the natural port area of Yialos, which provides an exquisite welcome to the island with stacked white Neo-Classical buildings providing a backdrop.
There are around 2,500 Symiots on the island and much of the business centres around the tourist industry, but to say this destination is a world away from the neon-infused main strip of Faliraki in Rhodes is an understatement. A trip here is to delve into the sophisticated nature of Greece’s Dodecanese islands with fantastic restaurants, boutiques and jewellery shops hugging the walkways of Symi Town.
There is a range of accommodation here with a few of the larger scale hotels available. Much more attractive, however, is the option of locating a self-catering Greek cottage – how far you want to wander up the steep hillside of Horio to get there is a matter of enthusiasm and fitness!
Beaches on the island are characteristically rocky for these parts, but a range of small power boats leave the main port at regular intervals (there is no extended road system) and ferry you to some of the more exclusive and hidden beaches on the island.
Sightseers can choose from a number of historical treats including the Knights Castle – a Byzantine castle which overlooks the main town – and an 18th century Greek Orthodox monastery on the south-west coast of Symi. Horio also hosts an excellent museum, which concentrates on Byzantine and medieval Symi and is housed in an attractive old mansion in the back of the village.
A highlight of any trip to Symi is the fine array of quite smart seafood restaurants that line the boardwalk of the main port. It is an absolute treat to sit on the waterfront having watched the rabbles disperse and immerse yourself in the enchanting sunset, Symian Rose and delicious fresh seafood.