As you may know, Nick and I visited Rhodes for our 11th wedding anniversary enjoying a child-free week away. I wrote about our accommodation at Elefteria Apartments which was perfect for us. We really loved it and I was pleased we managed to find a great place to stay.
During our holiday, we wanted to spend time exploring as much as possible however it’s difficult to see and do everything in a week. But this meant that we were able to discover new places we may not have found otherwise.
This is how we discovered Symi. We had seen some beautiful photos of this Island and fell in love straight away so we made the decision to go and explore it. We found a local tour company called Kolymbia Tours on the high street of Kolympia which is the area that we were staying in Rhodes. They offered us a 35 Euros per person package to visit Symi and Panormitis Monastery.
The boat journey from Rhodes Town takes about an hour going there and coming back it is about 2 hrs because it stops at Panormitis Monastery. We were picked up by a coach very early from Kolympia at about 7:45 am which took us to Rhodes Port. From there we took a Ferry (King Saron through Sea Dreams) at 9 am which arrived in Symi just after 10 am. We had a few hours to explore this beautiful island before we needed to head back to Rhodes at around 2:30 pm.
Symi is a Greek island that is part of the Dodecanese island group. Symi is known for its beaches and it also has an annual music festival too! The harbour at Symi Town is surrounded by colourful neoclassical houses. If you visit the southwest coast, you can find the 18th-century Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis which is a major Greek Orthodox pilgrimage site.
Symi is one of the most popular summer destinations in the Mediterranean. Perfect for those seeking a holiday with style, that combines cosmopolitan with old-world glamour, class and tradition. Symi is an island that is rich with history and culture. You can spot expensive yachts and sailboats along the harbour that have come over from Turkey.
One of the unique aspects of visiting Symi is that you are living among the locals and sharing in their lives. From riding the same village bus to eating in the same tavernas, and shopping in the same supermarkets. You will experience a real, authentic way of life on Symi.
Our Tips For Exploring Symi
The day we arrived it was boiling hot! It was over 30C and I must tell you we felt dehydrated. They recommend you to take a big bottle of water per person. So we actually packed 1L of water each! And it was very well used!
Symi is gorgeous and not the hot weather didn’t put us off from exploring it. It is not big so you can get around it within a few hours. I wanted to share with you the highlights of our trip and what kind of things you can do in Symi for a few hours. See below:
Of course, as soon as you arrive the first thing that you want to do is walk around. It has such lovely narrow streets that you will want to lose yourself as you explore. It is so beautiful that you will, of course, stop millions of times for photos.
2.Rent a motorbike
We didn’t do this due to lack of time but if we would have stayed longer or perhaps for one night we would have definitely liked to have done this. I saw a lot of other tourists doing this and it definitely looked like a lot of fun. It is also a much better way to explore higher ground as the island is quite hilly so it can be tiring doing this by foot especially in hot weather.
3. Stop for a drink
You will see so many cute places to have a quick snack and drink. We saw a lovely place called TSATI – ΤΣΑΤΙ cocktail bar that caught our eyes. It was beautifully decorated with a stunning view. If we had more time we would have definitely stopped there for a drink.
4. Sample the local food
There were also lots of lovely restaurants to have lunch or dinner. Nireus Restaurant which is also a hotel has a big area to sit down and have a meal with a gorgeous view too. We thought about eating here but we decided to explore the beaches instead. If you visit Symi and have some time check out this place. It has great reviews on Google and TripAdvisor.
Being an island, fresh fish and seafood are in abundance on Symi. The most famous dish is popcorn shrimp. Fried and served crispy, very tasty. You can also try grilled octopus and squid. They also offer goat meat roasted in the oven with rice, orzo or spaghetti. Chicken and lamb, pork and beef were also available.
For dessert, you can try loukoumades (puffed pastries like doughnuts topped with honey and cinnamon. You can get them with walnuts or Nutella too) and akoumia (look like loukoumades but they are made with rice and topped with sugar).
5. Explore the beaches
To be able to explore their beaches you will need to get a taxi boat. You will see this option in the port. There are a few people offering this but not all have regular times and good prices. We chose Taxi Boat Symi. We liked the girl offering the information and their times were more frequent. We paid 7 euros each for a taxi boat ride to Nikolaos beach. The taxi travelled to 6 beaches. Ours was the second stop so we only managed to see Nikolaos beach and Marina beach before getting off. The other beaches are Nanou beach, Georgios beach and Marathountas beach.
The nearest beach to the main harbour at Symi is Nos beach. It is very convenient as it is just walking distance but it cannot compare to the other beaches reached by taxi boat. I’ll likely post more about the beaches to visit in Symi in another post.
6. Watch the sunset
Of course, if you have the chance and stay for the night you should definitely enjoy the sunset. With such gorgeous scenery the sunset must be the most amazing experience to watch.
7. Visit the Monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis
Our boat stopped at Panormitis on our way back to Rhodes. It is a stunning monastery and it is, of course, worth a visit. It is very important on the island and the second largest in the Dodecanese (after St John’s Monastery in Patmos). The Monastery was jaw-dropping. As soon as the boat turned into the bay you have an amazing view of it. Ladies need to cover legs and shoulders before entering the chapel.
I hope you find this post useful if you are planning to visit Symi and want to know what to do. Symi is beautiful and we 100% recommend you visit it if you are in Rhodes. Nick and I loved it and had an amazing time there.
Have you been to Symi? If so, do you have more tips to share with us?
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