Symi Greece - Greek Island Holiday, Beach, Walks and Photos Guides.
Apart from visiting Beaches and climbing the Kali Strata there is plenty to do on holiday in Symi - including excellent walks out in the hills.
The tiny Holiday Island of Symi (sometimes spelt Simi) is located in the Southern Dodecanese area of Greece - it's nearest neighbour is Turkey which is only a few KMs away
and Symi island is around 64 kilometres from Rhodes. There is no airstrip on the island, just a helipad which is mostly used for emergencies, so the normal way to
get to and fro for a holiday on Symi is by using the Rhodes to Symi ferry (catamarans / hydrofoils - which take 90 to 120 minutes approx) or by a much longer journey from Piraeus on the larger car ferries. Most people tend to stay
either near Symi harbour (Yialos) or up at Simi Old Town (Chorio), although there is a certain amount of Simi accommodation in nearby Pedi.
Apart from the towns of Pedi, Chorio and Yialos little Symi (it is only around 68 sq. km) is not very populated (at least by people although there are just one or two or so
Greek goats) with just a scattering of small villages and farms up in the hills. There is one military camp with the usual "no-photos" signs situated in the middle of the island.
Symi Greece and it's tavernas, restaurants and bars.
We stayed in the Old Town whilst on holiday on Symi - there are supermarkets etc which open most days and a butcher and baker (the latter not open on Sundays). There are several tavernas including the famous Georgios. Down in the harbour there are lots of tavernas - this because the harbour receives tourist boats from Rhodes most
days during the peak holiday season - these day-trips stop off for a visit to the monastery at Panormitis and then arrive in Yialos around midday where they stay for several hours - Symi harbour gets very busy. However one advantage of this influx is that the harbour contains lots of tavernas which therefore gives us folk who are actually staying on the island lots of choice in the
There are plenty of supermarkets, fruit stalls and butcher/bakers here - the bakery does open on Sundays. We found the Symi to be pretty good for walking - we have nine Symi walks described - mostly circular - with distances varying from 5km to 20km and all with lots of accompanying photographs
and some of these walks visit several Symi beaches. For a quick look just at some of Symi's beaches please see our Symi Beach
Symi is remarkably hilly - especially if you start your day's walk from the harbour and have to meander up Symi's famous Kali Strata before commencing the next
even longer steep climb to the saddle and into the centre of the island. This latter part of the climb is on a gorgeous moni-path which offers excellent views of the harbour way below - usually it's well populated with goats (some of these goats seem to take an enormous delight in throwing rocks at you). Symi has some very nice paths to walk around on (we have lots of photos of the paths, walls and
buildings) and also a few KMs of moni paths but some of these are in a poor state.
One thing the island has plenty of (discounting the 10 million goats) and that's a plentiful supply of churches and monasteries - the latter
including the huge monastery at Panormitis. As is seemingly always the case on particularly the smaller Islands we were
pleased to find the usual friendliness of the locals exists on Symi - walk down the Kali Strata from Chorio to Yialos and most people you
meet will speak at least offer a greeting. Go out into the countryside and as you get to the churches (out here many of the little churches have adjacent and
inhabited small houses) - if someone is around you are greeted warmly, probably get shown round the church, invited to sit down and offered coffee or ouzo or at least water.
The harbour area (actually there are two harbours) is really extensive considering the size of Symi island, this because
Symi used to be a major trading centre for the export of sponges and also for shipbuilding. Although some of the houses are now quite derelict you can see
that once they must have been very grand - this is especially noticeable on the Kali Strata and towards the top. However these grand old buildings are gradually
There is a regular ferry service between Rhodes and Symi plus the Island is also served frequently by the longer distance inter island ferries. The harbour area has loads
of tourist shops, some fast food outlets and plenty of tavernas - this is because a lot of tourist excursions boats arrive on day trips from Rhodes during the holiday season.
Symi Greece Wildlife i.e. snakes, goats and so on. Snakes - well they are around apparently but we only saw one (although we walked around 100 miles of tracks and paths)
and that was sadly of the variety squashed and on a tarmac road. There were not too many lizards about either - this all may be due to the time of year and perhaps more are around/visible in the Spring. Apparently sea urchins can be a problem but since
Symi beaches are nearly all stoney/pebbly then wearing jellies makes sense anyway which should avoid any problem. We did see various hawks and larger birds of prey around but never close enough to identify -
also there were plenty of smaller birds around. Symi has a variety of goat called a "beach-goat" - these goats are masters at raiding sunbather's bags and
stealing any fruit/bread etc. they sniff out - they are very friendly and you can feed them by hand if you wish.
Apart from beach-goats there are also loads of "Symi Path Eating Goats" whose primary role in life seem to be to destroy the stone walls which line many of Symi's paths and moni-paths - there are also of course more better behaved goats
about, as well as quite a few sheep wandering around all over the island.
Getting around Symi
. (bus/water taxi/taxis/car-hire). Symi Bus
simply does a shuttle between the harbour, the Old Town and Pedi - it is very reliable and
continues the service up to 11PM. There are five taxis
on the island based usually at the harbour - the furthest trip you can make from the
harbour is to Panormitis down the other end of the island - as usual though it is a good idea to confirm the price with the taxi driver before leaving. Also the taxis are used to ferry passengers to and from their hotels etc. so if you want to use one
check if a ferry is due in or out and maybe book it in advance. Water taxis
run frequently out of the harbour to various beaches
such as Emborio, Ag. Nikolaos, Disalona, Nanou and Marathounda Bay. There are also plenty of "round the island" type day trips which usually start from the harbour as well).
Symi Car hire is very expensive and varies apparently according to the time of the year and how many people are around - considering there is, apart from the hop down to Pedi, just about only one tarmac road (to Panormitis) on the island there is not a lot to do in a car for more than maybe
a couple of days at most. The tracks are quite often in a very poor state and looked to us to be only suitable for 4 wheel drive in most cases. The car hire company is by the bridge in the harbour - the petrol station is on the road along the front going towards Pedi and there is another petrol station on the left hand road nearly into Pedi.
Walking trips into the hills and to beaches while on holiday on Symi Greece. The walking potential is pretty good on Symi - invariably quite a bit of climbing up is involved on many of the walks around.
These are our items about Symi Island in Greece
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