Symi is an island that has a little bit of everything: beautiful
surroundings, nice taverns and wonderful waters. You come here to relax,
but it is not one of those islands where time stands completely still.
It has quite a lot of visitors every summer, but has remained genuine to
a great extent.
The people on Symi live off tourism, fishing and some farming. Like on Kalymnos, the men also collect sponges from the coasts of North Africa.
mythology, Symi got its name from the princess of Rhodes, who eloped
here with the god Glaucus since her father the king did not approve of
The first inhabitants of the island was probably peoples from Asia Minor, followed by the Minoans. Homer writes that Symi sent ships in the Trojan War. What followed was the story of the rest of the Aegean islands: the Romans invaded in the 2nd and 1st century BC, the Byzantine years came after, interrupted in the 14th century when the Knights of Rhodes took over. They built a castle on top of the ancient acropolis to protect themselves against pirate raids, and were to stay of the island until the Turks invaded in the 16th century.
Because the Symian boats were extremely fast, the island got the important responsibility of post office to the Ottomans. In return, the island was left pretty much to itself, and did not suffer as many other places around Greeks. The fishermen of Symi were also allowed to fish sponges, which together with the wine production, was to be an important source of income, even though outshone by Kalymnos.
In 1912 the island was given to the Italians, and during World War II it was invaded by British and German troops, until its final liberation in 1948.
What to see
:The monastery of
the archangel Michael (Taxiarchis Michael) is the most important sight
on the island. It was originally built in the 6th century, but what you
see today is the result of restoration and new buildings from the 18th
century. Here, there are two museums, a laographic and a religious, as
well as a tavern.
In Ano Symi ("Upper Symi") you can see the old Castle of the Knights and visit the archaeological museum.
There are also many churches all over the island, dating back to the Turkish rule.
What to do
:There are watersports, as well as excellent waters for snorkelling and fishing. You can also take daytrips to Rhodes.
:The beaches on Symi are a bit stony, but the waters are beautiful. Many consider the best beach to be Pedi, with its beautiful surroundings. There are also boat excursions where you are taken to some of the more inaccessible beaches.
:You'll find a couple of bars in Ano Symi and Gialos, but the nightlife is quiet and relaxed (except in August).
The taverns on the island serve traditional Greek food. Try some small dishes, mezedakia, and enjoy the local wine. Most places are in the harbour Gialos and Ano Symi.
:Traditional handmade things like ceramics, textiles and sponges. A nice souvenir is also some of the local wine or sweets.
: Symi is a quite mountainous island so you'll definitely get some good exercise if you decide to walk. The harbour Gialos and Ano Symi are connected with a bus, and there are also a few taxis. You can also rent mopeds, but the roads are generally quite bad. There is also a boat that can take you to some of the beaches.
option is to fly to Rhodes and get a boat from there. There are both
Greek ferries and excursion boats, and the trip takes about 3-4
hours. It is a good idea to get back to Rhodes a day or two before
departure, since the boats might be cancelled due to bad weather.
Symi is also connected to other islands in the Dodecanese, as well as islands outside like Mykonos, Syros, Tinos and Piraeus on the mainland.
Facts about Symi
Size: 67 sq. km
Population: about 2500
Internet cafe: Yes
Tour Operators:Argo, Apollo
International code: 0030
Local code: 22410
Port Police: 71205
Telephone company (OTE):