Hidden Greece Colin Murison Small's  
 
Hidden Greece
Hidden Greece HOME :
Hidden Greece
DODECANESE

Symi

Symi Map

Size: 12km x 12km
Martian Risk:
slight except during mid-day invasion from Planet Rhodes.

When you book, don't forget our

Free Greek Maps Offer

First impressions

With no “musts” to be seen (just one optional monastery) Symi is an island devoted to unabashed holidaymaking. Stunningly beautiful, with traditional sea captains' houses surrounding Gialos, one of the finest natural anchorages in the Mediterranean and one of the most picturesque. The island is now quite sophisticated with smart bars and restaurants supplementing traditional tavernas. At the top of the 450 steps of the Kali Strata, Symi’s main thoroughfare, is Chorio, where most of the locals live. A swathe of greenery sweeps down from here to Pedi Bay, where there is a man-made sandy beach and two more natural coves on the south side of the bay. A bus runs from the harbour via Chorio to Pedi and less frequently down the length of the island to the monastery of Panormitis.

Shortly before Panormitis you see Marathounta where our old friends George and Anna have built a small row of cottages on the edge of the crystal clear waters of a calm inlet. Between the beach and the road there are olives, vines, lemons and oranges – George’s dream of organic living is coming to….well, fruition. This is an idyllic spot for unwinding – and you don’t have to starve because the taverna on the beach serves excellent meals all day, using George’s organic produce whenever possible. Some of the organic produce, in the shape of the odd donkey, has been sighted quietly nibbling at beach picnic packages.

There are a few hotels on the island, but hundreds of studios and villas – far too many to list here; all we can do is give you a taste of the range available – some overlook the harbour, others are tucked away in the upper village (Chorio), but there are also a few at Pedi, not to mention George’s at Marathounta. Tell us what you want and we will tell you what’s available. The studio/villa descriptions on this site are merely typical examples.

Getting there

Charter flights from most UK airports serve Rhodes direct (usually Weds). Morning and evening ferries/hydrofoils cross to Symi in 45-90 mins. Scheduled flights involve an easy change of plane in Athens. Symi may easily be combined with Tilos, Rhodes, Halki or Kastellorizon.

Activities

All round Symi bays abound with crystal clear water. Most visitors take a caique to a deserted bay for an all-day picnic with wine provided. This has the incidental advantage of getting you away from the harbour during the short mid-day period when the excursion boats deposit Martians from Rhodes. On Saturdays an excursion caique takes you to Datça, a short sail away on the Turkish coast, where you can experience a different culture and enjoy the local market; why not bring a camel back for the family?

Walking on Symi is another option: you can get maps or information straight from the horse’s mouth - Hugo Tyler, who has lived on Symi since the Middle Ages, knows every inch of the terrain and every episode in the island’s history. By the time you are back from your walk (or beach picnic) the Martians will have gone and the locals will revert to non-rip-off mode for their real guests.

In the evening Symi’s harbour-front bustles, as does Chorio, the upper town. Both have dozens of tavernas and restaurants, ranging from traditional to unusually sophisticated. Views of the harbour from Chorio are breathtaking.

Plus points

Symi has a healthy year-round population, making it a good choice at least for the October-Christmas period and in spring, starting whenever [Greek] Easter falls. The scenery in the interior is dramatic and amazingly fertile in parts and the views to Turkey magical.

Minus points

Avoid the harbour when excursion boats from Rhodes unload their Martians for about three hours from mid-day. Symi’s beaches almost always consist of clean pebbles and shingle giving on to the clearest sea you could wish for; only Pedi has [imported] sand.

Dodecanese

Gialos harbour (left) and Chorio, upper town (right)

Symi

Symi is the only island with a harbour enclosed on all four sides.

Dodecanese

Symi: net repairs

Dodecanese

Symi: elegance afloat and ashore≠

Dodecanese

Symi: the inner part of the harbour

Dodecanese

Symi: the classic harbour view

Dodecanese

Symi: a peep between the houses across the harbour

Dodecanese

Symi: pure style

Dodecanese

Symi: evening sun as you sail away

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel Nireus, Gialos

Sirens Hotel
Right on the harbour front near the clock tower with good views from its front rooms and terrace.
All rooms with a/c, fridge & TV

Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Hotel Nireus , or accom'n only

More pictures

Hidden Greece

Hidden Greece

Villas Zeus & Hermes, Marathounta

Villa Zeus
Two villas opening right on to Marathounta beach.
S/C 2-4 pers.

Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Villas Zeus & Hermes

More pictures

Hidden Greece

Spiti Grande Helene, Gialos

Grand Helene
A very stylish conversion of a house overlooking the harbour. You can rent the whole house for 10, half the house for 4-6 or just the Lovers’ Corner for 2.
S/C 2-10 pers.

Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Spiti Grand Helene , or accom'n only

More pictures

Hidden Greece

Hidden Greece

Villa Voyatzis, Town/Chorio

Villa Voyatzis
A half way house – up steps from Gialos or down from Chorio – which has been stylishly modernised and offers a very high standard. Fabulous views over the harbour form the terrace; three double bedrooms, 2 bathrooms.
S/C 6 pers.

Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Villa Voyatzis , or accom'n only

More pictures

Hidden Greece

Villa Zafiria, Chorio

Villa Zafiria
Fabulous views over the harbour from its terrace. Airy living room with twin beds and doors on to a balcony. The bathroom has a half-bath/sh. Near Kali Strata steps.
S/C 2-3 pers.

Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Villa Zafiria

More pictures

Hidden Greece

Iapetos Village

Laptop Studios
A recently opened village-style cluster of 19 luxurious two-floor cottages and six studios round an attractive garden flanked on one side by the open-air bar and on the other by the plunge pool built into something resembling a medieval market-cross in England. The cottages have an extra room downstairs for children and can therefore accommodate up to 6 persons.
Fully equipped kitchens, satellite LCD TV. safe-box, air-conb, heatng. All rooms have view of pool and garden. SCB 2-6 persons.

Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Iapetos Village , or accom'n only

More pictures

Hidden Greece

Aliki Hotel

Aliki Hotel
The original posh hotel on Symi's waterfront, the Aliki is an old manor house lovingly converted into a small exclusive hotel. Every room is different (mainly because major alterations would have flouted the strict planning laws), some having sea view, some not and some higher rooms havung access to a covered balcony; there is also a roof terrace with lovely views.

Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Hotel Aliki , or accom'n only

Hidden Greece

When you book, remember our

Free Greek Maps Offer

When you book, remember our

Free Greek Maps Offer

Hidden Greece