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Symi in Greece
Symi, northwest of Rhodes, belongs to the Dodecanese islands. It is a fairly small island; both to the surface and the number of residents. Here live about 2,590 people spread over three villages: Gialos, Chorio and Pedi. The surface is 58 km2 and the highest mountain - Vigla - measuring 616 meters above sea level.
Gialos in Symi is one of the Greek island's most beautiful villages.
Symi is especially famous for its beautiful port town Gialos which in form resembles a horseshoe. Gialos is one of the Greek island world's most beautiful villages and it daily attracts hordes of tourists from Rhodes. And it is Gialos which is the main attraction on Symi; the beaches are pretty mediocre and the scenery is wild and barren, and in my opinion not so beautiful. But it does not matter since Gialos alone is worth the trip here.
TRAVEL TO SYMI
From some countries it is possible to go on a package holiday. The airplane lands in Rhodes, from the airport a bus take you to Rhodes town and from there you continue by ferry to Symi. The boat trip takes between 1 ½ and 2 hours.
If you're travelling independently; go by air to Rhodes and take the first boat to Symi. You can choose between regular ferries or one of the many excursion boats that leave to Symi every morning from Mandraki Harbour in Rhodes town. There is no problem to buy one way tickets.
GETTING AROUND IN SYMI
Busses start out from Gialos to Pedi, via Chorio. Large parts of the island are inaccessible, which is the reason that most people go around by bathing boat instead of car or moped.
One of the excursion boats that goes around Symi.
Bathing boats to the beaches of Agia Marina, Agios Nikolaos, Nanou and Agios Georgios departs from the port of Gialos every morning. Agios Georgios lies at the foot of a high mountain and is one of the most beautifully situated beaches I have seen.
There are several excursion boats that depart daily to various inaccessible beaches around the island. The sightseeing usually includes lunch on a secluded beach. Information about the tours is available on the harbour promenade in Gialos.
VILLAGES IN SYMI
Gialos is, as said before, one of the most beautiful villages in the Greek island world. The village is built like an amphitheatre and the colourful neo-classical houses climb patiently from the waterfront up to the old neighbourhood named Chorio. The evenings in Gialos is magical and the sunset is absolutely fantastic.
The evenings in Gialos is magical.
Along the waterfront in Gialos the tavernas, bars and cafes crowd together with innumerable souvenir- spice and sponge shops. Here the day trippers from Rhodes pack together, during high season up to 1500 per day. Then it is not fun to be in Gialos, it is crowded, it is expensive and the food is often of poor standard. Avoid Gialos in the daytime if you can, and you will see the village's true colours.
From left to right: Gialos, Chorio and Pedi.
Chorio - which is grown together with Gialos - are best approached by the long beautiful stairway Kalistrata. Chorio is quite different from Gialos, here are few tourists, and instead you meet a living Greek village with narrow alleys and beautiful old houses. Several tavernas exist.
Chorio is located above Gialos.
Pedi is a small fishing village located in a bay east of Gialos, just below Chorio. Pedi is the third largest village on Symi, and is well worth a visit. Here is a narrow beach that actually consists of gravel, and not shingle. For those who want to stay overnight, there are both taverns and pensions in the village.
BEACHES IN SYMI
Symi is no paradise for those who like long white sandy beaches. On Symi there are pebble beaches that are afforded. However, there is nothing wrong with the water; it is usually crystal clear and lovely turquoise.
Nos beach is the name of the beach that is closest to Gialos. You get here in less than fifteen minutes. The beach is short and narrow, and more often than not crammed with people. Many day trippers go here for a swim after they have shopped sponges and after they have seen Gialos. Taverna is to be found. Some distance away - about 3 kilometres - is Nimborios in a fine bay. Also here is a taverna.
Nos beach is the closest beach to Gialos.
If you like the combination of pebble and goats, you should immediately go till Marathounda beach. Here are a bunch of domestic goats who do everything they can to steal food from us poor tourists. Around the only taverna is a high fence to stop the goats from entering. It helps so-so. The goats are really full of ideas and they often steal food anyway.
Funny goats at Marathounda beach.
SIGHTS IN SYMI
Gialos is of course the biggest attraction on Symi. There are those who come here just to study the unique architecture. The island's other major attraction is the monastery in Panormitis located on the southern Symi.
The monastery is well known to sailors and Greeks who come here to pray to the patron saint Taxiarchis Michalis Panormitis. The monastery area is gigantic and is beautifully situated. If you go to Symi over the day from Rhodes, the excursion boats usually stops at the Monastery of Panormitis.
Taxiarchis Michalis Panormitis in Symi.
ACCOMODATION IN SYMI
Many hotels and pensions are booked by tour operators. But there still is no major problem to find accommodation if you are an independent traveller, except during the high season of course. It happens that owner of rooms wait in the port when the ferries arrive, but it is not as common as on other islands. The biggest selection of hotels is in Gialos, but there are also some pensions in Chorio and in Pedi.
We have stayed at Taxiarchis which is located in Chorio above Gialos. It is a very nice pension that I can warmly recommend. Two other good hotels are Odyssia and Nireus Hotel, located in Gialos.
If you stay in Rhodes I can warmly recommend a day trip to beautiful in Symi.
© 2007-2021 | Janni Eklund | Kalispera and Kalimera.