Rhodes holiday tips: a day trip to Symi
Rhodes is the largest and best-known of the Dodecanese, a string of 18 islands to the southeast of mainland Greece. As much as this beautiful Greek Isle will vie for all of your time with its glorious sunshine, evocative old towns and forested landscapes, don’t miss the chance to explore other Greek Islands if you’re staying on Rhodes.
One such island is Symi, which lies no more than a 40 minute ferry ride away from the northern port at Rhodes Town. An island little touched by mass tourism, Symi was occupied by Italy until the mid-20th century and has a personality of its own, complete with charming architecture, natural coves and miles of greenery to explore.
Gialos Harbour and Chorio
Take a day trip to Symi and you’ll be greeted by the picturesque harbour at Gialos, with its ruins on the hill and pattern of streets weaving their way up the hillside. It’s one of the most beautiful natural anchorages in Europe and starting your day by simply getting oriented among the captain’s houses and street cafes is a pleasure.
Admire the Neo-Classical architecture as you walk up the steps of ‘Kali Strata’ to Chorio, the upper village above the harbour, before travelling back to the 15th century and examining the castle ruins at the top. End your uphill wander with some tasty plates of mezze in one of the traditional tavernas overlooking the bay.
Many people make the trip to Symi just to see the monastery of Panormitis, situated right on the waterfront in the south of the island. A 15th century building with a beautiful arcaded exterior, it also houses two museums detailing the history of the island, a selection of folk art and a library containing original Byzantine manuscripts.
Activities on Symi
Symi isn’t jam-packed with hectic activities – herein lies its charm. Most visitors simply enjoy taking a picnic with produce from one of the local stores and exploring places like Pedi Bay, accessible by bus from the harbour.
You can also hire bikes or take a walk beyond the town, where you’ll find green forests, chapels hidden amongst the trees and 360° vistas from the high plateau of the central island. Guided tours run from Gialos during the summer.
The ferry service operates from Rhodes to Symi around four times daily, along with trips to other nearby islands such as Lipsi and even to the south-western coast of Turkey. You can check ferry crossing times for the dates of your holiday online.
Fancy combining a Rhodes trip with some excursions around the Dodecanese? Take a look at Falcon’s Rhodes holiday deals and start planning your trip to the Greek Islands!