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Symi – a charming cliff town with fascinating stairways

What makes Symi so special is its beautiful architecture, colourful houses and laidback atmosphere. The port of Symi is an absolute beauty catching your eye as soon as your boat turns the final cliffs before the bay of Symi Town. The setting oozes an irresistible charm and you cannot wait to put your feet on the ground. This place is an ultimate spot for sunset gazing and romantic walks!

Symi Habor - Photo by S. Lambadaridis
Symi Harbour – Photo by S. Lambadaridis

The port of Symi is the heart of the island. From here you can visit many little villages and beaches within a walking distance. The beaches are small, clean, and washed by mesmerizing, crystal-clear waters. A few are organized, the rest are secluded and some of them can only be reached by boat, like the stunning beach of Saint George. Symi offers ideal holidays for families and couples who seek to relax far away from the hustle and bustle.

Where is Symi Greece?

Map of Dodecanese Archipelagos
Click to enlarge the map – Coordinates: 36°35′N 27°50′E

Symi is a mountainous Greek island belonging to the Dodecanese island group. The settlements on the island include the harbor of Symi and its adjacent upper town Ano Symi, as well as several smaller settlements, beaches, and areas of significance in history and mythology.

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How to get to Symi Greece?

A ferry connection between Symi and Athens is available about three times a week, but the trip is rather long, lasting approximately 20 hours. A more convenient way to travel to Symi from Athens would be to reach Rhodes by plane within one hour and then to travel to Symi by ferry from Rhodes port. Symi is also connected by ferry from Kalymnos, Patmos, Tilos, and Leros.

Symi Island seen from above, with Turkey in the background
Symi Island with Turkey in the background

Airport near Symi

The closest airport to Symi is located on Rhodes island. Rhodes International Airport “Diagoras” is one of the four most busy airports in Greece, receiving domestic flights from Athens, Thessaloniki, and other towns. In the summer months it receives direct flights from many countries around Europe, as well.

Day tours from Rhodes island

You can also choose to go sightseeing in Symi on a day trip from Rhodes harbour. The trips last 8 hours and usually make two stops in Symi – one in Symi Town and one at St. George’s beach, where you can swim from the rear of the boat for an hour.

What to do in Symi Greece?

Symi is a small and quiet island with only a limited number of things to do besides swimming in the stunning blue sea from the secluded beaches around the rocky island. Symi is a place of total relaxation, where you spend the afternoons lunching at the seaside taverns and the evenings under the stars with a drink in a lounge café-bar. One special activity in Symi is hiking along the many old footpaths crisscrossing the island, leading you to secluded beaches, tiny chapels, small settlements, and hilltops with a stunning view to the deep blue sea. During the hot summer months hiking long trips can be uncomfortable. Autumn and spring are the best seasons for hiking in Symi.

What to see in Symi Greece?

The Holy Monastery of Panormitis

In Symi the most important sightseeing is the Holy Monastery of Panormitis, protector of the island. It is located on the southern coast of Symi, and you can visit it on a boat trip from Simi Town or from Rhodes island. Do not miss a stroll in the picturesque town of Simi, enjoying its medieval style and breathtaking sea views. Try to follow the street “Kali Strada” to the top and you will be rewarded with a spectacular view.

Venetian castle
The Venetian castle of Symi was built on the site of a byzantine castle by the Knights of Saint John. It rises above Symi Town from a hill with great views of the habour below.

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Symi Beach Guide

Find the 8 best beaches in Symi here below.

Organized beaches

  • Nos Beach – Sandy, family friendly, located 300 meters from Symi Town
  • Nimborio of Emborios Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 3 km northwest of Symi Town
  • Pedi Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 2 km west of Symi Town

Non-organized beaches

Travel to Symi Greece - St George Bay
St George Bay
  • Gialos Beach – Pebbled, Harbour, located 1 km northwest of Symi Town
  • Panormitis Beach – Pebbled, located 12 km south of Symi Town
  • Beach between town and Nimborio Beach – Pebbled, located one km northwest of Symi Town
  • St George Bay – Pebbled, accessible only by boat
  • Nanou Bay – Pebbled, accessible only by boat
Nanou Bay, Symi - Photo S. Lambadaridis
Nanou Bay, Symi – Photo S. Lambadaridis

Weather and climate in Symi

During high summer season the weather in Symi is characterized by hot days with warm breezes. This makes Symi a great destination for summer holidays, especially from June to September. If you want to enjoy hiking trips in Symi or just a bit lower temperature the autumn and spring seasons are gorgeous as well.

AprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctober
Air17212529292521
Sea17202224252322
Average air and sea temperature in Symi in °C

What does “Symi” mean?

View of Symi from the port
Symi town

In Greek mythology, Symi is reputed to be the birthplace of the Charites and to take its name from the nymph Syme (in antiquity the island was known as Aigli and Metapontis).

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