A Greek Island holiday in Symi (also spelt Simi) is the perfect vacation destination for lovers of awe inspiring scenery and picturesque towns. Because of its dramatic, natural beauty and romantic buildings, Symi has attracted many artists, photographers and write. It is also an ideal holiday destination for ramblers.
The Greek island of Symi (also spelt Simi) is a small island in the Dodecanese group, situated twenty four miles, or about an hour's ferry ride, north-west of Rhodes.Symi is just eight miles long and only five miles at its maximum width. But if the island's size seems small when measured in miles; measuring it by the time it takes to get from one place to the next, presents a very different picture. This is because Symi is extremely steep and mountainous, its highest point towering over two thousand feet above the sea.The spectacular nature of Symi's steep coastline, combined with one of the most picturesque harbour towns in Greece, has for many decades, attracted artists, photographers and ramblers, many of whom have taken up residence on the island. Several writers have also made Symi their home. Lovers of broad sandy beaches within easy reach of their holiday accommodation will be disappointed with Symi, as the mountainous terrain and steep cliffs mean that most of its beaches are small, pebbly coves. However, their natural beauty more than compensates for their lack of sand, whilst their inaccessibility is more than outweighed by the views from the water taxi trips which are required to reach most of them. Symi is a great island for people who enjoy walking and several of its beaches can be reached within a couple of hours walk from either of the island's main holiday resorts; Yialos and Pedi. Serious walkers with heads for heights, can enjoy challenging treks to the more inaccessible coves. The most demanding can take four to five hours so it is a good idea to start off early in the morning, spend the afternoon on the beach and then catch a water taxi for the return journey back to Yialos or Pedi. As well as the walks across the island to coastal destinations, many inland walks to monasteries, chapels, historic sites and beautiful valleys can also be enjoyed.The picturesque harbour town of Yialos is the capital of Symi. It is connected to the Chorio (hill town) by Kali Strata, a street of comprising of four hundred steps. The walk up the Kali Strata is rewarded by passing many beautiful, preserved, nineteenth century mansions and by the wonderful views from the top. A medieval castle built by the knights of St John once stood proudly on the site of an ancient Greek acropolis but some imagination is needed to visualise how it would have once looked, dominating Chorio and the valleys below. Yialos, also referred to as "Symi Town", is a beautiful town by both day and night. Many of its colourful buildings have been carefully restored to their former glory and have a preservation order like the mansions on the Kali Strata. The picturesque and romantic quality of the place has put it on the map of stop off ports for cruise ships. As a result, restaurant and bar prices in Yialos tend to be a bit pricier than elsewhere in the Greek islands. However, several of the local restaurants offer a standard of cuisine more than matching the price.A holiday in Symi is best enjoyed sometime between April and October. Most of the island's holiday accommodations are only available during this period and during the winter months there is always the risk of ferry services from Rhodes being cancelled because of stormy weather. Even as late as the end of May one year, we had to spend two days in Rhodes waiting for the weather to calm sufficiently for our ferry to set sail. Although it is possible to reach Symi directly by ferry from Athens, sailing from the port of Piraeus, the journey takes twenty hours. Rhodes is a major Greek Island holiday destination with an international airport, receiving cheap flights from all over Europe including most U.K. airports. The ferry takes only one hour to get from Rhodes to Symi and a hydrofoil does it in half the time. Unless you are masochist or someone who fanatically enjoys inter island ferry journeys, there is little point in using the Athens alternative.