The island of Symi is surprisingly colorful, filled with old world glamour and modern cosmopolitan flavor. At your arrival here you can’t do anything but stare at the unique elegant residences lined up on the coast. Of course you have seen the pictures, you have imagined the whole place, but the reality belies the expectations. The island is tiny, but its splendor grows beyond it making you feel like a part of a big painting. The views around, and at the island, are stunning and more than picturesque. One should even reconsider the meaning if the word “picturesque”, or at least stop using it for sceneries not as good as the Symi’s one.
In fact, your stay at Symi might make you regret you never became a painter for this island deserves a whole Art Gallery only for itself. Although, when you finally get used to the beauty of the landscape, you will discover that even if Symi’s beaches are not too big, and not too many, they have an overwhelming, relaxing charm in them. You can find both the secluded ones, and the organized ones.
A walk around the island will provide you unexpected sights such as monasteries and chapels, meanwhile the life in the port will be a never-ending source of memorable moments and amazing encounters. Another interesting experience, related to Symi’s enchanting aura is a walk through refreshing cypress forests.
Symi may be close to another great island on the Aegean (Rhodes) but it doesn’t lose anything through this proximity. Even though it is the smallest, it is certainly also the most elegant of the Dodecanese Islands. Why every harbor in Europe doesn’t look this way?
Kali Strata – beauty going up, and up, and up
As said before, Symi is an island of good taste and stunning views. One of the greatest ways to see the beauty is to go higher. It is exactly the case of Kali Strata, meaning “good way” in Greek, and representing a marble stairway leading to the upper part of the Horio town. This shady walkaway under the trees gives an attractive view over Gialos. On the peak a real reward awaits you: an outdoor café from which you can watch the sunset drowning in the bay’s colorful waters while peacefully sipping coffee or wine.
Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis – local source of miracles
On the southwest coast of the island a monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis gives you an amazing view over the bay of the same name. In this particular setting you will be able to admire not only the sea, but also the mountainous landscape.
Not to mention the reputation of the place! In this 15th century monastery you can pray in front of the icon of the Archangel Michael considered miraculous. The special mystical vibes can be felt already at the entrance, thus the site is a major pilgrimage center. Amazing stories are to be discovered if you ask the locals.
Gialos – the natural port of the town of Symi
Gialos is made of neoclassical buildings from the 19th century built between scenic hills and Hora, the urban part of the town of Symi. Traditional houses painted in warm pastel colors mark the main town, and the dreamy balconies hang over the streets as if they were curious of people passing underneath.
The atmosphere of Gialos tends to be very cosmopolitan with the Fish Market, the stone bridge, the statue of a young fisherman Michalaki, taverns and fancy restaurants serving the typical Dodecanese food. Many Europeans actually moved in here, touched by the elegant character of this place.
Horio – the real town of Symi
Leaving the port and reaching the main village you can find everything that used be part of the island’s glory: noble mansions like the one of Hatziagapitou-Hatzioanou or Farmaki, the old community pharmacy or the ruins of the Kastro. The hill where lie the remains of the castle are an essential viewpoint of the island.