Travel Destinations: Symi, Greece

Lian Slayford By Lian Slayford, 15th Feb 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>Greece>The Dodecanese

This article explores the island of Symi in Greece as a great tourist destination.

Travel Destinations: Symi, Greece

Travel Destinations: Symi, Greece

As one of the most beautiful islands in the south Dodecanese, Symi is a popular day trip from the nearby island of Rhodes as well as a holiday destination on its own. Dry, rocky and beautiful, Symi is a great place to explore real, authentic Greece. Her main commerce was shipbuilding and sponge-diving, but today its tourism.

As with everywhere else in Greece, Symi has a long history that her inhabitants are proud of. She was granted the right to dive for sponges by the Turks when Greece was under Ottoman rule. In return, Symi provided the Sultan with high quality ships and ocean floor sponges caught by skilled divers.

These industries helped Symi to become a wealthy island. Beautiful, graceful mansions were constructed as well as schools and other cultural and educational buildings. By the 20th century, Symi was producing roughly 500 ships a year but the Italian occupation, the emergence of the steamship and Kalymnos’ rise as the supplier of sponges soon brought an end to her prosperity. Today, however, Symi advertises herself as a beautiful island in the Aegean, and she would be right in doing so.

You can get here by taking a ferry from Rhodes, which is the most popular route. She only has two long-haul ferries a week to other islands but you can take your car this way as well. The island has reliable bus and taxi services, as well as excursion boats and water taxis.

The port of Gialos is the first port of call for tourists. She is incredibly pretty, with her harbour and neo-classical mansions glistening in the sun all the way up into the hills. However, behind these front fronts, most lay derelict but surprisingly eye-catching.

You can visit Herio, consisting of narrow, maze-like streets spanned by graceful crumbling arches. When you approach this little town, you will come to the Knights of St John Kastro and the Church of Megali Panagia, all places the visitor should not miss.
Take a quick trip into the Archaeological and Folklore Museum where you can witness artefacts from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods and gain a real insight into the history of the island. If you like museums, why not visit the Naval Museum at the port of Gialos. It has some interesting models of ships and other maribne artefacts.

If you like little quaint fishing villages, Symi can offer these to you. Pedi lies 2km downhill from Horio and has some wonderful little beaches where you can relax and soak up the sun for a few hours. If you walk on, you will come to Agia Marina beach and Agios Nikolaos beach, each with soft golden sands and crystal blue waters.

Another population of the island is Moni Taxiarhou Mihail Panormiti, a beautiful monastery located in the middle of a beautiful pine forest. The first monastery was built here during the fifth or sixth century, but the one you see here was actually built during the 18th century. It has some incredibly beautiful frescoes and iconography of St Michael that are said to have appeared where the monastery sits now.

Symi is a wonderful island to visit. She offers a wonderful range of shops, cultural attractions, restaurants and soft golden beaches, making her one of the most romantic destinations in Greece.

Tags

Greece, Greek, Greek Orthodox, Symi, Trave, Travel, Travel By Train, Travel Nepal, Travel Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Lian Slayford
Lian is a Research Archaeologist, specialising in Religious Archaeology.

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