Homer first mentioned the name Symi and the mythical king Nereus in his Iliad, in the list that includes those who participated in the Trojan War.The beautiful island of Symi, also the mythological birthplace of the Three Graces, is a small island in the Dodecanese that maintains its authentic traditional character until today. Symi retained the neoclassical style of its architecture, as it was relatively early proclaimed – in 1971 – as a historic settlement listed as a National Monument, making the island unique in the Aegean. The charming Gialos is full of colourful mansions built almost on top of each other, with endless steps, hidden corners and incredible views that will enchant you. The beauty of its neoclassical style makes Symi picture postcard-perfect and strolling down its promenade is a pure delight.
The welcoming and Colorfoul Island’s capital, though small, is divided into two parts. First the harbour, called Gialos, with the impressive clock tower at the very end and its colorfoul neoclassical mansions, welcomes anyone willing to discover it with open arms. Furthermore, the iconic war monument, carved on the side of a huge rock is probably one of the most photographed spots on the island as well as the most popular meeting point. Then Chorio, the more town-like part, is located uphill where visiting the ruins of the Knights’ castle, on the top of the hill overlooking Gialos, is a must – not only for the site but also for the panoramic views of the main harbour and the bay of Pedi. The Archaeology and Folklore Museum is also located in Chorio, and it has an archaeological, a Byzantine and a folklore collection.
One other main attraction of Symi Island is the Monastery of Panormitis in the bay of Panormos, famous for its miracles, that constitutes one of the most known pilgrimages in the Aegean, as well in Greece. The imposing monastery built in the 18th century with its impressive bell tower is dedicated to the island’s patron saint, none other than the archangel Michael.
THINGS TO DO IN SYMI
When in Symi, the cobblestoned alleys with the countless steps will enchant you, making you want to explore them all. You will love strolling around the small streets and alleys and spotting church domes while sipping on a Greek coffee at the local kafenio. Every corner hides a new surprise, with awe-inspiring panoramic views and beautiful images. Try the tiny shrimp of Symi and the freshly caught fish and seafood. The Gialos promenade is delightful; the perfect place to buy authentic sea sponges. From Gialos, you can also board a taxi-boat that will take you to any of the secluded beaches of the island. Visit one of the island’s most iconic landmarks, the monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis, located on the southwest coast.
Learn More about Symi here