Symi! Small, but, special
Quiet and yet full of life! Little, but full of everything! This little spot of the Greek map, one of the most picturesque islands of the Dodecanese complex with intact beauty and unique architecture, will make you fall in love at first glance … Its beauty, simple and man-made unfolds in front of your eyes as the ship Enters the harbor. In front of you you see, as a living painting, one of the most beautiful and bigger neoclassical settlements in Greece. Neoclassical houses painted in bright, warm colors, perched on the stony, sandy mountains of the island, reflect the glorious past of Symi, with tradition in sponge, shipbuilding and woodcarving.
Tour in the island of the Three Graces
The city of Symi extends to the northern part of the island and consists of two settlements equally beautiful and charming. Ano Symi (Village) stretching as the top of the hill and Gialos, the safe harbor of the island. Both have been designated as listed settlements. Walk near the harbor, the shelter of fishing boats, sailing, speedboats and impressive cruise ships.
Here you can:
Admire the imposing Municipal Clock of 1881 and the statue of the famous Symphonic sculptor K. Valsamis “Michalakis” – the small fisherman with the reed in hand. Sip your coffee at one of the traditional cafes of the waterfront, while in the two main squares of Kampos in old Tarsana and Skala you will find most shops. To visit the Naval Museum, located in Kampos Square. Through his exhibits, you will travel to the depths of history and myth and you will experience the life of the Syrian fisherman, sailor and merchant. See the nautical tools and accessories of the traditional spongebob, such as the bell-towel and the diving-boat, which broke between the old sponge and the new one. To visit Agios Ioannis, the Metropolis of the island, with the marvelous pebbled courtyard and the stone bell tower. Remember: the best time for a walk is in the afternoon, as the sunlight of that time highlights even more the colors and majesty of Symi.
From Gialos you can walk to Emporio or Nimborio, the second harbor of Symi, sloping in the middle of a sheltered bay. Here you will find the “Twelve Caves”, as the locals call them the twelve cave vaults, which in the Byzantine era probably served as workshops of painting and sculpture. Drive to Ano Symi via a hundred-foot stairway, called the Good Strato. If you were tired, do not drive. The view from above will surely compensate you! Small, very small alleys, and the unique, in perfect symmetry architecture of the houses will take you to a fairytale world. Walk to Horio and take some time to get to know the wonderful mansions of the village that will confirm the glorious course of its inhabitants. They consist of tiled roofs, ornately decorated ceilings, neoclassical decorative elements on the doors and windows, and many have stunning pebbled floors. The warm colors on the outside as well as the rich wood-carved interior decoration will amaze you.
Observe the distinctive architectural detail,the skylight or the “eye of the ox”, the round loophole on the front of the house, under the roof! At one time, he was able to reveal the position of the family who lived there, depending on his plan.
At the highest point of Chora, in the west, you will admire the remnants of the Castle of the Knights of Ioannina, with their emblem dominating at the entrance. Inside is the Virgin of the Castle.
At the site of Mylos, there is the “Pontikokastro”, probably a prehistoric mound, as well as the remains of windmills, which once grained cereals, but today some of them serve as dwellings. Behind the highest mountain of Symi, at an altitude of 560 meters, is revealed its unspoiled side, a unique in value and beauty forest of pine and cypress trees.
It is worth visiting the forest of the area of Kourkouniotis, where eleven presses from the 120 old ones on the island have been restored since Symi had until the 18th century. An important tradition in viticulture
Holy Monastery of Lord Michael of Panormitis
An important site of Symi is the monastery of Taxiarchis Michael of Panormitis. It was built in the beginning of the 18th century in the homonym bay, in the southwest of the island, in a place that combines mountain and sea. It has marvelous Byzantine frescoes and a wood-carved icon screen, while the monastery’s catholic (15th century) dominates the dazzling, full-bodied image of Archangel Michael. During your visit to the Monastery, do not forget to visit two museums, Ecclesiastical and Folklore, where everyday objects are displayed and the way of life in Symi of the past times is depicted, while in the library you can see rare Byzantine manuscripts.
Beaches of Symi
Beautiful and untouched, most of them pebbles, the beaches of Symi invite you to discover them. Crystal waters, provocative, sometimes play with towering rocks, sometimes with coniferous shades … The most popular beach on the island is Nos, the closest to the settlement of Symi and Pedi, accessible by foot, by taxi or bus. Swim in Nanou, one of the most beautiful beaches of Symi, with its large pebbles, the white-white chapel and the large trees that offer you their shade. Marathounda Beach, a narrow bay with crystal clear aquamarine waters, will enchant you. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available, while in the picturesque tavern you can enjoy your ouzo. On the beach of Agios Georgios Dysalonas, from the homonymous church that dominates a steep cliff, you will find the best sandy beach on the island. Climbing climbers, note that you can climb a vertical cliff 350m with great views! At Nimporio, (15 ‘walk from the port of Symi) you can find a long pebble beach, while in Agios Nikolaos, a sandy beach with trees is accessible on foot from Pedi or by boat. Panormitis Bay, a small and sheltered bay, is ideal for swimming along with an excursion to the homonymous Moni. Maroni Beach, a very picturesque beach west of Symi. At this point the land narrows by creating an islet on which is a small chapel. The beach is very special as the fir trees reach the sea and the color of the water is particularly green.