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Symi Greece Complete Travel Guide-Things to Do, Tips & More!

Symi, Greece, is a hidden gem in the Dodecanese islands, boasting vibrant neoclassical architecture, crystal-clear waters, and a serene atmosphere perfect for a slow travel escape. I spent a wonderful two nights on this enchanting island, which quickly became one of the highlights of my trip. From exploring charming villages to enjoying delicious local cuisine, Symi offers an authentic Greek experience. In this complete travel guide, discover the best things to see and do, where to stay, and essential tips for making the most of your visit to this picturesque paradise, Symi.

Find a great place to stay in Symi, Greece on Expedia!

Complete Travel Guide to Symi, Greece

Why Visit Symi?

Why Visit Symi Greece

Symi is a hidden gem among the Dodecanese islands, offering a unique and authentic Greek experience far from the crowds of more popular destinations. Symi’s neoclassical architecture and colorful homes create a picturesque setting that feels like stepping into a postcard.

The beautiful harbor, lined with charming cafes and tavernas, provides a perfect spot to relax and soak in the island’s laid-back atmosphere. Whether you’re exploring the winding streets of Symi Town, hiking to ancient ruins, or swimming in crystal-clear waters, Symi promises an unforgettable and authentic Greek experience.

Best Things to See & Do in Symi, Greece

1. Wander through the Downtown Area

The best thing to do in Symi is to simply wander around the harbor and lose yourself in the backstreets. The colorful buildings, quaint alleyways, and harborfront shops and restaurants are the main attractions of this island.

Take your time to explore, soak in the beauty, and enjoy the charming atmosphere. Every corner offers a new sight, making a leisurely stroll through downtown Symi a delightful experience.

2. Walk up to the Church of the Holy Trinity

Walking up to the Church of the Holy Trinity is a must-do in Symi. The view from the church is incredible, offering a stunning panorama of the island. The journey itself is equally rewarding, as you pass through beautiful parts of the town and enjoy gorgeous views along the way.

Take your time on this scenic walk and be sure to bring some water, as the climb can be a bit demanding. The combination of breathtaking vistas and charming town scenes makes this walk a highlight of any visit to Symi.

3. Visit Plaka Beach

Plaka Beach is easily accessible by walking from downtown Symi. This lovely beach offers a great spot to cool off from the hot Mediterranean sun. With its clear waters and comfortable seating areas under the shade of umbrellas, it’s a perfect place to relax and enjoy the day.

You’ll find plenty of people enjoying a swim or lounging by the sea, making it a lively yet serene destination. Take a leisurely stroll to Plaka Beach and experience the refreshing waters and welcoming atmosphere that make it a favorite among visitors.

4. Enjoy the Delicious Restaurant Options

Symi boasts a variety of restaurants catering to all budgets and tastes. Whether you’re looking for a casual meal or a fine dining experience, you’ll find plenty of options. The most popular dish on the island is the famous Symi shrimp, which is a must-try for any visitor. Here are a few recommended places for both food and drinks:

  • Pavone Cafe: A charming spot offering delicious coffee, pastries, and light meals. Perfect for breakfast or a midday snack.
  • Lyris: Known for its warm hospitality and traditional Greek dishes, Lyris offers a delightful dining experience with fresh, local ingredients.
  • EVA: This restaurant features a varied menu with both Greek and international cuisine. They also have fantastic cocktails and great place to sit in the evening with great atmosphere.
  • Φούρνος Θ. Νικολέττου: A local bakery where you can enjoy freshly baked goods and traditional Greek pastries.

Take the time to explore these dining options and savor the flavors of Symi.

5. Take a Boat Tour Around Symi Island

Although I didn’t get the chance to take a boat tour around Symi, it’s a very popular activity on the island.

You can book a tour online or hire one directly from the Symi harbor. These tours typically take you around the entire island, visiting caves and other sights that are only accessible by boat. It’s a fantastic way to see the island from a different perspective and explore hidden gems along the coastline.

While we didn’t have time for a boat tour this trip, it’s definitely something I would do in the future when I visit again. The breathtaking views and unique locations make it a must-do experience on Symi.

Where to Stay on the Island of Symi, Greece

Where to Stay in Symi Greece

Symi is a small island, so most accommodation options are concentrated in Symi Town. However, there are different areas to consider for your stay, each offering a unique experience.

  • Downtown – Staying in downtown Symi puts you right in the heart of the action. You’ll be surrounded by vibrant neoclassical buildings, colorful homes, and the bustling harbor. This area offers the best access to restaurants, shops, and local attractions. It’s perfect for those who want to be in the center of island life, with everything just a short walk away.
  • Outside of the Main Harbor – For a quieter stay, consider accommodations just outside the main harbor. This area still offers beautiful views and easy access to the town’s amenities but with a more relaxed atmosphere. You’ll find charming boutique hotels and guesthouses nestled among the hills, providing a peaceful retreat after a day of exploring. It’s an excellent choice for travelers who want a balance between convenience and affordability.
  • Not in Town – If you prefer a more secluded experience, staying outside of Symi Town is ideal. There are several beautiful villas and apartments scattered around the island, offering stunning views and a more intimate connection with nature. Keep in mind that you would definitely need a rental car if you stay outside of the downtown.

No matter where you choose to stay on Symi, you’ll be greeted with warm hospitality and breathtaking scenery, making your visit truly unforgettable.

Find a great hotel in Symi, Greece on Expedia!


Hotel Highlight: Hotel Kokona

Best Place to Stay in Symi Greece

Hotel Kokona, located in downtown Symi, is a charming boutique hotel that offers affordable rooms in a prime location. Its central position makes it perfect for walking to restaurants, shops, and local attractions. With its cozy atmosphere and friendly service, Hotel Kokona provides a comfortable and convenient base for exploring all that Symi has to offer. I highly recommend a stay here if you want something affordable and conveniently located.

Best Hotel in Symi Greece

Book your stay at the Hotel Kokona in Symi, Greece here!

How to Get There/Transport Options

How to Get to Symi Greece by Ferry

The only way to reach Symi is by boat, either ferry or private. Most travelers take the ferry from nearby Rhodes, but you can also access Symi from Turkey due to its proximity.

  • Ferry: Taking the ferry is the most common way to reach Symi. Ferries run regularly from Rhodes, and the journey offers stunning views of the Aegean Sea. You can use Omio for all your ferry bookings, ensuring a hassle-free travel experience. Additionally, there are ferry services from ports in Turkey, providing an international travel option.
  • Private Tour: For a more personalized experience, consider a private boat tour from Rhodes or Turkey. These tours often include a day trip to Symi, allowing you to enjoy the island’s beauty without the constraints of a ferry schedule. Private tours offer flexibility and a more intimate exploration of the surrounding waters.
  • On the Island: Once on Symi, you’ll likely find walking the best way to get around, especially if staying downtown. The compact nature of the town makes it easy to explore on foot. For those looking to explore beyond downtown, car rentals are available on the island. If you’re arriving from Rhodes, you have the option to bring your car on the ferry. However, keep in mind that parking on Symi is very limited, so plan accordingly.

Symi’s charming streets and scenic views make it a joy to explore, whether on foot or by car. No matter how you choose to travel, the journey to this beautiful island is part of the adventure.

Tips for Visiting Symi, Greece

Tips for Visiting Symi Greece

Here are some practical tips to help you make the most of your visit to Symi:

  • Get Connected with Airalo e-SIMS: Stay connected easily by using Airalo e-SIMS. They offer affordable and convenient data plans to keep you online throughout your trip.
  • Length of Visit: I recommend staying at least one night to fully appreciate Symi’s charm. If you can stay longer, you’ll have the opportunity to explore beyond downtown and discover more of the island’s hidden gems.
  • Sun Protection: Symi can get quite sunny, especially in the summer. Make sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Comfortable Footwear: The streets of Symi, especially in the hilly areas, are often cobblestoned and uneven. Bring comfortable walking shoes to navigate the terrain with ease.
  • Hydrate: The heat can be intense, so carry a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. Tap water is generally safe to drink, but bottled water is readily available.
  • Local Cuisine: Don’t miss out on trying local dishes like Symi shrimp and fresh seafood. Visit family-run tavernas for an authentic dining experience.
  • Respect Local Customs: Be mindful of local customs and dress modestly when visiting churches and monasteries. Greeks appreciate respectful behavior towards their culture and traditions.
  • Explore by Boat: Consider renting a boat or taking a boat tour to explore the island’s secluded beaches and coves. This offers a unique perspective of Symi’s stunning coastline.
  • Plan Ahead for Ferries: Ferry schedules can be limited, especially outside the peak season. Plan your transportation in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles.

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for an enjoyable and memorable visit to the beautiful island of Symi.

Best Day Trips from Symi

Symi’s central location in the Dodecanese makes it an excellent base for exploring nearby islands and even parts of Turkey. Here are some of the best day trips you can take from Symi:

  • Rhodes: Just a short ferry ride away, Rhodes offers a mix of historical sites, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches. Explore the medieval Old Town, visit the Palace of the Grand Master, and relax on the sandy shores.
  • Kos: Another nearby island, Kos is known for its rich history and beautiful landscapes. Visit the ancient ruins of Asklepion, stroll through the charming town of Kos, and enjoy the island’s stunning beaches.
  • Datça, Turkey: A quaint town located just across the Aegean, Datça offers a taste of Turkish culture with its picturesque harbor, traditional markets, and delicious cuisine. It’s a perfect spot for a relaxing day trip.
  • Marmaris, Turkey: For a livelier experience, head to Marmaris. This bustling resort town features a beautiful marina, lively bazaars, and numerous beachside cafes and restaurants. It’s a great place to experience Turkish hospitality and vibrant culture.
  • Bodrum, Turkey: Known for its historical significance and stunning coastline, Bodrum is a fantastic day trip destination. Explore the ancient Bodrum Castle, visit the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this Turkish town.

These day trips offer a wonderful opportunity to explore the diverse beauty and culture surrounding Symi, Greece. Whether you’re looking for historical sites, vibrant city life, or tranquil beaches, there’s a perfect destination just a boat ride away.

Best Time of Year to Visit

Best Time of Year to Visit Symi

The best time to visit Symi is during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn when the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are thinner. Here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of visiting during each season:

  • Spring (March to May):
    • Pros: Mild temperatures, blooming flowers, fewer tourists.
    • Cons: Some attractions may still be closed from winter.
  • Summer (June to August):
    • Pros: Warmest weather, vibrant atmosphere, all attractions open.
    • Cons: Crowded, higher prices, very hot temperatures.
  • Autumn (September to November):
    • Pros: Warm weather, fewer crowds, lower prices, beautiful fall scenery.
    • Cons: Shorter days, some attractions start closing in late autumn.
  • Winter (December to February):
    • Pros: Quiet, low prices, mild winter weather.
    • Cons: Many attractions and accommodations closed, limited ferry services.

Visiting during spring and autumn provides the best balance of good weather and fewer tourists, making it ideal for a more relaxed and enjoyable stay on Symi.


Visiting Symi was one of the highlights of my two months in Greece, and it is definitely worth a visit, even if just for a day. The island’s unique charm, stunning architecture, and tranquil atmosphere make it a must-see destination.

Whether you’re exploring its vibrant harbor, enjoying local cuisine, or simply soaking in the beautiful views, Symi offers an unforgettable experience. Plan your trip and discover why this hidden gem holds a special place in my heart.

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