Symi 101: The Beginner’s Guide to the Greek Island of Symi

Greece, Greek Islands, Travel Guides

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By Ryan Gargiulo

Introduction to Symi

The Greek island of Symi, sometimes also referred to as Simi, is a small, quiet and lesser known island located in the group of Dodecanese islands just 41 km /25 mi northwest of Rhodes (fourth largest Greek island).

Symi is a great place to vacation if you’re looking for stunning views, a tranquil port, beautiful seaside hikes, shopping for hand-made leather goods and for those who are interested in getting a more traditional and genuine Greek island experience.

With views that overlook the calm sea, and a chance to take a nice stroll from the beach to the houses built on the slopes of a hill – Symi is a paradise for those willing to take part and enjoy all the natural beauty that the island has to offer.

Before You Go: Travel Insurance

When planning a trip to Greece and the Greek Islands your first priority should be to make sure you make a small investment towards your health and well being by considering an affordable travel insurance policy for your trip.

Not only will this budget friendly travel insurance policy cover you if your bags are lost/stolen and if your flight is delayed/cancelled, but you’ll also be covered for all medical and injury related issues as well. 

Let’s face it. No parents, family or friends want to have to cover the cost of you getting medevaced home from Greece.

Unfortunate things do happen.

Especially when you least expect it.

Do yourself a favor and consider purchasing travel insurance coverage for your trip so you can rest assured that you’ll be taken care of in the event of a serious emergency in Greece. 

P.S. You won’t believe how reasonably priced this travel insurance is.

Check Prices Button

How to Get to Symi

Ferry to Symi:

The best way to get to Symi is by ferry as there are no airports on the island.

Unfortunately, traveling by ferry from Athens is nearly impossible as you would waste somewhere in the range of 10-15 hours.

Trust me when I tell you that nobody in their right mind wants to be stuck on a ferry for that long.

Here’s my best advice:

Fly to Rhodes and then from there you can hop on the one of the many ferry services that operate from Rhodes to Symi and vice versa.

From Rhodes, Symi is only 45 min sail away.

You can find cheap flights from Athens to Rhodes using Skyscanner.

I’ve personally flown round-trip from Athens to Rhodes for as low as 45 Euros!

For more info on the ferries between Rhodes and Symi, please check the schedule using this tool:


Unfortunately, there are no flights to Symi at this time although the airport in Rhodes services flights from a wide variety of destinations, Athens being the most common.

  • Athens to Rhodes flight time: 50 minutes
  • Rhodes to Symi ferry time: 50 minutes

Tip: Begin your flight search by using the Skyscanner engine embedded below.

Hillside Homes in Symi, Greece

Where to Stay in Symi

Fortunately, there are plenty of quality options when it comes to finding accommodations in Symi no matter if you’re traveling the Greek islands on a budget or if you’re looking for something a little more luxurious.

You can start by viewing this list of Airbnb apartments in Symi or you can dive a little deeper by jumping straight into the recommendations below.


Quite Symi Cosmopolitan

Quiet Cosmopolitan Symi Apartment

This budget friendly apartment is suited for people who prefer silence and relaxation.

Perfect for nature lovers and people who enjoy walking.

The apartment has two bedrooms, one equipped with a double bed and the other with a single bed – enough to accommodate three people in total.


Asterope- Symi

Asterope Traditional House of Symi

My mid-range pick is the Asterope Traditional House of Symi-Anoi and it offers up some incredible views of Symi harbour.

The apartment is fully furnished with two bedrooms; the first bedroom has a double bed and the other is equipped with two single beds – enough to accommodate four people in total.

The beautiful views from the balcony should be enough to take your breath away. The apartment is conveniently located near all of the action — bars, restaurants, supermarkets, you name it.


Dream Holiday Home- Symi

Symi Dream Holiday Home

Lastly, priced the highest among the three is Dream Holiday Home in Symi. 

This home is perfect for large families or groups of friends due to the space and that fact that it has 5 beds — one bedroom with two double beds, a single bedroom with a cot bed and a mezzanine.

Other things to note include air-conditioned bed rooms, good wifi, a washing machine, BBQ grill and three showers. Oh, and did I mention the views?

Hotels in Symi:

Not interested in renting Airbnb apartments in Symi?

No worries — here are a few Symi hotel recommendations for you below.

Where to Eat in Symi

Symi has several great options when it comes to dining and I’ve went ahead and listed a few recommendations below based on overall reviews.

Below you’ll find three restaurant recommendations from ranging from budget to splurge.


To Steno Restaurant

For an unbelievable price of around 25 euros, you’ll get 6 dishes which are all made from ingredients directly from the owners farm.

The restaurant is family owned and operated and they really take care of their customers.

The owner is very friendly so don’t be surprised if he pops over to your table to say Hi.


Taverna To Spitiko

My mid-range recommendation has to be Taverna To Spitiko.

The dishes on offer here include seafood, grill, Mediterranean, and of course, Greek.

They also offer options for gluten free and vegan customers.

The food here is delicious and the staff is very friendly as well.

Add to the fact that this place is located on the sea front and you’ve got yourself a great little dinner spot.


Muses Restaurant

If you’re interested in planning a nice night out and you’re feeling like splurging a little bit then I would recommend you check out Muses.

The food itself is more on the Mediterranean and contemporary side of dining.

It’s a restaurant I’d recommend for those looking to take a date or if you’re looking to enjoy some nice  wine along with a great view.

Port of Symi Greece

Things to Do in Symi

As the island of Symi is fairly small, there are not too many options for activities.

That said, you can still enjoy the beaches and a few other tourist spots that the island has to offer.


Panormitis Monastery

The Panormitis Monastery is located south-west of town.

This is the main monastery on the island of Symi and it includes two museums; the first one houses various religious items and vessels.

The second one displays exhibits from folk culture.

There is also a gallery of paintings depicting the monastery and the landscape which surrounds it.

If you enjoy art, knowing more about the culture and history of the island – the Monastery is great little pit-stop.


Who doesn’t want to visit a beautiful beach when you’re on a trip to the Greek islands?

Well, it’s no surprise that an island like Symi with its breathtaking views also happens to be home to a few beautiful beaches.

Here are a few you should check out:

  • Nos Beach * (Closest to the port)
  • Agios Nikolaos
  • Agia Marina

Don’t miss: 14 Recommended Things to Do in Symi, Greece


Overall, Symi is an island I would definitely recommend if the Greek island of Rhodes is on your itinerary.

This is not an island where you’ll find parties running until all hours of the morning.

Symi is a very quiet and laid back island that will be a perfect stop for those who want to escape the noise of the city (Athens) and be in a little Greek paradise.

Being that it’s a tiny island, many of the things you’d want to be close for the sake of convenience, such as restaurants and bars — all can be reached by just a few minutes walk.

The accommodations on the island (specifically the ones listed above) will really make you feel at home and the fact that you have a few choices when it comes to your budget gives you some flexibility to choose from.

Interested in visiting the Greek islands? If so, be sure to check out my full collection of Greek Island Travel Guides.

You might also enjoy this beautiful video of Symi below:

🔎 Did you find this travel guide useful? If so, please comment below and be sure to share it with your family and friends.

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46 thoughts on “Symi 101: The Beginner’s Guide to the Greek Island of Symi”

  1. Beautiful place! Would love to visit in the near future. Thank you for sharing such a comprehensive guide on what all to see and how to reach the island.

  2. Thanks for letting us know that there is various kind of gems hidden in this world. Really wanna visit there. This place is on my bucket list.

  3. This Island looks very beautiful in these photographs, Want to spend some days there with my better half. Thanks for sharing this post.

  4. Hi Ryan,
    I found it great reading your information, I have always wanted to travel to Greece and I am starting to plan for a trip in 2018. We would like to go in the shoulder season and be able to swim in the ocean. Is early June or mid September better.

    • Hi Shaun,

      You’ll be able to swim no matter if you choose June or September. June is beautiful but starts to get really hot by the end of the month. September is an amazing time of year but if you do decide on Sept try to be in the islands during the first week of September. Hope this helps! Enjoy your trip.

  5. I took the ferry to Symi for a day trip a few years ago while on holiday in Rhodes. After reading this I would love to go back for a holiday.

  6. HI there, your blog is great. My husband and I have 14 days in Greece. We love walking, beaches and food. I am just worried about timing. What would you recommend? Santarini,Milos and especially Kimolos and Symi sound fun. We would rather be on foot walking than driving. When in Thailand we opted to walk rather than be on the roads driving ourselves. We could fly internally from Athens maybe?
    Looking froward to hearing from you.

    • 14 days is plenty for your itinerary. The only thing is that Symi is quite far from Santorini, Milos and Kimolos so you might want to skip it this time around and maximize your time in the other nearby islands.

    • Keith — This is not a “budget” site. I simply share my recommendations and advice for a variety of destinations. As for accommodations, I’m sorry that we can’t come to an agreement that less than $50/night is considered “budget”. I think that’s a pretty fair number but then again it depends on where you come from, where you’ve traveled to in the past and where you’re comparing it to. I hope you find what you’re looking for. Best of luck.

  7. I went to Simi for my honeymoon 17 years ago and loved it. After spending time on Santorini and Rhodes it was a perfect little getaway. Can’t remember the names of the places we stayed but 1st night was a budget place a bit away from the harbor and we splurged the 2nd night and got a place right on the harbor. It was the place the Germans supposedly signed the peace treaty. Might have been a lie but it was beautiful with murals on the ceiling. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories. For sure worth checking out and do spend at least a night there.

  8. I went to Symi for a holiday last September, absolutely loved it!! Thinking of returning this year, or maybe discovering another beautiful island.

  9. Hi Ryan, I am travelling to Symi on 9th July we land in Rhodes about 11.30am but cannot see any ferry times yet is this because I am possibly looking too early ? are there any other ways of getting there on the water but not by ferries ie small boats etc.
    Many thanks

    • Hi Mike — I would check back in April or so. I imagine the routes and schedules will be updated by then. You’re still quite a ways out from July at this point. Have a great trip!

  10. I had the best holiday of my life on the beautiful island of symi. I stayed two weeks at the captain apartments right in the harbour. I have stayed on many Greek islands and Symi has always been special in my heart. It can get busy through the day as a lot of visitors come to see the island on the many huge ferry’s that negotiate the small harbour, but at night the island is quiet and you can enjoy the magical restaurants that serve wonderful food. Through the day there are fantastic walks and amazing sights to relish. It’s history is rather sad but now the island is loved by more and more younger residents it’s beginning to breath again and rebuild its own classy identity. You will be surprised how modern most of the infrastructure really is compared to its old soul. The monastery is so beautiful and gives you a welcome explosion at the start of your visit. I fully recommend the experience you will have when your their, enjoy it xxxx

    • Hey Tony. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It’s always great to hear from our readers and this comment will surely reassure the readers that Symi is in fact still a beautiful destination that cannot be missed.

  11. Do you recommend booking somewhere for lunch on the seafront mid-week in June? We’re having a day trip over from Rhodes and i’m quite happy to stumble upon somewhere but wasn’t sure how busy these places get!
    Thank you

  12. Ryan
    My wife and I are exploring the idea of an island hoping vacation in the Greek islands. We are thinking at least two weeks. Friends told us about Symi and it is on our list. Two questions. What other islands would you recommend and how early or late in the year could we go in terms of weather and things being open? Thanks. David

  13. Hi Ryan
    We were on Symi about 10 years ago in the Anastasia Budget apartments. We will be on the island tomorrow, 2nd June, in the Pedi Hotel this time, can’t wait. We laughed at question of the need for a car on the island. 10 years ago there was one bus that went everywhere and cost 1 Euro wherever you wanted to go. Hope that’s still the same. Looking forward to the quiet, and the swimming ,and the food, and the wine and the romantic night time views.
    We met an English resident 10 years ago, who was trying to introduce Art as a feature of the island. He was called Ian, we think Hiscock? He ran art sessions down near the ferry drop off point and took tours around the town. We hope to reconnect with him especially. I will let you know how we went on. Regards

  14. Hi Ryan, We spent two weeks in Symi in 1987 a few months before immigrating to Australia from Scotland. Over the past thirty years we have been to 25 different Greek Islands and loved most of them. We went to Symi again last year and LOVED IT EVEN MORE. It has changed quite a bi t since then ….cars are allowed now instead of donkeys, but the beautiful people remain the same. We are returning next year and cant wait. Best and most beautiful Island we have stayed. Go Go Go to everyone who is thinking of going. Jennifer

  15. Hi Ryan

    you’re great. Thanks for the info and happy new year!
    Please what is the best way to move from one side to the other of the island?
    A presto

  16. Thank’s for a good read!
    Symi is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I was there for the first time with my best friend, as an 18 year old, back in -88. Last time I was there was in -94. My friend and I were making plans to go back this summer and bring our families to show our husbands and kids this gem. But life took a brutal turn and my friend is fighting leukemia. She is a fighter and hopefully she’ll win this battle so we can return to Symi one day!

  17. Hi Ryan,

    I am travelling to Symi this summer and was just wondering how it works between getting from Rhodes airport to the ferry port. How long does this take? Is it walking, bus, taxi? What is the best way to get there?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Emma. A taxi from the Rhodes Airport to the ferry port should be a set fare of somewhere between 25-30 euros. Taking a taxi is the best way to reach the ferry port from the airport. Best of luck and enjoy Rhodes!

  18. Hi Ryan,
    me and my wife have planned to fly from Italy to Rhodes next July for 15 days and spend few of them (at least 5 or 6 days) in Symi.
    we’got a 5years old son with us and for sure we’ll rent a car. could be a good choise to go in Symi by car? and, if so, can you tell me if there are passable roads to the town of the island and to the famous beaches? are there any ferries from Rodhes equipped in cars transport?
    thanks in advance

    • Hi Marzio. Yes, I would recommend renting a car to explore the island of Symi. I just double checked for you about bringing a car on the ferry and yes, you can bring one with you on the ferry from Rhodes to Symi. Please use the ferry booking widget located under the “How to get to Symi” section of this article to check times/prices.

      Have an amazing trip and let me know if you have any further questions!


  20. Thank you for taking the time to share this incredible guide with us! It is very much for those (like me) who have never been there.


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