Whether self catering, picnicing or looking for a foodie souvenir, the supermarkets on Symi offer a variety of goodies.
The ones I've shopped at have been in Yialos,
1) walking towards the clock tower, a good selection of fresh fruit n veg, tinned n frozen food, wines & spirits, toiletries etc. I bought some anchovy paste, cod roe paste, olives, beans in tomato sauce (nothing like Heinz!!) Feta cheese, and Cock Fish Sauce (titter ye not)!!!!!
2) Near Tour offices, in the corner of the harbour near Hellenikon Restaurant.....sell individual packets of tea/coffee/sugar among other things, plus instant Frappe cans...I had to go back to ask the owner how to work this!! The owners are very friendly.
In Chorio there are a couple of supermarkets, 1 on the Kali Strata, 1 near where the bus turns around.
What to buy: Olives (loose/canned/bottled)
Cock Sauce (for the titter factor!)
What to pay: From a few euros to as much as you want!
As far as I know, there are 3 bakeries on Symi..there may well be more!
1) Yialos, near the bridge..A good place to buy pastries..Spinach and cheese/Cheese/ fruit..to eat as you wander around.
Bread as well. Also fridge stocked with water and fruit drinks/beer.
2) Foot of Kali Strata...Some wonderful sweet n savoury delicacies..Baclava etc....A bit classier than 1), but not sure if more expensive (didn't compare prices!) A wider selection of calorific treats!!
3) Panormitis..near to the monastery..follow the signs (and your nose)!! Bread, pies (sweet n savoury) My fave was chocolate pastry (I grabbed the last one!!) Everything is baked in a wood burning oven, so a wonderful smell!
What to buy: Spinach/Cheese pies
Baclava, and other varieties of honey soaked pastries
Not just womens clothes, mens and childrens too.
for Quality Leather goods, this is the place to visit on Symi.
Outside the shop is a display of sandals, belts, wallets etc. Takis or his assistant is usually standing here, ready to guide you into his shop..Don't worry, he's not a hard sell merchant!
Inside the air conditioned shop are racks of jackets etc, in a variety of colours/styles, all in the softest of leathers. Bags and holdalls etc, plus a few bull whips!
What to buy: Leather sandals/shoes
What to pay: Quality goods, so quite expensive..probably cheaper on Rhodes, or Turkey, but i'm not sure, when weighing up the quality!
visa, mastercard, Amex accepted.
For Sponges, this is the place to visit.
Dinos' Grandfather earned his keep as a Symi sponge fisher, along with other men of his generation. Although the Symi sponge fishers are no more, mostly having emigrated to Florida, the sponges fished in the USA are now turning up in Symi. Natural and "bleached" sponges are on sale here in all sizes.
This business was established in 1939.
You'll learn the history of sponge fishing along with purchasing your souvenir of Symi
What to buy: Sponges...... a variety of!
Plus a free gift for each customer!!
What to pay: Not sure of the prices..varies with size..
Packed to the rafters with a whole host af convenience foods and drinks, with a chilled cabinet of cheeses & yoghurts.
The bill is all added up in the shorekeepers head, so she would appreciate your silence when she adds it up. Otherwise "one of us will lose money, and you can bet it's not me" (converstion between shopkeeper and American yachtsman).
What to buy: This place sells almost everything you need (from a food, drink, etc perspective). It's especially useful if you want to make picnics because they even sell the individual portions of butter and jam, and they're right next door to a bakers too, so you can get your bread.
At the back of the store is barrels of ouzo and olive oil that you can sample and have your own bottle filled (or they will even provide an empty plastic bottle). of course, they also sell commercial brands of Ouzo and other drinks.
Takis is a well known leather designer from Athens and he offers a great choice of leather goods from belts to high fashion leather jackets, bags, shoes and more! Recommendable in quality and pricing! Tell him, you were sent by me, and you´ll get a special welcome!
What to buy: business bags, women´s bags, belts, summer shoes and slippers
What to pay: ??
These local bakeries are something quite different. Some have no (or very little) front to them and you wouldn't know they're a bakery unless you know they're there or you just happen to glance through the door. Others, like the one in the picture, are more obvious.
The bakeries are sometimes just one room - it has in it the over and the baskets where the bread is sold from. You should get there early to get the best of the bread, and by afternoon it will all be gone and the shop will close. We often saw people returning home in the mornings with bags stuffed full of breads.
What to buy: Bread.
Botana is just one of a few herb & spice sellers in Symi. The islands are famous for their local herbs (sage, thyme, oregano etc) - they just grow wild out on the hills and give a lovely fragrant smell if you're up there walking.
What to buy: Dried herbs - see if you can find locally produced ones. Most of these places also sell spices, and in particular saffron, which are grown in Greece at least, if not actually on Symi. The stalls will probably be selling herb scented goods too, such as soaps.
What to pay: The going rate!
Some bakeries sell those lovely Greek sticky cakes, usually involving filo pastry, honey and nuts. Not every bakery sells this type of stuff - some are really just bread bakers, and others sell nothing BUT these cakes. Some sell both.
What to buy: Kataifi!
My favourite Greek cake was Kataifi, which is easiest described as being a bit like a shredded wheat, but softer, filled with almonds and dripping with honey
Symi's prosperity was based on sponge fishing at the turn of the 20th century, and although the waters are still fished to some small degree, it's not the industry that it once was. Most sponges these days are imported from elsewhere, but still it's a good place to buy a real, natural sponge. At least it is if you're not a veggie and don't mind using a dead animal to wash yourself with.
What to buy: Sponges!
We saw this van in Symi, in Pedi and in Chorio... The guy sells shoes out of the back of it, and he possibly changes his stock according to where he's selling. In Chorio it was all black lace-ups and petite boots, that you might expect a Greek housewife to wear. Down in Yialos it was more of the nubuck Timberland type of boots that he was selling...
What to buy: Shoes, boots...
What to pay: No idea!
Symi (along with Rhodes, and maybe the rest of the Dodecanese Islands) is famous for its honey. The wild herbs that grow on the island make for very flavoursome honey - especially the Thyme, which is the main type of honey sold.
What to buy: The honey, and the shops also tend to sell soaps, olive oils and Ouzo. Mostly in decorative bottles or packages, to make a nice gift.
This is a chain of stores (maybe government owned, not sure) that operate out of airports and ports in Greece.
What to buy: Duty free goods. No use if you're from the EU - duty free doesn't apply in that case. I guess their main visitors would be from Turkey... I'm really not sure how it works if you just walk in there. I guess you could try it and see ;-)
A fish market - basically outdoors, with the fish sold from stone benches.
What to buy: Fresh fish! Not very probable when you're here on holiday, unless you're in self catering. Still, it's probably good to see, but we never even managed that. By the time we arrived each day they were just closing up and mopping down. And this was 9am, so get there early if you want some fish!