Symi Things to Do

  • Kali Strata - the good stairs
    Kali Strata - the good stairs
    by mariaschmidt
  • Things to Do
    by mariaschmidt
  • the little monastery
    the little monastery
    by effeti

Most Recent Things to Do in Symi

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    Take a boat to Nanou bay

    by effeti Updated Aug 21, 2008

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    Nanou bay is the wider of a few bays facincg east. You can reach it only by boat (many boats in Symi will offer to bring you there in the morning, with picking up in the afternoon).

    A pebbles beach, cristalline and soon deep waters changing from green to blue.

    Stone cliffs on 3 sides

    A taverna and a little monastery.

    Nothing else, but see the waters! Picture were taken in oct 2006, in a totally "summer" day, water temp around 26° C and air temp around 30!

    Go and enjoy this and other bays.

    The beach, the tavern Do you really need a comment on this? the little monastery arriving at Nanou bay
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    Another Symi website

    by suvanki Updated Apr 21, 2008

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    http://www.symitop5.gr

    A website set up by Manos (not the travel company, but a Symi restaurant owner/business man)

    Manos owns a well known harbourside seafood restaurant, that has been host to many celebrities/dignitaries visiting the island, (Please see my restaurant tips) he also has his fingers in a few other pies!

    This website shows a few views and info re Symi, plus adverts for his businesses. He also has special offers on accom.

    Yialos, Symi
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    Rhodes Town

    by suvanki Updated Apr 21, 2008

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    Timings of ferry boats, or bad weather conditions might lead to a few hours or an overnight stay in Rhodes. For some, this might be seen as an inconvenience, delaying their arrival on Symi, or in catching their flight home.

    However, Rhodes Town has much to offer. Historical buildings and architecture, The busy port area, shops and markets, restaurants and tavernas.

    The modern town has some interesting shops, with a chance to buy modern Greek fashions, or add to your Greek music collection from one of the cd shops.
    The old town is more atmospheric, especially in the evening/night time. Where there is a wide variety of tavernas and restaurants, to enjoy a meal, or a drink and people watching.

    The liquor stores around The Plaka offer bargains in spirits, (cheaper and more variety than on Symi), to enjoy during your holiday, or to take home as gifts.

    However, you can't always rely on having a few hours on Rhodes prior to catching the ferry.

    Both my trips have resulted in a lengthy stay in the airport coach park, with a frantic dash to catch the evening ferry!

    Rhodes harbour in storm
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    For Day Trippers from Rhodes etc

    by suvanki Updated Apr 21, 2008

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    Ok, you'll only have a few hours to spend here, so although the harbour area is nice, it can become a bit crowded..so off the ferry boat, walk in a horseshoe pattern til you're opposite the ferry, look for the taxi rank or the Symi bus, and head for Pedi (a beach resort, with a few tavernas) or Chorio (The Village) and spend your time either sunbathing in Pedi, with a wander to a taverna for lunch, where you'll get served quicker than in Yialos. (Check times of returning bus!) or wandering around the village (Chorio) then walking back DOWN the Kali Strata, easier than walking up..again, there are tavernas/bars, where you'll probably get served quicker, and you'll have seen a bit more of the island, and experienced more of Symi.

    Some of the trips from Rhodes include a boat trip to Panormitis (see my tips)

    By The Way, a lot of the Symilovers call the day trippers Rhodeants (Rodents)!!!

    Most of the people I've met who've seen Symi as day trippers have loved the place, some have booked hols here because of their day trip experience.

    Pedi Bay
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    Panormitis Monastery

    by suvanki Updated Jan 15, 2008

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    It's possible to reach the monastery by road, but I prefer to combine it with a boat trip.

    The Monastery of Archangel Michael, is well worth a visit. The original church was built on the site of an ancient temple, believed to have been dedicated to Apollo, around 450 AD.
    St Michael is the patron Saint of Sailors

    Panormitis is a major centre of pilgrimage. Various festivals are celebrated here through the year.

    The brightly coloured and decorated bell tower stands out in this small port. An intricate mosaicced court yard is surrounded by rooms housing a couple of museums and the small church. The dimly lit church contains good examples of icons, including a famous one of St Michael. The Byzantine frescoes and artefacts are interesting too.

    It is possible to stay overnight at the monastery.

    Panormitis offers a few small cafes, and a bakery, which provides excellent pastries and bread.

    Panormitis Monastery
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    Pedi Bay

    by suvanki Updated Jan 15, 2008

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    Ok, I'm biased, my 1st stay on Symi, was in Pedi, and I loved it. My accom was great, and I met some great people during my 1 week stay. My visit co incided with Greek Easter, and I got to join in the celebrations.

    My 2nd visit I stayed for 1 week, before moving to Chorio.

    I liked Pedi because it was away from the 'bustle' of Yialos, and there was a community feeling. Some would say theres nothing much here, but it suited me fine! Theres a couple, maybe more, tavernas, (They open and close all the time!!) a kiosk, and the church, as well as a couple of beaches, and a jetty where you can catch the water taxis.

    Pedi Bay, Symi
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    Highlights on Symi !!!

    by suvanki Updated Jan 15, 2008

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    Pre departure, I hadn't had time to get my hair cut/coloured, so asked around and found Minas Salon De Coiffure in Yialos. Its a classy joint!! and she made a good job of cutting my hair, but didn't have time to colour it. (it is quite expensive too)

    Jean (of Jean & Tonic bar - Who recently retired, so I don't know if she's still on the island) recommended Yianna, a local girl, and made an appointment for me to go to her house.

    Sitting at her table in her kitchen, surrounded by photos of her family and friends, and carved religious icons I had a great view through the open door down onto the harbour, as she set about bleaching my hair. Yianna doesn't speak much english, and my greek is practically non existant, at least she didn't have to ask the usual hairdressers question of "where are you going for your hols"? ;-)

    Her mother even brought me a slice of delicious Baklava that she'd made.

    I'd had a really pleasant few hours, and I was very pleased with my hair.

    Strangely enough, I usually find it quite stressful having my hair cut and coloured back home, especially if it's a new hairdresser, as I can never seem to get the style I'm looking for- so I find it quite amusing that I happily went along with a complete stranger, when we didn't speak each others language!
    This was definitely a great experience, just wish I'd had my camera, for the view.

    Yialos, Symi
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    The Symi Visitor

    by suvanki Updated Jan 15, 2008

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    Free monthly paper, available from tour offices, bars, restaurants shops etc, or from the Symi Visitor office.

    Lots of useful information re. the island, things to do, places to see as well as opening hours/emergency numbers for doctor/ dentist etc and a map of the island.

    Lots of local info too, such as forthcoming festivals, local news about changes to the island, and recipes etc.

    Before you travel, check out this web site

    symivisitor

    This website provides a wealth of information about the island.
    Ferry timetables and upto date info if there are changes; accom details, with the chance to book through the SV office, lots of photos of the island and recent events, recipes and regular bulletins about day to day life. Messageboards and a chat page, where Symiphiles can get their daily fix, until they return to Symi!!

    Symi Visitor Newspaper
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    Datca (pronounced Datcha)

    by suvanki Updated Dec 9, 2007

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    Datca is 1 hour by boat from Symi.

    A chance to experience another country, and Shop! There's more variety and cheaper goods than on Symi.

    Tho' not the prettiest of towns, for me it has a certain charm, being a working harbour/town rather than a resort, with little if any hassle.

    www.datcainfo.com for info.

    It's easy to get around, with 1 main road that runs for about 1km. With a few off shots.

    Along the road are many shops, selling clothes, jewellery, honey, spices etc.
    Also teahouses, ice cream/pastry shops, restaurants and lokantas (tavernas)

    Things to try

    Turkish breakfast bread butter honey/jam, cucumber, tomato, egg and olives.
    pide or lamacan (turkish pizzas)
    kebabs (sis or doner)
    salads
    mezze a selection of small dishes

    Although secular, Turkey is a Muslim country, so you may not find bacon or pork.

    Turkish coffee, cay (black tea), Efes beer, rakki (like ouzo) or fruit juices my fave is visne (bitter cherry juice)

    Shopping

    For bargains head to the market. Turkey has no copyright law, so you can buy "genuine fake" designer gear Gucci/ Swatch etc watches for GBP5, Levi jeans GBP8. Sports brand t shirts, CD's, bedding, belts, bags, footwear etc as well as handcrafted goods, even a belly dancing outfit!

    For local life head to the food market, where ladies from the nearby villages sit behind stalls stacked with fresh good quality fruit , herbs and veg, along with bottles/jars of home pickled veg and garlic. Good photo opportunities too!

    Spices, dried herbs, cheeses and cooked meats scent the air. Nuts, dried fruit and lokkum (Turkish delight) are offered as you pass by.

    Gold and silver is very cheap (1/3 of Uk price) buy from one of the shops. Price is based on cost of the metal, and each item is weighed, and the days price checked in the newspaper.

    Carpets, Leather and antiques are also good buys. Haggle for a good price!

    Theres also a Hammam (Turkish Bath) a real experience as you're soaped, scrubbed and massaged for GBP10, well worth it for feeling so clean and relaxed.

    Datca, Turkey Nearing Datca from Symi Datca harbour
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    Day trip to Datca ...info before you go

    by suvanki Updated Dec 9, 2007

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    Boats leave on Saturday mornings about 09.30 to this Turkish town (returning about 16.30), which is about 75km W. from the resort of Marmaris. and 35km E. of the ruins at Knidos. (possible to visit Knidos by taxi, the minibus service is reportedly irregular).

    Afraid I can't remember how much this trip cost, think it was about £30.

    Arrange through tour offices or directly by the captain.

    You need to hand your passport into the captain the day before, so he can take it to the customs office for documentation (you get it back on the boat next day)
    The Customs office is in the corner of the harbour, just before you get to the bridge.

    There's a small Duty Free inside with a good selection of perfumes, alcohol and tobacco. (No Duty Free in Datca)

    Euros/ Sterling/$/travellers cheques etc can be changed into Turkish Lira at the nearby carpet shop. (There are banks/ATM's up on the main street)

    Since my trip, the new Turkish Lira has been introduced.

    Change a small amount at a time, as you won't get a good exchange rate for any left over lira, and you may not be able to exchange on Symi.

    The Turkish are generally very honest and will help you, with your currency, but they sometimes make mistakes too!

    Sterling or dollars will often be accepted if buying goods.

    On the way to Datca
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    The Kali Strata (Good Steps)

    by suvanki Updated Dec 9, 2007

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    This old pathway leads up from Yialos to Chorio. I've not counted the number of steps, but there's rumoured to be about 300 plus!

    So, take a deep breath, and set off slowly, enjoying the views over the harbour, and the old buildings on your way. Carry a camera, then you've got plenty of excuses to stop! A bottle of water should sustain you, til you reach the bars near the top!!

    You'll pass by the bakery and a few small shops, then some neo -classical buildings, in various stages of dilapidation.

    You'll probably encounter children smiling and shouting hello, maybe an elderly man leading a donkey, local ladies carrying laden bags of shopping, or scrubbing their steps, and a few holidaymakers in various stages of discomfort, ascending or descending the well worn steps!

    There is a bench as the path curls towards the end of the steep climb. Enjoy the panoramic view over the island towards Turkey, and maybe a cooling drink at the nearby Kali Strata bar,(see nightlife(sun downers) tip) then head for the final steps, which take you into Chorio.

    Here you'll find more bars and tavernas, houses, windmills and churches. Plenty of chances to get off the beaten track, and see something of Symi village life. You can easily lose track of time scrambling around the paths and alleyways!

    Don't forget your sunscreen, hat and a bottle of water!

    An easier way to enjoy the Kali Strata is to catch the bus or a taxi to Chorio, then walk down.

    Top of Kali Strata, Chorio, Symi House on Kali Strata On the Kali Strata Neo classical ruined house Kali Strata Kali Strata Symi
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    Greek Easter Celebrations

    by suvanki Updated Aug 4, 2007

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    After the preparation, (please see previous tip) celebrations begin. Families return from other islands or the mainland to celebrate at home.

    Easter Saturday.

    Groups of families and friends are seen heading towards their church, clutching candles, either plain or wrapped in ribbons.
    Even those who don't usually go to church attend for this special service which begins just before midnight.

    People crowd into the churches, or stand outside.

    I went to the church in Pedi. Although I stood in the entrance for a short while, I preferred to stay in the background.

    A minute before midnight the church lights are dimmed (signifying the death of Christ) A hush descends, the priest produces a holy flame, which is passed to the congregation. One by one they light their candle , in turn lighting their neighbours', until all are lit. Fireworks , flares, firecrackers and dynamite errupt .

    The greeting "Christos anesti" (Christ is Risen) with the reply "Alithos anesti" (Truly He is Risen), is exchanged, before hurrying home , hopefully with the flame intact. A sign of the cross is made with the sooty wick, over the door to bring Good Luck for the year.

    The Fast is broken,soup made from the intestines of the sacrificed lamb,lemons, egg, dill and rice is eaten. Red eggs are cracked, for luck.

    Easter Sunday

    Feasting begins.
    Lamb is roasted, usually over a spit.
    Some restaurants/tavernas advertise special Easter lamb menus, there may be boat trips with spit roast too.

    Early evening in Yialos, a procession heads towards the clock tower, with an effigy of Judas Iscariot carried on a chair. Crowds gather, and Judas is burnt, again accompanied by firecrackers. A spectacular firework display lights up the sky.

    Celebrations continue for the rest of the week, with much visiting, exchanging of traditional cakes, biscuits and pies - as well as singing and dancing.

    Even if like me, you're not religious, you still feel part of something special even just as a bystander to the celebrations.

    Easter Sunday Yialos Effigy of Judas
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    Greek Easter Preparations

    by suvanki Updated Aug 4, 2007

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    Greek Orthodox Easter is based on the Julian calendar, and therefore can occur upto a month later than in Western Christendom.

    It still maintains a religious rather than commercial importance.

    Greek Easter Sunday 2008 is April 27th

    On Symi, it is possible not only to witness, but to also join in with the celebrations.

    In the week leading upto Easter, there is much preparation.

    MONDAY
    -Fasting begins. No meat, fish, oil, wine or eggs are taken.

    The smell of baking wafts from open windows, and a lamb is slaughtered.
    (a warning..this can take place in public places).

    TUESDAY
    -Women can be seen scrubbing and whitewashing steps outside their homes.

    WEDNESDAY
    - Holy oil is brought home to bless the house -using sprigs of basil.

    THURSDAY
    -An all night vigil, when the church crucifix is decorated with candles and flowers

    Eggs (hard boiled) are dyed red symbolising the blood of christ.

    The velocity and frequence of firecracker and dynamite explosions steps up a gear....with competion increasing between Yialos, Chorio and Pedi!!

    Loud noises were believed to chase away evil spirits that wandered the earth , particularly on this night.

    Traditionally pots and pans were used, but firecrackers and dynamite are surely more appealing to the Greek Machismo!

    GOOD FRIDAY

    -Universal day of mourning ,with solemn funeral bells ringing through the day.

    Working with wood, hammer or nails is taboo.

    At night, candlelit processions can be seen all over Symi,as a symbolic flower strewn bier of Christ is accompanied by church dignitaries, and general population.

    I was advised that the best view is probably in Chorio, where these processions wind up and down the hillsides.

    Panormitis Monastery
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    Climb the hill to Chorio

    by effeti Written Oct 15, 2006

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    Well, the Symi harbour (also called Yalos) is wonderful, but don't be lazy and climb the stairs toward the upper side of Symi, called Chorio (= the village).

    You will pass in the middle of the magnificent neoclassical (all remembering a greek temple) houses

    You will find the colours, the sounds, and the views of a town out of time...

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    Symi Beaches

    by miman Written Aug 17, 2006

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    If you like nothing better on holiday than to sit on a quiet beach with a good book and a cold drink, then Symi's the place for you. Although the island is justly famous for its neo-classical port and the unspoilt ambience of a real Greek island, sun-lovers are also well-catered for. Catch a taxi-boat in Symi harbour or Pedi Bay mid-morning after a leisurely breakfast and choose your destination, from the breathtaking Agios Georgios bay to family-friendly Agios Nikolaos, there is something on the island for beach-lovers of all ages. There are several other bays and beaches which are only reachable by water; the best way to see the more inaccessible of them is to book a day-trip on a boat from the harbour.

    Symi Beaches
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