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Symi, Greece’s Best Kept Secret

Come closer and lend us your ear because we’ve got a secret that’s just between us, the Greek locals – and now you. A breathtakingly beautiful island by the name of Symi offers you an experience that you won’t forget in a hurry, perfect for those who are seeking a laidback adventure that looks as if it came straight out of a fairy tale. Medieval yet magnificent, you’ll be entered into a realm of perfection as you lay eyes on the scenic traditional village with its mesmerising harbour and impeccable architecture, so perfect in fact that you might believe what you’re seeing is somehow photoshopped. Trust us, it’s the real deal. Thanks to the gorgeous surroundings, walking trails are in abundance but if you’re looking for somewhere to soak up the sunshine, there’s no lack of beautiful beaches on Symi, often without crowds and off the beaten track, accessible by water taxi. Pebbly or sandy, wherever you end up will be engulfed by crystal-clear waters. Boutiques, bars, tavernas and traditional apartments also contribute to Symi’s wonder – but we’ve already said too much. Keep on reading if you want to further unveil Greece’s best kept secret. You heard it here first…

A match made in heaven

Salt and vinegar, sugar and spice, Ant and Dec – some things just go together. There’s no better pair than Rhodes and Symi, and at just a 90-minute ferry ride from each other, the islands make the perfect dual adventure for a Greek holiday you’ll never forget. Although considered a double act, Rhodes and Symi remain quite different thus making it ideal to experience two different sides to Greece. Rhodes is the big sister of the two, 25 times larger than Symi and with a big personality to match. A luxurious, cosmopolitan feel engulfs the island while it still stays true to its fascinating history with a multitude of cultural attractions and a mesmerising UNESCO-protected Old Town. Symi promises a little more peace and relaxation and is where you’ll find endless miles of lush greenery, charming architecture and a unique yet infectious charm. Our seven-night island-hopping itinerary begins with three nights in Rhodes before you’re transferred by a private car to the ferry port for your journey over to Symi for the remaining four nights. Or why not customise your trip and alter the duration and hotels to suit you perfectly? Discover Olympic Holidays’ Rhodes and Symi island-hop adventure to experience the ultimate best of both worlds.

Love at first sight

You’ll arrive on Symi island by water – and what a sight awaits you as you sail closer to the shore. We guarantee a ‘wow’ or two will slip from your lips while you’re still aboard the boat, and it’s the perfect opportunity to get a panoramic snapshot of the landscape on your camera. Gialos Harbour is one of the first things you’ll lay your eyes on, utterly picturesque and considered to be one of the most beautiful European natural anchorages. The unforgettable image is framed against a cascade of pastel-coloured houses scattered on the domineering hillside, boasting a fascinating neoclassical architecture that has established the island for almost a century. Traditional fishing boats and yachts bobbing in the azure sea complete the perfect picture, catching in the sun to appear like twinkling like stars dancing across the night sky. Among the gentle crash of the waves, you’ll hear the lively chatter from the tavernas and bars echoing throughout the harbour. Paired with the welcoming summer heat, the first five minutes on Symi will tell you everything you need to know.

An island for foodies

If you’ve ever wanted to become a restaurant regular where the proprietors know your name and treat you like family, Symi is the place to do so. Owners welcome you with open arms and waiters greet you with a smile at all the eateries on the island, making it a true culinary experience from the moment you step through the front doors. The main cluster of tavernas and bakeries are centred around Gialos Harbour, so even staying for just a few days will have you familiar with all the businesses so scout out your favourites and set up camp. The proximity to the water means that seafood is in abundance – but don’t leave without trying the famous Symi shrimp. Small and sweet, these fishy delights are pan fried and served with a squeeze of lemon, delicate enough that you can eat them whole – like the shrimp equivalent of soft-shell crab. As far as beverages go, ouzo is, of course, a Symi staple.

Explore beyond the harbour

Winding up the hillside is the beautiful village of Chorio (which directly translates to village in Greek), located just above the harbour. Don’t let the 450 or so steps from the quayside put you off – if you can make the trip, do it as it is well worth the effort. The village offers a step back in time, retaining a feel of traditional laidback Greece abundant with narrow cobblestoned passageways, ancient ruins and cafés where locals sip coffee al fresco over a chilled game of cards. The view from the top of the village is spectacular, and after the sweat-inducing ascend, take a moment to soak in the vistas before rejuvenating at a nearby bar or taverna. Wander around the ruins of the ancient acropolis and castle, a fortress that was destroyed by the Italians upon leaving the island in World War II. You can even stop off at the museum or admire the once-working windmills but once you’ve had your culture fix, descend down the hill and reflect on a glorious day in the village of Chorio. Pedi is also a must during your holiday to Symi. A small community on the eastern side of the island, this area is full of orchards, delightful gardens, fig trees and the iconic Greek olive tree. Thanks to the verdant vegetation and the wild oregano and dill plants, a delicate perfume fills the air while Pedi is also home to some of the best walking terrains as well as one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, perfect for the ultimate relaxation under the Grecian sun. Oh, and don’t leave Symi without visiting a few of the monasteries, including Taxiarchis Mikhail Roukountis which is the island’s oldest monastery, Aylos Emilianos monastery and Kokkimidhis monastery which is located on a hilltop and home to the finest frescoes in the area.

We give in, you can share the secret of Symi because there’s no way we can keep this incredible island all to ourselves. Whether you’re spending the entirety of your Greek holiday here or splitting your time between Rhodes, your getaway will be nothing short of sublime. Sensational Symi awaits…