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Symi Houses and Harvour

Holidays in Symi:
The princess of the Dodecanese is revealed

An island of the Dodecanese that stands out from the rest with its special beauty and its neoclassical houses

Impressive neoclassical and island architecture harmoniously combined in a wonderful preserved settlement, atmospheric small guesthouses, villas and good restaurants, beaches with crystal clear waters and the famous pilgrimage of Panormitis. Symi is a small jewel of the Dodecanese.

Exiled on the edge of the Aegean , but very close to cosmopolitan Rhodes, Symi is enjoying its second youth. The wonderful settlement that surprises with its architecture, its color and its size, has been restored in a large part. It has been settled by Greeks and foreigners who settled permanently - some even built boutique hotels in Gialos . Avoiding the tourist season, when it is filled with tourists from cruise ships and day boats, you can enjoy the atmosphere of the elegant state that has known how to charm for years now.

Nimborio Symi island

First images

Take off from El. Venizelos, landing in Rhodes, taxi, "dolphin", sailing, sea voyage, mooring. Your hard work will be rewarded as you see the islet of Symi fading, as it were, in the still summer air between time past, present and future. The once bustling state of the 19th century with 25,000 inhabitants is enjoying the lifting of recent decades. Symmetrically placed, the "faces" of the mansions lined up in Gialos turn the eye: a conservation settlement unique in size and elegance.

Doors-mouths, windows-eyes all face the sea with bold color combinations and contours that emphasize their noble origins. Time is now on their side. Italians, Germans, French, Scandinavians, Englishmen who have bought them, restored them and cared for them lovingly. In their community, the members keep increasing, because the 360 ​​degree turn that life takes in Symi attracts more and more people. "God Save Symi" . However, the locals don't treat her well, judging by the hundreds of motorbikes and cars that constantly harass you. Especially, when you consider that the longest asphalt road on the island is only 22 kilometers.

Symi beautiful colourful houses harbour symi

The colorful charm of Gialos

Ocher, salmon, red, blue, white. The color palette becomes more and more daring in the large neoclassical houses of Gialos . Higher up, the settlement of Chorio , a mixture of Aegean architecture with castle houses and Venetian elements, is equally impressive in appearance and size.
Neoclassical facades, symmetrical openings, "anthropomorphic" buildings.

The settlement developed in the 15th and 16th centuries with dense construction and vaulted passages and in the middle of the 19th century it expanded towards the beach. It was built mainly by craftsmen from Karpathos. Following the standards of neoclassicism, the houses have tiled roofs, gables and many decorative elements. In the olden times, they were painted with lime, ochre, purple and tile - shades that you see again today.

The purely urban areas with the largest and richest houses are located near the Clock in Harani and in parts of Kali Strata. You will see mansions scattered in the center of the Village, however, as a rule, the poorer classes lived high up in the settlement. The economic depression of the island began in the 20th century, due to the steam engine that overcame the sailing ships. This fact led to mass migration. The disasters of the Second World War completed the scene of the abandonment of Symi. Fortunately for her, from 1975 the purchase and restoration of houses began and the settlement was declared a traditional preserve.

Nimborio Symi island

Tour a wondrous microcosm

The two sides of the port of Symi are joined by a small stone bridge, the "caldirimi", next to which stands out the Customs House and the fish market. Walking from the bridge towards the interior of the settlement, you reach Kampos square, with the hero and the bust of History professor Michael Volonakis. There is the Town Hall and next to the Naval Museum. Near the square rises the cathedral of Timios Prodromos, from 1838. It is the metropolis of Symi and has an amazing stone bell tower and pebbled courtyard. From the stone bridge it is worth taking a walk towards Nos beach - especially at sunset. Soon, you will reach the monument of the Hierarchs and Fallen executed in the Occupation. A few meters down there is the former house of Kampsopoulos , where on May 8, 1945 the Protocol of Incorporation and handover of the Dodecanese Islands to Greece was signed, as well as the only remnant of the Italian occupation, the building that houses the Police.

In this neighborhood stands the stone clock of 1881 and the so-called Michalaki , the statue of the little fisherman, the work of the Symia sculptor K. Valsamis. The Harani district was once dominated by the famous tarsana of Symi. On the hill there is the Virgin of the Annunciation with the beautiful bell tower, while continuing along the beach after about five minutes of walking you will reach Nos beach.

village symi chorio symi

Going up to the Village from Kali Strata

At dusk you will resist the scorching heat, muster up the courage and climb the 500 steps of Kali Strata that connects Gialo with the Village (Ano Symi), envying the lucky ones who read and gaze at the view from the wooden balconies of the restored mansions of houses. You will wait for the sun to go down sitting in shady cafes, you will find your way through the districts – Syllogo , Vigli , Katarrakti , Lieni – immediately realizing that appearances are deceiving: the settlement of Chorio, in addition to being beautiful, is also very large. You will confirm this by going higher up, to Panagia tou Kastro , to mentally map it and listen to the pope tell how the icons of the icon were saved before the old church was blown up in World War II. In the district of Agios Athanasios, divided into two buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Archaeological and Folklore Museum operates . The exhibits date from prehistory to the 19th century (Tel. 22460 70010).

Panormitis monastiry symi island

The famous pilgrimage of Panormitis

The longest route on the island ends at the pilgrimage of Panormitis , which has a reputation throughout Greece. It is uphill at the start and offers excellent panoramic views of Gialos and Chorio - so be prepared to make several photo stops. The famous monastery of Taxiarchis Michael dominates the bay where you will end up . According to manuscripts, it existed there since the 15th century and was built in honor of the Archangel Michael, whose icon, covered with silver and gold, is considered miraculous.

The volume of the complex and the elegance of the bell tower built in 1911 are impressive, as are the stories told about the icon and the Archangel: the one everyone will tell you is that they call him a "thief" as "if they don't pay him of him, he always finds a way to get it." Day boats bring dozens of pilgrims to Panormitis every day, while many locals rent cells in the complex and help with the chores while taking a vacation. Also impressive is the metochi of Panormitis, Megalos Sotiris, also in the form of a fortress, on the way to the monastery.

nimborio symi island

The Maritime Museum of Symi and the traditional tarsanades that were lost

It is housed in a very well-preserved neoclassical building, in Gialos and is considered one of the most important maritime museums in Greece. It hosts exhibits related to sponging, such as a diving suit, diving suits, various types of sponges, "bell stones". Along with these you will also admire models of sponge boats. (Tel. 22460 72363). In addition to spongers and traders, the Symians were excellent shipwrights. In Niborio the once famous carnage of Symi is experiencing decline and the old masters - except for two brothers who try to preserve the tradition - are now a memory. Plastic boats gradually drove out the old wooden hulls that took so much art, time and skill to "build".

nimborio symi island

For swimming on foot and with boats

In Symi you will not find sand, the beaches have pebbles or large stones. Weather permitting you will enjoy wonderful crystal clear waters and the beautiful landscapes that surround them. The beach of Gialos is called Nos . It is within walking distance and a good solution if you don't want to take a boat. It has umbrellas, sunbeds and is very busy.

Nearby is Niborios , or Emporios , the second port of Symi. It has pebbles, a narrow beach in an open bay and umbrellas-loungers. Accessible by vehicle is the beach of Marathousta , with stones, beautiful waters and silence. Families prefer Pedi - especially the spot in front of Pedi Beach.

With the boats you will go to specific beaches on the east side (for the rest you will have to make a special agreement with the boatmen).

symi riviera

There they are

The islet of Agia Marina, on the north side of the gulf of Pedi. It has a narrow beach and jetties for diving. A famous and beautiful beach is Agios Georgios Dysalones with its vertical like a cut rock and the blue-green waters. It is considered one of the best on the island, as is Nanou , which has coarse pebbles. Among the good beaches is Agios Vasileios , an enclosed bay in the southwest, accessible by boat or by footpath. The beach is secluded and is preferred by nudists.

In Panormitis there is a small beach and next to it is Faneromeni , where you can go on foot.
It would also be a good idea to take you by boat to the islands of Seskli and Nimos , which have beaches, as well as to Agios Emilianos (it is also accessible by a path, but it is a 2.5-hour walk) and the nearby Gaidouromantra . Opposite Agios Emilianos is the Seal Cave . A small pebble beach is hidden inside the cave. The seals you may come across should not be disturbed, especially if they have just given birth and are protecting their babies.

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