This is one of the more fascinating islands of the Dodecanese thanks to the more than 2,500 brightly-painted neoclassical houses arrayed on the waterfront at the port of Gialo and extending up to the main town of Horio. Even now there are hardly any roads to speak of on Symi, so any beaches must be reached by sea taxi or small boat. Among the must-dos are a circumnavigation of the island by caique and a visit to the Panormitis monastery.
The Treading Floors
Symi flourished in the Byzantine era as a centre for shipping, trade, sponge-diving and viticulture. Vineyards were kept on a grand scale, and a great number of grape-treading floors were registered, and only recently re-discovered – more than 120 by 1992. Seven old grape-treading floors have been reconstructed in the district of Kourkouniotis.
1522: Turkish dominion
1821: Participation in the Revolution
1912: Italian dominion
1944: English taking over the island for the third time
8 May 1945: Germans signed at Symi the treaty of the Dodecanese surrender
7 March 1948: Protocol of integration of all Dodecanese islands to the Greek state was signed at Symi
Later in history, Symi was conquered in 1309 by the knights of St. John. Then a period of prosperity began for the island with the development of shipping, sponge commerce, boat building and other crafts. In 1832 Symi was found under the Turkish dominion which was followed in 1912 by the Italian dominion.
Symi confronted poverty at that time: the replacement of sailing with motor ships occurred, sponge diving decreased and world war II begun resulting in a greate migration wave of Symiots abroad.
From 1943 when the Italian dominion ceased and onwards, Symi changed hands several times between the English and the Germans, with the English taking over the island for the third time in 1944. On May 8th 1945, the Germans signed the treaty of the Dodecanese surrender, while on April 1st 1947, the British military command handed over his rights to a Greek one.
At last, it was on Symi that on March 8th 1948 the Protocol of integration of all Dodecanese islands to the Greek state was signed.
It was back in 1983 when the museum of seacraft was created and in 1990 it was lodged into one of the most representative neoclassical houses of that time, where the central shipyard was located. There’s a special part of this exhibition dedicated to sponge-fishing with exhibits such as: diving suits, diving machines, sponge species, skandalopetres and other equipment that sponge-divers were using, as well as some models of sponge-fishing boats.
The nautical equipment and the tools have been collected by the well known traditional fitter of Symi Tasos Anastasiadis. The boat models are made by Antonis Polias.
Archaeological and Folklore Museum
The archaelogic collection is being exposed in a traditional symian mansion of Gianneski family. The neoclassical elements of the mansion were added back in 1875. It’s a donation by Ariadni V. Farmakidi and Sevasti N. Farmakidi to the greek state. A representation of the inside of a symian house with the dining and the sitting room (furniture, settings, paintings and photographs of that period), along with some traditional local costumes, complete the exhibition.
The Museum includes the following collections:
Archaelogic collection of gleanings dated back in clasical, hellenistic and roman periods
Popular sandy beach – close to the harbour after the clock tower.
An impressive beach because of a rock of 300 metres in the back ground.
Sandy beach with shade. Reached on foot from Pedi or by a taxi boat.
A picturesque bay with cypress trees.
South of Nanou, a narrower bay with sparkling clear water.
A beautiful bay 20′ on foot from Panormitis.
A visit to the monastery will be a chance for a swim in the bay of Panormitis.
An islet on the south of Symi with crystal water, reached by boat.
Small islet, nouth to the Symi, reached by boat.
Near to Maroni bay there is a small island with a church.
Crystal clear water in a bay with cypress trees.
One of the easiest beach to reach by road, by bus, by taxi or on foot.
A rocky little island between the harbour and Pedi bay.
A pebble bay at a 15′ walk from symi port.
Toli on the north coast of Symi, west of Emborio.
Beach near St. Emilianos, accessible by boat.
Symi Festival is organised every summer for the last fifteen years. The idea is based in the disenterested participation of artists and organisers. There is neither ticket in the cultural events nor payment for the artists. The Town Hall covers the expenses of going and stay of the participants. Symis Festival has to do with several cultural activities like classical and modern music concerts, dance, thetre, cinema, literature evenings, and conferences. All these manifestations take place in buildings with traditional architecture of 17th, 18th, 19th century like the famous manor house of Chatziagapitos, the courtyard of Saint John and the monastery of Panormitis. Symis Festival popularity has attracted famous artists to participate like NANA MOUSCHOURI, MARIA FARADOURI, and ORCHESTRE OF MOSCOW.
You can get here by getting to Rhodes by plane or by ship and then using ANES or Dodekanisos Seaways boats to get to Symi. The time tables of these services are not stable throughout the year. You can check the current ones for ANES and for Dodekanisos Seaways
There is a twice weekly service between Piraeus and Rhodes via Symi island provided by GA Ferries. This service is usually not offered during the winter so check with the company for more details.
You can moor your boat in Gialos, Nimborio, Pedi, Panormitis and Aghios Aimilianos.
In Gialos fuel is available. You can also seek information there about possible repair facilities.
Town Hall Tel. 0030 22460 70110
Police Tel. 0030 22460 71111(Gialos, near Clock Tower)
Clinic Tel. 0030 22460 71316 (Chorio, in the old Pharmacy)
Clinic Tel. 0030 22460 71290 (Gialos, next to St. John)
Dentist Tel. 0030 22460 71272 (Gialos, next to St. John)
Pharmacy Tel. 0030 22460 71888 (Gialos, next to the taxi station)
Opening hours (09:00-13:00 and 17:00 21:30 Monday to Saturday)
Post Office Tel. 0030 22460 71315 (next to the Police)
Port Police (info for ferries) Tel. 0030 22460 71205
Customs Office Tel. 0030 22460 71249
KEP (Centre of citizens service) Tel. 0030 22460 72568-9
National Bank (24 hour cash machine) Tel. 0030 22460 72294
Opening hours 08:00-14:30 Monday to Friday
Archeological Museum Tel. 0030 22460 71114
Nautical Folklore Museum Tel. 0030 22460 72363
Bus Lakis Tel. 0030 6945 316 248
Bus Panormitis Tel. 0030 22460 71311
Taxi George Tel. 0030 6974 623492
Taxi Kostas Tel. 0030 6945 252308
Taxi Stamatis Tel. 0030 6945 226348
Taxi Thanasis Tel. 0030 6946 568731
Taxi Thodoris Tel. 0030 6945 273842
Official website: www.symi.gr