Symi Island is a gem that should be on every travelers list that’s heading to Greece. So what are some of the best things to do in Symi? From the moment your ferry pulls in you will be mesmerized by the colors and magic of this island. So whether you’re just making a day trip to Symi Island or staying overnight, we got you covered.
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Greece Travel Inspiration
- Halki Greece: Why You Need to Go to This Historic Island Paradise
- Planning a Trip to Rhodes Greece: 10 Step Easy to Follow Travel Guide
- 30 Fun Facts About Greece and its Incredible Ancient History
- 11 Best Beaches on Rhodes Greece: Anthony Quinn to St. Paul’s Bay
- 5 Helpful Tips for Renting a Car in Rhodes & Why You Should!
12 Best Things to do in Symi
1. Picture Perfect Port
Get your cameras out! Believe it or not, the best place to get a photo of Symi island in Greece is from the water. Trust us, as soon as you see the colorful buildings of the harbor you’ll be completely blown away. Snap some photos but still leave yourself time to take it all in before exiting the boat.
2. Walk Along the Symi Island Harbor
Once you’ve arrived on Symi Island you’ll surely be ready to explore the town. Honestly, we’ve never seen such a place exploding with colors!
The different reds, yellows, oranges, and blues hover above the restaurants and cafes of the harbor. They surround a beautiful bay filled with small boats and the sparkling blue water of the Aegean Sea.
3. See the Symi Island Castle
Up for a hike? A visit to Symi Castle is the perfect way to end your day! We recommend going for sunset as you’ll get spectacular views of Symi Island.
Also, in the back streets above the town are some local tavernas to go for a drink or meal. Some popular places to eat are Taverna Zoe, Georgio & Maria, and the Secret Garden.
Have a motorbike?? Even better! You’ll save yourself time hiking 30 minutes to the top of the mountain. The ruins are from a castle built in 1407 by the Knights of St. John, and you will also see the Church of Agios Nikolaos here.
4. Rent a Vehicle to Explore Symi Island
Although it’s a small island, one of the best things to do in Symi is to rent a car or motorbike. The shops in town have scooters, cars, and even ATVs for you to explore more of Symi island in Greece.
For as beautiful as the harbor is, you’ll need to get out on the road if you really want to experience the beaches and more of Symi!
→ Symi Greece Island & Beach Guide: How to Explore the Tiny Paradise
5. Swim at the Beautiful Symi Beaches
Got your vehicle? It’s time to see all of the magical beaches of Symi Island! Below you’ll find some of our favorite places to swim with the locations linked. They range from small rocky enclaves to long pebbly beaches. Yet, they all have one thing in common… And that’s of course the crystal clear water!
6. Stop at the Symi Island Lookouts
At this point, it should be no surprise that Symi Island has incredible views everywhere you look. In some places, you can even see Turkey from the shores!
Take your time searching for each lookout and peer out over the ocean and other Greek islands. Once you get up in the mountains there will amazing views at almost every turn.
→ Costantinos View is a great spot to grab a sunset drink or lunch overlooking the island!
7. Visit the Panormitis Monastery
For as much as travelers rave about the beaches, Symi has plenty of history and culture to see as well. No place is this better exemplified than at the Panormitis Monastery. Built in the late 18th century, this masterpiece is certainly worth the trip from town.
The colors alone will wow you, and the setting on the water of the Panormitis Port is breathtaking. Visit the museum inside and grab a refreshing drink at the cafe next door before continuing on.
→ Panormitis Monastery Location
8. Shop for Local Goods in Town
On any Greek island, you should be sure to sample and experience the local goods. Symi is famous for its sea sponges and there are even a few places that sell them as souvenirs in town.
Other things you’ll find are oils, honey, spices, and wild herbs. Symi Island in Greece is also known for its high-quality wines that they have been producing here for centuries. Stroll the harbor but also cut into the backstreets of town to see it all.
9. Hop on a Symi Island Boat Tour
If you weren’t brave enough to rent a motorbike on Symi don’t worry! There are plenty of great boat tours to get to the Symi beaches from town.
Walk along the harbor and check out your options so you can pick the right boat tour for you. This is a great way to see all the secluded beaches and coves if you’re not going to get a vehicle.
10. Spend One or More Nights
Most travelers head to Symi Island in Greece for just a day trip. However, we really recommend you spend at least one night! We stayed at Iapetos Village and it was the perfect place to base our Symi adventures from. We loved the balcony, garden and jungle-like atmosphere, and the lovely pool area.
There’s nothing like waking up on Symi, grabbing a coffee and a local cafe, and jumping straight in the ocean. Honestly, watching the sunset on Symi island in Greece is worth the overnight stay in itself! So if you have time definitely spend one or two nights in town.
Symi Island Tip: If you’d rather stay outside of town near the beach check out the Niriides Hotel Apartments. It’s run by the same family as Iapetos Village and has stunning views of the ocean.
11. Eat a Traditional Symi Meal
Now that you’ve read about some of the great activities, you should know that one of the best things to do in Symi is to eat! The port of Symi is filled with traditional tavernas and restaurants, all with great views of the harbor.
If there’s one local food you should try here it’s the delightful Symi shrimp. This juicy seafood may be smaller than normal shrimp yet doesn’t lack any flavor. You can find them on Rhodes and other islands as well, but they’ll never be fresher than in Symi!
12. See Symi Island at Night
Although the colors of Symi are extraordinary during the day, there’s something so special about seeing it at night! We couldn’t believe the way the port lit up as we sat down for dinner one evening.
It was also interesting to see the locals come out after a long day of work, and sit side by side with them as we enjoyed our meal. Most of the tourists on day trips had gone back to Rhodes which left a quiet and peaceful scene in town. Just another reason to stay overnight on Symi!
More Things to do on Symi Island
Obviously, there are more than 12 things to do in Symi! These were some of our favorites activities. However, some of our best memories were just exploring and enjoying the beauty of Symi island.
If possible, we recommend spending a night or two on Symi instead of just taking a day trip from Rhodes. Have any questions on this article or want to share your own thoughts on Symi? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Greece Travel Planning
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
When island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies.
Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Crete to Athens for under $50 USD!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: You can book a rental car for around $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities in Greece. You can find everything from visiting the Acropolis in Athens to wine tasting in Santorini, and a boat tour in Milos.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Travel Planning: Planning a Trip – Cyclades Itinerary – Greek Ferry Questions – Sky Express Review
Rhodes: 1 Week Itinerary – 23 Things to Do – Old Town – Elli Beach – Kallithea Springs – Lindos Guide – Lindos Acropolis – Monolithos – Melenos Art Boutique Hotel – Anthony Quinn Bay
Karpathos: Fun Things to Do – 1 Week Itinerary – Must Try Food – 6 Best Beaches – Olympos – Saria Island Boat Tour
Crete: 10 Day Itinerary – 19 Food & Drinks – Matala Hippie Caves – Elafonisi (Pink Sand) – Renting a Car – Bus Tips – 20 Facts – Vai Beach Palm Trees – Best Things to Do
Cyclades: Moon Beach Milos – Adamas Milos – Ios – Naxos Beaches – Naousa Paros – Galissas Syros – Mykonos Old Town – Santorini
Corfu: Old Town Food – Greece to Albania Ferry
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About 15 years ago, 2 couples came to Symi nd rented an apartment on the harbour, – the ferry boat turned and was level with our upstairs windows! It was owned by a Russian family – lovely place, how can we find out more, love to stay there again? We ordered baclava from a bakery on the Harbour and picked it up early in the morning on our way to the ferry.
Oh wow! We are not sure as there are probably many more places to stay than 15 years ago. If you find it please let us know though! (-:
Hi from Simmy in Linlithgow are you still living on the beautiful island Symi my namesake.
We don’t live on Symi but we love to visit! So beautiful
Do a round the island boat trip on Poseidon cruises with Yannis and his fabulous crew and enjoy the swimming stops, exceptional barbecue and included coffee, wine and retsina, all framed within the scenic beauty of the rock of Symi and her majestic coastline!
Sounds so magical! We love Symi
I have visited Symi twice and love it . I’ve just booked for September 22 so have saved a couple of your tips to experience for myself . Thank you
Absolutely! Symi is such a beautiful island and we can’t wait to go back again ourselves. Enjoy your time there!
Hi there, Symi looks wonderful. Is it good for water sports and scuba diving? We have 2 teenage boys and don’t want them to be bored! Many thanks . Anne
Hi Anne! Thanks for reading. There are scuba diving and snorkeling trips that can be arranged from the port. It is a more laid back island but there is plenty to see and do. Hope you enjoy Symi!
Excellent site. Locked down in Australia so this really hurts….we even had paid fares to Athens for maybe 5 th trip over.
Thanks for reading. Hope you get to travel again soon! Especially to Greece (-: