Symi, sometimes spelt Simi, is one of the smaller holiday islands in the Dodecanese group just 9km off the Turkish coast north of Rhodes. Symi island is a popular destination for day trippers and there are regular daily excursions from the Rhodes port of Mandraki.
Symi’s recorded history goes back as far as the Trojan Wars (1120 BC) and its past is chequered, with a series of invaders, beginning with the Dorians from the Pelponnese (6th-7th century), the Romans, some two or three hundred years afterwards, the Turks (1522-1912) and the Italians (from 1912 until World War 2). Symi then became a strategically important island and was subsequently invaded – and bombed – by both the Axis and the Allies during each others’ occupations. Finally, in 1947, Symi along with the rest of the Dodecanese islands became part of the Greek nation. At its height – before the Italian occupation – Symi was a thriving island with a population of more than 22,000. It was renowned for its boat-building, sponge-fishing, wine-making, its wood-carvers and icon-painters and the outstanding educational quality of its schools.
The most important sightseeing in Simi island is the Holy Monastery of Panormitis, protector of the island. Located on the southern side of Simi, this monastery is included in the program of all boat tours from Rhodes and can also be visited by boat from Simi Town. In Simi, do not also miss a stroll at the picturesque town of Simi, called Chorio, with Medieval style and fantastic sea views.
Picturesque tavernas by the sea, fine restaurants and traditional ouzo and meze tavernas will cater for you with delicious tastes, among which fresh fish and seafood knock spots off. What is more, you will enjoy chickpeas with dill, stuffed cabbage leaves with fava, fishballs, goat cheese, and other goodies. What you should really not miss are the famous little shrimps from the infinite beauty of the sea of Symi.