Good Old Fashioned Family Holidays

The white horse in pensive mood.

The gold and green of the Pedi Valley.

An old Ottoman roof at the bottom of the Kali Strata.

There is no shortage of places to eat and drink on Symi. We have everything from the traditional to the sophisticated.

The water taxi and excursion boat jetty in Yialos with Mavrovouni in the background.  Spiti Grand Helene and Villa Iris are visible in this photograph and have the advantage of lovely views combined with convenient proximity to the water taxis and excursion boats.

Symi Tours - the ferry ticket agency on Symi. They also handle bookings for Aegean Airways.

The landmark herb shop near the bridge in Yialos.

Symi's fish market - best visited very early in the morning if you want to be sure of getting the day's catch.   This photograph was taken at 8 this morning.
The Meltemi has found us this year and today it was too windy for the taxi boats to go out to the beaches.  It has, however, broken the worst of the heat and lowered the humidity so temperatures are in the high thirties rather than the low forties and nights are bit cooler.

Symi is humming with people.  Many of the families that have been booking their accommodation through us for years are appreciative of the fact that we now have wifi in most of our houses and the teenagers are able to keep up with their social media commitments without the embarrassment of having to go out and search for an internet connection.   We all know how humiliating it can be for a modern 15 year old to be off line for an hour or more and miss out status updates ...  But on Symi there is always the opportunity to spot some visiting celebrity and let us not forget the incredibly glamorous yachts that come in every night which can do a lot to improve adolescent Facebook cred.

Symi is not your traditional family holiday destination with amusements on tap but none the less a lot of families have been coming to Symi for years and, internet aside, there are certain advantages to Symi as a family holiday destination.  One of the most obvious is that it is incredibly safe.  The local children enjoy a measure of independence unheard of in many places and parents do not have to worry about their teenagers going off by themselves for a pizza or coming home separately.  Wifi aside, it also provides the opportunity to enjoy the kind of old fashioned family holiday that we remember from a generation ago - the kind of holidays where families go exploring, do things together, enjoy local culture and learn something new to talk about rather than staying in an anodyne generic resort that could be anywhere from one end of the Mediterranean to the other and possibly even the Caribbean as well.  Symi is a wonderful opportunity to 'go native' as thanks to its unique protected status, accommodation is in restored traditional houses rather than boring generic tourist boxes and wherever you are you are mixing with the locals at all levels. Although accommodation on Symi can be more expensive than in other places, the properties that Symi Visitor Accommodation lets out are the sort that you can actually live in, with decent facilities for preparing meals and good outside space, so you can enjoy actually living in a real Symi house rather than camping in a box and eating out for every meal of the day.

Although the official Symi Festival fell victim to the recession and government cutbacks, cultural activities such as the Symi Shrimp Festival, organised by the Symi Women's Association, and various film shows, recitals, exhibitions and live music at various tavernas and bars mean that there is plenty going on during the season.  If you are on Symi this evening, for example, you can go to the weekly Wine Night at the Symi Dream Gallery near the top of the Kali Strata and then head for the Secret Courtyard, a tiny courtyard bar at the top of the Pedi Road, to enjoy an evening of live traditional music. There is always something to do or see on Symi, but it may not always be what you expected!

All the best.


Allen Young  – (Monday, August 11, 2014)  

Hi Adriana
Just stumbled on your blog. Lovely to read about Symi. We first visited in May 1975 for our honeymoon, and now try to visit every spring. We stayed high up in the town, on the saddle looking down to Pedi, in a house owned by Sotiris. Is he still around? Now we have our yacht so stay in the harbour for a few days. Must call and say hello next time. Allen

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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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