The Perfect Place to do Nothing

Old ironwork and modern lamps - Symi is full of little details that remind you of the island's prosperous past.

Kissing birds or elaborate roses?  What do you think?

In a hot dry Symi summer it is perfectly safe to drag an antique chair out on to the balcony to take the evening air - the chances of it being rained on are minimal.

The Blue Star Paros swinging through Yialos at 8 this morning.

His name is Rocky and he lurks in Lieni.

The circling military helicopters and heavy security presence in the harbour on Tuesday were because Symi was visited by the Greek President, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, as part of a tour of the border islands.

Yialos yesterday.  As you can see, many buildings have been beautifully restored but many others are still in poor repair or  in ruins.  Restoring and maintaining a traditional Symi building is an expensive business and an on-going project with no short cuts.  There are no subsidies for the work and property owners have to cover the costs themselves.

The view from the bridge in Yialos. The scar on the hill in the background is the spectacular road out of town that connects Yialos with Chorio and Pedi.  The views as you go up are amazing so be sure to look out of the window.

One of the three chandlers in the harbour. There is one near the clock tower and another beside St John's church so the needs of sailors and fishermen are well met.  The chances are good that if one doesn't have what you want, one of the others will be able to oblige. They also sell fishing tackle, tools and agricultural implements. The rather gruesome giant ice cream cone on the right belongs to the cake shop next door to our office. They do some really yummy fresh ice creams in addition to all sorts of cakes and confectionery.

Buying tickets for the water taxi to the beach. Nimborio, Agia Marina, St Nicholas, St George, Nanou and Marathounda are all best reached by boat.

The view from the Symi Visitor Accommodation office this week.

Looking down at the clock tower from the corner of the Kali Strata.  You can see the row of little white hire boats near the clock tower which you can hire by the day to explore the island.  The long white structure in front of the clock tower is the Schengen customs and immigration post that was installed last year. All boats clearing in from Turkey and further afield have to stop here to be processed.
Now that schools have closed for the summer break all round Europe there are lots more families visiting Symi. Every language under the sun seems to be spoken in Yialos these days and the harbour has a cosmopolitan buzz. Leave the harbour and head for Chorio and suddenly all is quiet.  Very few day-trippers venture beyond the first 30 steps of the Kali Strata and many remain in blissful ignorance that the main habitation is actually up, way above their heads, in the sprawl between the Kastro and Periotissa which they may have glimpsed briefly from the boat as they passed the entrance of Pedi bay.

The visitors staying on the island, as well as those residents who are not at work, are out on the water or at one of the island's charming beaches during the day.  Chorio only comes to life in the evening, as people gather in the square and at the various bars and cafes, to chat about their day and discuss what to have for dinner at one of the tavernas.

On Symi the days are long, the nights are warm and the atmosphere is pretty relaxed.  As Symi does not have much in the way of frenetic amusements there is no obligation to feel that one ought to be doing anything more strenuous that swimming with a view or relaxing with a book and a drink.  Symi is the perfect place to do nothing for a week or two and recharge the batteries that modern urban living drains so thoroughly.  One might, of course, look up as earnest souls on mountain bikes toil up the hill to Panormitis but they are infrequent and provide a talking point rather than an overwhelming need to leap up and join them.  In any case, there are no mountain bikes for hire on Symi so the choice has already been made for you!

Have a good week.


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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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