* General rule for data mobile in all Dodecanese: ensure you are not connected to Turkcell or any other Turkish operator while on international roaming. The proximity to Turkey causes often your mobile network to connect to the Turkish operator instead of the Greek one. As Turkey is not in the EU, the costs for using its mobile data with an EU sim card are extremely high, so make sure your roaming is off while in the Dodecanese with a Greek (or European) sim card.
Symi is an island of the Dodecanese, quite close to Rhodes and quite similar to Kastelorizo, but on a bigger scale. A bit more on the posh style, the island is full of colorful houses and gorgeous pebble beaches. It has a lot to offer, many accommodation options with all kind of facilities. Moreover, internet is good in Symi town and Panormitis, so it can be a good choice for some work + holiday time if you want to explore this region of Greece.
How to get there
Symi is very well connected to Rhodes (1 hour away) and many other islands with frequent ferry services throughout the day. You can also reach the island on a day trip from Rhodes (probably also from Kos) which is a good idea if you just want to see the town, but probably you won’t be able to see much of the beaches. Also, on the other side of the island, Panormitis, there is a big Monastery, and when we visited it, we noticed that some ferries like Dodekanisos Seaways (Panagia Skadeni) also stop there rather than Symi town.
How to move around
In Symi there are 2 bus lines: one goes to Pedi and the other one goes to Panormitis. The one that goes to Pedi leaves from Symi town every hour until midnight (at exact times e.g. 12, 13, etc.) and from Pedi every hour (at half hours e.g 12.30, 13.30, etc.). The bus that goes to Panormitis leaves only at 10.30 and 14.00 from Symi town and at 12.00 and 15.20 from Panormitis.
You can rent a moto or a car but to reach most of the beautiful beaches you will likely need a taxi boat. There are some close beaches (like Nos or Sarah) that you can reach on foot but for the best ones you can take a taxi boat that leaves from the port. Prices vary depending on the distance, Nimborio beach costs 8 euro two ways while Nanou costs 14 euro two ways. Departure times are usually every hour with return at 14 – 16 – 17 and 18 (the last one, so do not miss it) for the beaches on the east coast.
Internet in Symi
Symi proved to have a quite reliable internet connection, both for wifi and mobile data. We were connecting mostly to Wind and Cosmote and we were able to do videocalls smoothly. As everywhere in these islands, be sure to select your provider manually so you do not connect to Turkish providers that will be very expensive.
What to see
Symi has many beautiful beaches, some have sunbeds and umbrellas, some other are wild and you will likely have just the company of some goats.
From the port you can walk North following the coastline and reach the near beaches of Nos and Sarah, walking further you can get up to Nimborio, but if you don’t want to walk in the sun for 45 minutes you can easily take a taxi boat for 4 euros one way. When you are in Nimborio, if you walk 5 minutes more you can get to this lovely beach that has no name but has beautiful waters and a nice beach bar.
Pedi beach is also a good one with many tavernas, reachable by bus.
However, the most famous beaches of the island are St.Nicholaos, Agios Georgios, Nanou and Marathounda. St.Nicholaos can be reached either by taxi boat, or by going to Pedi by bus and then walking 20 minutes for a beautiful coastal path. It has a bar and a little tavern. Agios Georgios and Nanou can be only reached by taxi boat. Agios Georgios is a majestic beach with rugged cliffs, completely wild, as it has no umbrellas or sunbeds. Nanou is also beautiful and has a beach bar with sunbeds and anything you need. Marathounda can be reached either by car or by boat taxi. It is famous because it’s full of goats roaming around.
Where to eat
There are many options for eating out, our suggestions are Secret Garden and Neraida. Secret Garden (up in Ano Symi, so if you are staying in the port, be ready to climb many stairs!) is a very creatively decorated restaurant that looks like a little jungle. You can taste many delicious dishes while being surrounding by cats!
Neraida is another excellent restaurant in the port, where service is great and you can taste many traditional dishes like the famous Symi shrimps.
Last thoughts on Symi
Symi can be the perfect destination if you are looking for a typical island of Dodecanese with postcard-looking colorful houses, great beaches and some holiday vibes. Slightly more on the expensive side, but still affordable, it is well connected to the other islands and has a good infrastucture that make it a great base for working remotely while in Greece.