Stunning architecture, sophisticated restaurants and castaway coves make Symi ideal for those seeking a more refined Greek Island getaway.
Travel bucket list idea:
Symi’s secret beaches
Symi, Greek Islands, Greece
Boat trips to remote beaches are a major highlight of a visit to Symi – notably the dazzling pebble beaches along the island’s east coast.
Nanou, Marathounda and Agios Giorgos Dysalona all have translucent water and a ravishingly wild setting (albeit with sunbeds and umbrellas for shade).
Agios Giorgos Dysalona is the wildest of all, backed by a 300-metre sheer cliff, which means the shade comes early here. Nanou is a long stretch of white pebbles with an excellent little canteen for lunch.
The taverna at sheltered Marathouda Bay is equally lovely. A herd of peckish (and very friendly) goats roam the pebble beach in search of snacks. Marathouda is also accessible by car; the bus that takes you to the Panormitis Monastery also stops here.
More easily accessible on foot from Yalos, Nos, Nimborio, and Pedi are also pleasant swimming spots, but likely to be a lot more crowded.
Local Symi travel specialist Kalodoukas arrange excursions aboard the Agios Nikolaos, a beautiful wooden caique. The fare includes a buffet lunch.
Getting there & doing it
The best way to suss out all the beaches at the start of your holiday is to jump aboard a round-island boat trip (boats depart from the main harbour in front of the pharmacy).
Itineraries vary, but most trips stop at the seal cave, Panormitis Monastery (and the wood-fired bakery nearby) and for a beach barbecue on the uninhabited islet of Sesklia. For private trips, hop on a water taxi lined up along the harbour.
There’s a canteen at Nanou and an excellent traditional taverna at Marathounda. Ayios Yorgos Disalonas has no facilities, so take water and a picnic.
When to do it
Boat trips run throughout the tourist season April to October. Spring and autumn, with temperate weather, are wonderful, and you’ll have the beaches pretty much to yourself. July and August, can be ferociously hot on the beach.
The island generally shuts down between November and March. There’s no round-island boat, and few water taxis around in that period.
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