The island of Symi (Simi) is located about 40 km north-west (one hour by boat) from Rhodes, the coast of Turkey is less than 7 km away. Symi is a small island of 65 sq km with two small ports, Symi and Panormitis, and other small villages located in the interior. Geographically the island is barren, rugged and mountainous, the coast alternating cliffs, rocky beaches, and isolated coves.
The most important village is Symi which is located on the northeastern coast. This town is divided into the lower town around the port, called Yalos, with typical neoclassical pastel-colored houses, and in the actual village of Horio or Ano Simi. Dominates the inhabited center of Ano Symi, the Kastro, a fortification built by the Knights of Saint John as an expansion of an older Byzantine castle. In the inhabited center there is also a small archaeological museum.
In the other port of the island, the village of Panormitis, located at the southern end of the island, there is an important monastery dedicated to Saint Michael Archangel. The monastery is located along the south-western coast of the island and was built in the early 18th century.
THE ISLAND OF SPONGE FISHERMEN
The island is a fishing island, in particular Symi is famous for its sponge catches. Boat building was also a very popular activity in the past by the inhabitants of the island. Today, however, the main activity of the inhabitants is tourism. Symi is a very collected and silent place, wild and harsh, with a rich craftsmanship linked to the old crafts that were once practiced on the island.
The beauty of the inhabited centers and the beauty of the sea are the main attractions of the island of Symi. Beautiful coves with small beaches are found all along the coast of the island and are often accessible only by sea. Generally the island is visited with day trips departing from Rhodes, but to appreciate the tranquility of the island it is better to stop there for at least a couple of nights.