Symi & Panoramitis Monastery
During our stay on Rhodes, we decided to take a boat trip to the small island of Symi. With its picturesque port and colorful buildings, Symi island is a true pearl in the Aegean sea. It’s located northwest of Rhodes and close to Turkey.
In the port of the town of Rhodes you will see a lot of different boat trip providers that will take you there for around 15 EUR pp, so just get some information and choose the one to your liking. We took the fast ferry to Symi, that will take you there within 75 minutes. There is also another ferry, but that one almost takes up to 120 minutes to get you there. On the day we took our trip the sea was quite rough and not all passengers could withstand it. So if you don’t have sea legs we recommend you pick a day when the sea is not that turbulent.
The ferry arrives at the picturesque port of Symi (town), a neoclassical town build up along the hillside. With the colorful buildings and their red ceramic roofs, it’s more an Italian style of a building then it is Greek. You will have a great overview over the port as the ferry arrives and leaves so if you like photographing, be ready at the deck of the boat.
The town has two parts; the upper town Ano Symi and Gialos, down by the sea. The small streets are a delight to wander around and take lots of pictures. The old colourfull buildings are a treat for the eye. There are just a few major sights in Symi town like the Knights’ castle at the highest point of Ano Symi, the bell tower and the stone bridge at the port. At the port, you will find most of the taverns and restaurants to quench your thirst and satisfy your appetite. Symi-town is quite small so we didn’t stay for a very long time, but it is possible to book a B&B on the island and relax for a day or two.
On our way back to Rhodos island, the ferry took us to Panoramitis monastery, that is located to the southwest of the main town. The monastery is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. There is no exact construction date but an old manuscript places it in the 15th century. The interior is covered by wall paintings from the Byzantine period and there are also nice wooden carved icons, most of which are gifts from pilgrims. Unfortunately, the time we visited the monastery there was a scaffold around the church tower. But you can’t have it all.
If you go inside be sure to cover your shoulders and upper legs. The monastery also includes two museums and a library. The first museum hosts various religious items the other one displays an exhibition of folk culture. The library hosts manuscripts of religious, historical en philosophical content.
Nice to know is that there is also a small café that offers hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and ice cream. So after a cold frappe, we went back on the ferry and returned to Rhodes.