Symi – Dodecanese, Greece

The Most Beautiful Harbor Town in Greece

Symi’s harbor town—an enchanting place—is a Greek treasure and a virtual museum of pastel late-19th-century neoclassical architecture. It showcases a brief period of fame and unmatched prosperity when this island of ship builders and merchants built mansions and ornate churches before Symi drifted into obscurity.

Today it bustles again, but only when day-trippers from nearby Rhodes sail in for lunch and a stroll. Some visitors are discour­aged by the absence of sandy beaches and rarely venture into Symi’s scenic interior of jagged rocks and pine and cypress woods.

The coast, with its dramatic cliffs and small bays, is best reached by boat or on foot via a pleasant hike. Symi is an excellent island for any level of hiking. No walk is longer or more enjoyable than the 6-mile trek from beautiful Symi Town to the monastery of Panormitis (where over­night guests are welcome).

Or, try the Hotel Aliki, housed in one of the most elegant of the old houses on the unspoiled waterfront, where the stars stayed when filming Pascal is Island. It is one of the nicest small hotels in Greece, restored with keen attention and rare good taste. Second-floor rooms afford views across the harbor. A few breakfast tables spill across the quay on the waterfront, where three steps lead down into the crystal-clear Aegean.

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