I saved the best for the last. The last day of our cruise was a real treat – we visited Symi island, which is a tiny little place close to Rhodes. Pretty as a postcard, you walk around and feel like on a set of a Hollywood movie.
Painted houses perfectly matched in style, shape and architecture, scattered around the hills overlooking a small harbor. According to the Greek mythology, Symi was a birthplace of Charites, three goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, and fertility. The name of the island comes from Syme, which was a nymph.
Over the course of its history, Symi changed hands many times, being occupied by Italians, Germans, Britain and finally reunited with Greece in 1948. If you would want to get one of those pretty painted house, or a restoration project for your summer, you would have to obey very strict rules laid by the Archaeological service of the Greek ministry. That’s probably one of the reasons Symi has maintained its charm and real character.
We arrived in the middle of August, and if you don’t know what that’s like, I will tell you – HOT!
Even early in the morning, temperatures were soaring up to 28C in shade. Luckily there were plenty of beautiful cafes and small restaurants to fuel up our caffeine levels and get the most out of the few hours we had to explore the island. We stopped in the first coffee shop we could find and joined some tourists and some locals for their morning coffee. We were sipping our ice cold frappes, listening to the sea humming its melody and watching local people heading to work, opening their shops or lazying out in the morning sun.
We had a stroll through the narrows alleyways and small almost Venetian-like streets with boutique shops, fresh food markets and random grandmas sipping their morning coffee on their doorsteps. Life seemed so much more simple in here. We tried to get a good view of the whole bay, but our cruise ship which parked right at the edge of the harbor was blocking most of the view.
We ventured around the bay and discovered even more stunning scenery. Overcrowded harbor gave way to a quiet bay with chairs offering seats right by the water, barely any tourists in sight and no cars to push you to the side of the road. We found our shelter in a local restaurant with a lovely staff and enjoyed some of the best views of Symi. See it for yourself!
As it was nearing lunchtime, it was time to pull our anchor up and head towards the boat that will take us back to Limassol. Even from the boat we couldn’t help to sneak out outside to enjoy the very last view of Symi before it disappears in the distance.
Symi is certainly one of those places that will make you feel like reality is better than the pictures.