The Most Beautiful Beaches in Symi, Greece
The tiny Dodecanese island of Symi is a stunner, with pastel-coloured villages and beaches aplenty | © Hercules Milas / Alamy Stock Photo
This tiny island in the Dodecanese archipelago is dotted with beautiful beaches. This is our pick of the very best.
The colourful, jewel-like island of Symi, Greece, may just be the most beautiful island in the Dodecanese, and it has some of the best beaches, too. Most are found tiny coves and deep inlets only accessible by boat or on foot, perfect if you’re looking for peace and tranquillity. But there are some great sandy strips adjacent to the towns, ancient ports and pastel-coloured fishing villages that’ll really make you feel immersed in the magic of this archipelago.
Bar, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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The closest beach to Ano Symi, Nos Beach is just a pleasant 15-minute stroll past the Ano Symi harbour and clock tower. Here, you’re sacrificing privacy for convenience, but it more than makes up for its popularity with crystal-clear waters, rows of sunbeds and the Paradise Beach Bar and Restaurant. It’s also the only beach on the island where you can rent jet skis.
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Pebbles dominate the small Nimborio Beach, which lies in a pretty, tree-shaded bay a 30-minute walk from Symi town. The walk is pleasant, taking you over Mavrovouni hill, revealing glittering views almost to the end of the island – but if you don’t fancy it, you can get a ride in a water taxi. This beach is popular with families who make the most of the umbrellas, sunbeds, shallow bay and taverna serving traditional Greek fare; just remember your beach shoes for swimming, as the shoreline is rocky.
Emporios is a picturesque village with a small pebbly beach that’s off the beaten path, perfect if you’re looking for a taste of that castaway experience. Located 3km (2mi) northwest of Gialos, this traditional fishing port is as authentic as they come, and offers impressive views across the bay. There is a small taverna serving light bites, open seasonally, and a wooden platform that many use to dive straight into the azure sea.
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Within walking distance of Chorra, the seaside village of Pedi attracts many visitors, as much for the beaches – that’s right, beaches plural – as for the remains of early Christian churches. Made up of several small sandy swathes, Pedi is normally where you would get off your water taxi or local bus to set off exploring the surrounding bays. The main beach has sunloungers and umbrellas to rent, and there are plenty of tavernas on hand where you can escape the heat with a cold beer.
Gialos Beach is nestled in a rocky bay close to the port and the impressive mansion houses clustered along the shoreline. Despite its proximity to Ano Symi, and the fact it has an adorable little beach bar, it doesn’t get as crowded as many of the other beaches on the island. It’s fringed by tamarisk trees, there is coarse sand among the pebbles and it’s great for snorkelling. The downsides are that there are no sunbeds and accessibility is tricky.
As one of the largest ports on the island, Panormitis has lots of footfall, made up of visitors to the Monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis, and those who come to enjoy the long, narrow, sandy beach. It’s suitable for swimming and sunbathing, and easy to reach by boat or by foot. Make sure you pack your bathers, as nude tanning is frowned upon here due to the close proximity to the religious monument.
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A narrow bay with pebbles and crystal-clear water, Marathounda Beach is accessible from the road and is also the final taxi boat stop just before the Bay of Panormitis. A relatively recent development on the island, its main attraction are the goats who freely roam between the loungers. The small bay is protected from wind, so the sea is calm, with ideal conditions for swimming and diving. There is a taverna serving snacks.
Agia Marina, on the northern side of the entrance to Pedi, can be reached by water taxi from the harbour or Pedi Bay. It’s popular (but far from overpopulated) with young families; its clear, warm and shallow water is perfect for kid-suitable snorkelling and baby’s first sea paddle. Grown-ups and the more adventurous can have a go at diving in from the concrete blocks arranged along the shoreline, or swim to the nearby islet with its monastery.