Historical Sites on Dodecanese Islands to Receive 42 Million Euro Restorations 

Rhodes, Symi, Kos and Leros are some of the Dodecanese islands that are included in a new 42 million euro project for the protection and preservation of their archaeological sites and historical monuments that date back to Medieval, Byzantine, and Ottoman times.

The Greek Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni announced the new project, that will be financed by the Recover Fund, during a recent visit to Rhodes’ Medieval Town. 

“Care for our smaller islands is of utter importance. Apart from the 16,800,000 euros that we secured for the restoration and reopening of the National Theatre of Rhodes, there are now many other projects that we have secured for the Medieval City, which will be of huge benefit not only for Rhodes and the Dodecanese,” said Minister Mendoni.  

Insights Greece - Historical Sites on Dodecanese Islands to Receive 42 Million Euro Restorations 
Medieval Town of Rhodes

Works will be completed in Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Symi, Halki and Agathonisi.

“The cultural project that’s being launched today on all our islands is unprecedented. In the first phase, works will be completed in Rhodes, Kos, Agathonisi, Leros, Kalymnos and all the other islands will follow after that with prioritisation and above all abundance of interest and care,” said Regional Governor of the South Aegean, George Chatzimarkos added. 

Projects include the creation of an integrated historic centre in the Medieval settlement of Rhodes, as well as the development of an open-air museum at the Medieval port, and the maintenance and restoration of the Rejep Pasha mosque. 

Kos will see a restoration of the Neratzia Castle and the early Christian baptistery of Agios Ioannis; as well as works on the Defterdar mosque and the Purification Fountain, plus reconstruction of an Italian arcade and the creation of an open-air sculpture gallery at Nerantzia Castle. 

In addition, Kalymnos’ Venetian windmills will be restored; Leros will see a former hotel in Lakki restored; Symi will have its bell tower at the church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos restored; whereas the Panagia Horiani Church and Archaeological Museum in Halki will have works done. Lastly, works will also take place at Agathonisi’s Thematic Archaeological Museum. 

8 Best Greek Islands for a Romantic Getaway

With so many breathtaking Greek islands boasting beauty, allure, and romance, it’s easy to see why Greece is a top choice for honeymooners and twosomes alike. 

Whether you’re seeking an authentic and tranquil island, offering privacy and quiet moments- or you prefer wining, dining and dancing the night away- we’ve put together the most romantic and dreamy Greek islands that are perfect for couples. 


A small island in the Saronic Gulf (just 2 hours away from Athens), Hydra is a stunning and aristocratic destination that is one of the only islands in Greece without vehicles, making it a tranquil and laid-back spot to sit back, relax and unwind. Perched among thousands of steps and little alleyways, Hydra island offers an easy-going atmosphere, romantic sunsets, and some breathtaking places where you can enjoy fabulous food and drinks; with magical views. 

Best hotels in Hydra for couples: Rafalias a magnificent Mansion, near George Kountouriotis Manor and the Hydra Museum Historical Archives. Mastoris Mansion is another great hotel, located just 90m away from Hydra’s port, with five rooms beautifully decorated and a wonderful terrace. And Hydrea Boutique Hotel in the heart of Hydra Town has stunning views. Orloff Boutique Hotel is a historic house, built in 1796 it has lovingly been restored and has only 9 rooms and suites- making it a relaxing and unique place to stay.  

Insights Greece - 8 Best Greek Islands for a Romantic Getaway


The charmingly mysterious Folegandros, situated in the corner of the southern part of the Cyclades, entices with its deep blue waters that are in complete harmony with its steep mountains, picturesque Chora, and jaw-dropping sunsets. This Greek island exudes natural beauty; it’s a dreamy destination where you can completely relax and unwind in style. 

Best hotels in Hydra for couples: Blue Sand Hotel and Suites is a romantic boutique hotel, overlooking Agali beach. Anemomilos Boutique Hotel is perched along the highest point of Chora, on the vertical cliff that overlooks the vastness of the Aegean Sea. Folegandros apartments are located in the picturesque Chora, which seems like a Cycladic village, with a pool at the centre. Makarias Villa is located in Ano Meria, this is a great place if you seek privacy and breathtaking views.

Insights Greece - 8 Best Greek Islands for a Romantic Getaway


It’s a nostalgic destination, offering wild beauty, a striking coastline with light blue waters, a medieval Chora, a maze of alleyways filled with cascading bougainvillea, and beautiful doors; the imposing stone monastery of Saint John the Theologian, great food, and friendly locals. Patmos is an unspoiled island that you should explore at your own pace. Filled with quiet beaches, a soulful aura, and the majestic medieval capital of Chora – it is filled with romantic spots.

Best hotels in Patmos for couples: Onar Patmos is a resort hotel just a few metres away from the shore, close to the fishing village of Grikos. Ideal for families, couples, or a group of friends who are looking for a luxurious and tranquil feel. Langada traditional farmhouse, which was developed during the centuries, around a small chapel and a central patio, overlooking Kambos beach. Patmos360° is a portfolio of three houses in Chora of Patmos, run and operated by a local team who provides tailor-made services that guarantee a great stay.  


The dreamy landscape of this almost untouched Cycladic island is composed of rugged hills, historic mining sites, breathtaking coves, picturesque settlements, classic Greek island architecture, and endless beaches. Simple, authentic, and majestic- the wild beauty of Serifos will fill your soul, relax your mind, and steal your heart. 

Best hotels in Serifos for couples: Captains House Serifos,  an old house of a former Greek Captain, that dates back to the 19th century, situated in Kato Chora, next to the Primary School and the Folklore Museum. Rizes, located on a hill above the beach at Psili Amos and just two kilometres from Livadi. It features 14 apartments and two luxury suites. Coco-Mat Eco Residences, on Vagia beach, is a complex of 13 miners’ houses built in the early 1900’s- now an upscale, contemporary eco-friendly place to stay.

Insights Greece - 8 Best Greek Islands for a Romantic Getaway


Surrounded by deep green seas and covered in cypress trees, this beautiful island is home to one of the prettiest ports in Greece, neo-classical mansions, and dreamy fishing villages. Many visitors arrive on a private yacht and spend days here enjoying the magical views. Symi boasts natural beauty- with its secluded coves (scattered throughout the island) enchanting beaches (accessible by boat); and in contrast to its rocky coastline, the interior of the island is forested with cypresses and conifers- making it a stunning and romantic destination.

Best hotels in Symi for couples: Boutique hotel “1900 Hotel” is a new boutique hotel with four elegant suites (1901, 1902, 1903, and 1904), steeped in history. Limani Life is right on the promenade of the port, an old mansion has been transformed into six comfortable, minimalist aesthetic rooms in pastel colours and nautical touches. The Old Markets are housed in a restored building in the old market of Symi, just 400m from the port. At a tranquil village on the island of Symi, you will find a gorgeous little villa “On the Rocks” designed for couples to connect, de-stress or just relax along the stunning waterfront.


Volcanic rocks, vast blue magic, stunning sunsets, jaw-dropping beaches, geological formations (that awaken our imagination) and picturesque settlements by the sea, all together narrate exquisite stories about this Cycladic island. It’s Milos’ simplicity that reminds us of the greatness of nature. The so-called “island of lovers” will make you fall in love with this magical land and will fill you with memories and unforgettable images that will follow you for many years to come.

Best hotels in Milos for couples: Milos Hotel at Adamantas is a key location in every direction. Skinopi Lodge is a unique boutique hotel at Schinopi, a fairytale tiny village, between Adamantas and Tripiti. Milos Breeze Boutique Hotel in Pollonia features an infinity pool, overlooking the ocean. And Asterias Boutique Hotel is located between Sarakiniko and Papafragas beach. White Pebble Suites is set on a pretty fishing village and features earthy and serene rooms and suites and tranquil outdoor living spaces designed for guests to enjoy a peaceful getaway. 


It wouldn’t be a list of romantic destinations without Santorini- one of the world’s most popular islands – known for its crisp white cliffside homes, romantic walkways, mesmerizing sunsets and the world’s only inhabited Caldera. This isle is synonymous with couples and honeymooners and the best time to visit is April, May, the end of September, and October- this is to escape the mass crowds and to be able to easily head to the wineries, restaurants, and Oia.  

Best hotels in Santorini for couples: Perivolas for its minimalist suites carved from the cliffs and the infinity pool that’s made for honeymooners. Katikies is one of the best places to experience sunsets, sea views and the swimming pool- the hotel’s whitewashed rooms are along Oia’s cliffside, all with magical views of the caldera. Santo Maris for breathtaking sea views, this boho-chic, adults-only, all-suite resort is away yet close enough to Oia. Istoria is an immaculate hotel featuring elements of the original estate, such as old wooden ceilings and preserved stone columns, creating a romantic and tranquil vibe. 


Mykonos is definitely the island of glamour and partying- it’s also filled with an array of romantic places for eating and drinking under the stars. So, if fine dining, beach bars, shopping, and adults-only hotels sound like an ideal holiday for you and your other half- Mykonos is your place. Also boasting a range of world-class hotels that feature award-winning architecture, breathtaking views, and exceptional service- most locals are here to cater to every couple’s needs. 

Best hotels in Hydra for couples: Located just outside Mykonos Town, Bill & Coo’s spaces are centred around the stunning view of the Aegean Sea; with the pool, lounge, and restaurant allowing guests to capture the breathtaking vistas day and night. Cavo Tagoo is Mykonos’ most famous and sought-after hotel with a 38-metre-long infinity seawater pool with an aquarium bar and wood decking, looking towards the sunset. Kalesma’s location provides 360 vistas, providing guests with the opportunity to enjoy both sunrise and sunsets from the same spot. Nomad is a new bohemian property offering 14 suites. It’s a private sanctuary designed for discerning travellers looking for a rustic yet stylish space to stay. The luxury suites come with private pools and jacuzzis and offer an earthy yet luxurious feel with a private courtyard- the perfect place for honeymooners to enjoy endless moments of romance. 

Main Images by Polina Paraskevopoulou ©

Romantic Escape at a Tiny Villa in Symi

At a tranquil village on the island of Symi, you will find a gorgeous little villa designed for couples to connect, de-stress or just relax along the stunning waterfront.

This tiny fishing cottage “On the Rocks” in Nimborio, is a place where you can unwind and feel totally at peace. From a quick dip at a nearby beach to enjoying a coffee and some light reading, or a candlelit dinner on the private terrace- this small sanctuary for two provides the perfect base for couples on a romantic getaway.

With the option to do what you like, when you like, the space offers privacy, freedom, and a mini home away from home vibe. Featuring one bedroom, one bathroom, a private terrace, wardrobe space, air-conditioning, and free WiFi, the holiday cottage is a short walk away from a traditional Greek taverna, a hotel restaurant, and a beach bar serving food all day long.

For those who wish to explore the rest of the beautiful island, guests have easy access to Symi’s main harbour town using the regular water taxi service, which also connects to many of the island’s breathtaking beaches every morning and afternoon. Water taxis can also be booked privately in the evening for those wishing to head to town at night- where you will find a great range of eateries and bars to choose from.

So if you’re planning your next Greek island escape for two or even looking for an ideal retreat as a solo traveller (for the ultimate me-time), this is the perfect place!

On the Rocks

Discover the 10 Best Things to Do in Symi

10 Best Things to do on Symi Island

Located in the Dodecanese, Symi island is known for its colourful picture-perfect town, ranked a national monument for Greek architecture.

Symi boasts natural beauty- with its secluded coves (scattered throughout the island) enchanting beaches (accessible by boat); and in contrast to its rocky coastline, the interior of the island is forested with cypresses and conifers- making it a stunning destination.

After a recent trip to this breathtaking island, here are my tips on the Best Things to do in Symi!  

1. Get lost in Symi’s main town 

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Symi’s beautiful port

Start by the harbour, named Gialos, where pastel-coloured Venetian mansions beautifully fill the town. When you think that you have seen it all, climb up several steps (450 to be exact) at Kali Strata in order to reach the Chorio, the village-like old part of town. If you are not a fan of exercise, there’s a five-minute bus that leaves every hour but you’ll miss the magic of admiring the charming houses on your way up and the picture-perfect view of Symi. At the top, there is the Kastro, which used to be an ancient acropolis and its old walls became part of the castle built there by the Knights of the Order of St John in 1407. Make sure you are there in time to enjoy the sunset from this spot.  

2. Hop on a boat tour around the island

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Sail around the island

A daily cruise around Symi is a great way to see all the secluded beaches and coves. The traditional boat, POSEIDON, offers daily cruises from the Gialos. Captain John, the owner, (lately along with his son Thodoris) has been touring around the island for the last 20 years and knows all the hidden beauties. He is also a great chef, as he is also preparing the menu during the tour. It departs from the port at 10:30 a.m. and returns at 17:30 p.m. The itinerary depends on the weather but normally you will be able to swim to the majestic beaches of St. Georgios, St. Vasilios, and Fokospilia. Inside this cave, there is a hidden beach where you can swim and (if you are lucky) see the seals that live there. The buffet is served at Seskli island on tables under the trees. 

3. Meet Mr. Takis Psarros, a local artisan

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Explore the town on foot

You won’t notice anything different from the outside, since you will see a typical store, full of leather goods in the town’s main port. But look closer. Inside the shop, you will find Mr. Psarros working on his amazing leather artwork. His designs are truly unique but the most extraordinary part is the procedure. Millions of burnt dots on leather; and countless hours of creation compose the solitary work of art that is created by the talented pyrographist. He is the only artist in Greece who designs pieces using the method of skin pyrography. Mr. Psarros holds a Guinness World Record for the largest pyrographic “Poseidon and Amphitrite” with 11.000.00 dots, which required two years’ worth of work. 

4. Visit the Monastery of Panormitis

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Monastery of Archangel Michael

It may seem like an Italian town filled with mansions boasting magnificent sea-views from their balconies but in reality, it’s a holy Monastery of the 18th Century, dedicated to the Archangel Michael. Set against a stunning backdrop of pine-covered mountainsides, the monastery welcomes the ferries by a loud bell sound- as they arrive and depart. You can also admire the wonderful chandeliers and the silver-leafed representation of Archangel Michael, Patron Saint of Symi, and protector of sailors. There is also a small museum and if you climb some steps, you can see the cells where the monks live and where many pilgrims choose to stay.  

5. Enjoy delicious dishes at Haritomeni while enjoying the sunset

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Restaurants found all around the port

Haritomeni restaurant is perfectly positioned in Upper Symi, an ideal spot to watch the sunset. Head there in the evening before the sun is about to set and sit on the terrace. Besides the stunning view of Symi harbour, the food here is absolutely delicious, even the simplest dishes taste amazing at this family-run tavern that serves traditional Greek dishes using the freshest local produce available.

6. Buy a Sea Sponge 

The inhabitants of Symi were the first Greeks to work as sponge divers. They were the pioneers who also taught other islanders how to dive, process, and trade the sponges. That’s why many international travellers who visited Greece in the Middle Ages believed that sponges only came from Symi. We visited Dinos Sponge Centre, the oldest sponge shop of Symi (since 1939), and met Mr. Dinos and his son, who explained to us many things regarding natural sea sponges that are animals and not plants as most people believe. We chose the appropriate sea sponges for our body and face for loofah use, bath time, and exfoliation- as they have top-notch exfoliating, circulation-boosting, radiance-enhancing abilities

7. Enjoy life at the beach 

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Symi boasts breathtaking beaches with crystal clear waters

If you want to stay in Gialos, Nos beach is the perfect deal. A small piece of paradise that offers sun loungers, parasols, a shower, and a café -restaurant. A few kilometers away, you will find Gyala beach with a canteen that serves the tastiest country potatoes. Nimporio is another small beach, in the nearby bay, with sun loungers and a tavern; access is by boat or by road. Nanou is a picturesque pebble beach in a green landscape with cypresses, hidden behind high hills and crystal-clear water. Marathounda is a narrow bay with many goats running around. Agios Nikolaos is a popular beach with sand and pebbles and natural shade. The best beaches are Agios Vasilios, Agios Georgios, Dysalonas where the cliffs drop steeply behind the beach with its deep blue waters. The 300-metre high, vertical rock that stands behind this beach creates a majestic landscape. Don’t miss Agia Marina. Take a taxi boat (we took Pan. Ypakoi boat) it has a new restaurant and a small island straight opposite the beach with a church, that you can reach by swimming. 

8. Eat at Manos Fish Restaurant 

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Beauty on every corner

This taverna is a unique experience thanks to its owner. Mr. Manos is some kind of entertainer for his clients, along with his parrot Markos. He will narrate stories of glorious nights at his taverna with celebrities who sing and dance until the morning. The photos outside the bathroom are the evidence. The seafood here is another experience! Don’t forget to taste “symiako garidaki” (small shrimp of Symi).  

9. Have a drink at Symi’s main town or along the port

You will spot them during your stroll around the picturesque alleys of Symi Town, and visit them at night. The bars with a great atmosphere in Symi include Tsati, Achinos, Vapori, Charani, Los and Yaghta. They won’t disappoint. 

10. Admire 1900 Hotel 

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
1900 Hotel

We met the architect Dimitris Zografos, who decided to restore the old house of the Mastoriadis family and convert it into a boutique hotel, under the name “1900 Hotel”. Mastoriadis was the person who brought the first autonomous diving suit (“scafandro” in Greek) to Greece and Symi. Dimitris Zografos tried, through careful and thoughtful restoration, to keep its heritage alive. The house has been left merely intact. The main rooms of the house have been seamlessly transformed into four elegant suites (1901, 1902, 1903 and 1904), steeped in history.

How to get there 

Ferries depart from Piraeus port about three times a week and arrive at Symi after approximately 20 hours. It might be more convenient for you to reach Rhodes by plane (a one-hour trip from Athens) and then travel to Symi by ferry from Rhodes (the ferries are almost daily). Symi is also connected by ferry with Kalymnos, Patmos, Leros and Tilos.

Where to stay 

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Polina at the main port

Limani Life:  Right on the promenade of the port, an old mansion has been transformed into six comfortable, minimalist aesthetic rooms in pastel colours and nautical touches. 

The Old Markets: Housed in a restored building in the old market of Symi, just 400m from the port. Highlight the breakfast served on the terrace with majestic views.  

Iapetos Village Hotel: Colorful houses, a tropical garden and a pool with stone arches, this hotel is like a tiny village of a children’s fairytale. 

Where to eat in Symi  

Manos Fish restaurant for fresh fish. Bella Napoli Trattoria Italiana, for pasta and pizza. Charitomeni restaurant for a delicious meal with a sunset view. Taverna restaurant International, a traditional Greek taverna. Pantelis, a great gastronomic destination. O Tholos for great food by the sea. 

Many thanks to Deputy Mayor Mr. Nikitas Gryllis and the Mayor Mr. Lefteris Papakalodoukas for making this press trip happen!

*Images by Polina Paraskevopoulou ©

7 Greek Islands We Can’t Wait to Revisit

Given there’s over 6000 stunning Greek islands, of which roughly 227 are inhabited, deciding which one to visit (or revisit) is always a hard decision to make. 

The obvious choice for many is Santorini and Mykonos (there’s no denying their beauty) but for us, there are many others we can’t wait to get to again this summer and they are all just as breathtaking as each other!


A small island in the Saronic Gulf (just 2 hours away from Athens), Hydra island with its classic beauty has seduced many international personalities such as Sophia Loren, Maria Callas, Aristotle Onassis, and Leonard Cohen, who purchased a house on the island in 1960. Moreover, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd used to regularly vacation here. Hydra has a charming atmosphere and romantic allure, it is aristocratic, yet authentic and features a rocky landscape with elegant, imposing stone mansions, narrow cobblestone alleys with colourful bougainvillea; plus impeccable sunsets.


With a history going back to the Neolithic era, Samos island is rich with a varied and impressive archaeological beauty that can raise the pulse of even the most bored, tag-along visitor. From hiking in beautiful nature to visiting charming little villages, tasting some of the best wine Greece has to offer, and swimming at beautiful beaches that offer clear waters and a chilled vibe- Samos has something for everyone. 


Volcanic rocks, vast blue magic waters, stunning sunsets, jaw-dropping beaches, geological formations (that awaken your imagination), and picturesque settlements by the sea, all together narrate exquisite stories about this Cycladic island that blows your mind away, every time you step foot here. Fast becoming one of Greece’s most popular destinations, there is still an authentic and untouched beauty about Milos island


Whitewashed houses, delicious food, unbeatable beaches. This is Naxos island in one sentence, one of our favourite Greek islands that never ceases to amaze. Naxos is the largest Cycladic island and it has it all. Beautiful beaches, ancient sites and museums, great food, atmospheric mountainous villages, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere for those who want to stay out all night. It has something for every type of traveller and fulfills even the most demanding one!

Insights Greece - 7 Greek Islands We Can't Wait to Revisit


There’s something magical about Kefalonia island, the largest of the Ionian isles, which still remains pure and protected from mass tourism. What makes this place so special is the pride locals take in keeping their island clean, fresh, modern, yet warm and inviting, all while encouraging its natural charm and authentic beauty to shine through. From the main town of Argostoli where you will find a range of eateries, bars, and boutiques through to gorgeous fishing villages and quaint towns, there’s so much to see and do on this lush island; home to Myrtos, one of Greece’s most breathtaking beaches.


From the moment you arrive, Astypalea island will take your breath away. The simplicity of this authentic island, which shares aesthetic elements of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, is what makes this destination extra special! Its magnificent Chora, the old port, eight picturesque windmills, an imposing Venetian castle built of dark stones; and stunning beaches with crystal clear waters are the main reasons to fall in love with this beautiful Greek island. 


Another gem in the heart of the Dodecanese, Symi is a small but mesmerising Greek island, which lies in the Southern Dodecanese, north of Rhodes. Surrounded by deep green seas and covered in cypress trees, this beautiful destination is home to one of the prettiest ports in Greece, neo-classical mansions, and dreamy fishing villages. Many visitors arrive here on their private yacht and spend days (or weeks) enjoying the magical views surrounding them. 

Insights Greece - 7 Greek Islands We Can't Wait to Revisit


Sailing Around Beautiful Symi

If you ever find yourself on the mesmerising island of Symi, we suggest a family-run day cruise, on the only traditional handmade wooden boat left on the island. 

Symi lies in the Southern Dodecanese, north of Rhodes. Surrounded by deep green seas and covered in cypress trees, this beautiful island is home to one of the prettiest ports in Greece, neo-classical mansions, and dreamy fishing villages. Many visitors arrive on a private yacht and spend days here enjoying the magical views. 

Insights Greece - Sailing Around Beautiful Symi

If you haven’t hired a catamaran, you can still experience the beauty of the bay on the family-owned Maria’s Traditional Boat, which not only provides you with a splendid tour around Symi’s beaches, but also gives you the opportunity to explore and dive into the deepest and clearest turquoise waters in remote spots that only locals know of- together with tasting delicious homemade food, wine and, of course, listening to the sounds of folk music! And when the cruise comes to an end, what will stay in your memory is the secluded coves, the Greek flavours, and the politeness and friendliness of the crew, who are all family and will be at your service at all times. Departing daily at 10.30 am from the picturesque port of Symi, Maria’s has become one of the most popular tours on the island. 

IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with Victoria Kritikos, daughter of Panormiti (who built the boat with his own hands) a proud local who was born, raised, and still lives in Symi all-year-round, about what makes sailing through this stunning island an unforgettable experience. 

Firstly, tell us what you love most about living in Symi?

Life in Symi is calm, soothing, and stress-free. We enjoy the clear blue sky and sea. That’s our life. I think most people would feel lucky if they lived on an island and enjoyed the natural beauty that God generously gave us.

What is so special about Maria’s Traditional Boat? 

Insights Greece - Sailing Around Beautiful Symi

Maria is a traditional wooden boat that runs daily routes around the island and provides the visitor with an authentic, relaxing and safe trip. Also, Maria gives guests the opportunity to enjoy the far away crystal clear waters, the sun, and amazing views.

What stops do you make along the way?

The beaches we visit are: to the northwest- Toli, Maroni, Agios Aimilianos, Tavira behind the separate island of Nimos, and to the east part of the island- Agia Marina, Agios Georgios, and Nanou. 

What do you offer your guests?  

All the homemade food is prepared by my Mum. It is Mediterranean cuisine, including dolmadakia, keftedes, different salads, chicken, pasta, spanakopita, plus cakes, fresh fruit and some real Symian delicacies. We also provide coffee, tea, water, and wine. Our meals are rich and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. We also cook a seafood barbecue with fresh fish once a week. 

How did the idea of a family-run cruise come about?  

It was my father’s life long dream to build a wooden boat, giving it the name of my mother and his first granddaughter. My brother and I also thought that a wooden boat would give visitors the opportunity to travel the traditional way and it was built here in Symi, so it is something different from other cruise ships. We wanted to continue the Greek tradition, which is based on the wooden hulls because this is Greece and part of my island’s culture.

What other tours do you recommend on the island? 

If you would like to tour the island, in addition to the beaches, you can take the Symi bus of Lakis Nikolakopoulos, which departs every hour from the Port of Gialos. You can see the village of Pedi and discover the beauty of the old settlement in which the castle’s canyon still stands with incredible views. You can also enjoy Pedi, which is a small picturesque harbor that has restaurants and cafes. This bus trip is only 1.70 euros. Lakis Travel has experienced drivers, modern and safe buses that can take you to every corner of the island and of course to our Patron Saint Panormitis.

With the buses of Lakis Travel, you can visit the monastery of Rukouniotis and Panormitis. Our island is famous for its religious tourism and thousands of visitors come to see our Byzantine monasteries. 

When is the best time to visit Symi? 

Symi is a beautiful summer destination. We have many restaurants with authentic dishes, cool cafes, and bars. I think it meets the needs of most visitors. It’s a wonderful spot and the people of the island make sure that our visitors leave with the best impression. The ideal time to visit the island is during all summer months and the cheapest is September and October. As far as excursions are concerned, you should definitely visit Panormitis and the Byzantine Monastery of Rukouniotis. Take a bus ride and of course visit the naval and folklore museum in the village. The island also has great sporting activities. 

Holy Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis in Symi

The Holy Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis is one of the most popular attractions on Symi island. Located on the sea front of the tiny village of Panormitis, the Monastery was built in the 6th century, but what stands today is the restoration of the new building of the 18th century.

How to get here

You can arrive via a ferry or excursion boat from the port of Symi or from the island of Rhodes. If you are already in Symi, you can also catch a bus or taxi from the town, which takes about an hour.

The Monastery

Insights Greece - Holy Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis in SymiA Venetian-styled building with its high baroque bell tower, the facade of the main structure is white and it stretches along the coast on either side of the main gateway. The inner courtyard has its own church along with some pebble courtyards.

The Church

The interior of the church is covered with iconography (of particular interest is the ‘fall of the angels’ mural at the back of the church) and is decorated with very elaborate chandeliers. Many baptisms and weddings take place here throughout the year.

The Museums

There are two museums– a folklore and a religious one. One houses ecclesiastical art, and is rich in exhibits like pontificals, silver icons, Russian epitaphs, and ecclesiastical utensils, ship model offerings brought to Panormitis from far away by the sea, and one of folk art with important objects of the folk culture of the island relevant to fishing, agriculture, and shepherding. There is also a library with Byzantine manuscripts and editions of ecclesiastical, historical, and philological content, as well as a gallery with paintings of the landscape of the monastery and its two chapels.

Who is Archangel Michael Panormitis? 

Insights Greece - Holy Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis in Symi

Archangel Michael is the Patron Saint and protector of Symi and of sailors. Archangel Michael is known to perform miracles for those who pray for his intercession. The Archangel is famous in the Dodecanese for his righteous nature. If you have made an offering to him and do not fulfill it, he will make it clear through various miracles that he is not pleased – until you complete your promise.

The Icon

It is said that a holy icon of the Archangel appeared miraculously and, on several occasions, was removed only to reappear mysteriously in this same location. The church was then built over the location. The church dedicated to the Archangel now contains a two-metre-high, silver-leafed wall icon of Panormiti. 

What else you will find here

Elsewhere at Panormitis you will find a little bay, guarded by the beautifully restored windmill on the western headland. The small beach with fine sand is very peaceful. There is also a local bakery, which is always packed with people trying the freshly made Symian pies, biscuits and breads.