Greek Guide


Symi Car Hire Greece Greek Rentals


Car hire is not essential on Symi as the island is well served with reasonably priced excursion boats that will take you to all the main places of interest. The island is just 13 kilometres from north to south and eight kilometres from west to east. The best way to explore its beautiful forested interior is on foot but if you're not a keen walker you may decide to rent a car or moped for a day or two to break the back of the journey from the port town in the north to the southern end of Symi where the island's famous monastery is located.

You can hire a car or scooter from Symi Rent a Car on the harbourfront in Gialos rates depend on the season, type of vehicle and the length of time you hire it for. You'll pay top prices for vehicle hire between the beginning of July and mid September.

If you're planning to rent a moped check that your travel insurance covers you for motorbike accidents before you take to the island's rough tracks because many policies don't. And remember that wearing a helmet is compulsory in Greece if you're riding anything over 49 cc although you wouldn't think so to look at many of the local motorcyclists. In any event, it's a sensible precaution because there have been numerous cases of inexperienced foreigners ending up in hospital after coming a cropper on the hazardous roads of the Greek islands.

With the benefit of your own set of wheels you'll be able to visit the fishing village of Pedhi, two kilometres east of Horio, which is a popular seaside resort well served with sun beds, shades, toilets and eateries. Or head west along the coast to Nimborios Bay where there's a long pebbled beach, a taverna and other tourist facilities. A short distance inland from here you'll find a catacomb complex known locally as Dhodheka Spilia.

Head inland to explore the beautiful pine clad countryside and the many monasteries and chapels which pepper the island. The church of Moni Agiou Michail Roukounioti, three kilometres south west of the Gialos, was built by the Knights of St John in the 14th century on the ruins of an important 5th century monastery. It houses frescoes from the 14th century and a 15th century religious icon by the Cretan artist Stylianos Genis.

Symi's most famous monastery is Moni Taxiarchis Michail Panormitis above Panormitis Bay at the southern tip of the island. The original church was built around 450 AD on the site of an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo. The monastery's star attraction is its icon of the Archangel Michael (the island's patron saint after whom the church is named). It's supposed to have miraculous powers which explains the dazzling display of votive offerings from pilgrims who have sought help from St Michael. The monastery's museum is full of treasures and there are numerous prayers in bottles which allegedly floated into Panormitis Bay with donations from faithful sailors.

To the west of the monastery you can see a memorial to a former abbot, two monks and two teachers who were executed by the Nazis in 1944 for running a spy radio for the British.