31 Oct The Sweet and Hidden Flavors of Symi
Nikola K. brings to life the sweet and hidden flavors of Symi, Greece.
“Sunset shifted to darkness, Rhodes was far in the distance behind us and the blue tranquil sea turned into a dark chasm. Out of the abyss lights that can be seen in the distance is none other than the island of Symi. As the ferry approached Symi’s marina, simultaneously the clouds dispersed revealing the full moon. Numerous majestic yachts were parked in the marina, gallantly showcasing their might and pride. Naturally, on an island such as this, the night carried a hint of secrecy and as the gentlemen disembarked, they headed to Los where their story was about to unravel.”
Symi, which is part of the Greek Dodecanese island chain is a mountainous terrain that is dotted with small valleys, isolated coves, beaches and rocky cliffs. The island induces a look of wonder from ferry passengers due to the sight of the marina. It is enclosed in an amphitheater of miniature wine-colored houses rising on all sides. Like Rhodes, Symi has seen numerous rulers from the Byzantines, Knights of St. John, Ottoman Turks to the Italians who introduced the neoclassical architectural style. The island was restored back to Greece in 1948.
To get a full view of the island, it is worth hiking towards the upper levels of the town where you will realize why everyone on the island is physically fit. Residents who walk up and down these stairs on a daily basis have already completed their cardio exercise. Besides walking, the other main method of transport is scooters because of its miniature streets. Nonetheless, there are beaches and coves that can only be reached by boat such as Saint George’s beach. With only a large olive tree and the church of St. George, this private beach is ideal for those seeking serenity. The white round stone pebbles seem as if they were crafted by someone, while the translucent-like water is so clear that it looks as if the boats are floating on air.
Another beach worth visiting is Santa Marina which can be accessed by land. It is located on a small island situated in the bay and with a stony shoreline. With a taverna, restaurant and a number of sunbeds, this beach offers plenty to do. For someone who seeks refuge to reconcile their thoughts or a couple pursuing a romantic hideaway, they will find a plethora of options in Symi. It is gifted with several hidden gems which include Panormitis or down to Nimborio where the locals have their summer houses.
In terms of sweet flavors, this can be found in the frappe you drink, the opulent seafood caught and served fresh from the sea, and a glass of chilled ouzo that takes you to your table. It has an exquisite choice of restaurants ranging from seafood, Greek, Italian and fine dining. Whether you head to Manos for seafood specialties and traditional Greek plate smashing that will certainly tempt your inner desires or head for an Italian retreat with its own pizza oven at Bella Napoli, you will never run out of choices.
Of course, it wouldn’t be worth a visit without sitting down in Symi’s signature gastronomic restaurant, the chic and elegant Los Art Yacht Club. It caters mostly to the posh guests who arrive in Symi with their grandiose yachts. Los serves dishes such as sushi, oysters, and lobsters, accompanied by an extensive wine menu. The menu is a mix of local ingredients and fusion recipes whereas the kitchen manages to pull off the perfect twist with just the right amount of seasoning. When the sun sets, the restaurant transmutes into a nightclub that plays House and Greek hits until dawn.
A trip to Symi will take you on a historical and gastronomic journey that provides serene and unspoiled locations. Whether you seek historical monuments, private beaches or simply an escape from daily routines, Symi will not disappoint.
Interesting Facts About Symi:
- In Greek mythology, Symi is reputed to be the birthplace of the Charites and to take its name from the nymph Syme.
- Symi’s main industry is now tourism but in the 19th century, shipbuilding and sponge industries were substantial on the island.
- The island’s most famous monastery is the Panormitis Monastery and is visited by people from all over the world.
- The island has become a haven for tourists from abroad, especially British and Italians. It is now the permanent home of about 120 non-Greek residents, some 50 of whom are British.
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