I was determined to make at least one boat trip to another island and there were no shortage of options from Rhodes Town. There were some other famous locations within range, Kos and even some Turkish resorts, but in the end I decided on Symi. It’s a much smaller island, known for its attractive harbour, and I thought it would be a good contrast to what I’d already seen in Rhodes.

Symi harbour

Maybe it was the tides, the time of day or the phase of the moon, but the catamaran rocked about uncomfortably for ten minutes ((B continues to claim that it was far longer and far worse than this. I would just add that I was awake for the whole journey.)) before calming down to a relatively smooth ride for the rest of hour-long trip.

Symi houses

I could see that its reputation as a beautiful destination was well-founded as soon as I started the approach to the harbour. Clear turquoise water, coloured houses stretching all the way up the steep slopes.

What was less clear was how to get up the steep slopes — the best views are almost always from the top.

Symi harbour

I walked all the way around the harbour, partly taking in the sights, partly trying to figure out where the Kali Strata, the “magnificent stone staircase” mentioned in the guide-book started.

I failed.

Fortunately the waitress in a cafe that I stopped in for a coffee (it was still pretty early, at least by my standards, so I needed a caffeine boost) knew the way. All I can say is that I would never have found it without help. Even with pointers it was a bit hidden.

Donkeys, Symi

The route up was steep at times but the views down to the bay were always spectacular. The route was also shared by locals, both the two and four legged kind.

Symi coloured house

I followed signs to “the Symi Museum.” The route was not always obvious. After the wide steps near the harbour, the path gradually narrowed to the point where the entrance to someone’s house looked a lot like the path further up-hill.

Church in Symi

When I eventually got there, I sat outside the museum for a while deciding how much further to go. The shade was nice, but I thought that I should press on a little further. The route mentioned reaching a small church a little further on, but the directions had been rather deceptive so far. Some parts that read as though they should be miles apart were just a few steps, and others were far further than the writing suggested.

Coloured steps, Symi

As it turns out, the church wasn’t too far. It was pretty but I couldn’t get in to take a look around, not even inside the grounds. Instead I wandered around the outside wall and gradually started the walk back to the harbour. As attractive as it was up there, it was getting on for lunch time and away from the water there was little in the way of food or shops.

Symi houses

After lunch I went away from the water and then around the bay, past the clock tower where the catamaran had dropped me off.

The next bay was quieter. By the water were boats either there awaiting repairs or boats that were long past repair.

Symi harbour

After that bay things became even quieter. There was one small resort with sad looking umbrellas and not a lot else. The emptiness was glorious. The main part of Symi was hardly buzzing at this time of year but it was amazing to feel so isolated from the main part of town while being only a few minutes walk away.

Symi harbour

I sauntered back to the main harbour and got another bite to eat while waiting for the boat back to Rhodes.

Symi harbour

I left as the sun was low in the sky, leaving a fittingly pretty image of the place in mind. The sea was much smoother on the way back which was just as well since I had just eaten!

I would stay on Rhodes for the rest of the week but travel out of Rhodes Town.