Where to stay in Symi – Best areas, hotels & Airbnb
You will be literally open mouth as you approach the port area of Symi island. It is so beautiful and unique with those neoclassical mansions!
Symi is so popular with day trippers from Rhodes, Kos and other nearby places from the Dodecanese, but honestly, you should really spend a few nights to genuinely appreciate the beauty of this island.
Contrary to the popular thinking, Symi is not such a small island, it is actually the perfect size for a few days’ stay, where you can discover idyllic beaches, fantastic trekking and amazing food.
With plenty of options, of course, comes the uncertainty of decisions as to where to stay in Symi, what can be the best area to spend the holiday.
In this guide, I will go through the 3 best towns to stay in Symi, highlighting the pros and cons of each one, with the help of a handy map and an easy to absorb comparative table .
But let’s dive into it.
Best areas to stay in Symi – In a nutshell
I have listed in the table below the 3 major areas where you can book your stay in Symi
For each destination I have listed my favourite hotel/Airbnb as well as a ranking on the main elements of the areas to quickly understand how the island is organised (1 being the lowest and 5 the highest value)
|Best for||Avg. Cost||Suggested|
The island does not have any super cheap hotels but, most definitely, lots of amazing value for money accommodation options.
It is hard to say where are the borders between Yalos (the port area) and Chora (the old capital town). And Pedi is not far off either and it is well connected by an hourly bus.
Basically, everything is within walking distance, although this may include many stairs in your walk.
Interestingly enough, although being so close to each other, the three areas have their own character, with different advantages and drawbacks
From any of these 3 destinations, you can easily experience the island with so many places to see and things to do.
- 🌎 Best area to stay in Symi for an overall experience 🏩 1900 Hotel is the recommended accommodation in this area
- 👍 Pros: Plenty of restaurants and bars, nice boutique beach, shopping possibility, characteristic
- 👎 Cons: busy during the day, it may be noisy in a few streets
- 🍷 Best restaurants and bars: Trata-Trawler Restaurant, Taverna Haris, Yachta
- 🧛♂️ Nightlife: Harani Bar, Axinos Bar
Yalos (also written as Gialos) is the main Symi town where most of the ferries arrive (there are a few also going to the isolated Panormitis, famous for its monastery, in the south of the island)
This is where all the day trippers arrive from Kos, Rhodes and other nearby islands.
For this reason, Yalos can be very busy in summer, but it gets much quieter once the day trippers leave, in the late afternoon.
Yalos (also known as Symi Town) is the best place to stay in Symi for the great selection of restaurants facing the water, the perfect spot for dinner.
You can also find a few bars for a late drink, although far from any kind of nightlife.
The northern side of Yalos (north of the clock tower) is nested in a small bay, quieter and closer to the lovely boutique Sarah Beach (right next to the Nireus Hotel)
The southern side develops around the port/marina area, occupying the biggest portion of the natural bay.
This is where you will find most of the restaurants and shopping. Washing machines are also available at the local laundry, next to the bridge.
Yalos is where most of the day trippers venture around, making this area quite busy during the day, even too busy in the peak season. But again, they all disappear in the late afternoon.
Yalos is surely a great place to stay on a first time visit of the island as it gives a good mix of characteristic town, lovely restaurants and bars and easy access to the beach (either by foot, bus or with small boats).
Keep walking south and it becomes suddenly and quickly very hilly with long stairs that will take you up to Chora, the old capital, one of the most beautiful places to experience in Symi.
Here below I have short listed 4 great accommodations, including a characteristic 3 bedroom villa that is ideal for families or a group of friends
This harbour-front property has been renovated to provide an authentic Symi experience in a characteristic 19th century neoclassical mansion.
The hosts have put plenty of attention to details – within the striking decor that hits you the moment you walk through the front doors – from the aesthetics to the furnishings.
The charming rooms are spacious and have air conditioning, and come with free Wi-Fi. Take some moments to soak in the sun from the terrace while there.
The 1900 Hotel is one of the most popular places in Symi for a boutique and memorable stay.
Here you get exceptional sea views in an air-conditioned studio with ample space for your comfort. The views are particularly great from the balcony.
It comes with its fully equipped kitchen, including a fridge, oven, filter coffee maker and even breakfast ingredients.
Entertainment units here include the likes of a flat-screen TV and free WiFi too. Toiletries have been provided in the bathroom.
The friendly nature of the hosts is the icing on the cake.
The setting of this traditional holiday home gives you a comfortable stay with its decorated interiors, terrific views from the balcony, the terrace where you can relax in the sun, and even have lunch there.
The kitchen is well equipped, and there are additional elements like herbs provided, as well as essentials like salt, sugar and pepper.
The hosts are very welcoming, and the location at the harbour – while still being part of the local neighbourhood- makes it a convenient spot to check into
This villa is part of a neoclassical building with origins in the 1930s, and comes with superb sea views, which you are going to fully enjoy from the balcony.
It’s a spacious property, with 3 bedrooms (with standard and large double bed), 2 bathrooms, and a fully stocked kitchen – making it ideal for families and groups of friends travelling to this area.
The Food Market right next to the door is a convenient plus for getting supplies for your breakfast and meals too, if you are planning to cook.
There’s free Wi-Fi within the property.
Another special mention goes to The Old Markets, located in the formal old markets place of Symi. It is a luxurious hotel, providing an outstanding boutique experience, with a beautiful sun terrace overlooking the bay.
- 🌎 Best area to stay in Symi for a traditional quiet stay 🏩 Aerino Villa is the recommended accommodation in this area
- 👍 Pros: Lovely traditional town with superb new-classical buildings, very quiet
- 👎 Cons: Steep, get prepared to many steps
- 🍷 Best restaurants and bars: Kali Strata and Secret Gardens
- 🧛♂️ Nightlife: Lefteris Kafeneon (but do not expect that much)
Chorio is the old capital of the island, up in the hill, reachable with either a bus or through the many stairs from Yalos.
Chorio is the Greek word for Village, meanwhile Hora is typically used on the Greek island for the main town of the island.
That is why you may find this town named in two different ways (we are going to the village – Chorio-, or to the main town -Hora, the historical main town)
Chorio is very quiet and a world away from Yalos.
Probably the steep stairs from the port area have been discouraging most of the travellers venturing on this corner of the beautiful island of Symi.
Even in the summer season, you will be surprised by the lack of travellers around.
There are a few restaurants, but definitely far from the selection you get in Yalos. Bars are rare and spread apart.
Kali Strata is probably my favourite restaurant on the island, with its amazing food (the black risotto is to die for!) and sweet service
The view over the Gialos is spectacular, to say the least.
Kali Strata has only one issue. It is more than often full, so book well in advance.
The Secret Garden is another lovely restaurant/mezedopolio that you should not miss, with fantastic food, usually in shared platters (mezedes), set in a hidden backyard.
Walking in Hora is like walking in an open-air museum, with unique typical island houses and secluded lanes and squares to get lost (the best way to explore this town, by the way).
Chorio is a good place to stay if you are planning to relax and completely disconnect from any form of a busy life.
You will be also walking distance to the lovely Pedi Beach, which is great if you are planning for some sunbathing and swimming in the beautiful turquoise sea water.
Just keep in mind that if you are not too keen on walking up and down the stairs of Chora, then Yalos is a better proposition.
Here below are three great accommodation options.
Soak in the sea views from this studio, take some sunny lunches on the terrace, enjoy the proximity to local attractions, as well as ample space for the budget.
It’s a 1-bedroom unit that comes with free WiFI, a dining area, and kitchenette stocked with the equipment needed to prepare your meals during your stay.
The host provides free towels and bed linen to use while here.
Here you get a relaxing stay in an accommodation with an almost 360 degree spectacular view of the port, the town and the mountains, right from the private balconies.
The apartment has been stylishly furnished, and the host – Stella – is so lovely, right to a few details like offering a welcome basket and giving you tips on the local scene. She can even pick you up at the port if needed.
There’s a grocery store just around the block, as well as a few restaurant options around. The kitchen itself is well stocked, including foods and drinks in the fridge, as well as fresh fruit awaiting you.
The villa is a brisk walk to the beach and just 100m from the port.
You get to enjoy views of the town and Aegean Sea as you lounge on the terrace, and the property itself comes with a spacious entrance hall, seating area, fully stocked kitchen and 2 bathrooms – making it suitable for families.
You’ll have your own entrance, adding to the privacy of the setting.
The aircon keeps the premises in cool condition throughout your stay. The washing machine is available as well.
Wondering how long to stay in Symi?
- 🌎 Best area to stay in Symi for a chilled-out beach time 🏩 Villa Sylvia is the recommended accommodation in this area
- 👍 Pros: best beach on the island with available accommodation, ultra quiet
- 👎 Cons: far from the port (20 mins by bus) and Chora (10 minutes by bus)
- 🍷 Best restaurants and bars: Katsaras Restaurant, Taverna Tolis and Kamares Coffee
- 🧛♂️ Nightlife: none
Pedi is a small village that has developed along the lovely Pedi Beach.
Pedi is the best place to stay in Symi if you want to be next to the water, if you want to wake up and go for a swim.
If Chorio is quiet, then Pedi is beyond quiet, so relaxing and chilled-out.
There are only a couple of restaurants, a lovely cafe with a tasty menu (more of a modern menu, though Greek inspired) and a small private beach section organised with sun beds.
For everything else, you would have to take the hourly bus back to Yalos.
Here below is a short selection of accommodations by the beach, with the Villa Sylvia literally on the beach, one of the most characteristic stays in the Greek islands.
All the rooms at the Pedi Beach offer sea or mountain views. The property is built on a sheltered cove and is conveniently located between the Agia Marina and the Agios Nikolaos beaches.
You get a buffet for breakfast and dinner at the hotel’s tavern that remains open all day.
The comfortable rooms come with satellite TV, and optimal air conditioning for the summer, and also a minibar.
There is room Wi-Fi access, but at a fee. There is free private parking and the daily maid services ensure that the rooms are kept in good condition.
The terrace here has an amazing sea view, with the rest of the property providing a relaxing experience, from the spacious accommodation to the patio that you can lounge on, and you also get balcony access.
For your indoor entertainment, you get a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. The kitchenette has the equipment needed for you to prepare your meals.
The host is super nice, even gifting guests with breakfast supplies, including some home-made cookies.
The bus-stop is right next to the house, which is so handy if you do not have a rented car.
It is one of the famous small hotels of Symi, family-run with plenty of character.
A beachfront villa with undisrupted sea views and its own private beach area – that’s what you get with this accommodation.
The 2-bed, 2-bath villa has the capacity of hosting families or groups of friends, and also features a spacious living room.
The bedroom view is particularly stunning – nothing beats opening the shutters and watching the sea waves from the comfort of your bed.
A continental or buffet breakfast awaits you each morning. There’s a sun terrace for you to lounge back on, as well as barbeque for your meat cravings.
The villa’s own kitchen has all the cooking equipment you need. You can even bring your furry friend along on your trip to this pet-friendly accommodation.