When you tell people you are going to Symi, you get one of two reactions. Either bafflement – ‘Where?” – or instant recognition and excited retellings of memories from joyous holidays there. Before I went to Symi this year, I would have been firmly in the first camp. After a week there this summer, I’m now in the latter and will be fiercely envious of anyone who announces a trip there. Symi is a tiny Greek island, a two hour ferry ride from Rhodes and worth every bit of the journey.
After first spying it on Rosie Londoner’s blog, my sister and I knew our dream holiday destination had been found. Quiet and scenic, not requiring a car, beautiful beaches, affordable yet unspoilt. It ticks all these boxes and so many more. The island is as postcard perfect as you could imagine. In contrast to the white and blue architecture classically associated with Greek islands such as Santorini and Mykonos, the houses of Symi much more closely resemble the towns dotting the Italian coastline such as Portofino – all apricot and peach toned villas, climbing high up the hills.
A week in Symi follows a pretty blissful pattern: hop on a morning boat to a gorgeously scenic beach to spend the day basking in sunshine and swimming in warm turquoise sea. In the late afternoon, return to Symi for an evening stroll around the harbour, peeking into the super yachts moored up for the night as you choose which charming taverna to watch the sunset from.Whilst Symi has certainly skyrocketed to the top of my ‘favourite places in the world’ list (joining New York, Venice and Tresco), Nanou Beach could easily hold a spot of its own. After a twenty minute little boat trip from Symi (€10 return, on charming small boats run by super friendly locals, leaving on the hour every in the morning and arriving to take you back every hour in the afternoon), you arrive at the jaw dropping destination. 300ft cliffs drop down to the small bay of a pebbly beach and crystal clear waters. There are two rows of sun loungers (a mere €2 a day) but all are spaced well apart, so you don’t feel like you are on top of the next people along. If you get the 10am boat from Symi (the first boat of the day) the hour before the next boat arrives feels like you have the beach to yourself. Even in peak August, I had the sea to myself several times a day. The occasional yacht pulls up and moors alongside the cliffs, providing good people watching whilst leaving your sun lounger view entirely unspoilt.By the last day of my holiday, returning to Nanou for the second time, I was so zen I didn’t even pick up my Kindle the whole day. I was the ultimate example of holiday relaxation: daydreaming on the sun-lounger, breaking this up with long swims in the sea (read: floating about on my noodle) and the occasional snack of freshly baked spanakopita bought from the bakery that morning. It was a wrench to get back on the last boat of the day and head back to Symi.