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Rhodes to Symi Day Trip

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Booking a day trip from Rhodes to Symi should be high on your to-do list when visiting the Greek Islands. It’s an easy 1hr boat trip from the largest of the Dodecanese Islands, and offers an entirely different experience.

With its picturesque harbour, ashen hills, and breathtaking bays, the Greek island of Symi is a place of folklore, tradition, and authentic experiences. Unscarred by mass development, and lovingly restored, it’s the ideal island to experience a different side of Greece, away from the crowds.

Located near the popular holiday island of Rhodes, and with ferry connections to Kos, and Bodrum (Turkey), it’s a popular place for a day trip. But there are plenty of discreet hotels and B&Bs too should you get seduced into staying longer…

Symi Island Day Trip From Rhodes

Choosing a Boat Trip to Symi from Rhodes

There are several options available when you’re looking at taking a day trip to Symi from Rhodes. Most organzied tours are a full-day excursion, departing in the morning around 9am and returning around 6pm in the evening. And they generally include a stop at the Panormitis Monastery on the way.

As I was travelling in Rhodes with my 8-year-old son, I decided instead to book a high-speed boat cruise to Symi that included a swim at St George Bay, rather than a 1 hour stop at the Monastery.

This trip normally departs Rhodes at 11am and returns at 5pm. But in the high season, they sometimes run two tours a day – one starting at 9am and returning at 3pm, and the other departing at 3.15pm and returning at 8.30pm. However, the latter option doesn’t include a swim at St Georges Bay.

Alternatively, you can go the DIY route and book an independent ferry instead. However, for us, this would have meant longer transit times, and worked out roughly the same cost as booking a tour.

High Speed Boat Trip from Rhodes to Symi

We had originally booked an 11am tour from Rhodes, and as we were staying 45mins drive from the city, I thought this would afford us plenty of time to make our way to the meeting point at 10.30. Unfortunately, our original travel date was cancelled due to high winds, so we rebooked for the next day. Because many people ended up in the same position, they scheduled two tours and gave us the option to choose the earlier or later tour.

My son was super excited about the swimming at St Georges Bay (as was I), so we chose the earlier boat. This meant an early start from our accommodation in Charaki, but meant we had more free time to explore more of Rhodes’ beaches after returning from the tour at 3pm.

The guys at Rhodes Sea Lines helpfully pointed out where the free parking is near the port, so we plugged that into our GPS and set off into Rhodes city. There wasn’t a huge amount of traffic at 8am on a Thursday morning, so it was easy to navigate around the streets.

We arrived at the designated meeting point (easy to spot as all the tour companies have mini stands in front of their boats) right at 8.30am and it was already busy. But everything went smoothly, and we were on board (after a mandatory temperature check) 5 minutes later.

We managed to nab the last two seats upstairs, as I’d read the views were better. But in hindsight, you get a pretty good view from the lower level too, especially if you sit near the front (although be aware that there is no sunshade at the front). We set sail right on time at 9am.

The ride over was a little bumpier than I expected and very windy. But on a hot summer’s day, it wasn’t unpleasant. And the occasional big wave just added to the excitement!

The trip lasted around an hour, before we slowed to dock at the port in Symi.

Book your High-Speed Boat Tour to Symi Here

Other Options for a Day Trip to Symi

If you want a more leisurely trip to Symi, there are other boat options that take between 1.5-2hrs to arrive in Symi, and they typically include a stop at the Panormitis Monastery, and sometimes St Georges Bay. I’ve included a few options below.

Best Things to Do in Symi

We had three hours to explore Symi town after arriving at 10am. This may not seem like a lot, but the town is small, and you can cover a lot in that time. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Little Tourist Train

After walking down the port, towards the centre of Yialos, my son spotted a bright yellow and red tourist train, so we grabbed tickets for the next departure in 15mins time.

Trips take 45 mins and cost €8 for an adult and €4 for a child. They wind back through the port and around to the west of the town, stopping at a lookout point over Emporios, and the uninhabited island of Nimos. They run on the hour from 10am – 3pm, and then again from 6.30pm – 9.30pm.

The trip would have been fairly unimpressive, bar the beautiful views, if it weren’t for the hilarious driver! He entertained us all with his quirky choice of music blaring from the carriage speakers, his questionable dance moves, and his quintessential Greek-ness (yes, it’s a thing).


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