Symi Travel News

Latest Travel News for Visitors to Symi by Andy Ward

Symi Visitor Travel blog

Same Day to Symi?

My colleagues at Symi Visitor Accommodation set me a challenge to see what flights existed that allowed people to travel to Symi from their home countries all in one day, and to return home all in one day. They were amazed to see how many options there were. These mostly use the Blue Star ferries from Rhodes – including the new Monday departure from Rhodes that will sail in July and August, a few that arrive especially early in the morning into Rhodes or leave especially late in the evening make use of Dodekanisos Seaways.
None use Sea Dreams -if they ever get their ferry fixed and try some evening sailings I’ll consider repeating the exercise.
I’ve stretched one point by including return flights that leave Rhodes before midnight but get you back home early the following morning.

So don’t ignore Symi because you need to spend a night in Rhodes – here are 23 different airports with same-day service in July and August, and the flight details you need to make a reservation.

Mid-June ferry update

The exciting news is that Blue Star will start calling at Symi three days a week from June 25th to September 4th. The change is accompanied by another ship swap, the Blue Star Paros will serve Symi during this period. Fans of the Blue Star Patmos needn’t worry, she’ll be back in September, but then the timetable returns to twice weekly through Symi.

The extra sailing will be from Piraeus on a Sunday morning at 8am, calling at Paros, Naxos, Astypalea, Kalymnos, Kos, Nissyros and Tilos and reaching Symi at 01:40 Monday morning, finally reaching Rhodes at 03:05 and continuing to Kastellorizo.

In the other direction she leaves Rhodes at 16:00 Monday, calling at Symi 20:40, then Tilos, Nissyros, Kos, Kalymnos, Astypalea, and Piraeus 10:20 Tuesday. The sailing starts at Kastellorizo, and does not stop at Naxos or Paros in this direction. Instead, on three dates, the Friday evening sailing from Symi will call at these two islands (18th and 25th August, 1st September).

Other ferry situations remain confused, as the “Symi” is still not in service. Friday looks like the earliest she will be seen on her namesake island again. Sea Dreams published timetable is still unworkable as printed, with no sign of any correction. Evening services from Rhodes are not bookable at all, though the 19:00 Sunday Rhodes to Symi appears in online timetables as operating on 25 June only, returning immediately to Rhodes, leaving Symi at 21:15. No sign yet that it will sail in July, though we hope it will.

The promised Datca-Symi daily service by Phoenix Marine/Dodecanese Flying Dolphins  is conspicuous by its absence, just like the previous two years when it was promised to begin from 1 June and didn’t. Whether it will ever start is debatable, it no longer even appears on their website.

The suggestion that the Symi II might reappear locally is wrong for this year as she has now completed her annual overhaul and entered service in the Sporades, and the Sea Star continues to be out of the water at the Spanopoulos shipyard, Salamina receiving a protracted overhaul.

Updated combined Symi to Rhodes and Kos timetable for summer

“Symi” ferry confusion and breakdown continues.

"Symi" on a day when she was in working order. The Nikolaos X is making a rare visit to the South side of the harbour.

Sea Dreams have now issued another new timetable which says that the Symi ferry is out of service until 23 June 18 June, along with a reprint of the “normal” timetable which says it starts on 23 June18 June. So is it running on 18 June 23 June or not? The booking system suggests it is not.

And the reprinted bit hasn’t corrected any of the mistakes. So a ferry leaves Rhodes at 19:00 on a Saturday night, arrives at Symi at 21:00 and stays over night. Mysteriously we find it next at Rhodes on Sunday morning. On a Monday morning a sailing departs Symi at 06:30 for Rhodes, but on Sundays the sailings finish up at Rhodes overnight. So my advice remains – make no arrangements involving travelling on the “Symi” until she returns to service, and the errors in the timetable are sorted out. You can’t book anything but the regular Rhodes-Symi-Panormitis-Rhodes sailings anyway, though these (from 19 June onwards) are bookable as day return, one way, or open return.

UPDATE 10/6/17 – the return to service date is now 24 June, according to their online booking system.

Whoops, spoke too soon

Having said that the “Symi” was about to undertake more trips, she promptly suffered a serious mechanical fault on Sunday,struggling back to Rhodes over an hour late and unable to make the advertised evening trip to Symi.

She’s now on the sicklist, and won’t be sailing again for at least a week. As a result other ferries are filling up fast. Book now to avoid disappointment, and remember that when the Panagia Skiadeni runs via Panormitis, the computer system won’t let you book from Rhodes to Yialos, it will say the boat is full. Agents and Dodekanisos Seaways offices know how to get round this for personal ticket buyers. If you’re booking on line, buy a ticket to Panormitis. Then when you visit the office/hut to collect the ticket before travel, tell them you’re actually going to Yialos. The two fares are the same, and they’ll issue a Panormitis-Yialos ticket for free so you can complete the journey.

Why is this necessary? The Greek national ferry ticket system can’t cope with a service that allows passengers to get off at an intermediate point, wander round for an hour or so, and then get back on the same ferry. As this appears to only happen at Panormitis in the entire country, nobody is willing to pay to rewrite the program just for a summer-only service.

Ferry rumours and reality.

First the exciting news:

Sea Dreams have published a new timetable showing the much needed Saturday evening sailing from Rhodes to Symi at 7pm/19:00, and a Sunday evening sailing also at 7pm/19:00, using the “Symi”. It’s far from clear how the ship gets back to Rhodes again as it appears to return both on Sunday evening and on Monday morning, and apparently not at all on either Saturday evening or Sunday morning. I suspect another timetable will appear shortly correcting this!

It is also not clear whether this is a one-month trial service or is intended to run until the end of September. Hopefully they’ll clear this up too.

Online booking hasn’t opened for these sailings yet, so don’t plan a visit to Symi round them being available until we get confirmation of exactly what is happening.

This does make it more likely that the Symi will continue to work her route all summer (see earlier rumours blogs).

On the other hand, the daily Symi-Datca sailings that were due to start on 1 June didn’t happen. Maybe something will appear later, but the online booking agency that the operator’s website refers enquiries to claims there are no sailings available all summer. I suspect that they are finding it hard to get permission for this service, though they have published pictures of their refurbished boat Panormitis Express, complete with seat covers in a fabric made specially for a UK train company…