Symi Travel News

Latest Travel News for Visitors to Symi by Andy Ward

Symi Visitor Travel blog

A cat ate my spinach pie, and other stories.

As regular readers will perhaps have realised, I’ve been on Symi for a week now.

Here’s a selection of random pieces of news from the island.

First, having made my way up on the Symi Bus from Yialos to Chorio, armed with a brand new galvanised bucket (don’t ask!), I called in to The Olive Tree for a light lunch. My delight at having snaffled the last portion of an excellent spinach pie was shortlived as after a short toilet break I returned to my table to find a small tabby cat busy easting my slice of pie. For a carnivore it was making short work of the pie and accompanying salad. This just goes to prove that Symi’s cats will eat absolutely anything,and nothing is safe if there is a cat about.

On the subject of the Bus, it is still the usual yellow one, it still has the same €1.50 flat fare, and this week it runs hourly on the hour from Yialos to Pedi via Chorio between 08:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 21:00, coming back on the half hour between 08:30 to 14:30 and 16:30 to 21:30. As tourists become more plentiful the afternoon gap gets filled in, and the last bus gets progressively later. Don’t be misled by the smart new coach branded Lakis Travel – this is intended for group hires, excursions, and transfers,  but is part of the family business.

Other parts of the transport infrastructure are still in hibernation. There’s no sign of the road train yet, and only two of the taxiboats/waterbuses are in the water so far, neither actually in service. But Poseidon’s day trips round the island or to west coast bays with lunch included have just started, the Panormitis Bus is running normally, and so are the taxis.

It’s been a bumper few days for daytrippers from Rhodes, with Sea Dreams sending their King Saron catamaran on Wednesday alongside their regular “Symi”, and Panagia Skiadeni and Nikolaos X brought shiploads too. While “Symi” has Thursdays off at this time of year, King Saron and the others were all back today, and there to give a siren salute to the victorious Symi junior football team returning from Wednesday’s Dodecanese Cup Final win in Rhodes.

Cupwinners passing Pacho's Kafenion on 11/5/17

At the moment next week’s ferry strikes are expected to affect only Wednesday’s two calls by Blue Star, and everyone hopes Dodekanisos Seaways and Sea Dreams will sail as normal. More news when it becomes available.

Storms and tempests and back to calm

Starting on Monday and extending into Tuesday the Dodecanese islands were hit by very strong winds, so strong that no planes were able to use Rhodes Airport for over 8 hours on Tuesday. Ferries were cancelled or delayed – the first Dodekanisos Seaways sailing of the season from Samos to Rhodes ran 9 hours late, and only one ferry left Rhodes at all on Tuesday morning – the Panagia Skiadeni to Symi. As she rounded the headland to come into Yialos she was heeling over from the force of the wind. By late Tuesday afternoon things had quietened down and the return to Rhodes was much smoother.

This morning Blue Star Naxos made her first-ever visit to Symi in calm seas, and with very little fuss. Her sister ship Blue Star Paros is notorious for playing the tune Fur Elise while entering harbour, while the Blue Star Patmos specialises in frequent loudspeaker announcements. All the Naxos made was a single siren blast.

Blue Star Naxos 10 May 2017

High winds, few boats

Symi is being blasted by strong winds today, as is the whole Dodecanese area. For safety reasons hydrofoils and fast catamarans are being prevented from sailing on Coastguard instructions. Even the Greek Navy is sheltering in Yialos.

But the Panagia Skiadeni has set off from Rhodes for Symi as usual. The Symi isn’t scheduled for Tuesdays at this time of year, and the Nikolaos X’s captain seems to have decided that daytrippers to Symi will be so few that it isn’t worth sailing.

Ferry Strike

At the time of writing,there is a ferry strike scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday 9th and 10th May 2017. This is unlikely to affect Dodekanisos Seaways or Sea Dreams, but might well have an impact on Blue Star sailings on both days.

Correction – should be 16th and 17th April 2017, after re-checking with another source.

Ooh, this is embarrassing. Looks like the original source was right all the time, or there are two separate two-day strikes.

There is an additional Blue Star sailing from Symi to Rhodes today, with a return sailing tomorrow afternoon.

Ferries seem to be operating normally today (9 May), including out of Piraeus where strikes normally take effect first.

However, Blue Star have added a line on their website stating that the sailings from Piraeus to Rhodes on 16 May and from Rhodes to Piraeus on 17 May won’t happen. This means no 08:15 from Symi to Rhodes or 15:00 from Rhodes to Symi on Wednesday 17 May.

Normally Dodekanisos Seaways and Sea Dreams are unaffected by these strikes.

Ferry booking

Blue Star Patmos

Now there’s absolutely no need to book this ship in advance if you’re travelling between Rhodes and Symi or vice versa – she holds 2000 people, and at this point in her journey she’s never ever full.
But events this week show that it will be a good idea to book the high speed catamarans Dodekanisos Pride and Dodekanisos Express in advance. On Sunday intending passengers had to be turned away in Rhodes once all tickets had been sold. Now nobody going to Symi was stranded because the Panagia Skiadeni took them 90 minutes later.
So the official recommendation of this blog and of Symi Visitor Accommodation generally, is to book the catamarans on line at or in person at a Dodekanisos Seaways appointed agent such as Symi Tours. A week before sailing day should be fine. If you book online you’ll receive a booking confirmation which is exchanged for the real tickets at the ticket offices at Kolonna (Rhodes) or Symi Clock Tower shortly before departure, or at any appointed agent.