Getting to Symi from Rhodes
How to get to Symi from Rhodes
If you have not been to Symi before but are planning a holiday, here are our tips to help you find your way.
Traveling from Rhodes to Symi: If you are travelling with a holiday company where transfers are arranged, then you should have no problems. But if you are coming independently, as many more people are these days, or if for some reason you lose your way and need to get yourself across to Symi, then maybe this page will help. Feel free to print it and bring it with you.
But beware! Boat times change so the advice is always to check before you leave.
Once through and outside into the dazzling sunshine, or night time heat, of Rhodes island, you have two options:
Rhodes airport Bus
The Bus will take you into Rhodes New Town, or sometimes simply called Rhodes Town, and currently costs only a couple of Euros. The bus stops outside airport arrivals so simply look for the bus stop. If arriving after midnight and before six in the morning though, you may find the bus has stopped running.
Busses to the airport start at six in the morning and run until 23.00. The first one leaves the airport at 5.50 am, and the last at 23.40
To get to the airport you can catch the bus at the west side bus station (Averof Street). Click here for the bus timetable. You are looking for the bus that runs between Paradissi – Rhodes. [Also on that page, further dawn, you will see a taxi price-list. I’d take no notice of that. This year, 2010, the fare from the Airport to Rhodes Town was around €22.00 depending on luggage etc.]
Ask the driver to tell you when you reach Mandraki, the main terminus is just up from Mandraki, outside the old market area. You will know when you get there as most everyone will get off.
From there the road slopes down towards the seafront and Mandraki is directly opposite you. Mandraki is the name of this harbour and it is from here that the day trip boats depart. (See boats in a moment.)
You can also catch the bus back to the airport from this same place. Depending on the time of day you should leave yourself a good hour for the journey – it is often much shorter but you never know…
Directly outside the arrivals area you should see a taxi rank, it is over the road, but still inside the airport grounds. At busy times there may be a queue but this usually goes down quickly. There should also be someone directing you to the next available taxi.
Don’t be surprised if someone else gets in your cab, this is quite common. And don’t worry if the driver goes in a strange direction as he may be dropping someone else off first. But if you are pushed for time, tell him.
If you are heading straight for the boats then ask for the appropriate harbour and tell the driver that you are heading for Symi; he will probably know, or find out, which boat you need.
Currently (2010) the fare from the Airport to Kolona harbour, near Mandraki, is around €22.00 – the fare should be stated on a board before you get in. If you have any trouble with over-charging etc. (unlikely, we hope) you should take the taxi number (it should be in the windscreen, top right as you look out), or the registration number of the car. Report the incident to the tourist police (on Rhodes. Symi doesn’t have tourist police as such.)
Forget it. It is a very long way to walk.
Symi ferries and boat crossings
The only way to get to Symi is by boat, or by swimming or private helicopter etc. So you will need to take a ferry. At the moment (2010) there are several choices, but things do change in the winter.
We advise that you check out the main ferry companies that operate services to Symi, and check them out just before you leave home.
ANES is the Symi island ferry company, the shareholders are islanders. They have two boats operating at the moment the Proteus and The Symi II. Their website is in Greek and English. The crossing time for both of these is around one hour and 45 minutes, cars can be taken, but book in advance. There is a ticket office at the Commercial harbour, where these bigger boats usually leave from. These ANES ferries also visit other islands such as Kos and Kalymnos.
Dodecanese Seaways is the other main ferry line between Rhodes and Symi (and other islands), and they operate two high speed catamarans out of Kolonoa harbour, the Dodekanisos Express and the Dodekanisos Pride. Check their schedule here.
Crossing times are quicker, and tickets more expensive, than ANES, and the journey should only take around 45 minutes. Make sure you either book online first, or arrive early for a ticket during high season. You can take vehicles but space is limited and you definitely need to check vehicle space availability in advance at any time of year.
Rhodes to Symi Day Trip Boats
Other boats come to Symi for day trips, in the summer, and you can currently get a one-way ticket on these. Look out for the Symi day trip boats as you walk along Mandraki quayside. (Face the sea and head to the right, they are usually up that end.)
There is also a larger ferry that has a twice-a-week run from Piraeus to Rhodes calling in to Symi in both directions on a Wednesday and a Saturday. My advice is to contact a travel agent such as Visa Travel in Rhodes, or Plaza Travel in Rhodes (click the travel agents info tab and you will see an email address.) At both these agencies the staff speak English.
On Symi: Getting to your accommodation
Once you are on Symi, where next?
If you haven’t got anyone to meet you then you have the option of walking to your accommodation. This is easier if you are staying in Yialos, the main harbour area.
Or you can take a taxi. The Symi taxis are situated on the south side of the harbour. If your boat arrives at the clock tower you will have to walk around the harbour to find them, and the bus.
The bus stop is also on the south side of the harbour and has a shelter, so you won’t miss it. The bus costs €1.00 wherever you go, and taxis have their own tariffs. The bus leaves on the hour from Yialos, goes to Horio (watch out of the right hand windows for a spectacular view), and then down to Pedi and back, returning to Yialos at around a quarter to. Check the timetables or ask the driver for first and last bus times.
And once you are settled in…
Come and visit Symi Dream on the Kali Strata, near the top, and tell us if this guide was any good at all, or if it was out of date, misleading etc.
Any more questions about getting from Rhodes to Symi? Email us and we will be happy to help if we can.