The Monastery of the Archangel Michael is at Panormitis, and is perhaps the island's most famous sight. The original church of St. Michael was built around 450 AD on the site of an ancient temple to Apollo. It contains a splendid icon of the Archangel and has two interesting museum sections filled with maritime artefacts, as Saint Michael is the patron saint of sailors. The Monastery and Church is a great pilgrimage site. What you see today is the result of restoration and new buildings dating from the 18th century. There is a taverna here, and accommodation of a very simple kind is available for anyone wishing to stay overnight.Panormitis home to about 30 local people who are employed by the Monastery.
Chatziagapitos House, a restored 18th century mansion with fine wall paintings, is open during museum hours. There are many churches in Chorio, some with interesting pebble mosaic work. Churches are usually locked unless there is a name day or other festivity in progress. Chorio is the oldest inhabited area with many narrow lanes and picturesque houses, dominated by the Castle of the Knights of St. John. Originally a Byzantine fortress built on the remains of an earlier fortification, the Knights added a watch tower from which they were able to signal to their main base on the island of Rhodes.
Museums & Memorials
Towards the bridge there is a replica of the Lindos ship with a war memorial. The Nautical Museum is at the back of the Town Square and is easily identifiable by the canons outside. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 14.00. St. John's Church has an interesting burial ground as well as a fine, recently restored pebble mosaic courtyard. This also one of the Festival venues, as is the nearby Petrides School.
The Old Pharmacy
Amongst the buildings lining the Kali Strata, the Old Pharmacy is now used as a doctor's surgery. It has been restored and houses an interesting collection of French medicine jars and other medical paraphernalia. Open to visitors on weekday mornings, during surgery hours. Like the other buildings, it is built in the predominant Neo-Classical style.
There are quite a number of small islets around Symi, such as Nimos, which is the largest one, as well as Sesklia, Artikonisi, Koulountro, Troubeto, Chondros, Plati, Oxia, Diabates and Marmaras. All these small islands can be visited with local caique's excursions or small boats.
The four-storey mansion of the Chatziagapitos family is next to the museum of Symi and is a wonderfully characteristic example of Symiot architecture. It has an impressive collection of wall paintings with themes from the world of animals and plants. It also has the symbols of the four evangelists above its doors, although not all in good condition.
The Chatziagapitos Mansion is also one of the venues for the events of the annual Symi Festival of Culture that includes classical music concerts, dance, theatre, cinema, and literature events.
The mountain of Disalona, at St Georges, is well known for its unique quarried rock face. People travel from all around the world to climb it. Access is only by taxi boat.
The island of Symi is rocky and barren in most areas but dotted around the island are approximately 465 chapels - more even than Mykonos that boasts one chapel for every day of the year! Some are only accessible by boat or by walking, and on the whole they are closed, only opening for their name-day.
Churches on Symi
There are also many hidden churches and monasteries on Symi, some with great views and picturesque interiors, unfortunately not all are easily accessed.
If you want to learn about the history and customs of Symi then it's worth visiting the Museum of Archaeology and Folklore which is located in a mansion in the parish of Lieni in Chorio. The museum has exhibits of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine work as well as traditional artefacts. Just follow the blue arrow markers to find it
In former times when wheat and corn were still grown albeit on a small scale in Symi, there were windmills. No longer required, they still stand, ruined but strangely beautiful.From the windmills, located in the east, there is a fantastic view of Yialos harbour. The view of the windmills from the top of Chorio is also an amazing sight.