Climbing calf-crunching, knee-knobbling Kali Strata, the broad stair path that sets off from the alleyways behind the harbour, will bring you in a mere 500-or-so steps to the hilltop village of Horio. En route you’ll pass a bewitching succession of majestic villas built for long-gone Symi sea captains – some are utterly dilapidated, others restored to splendour.

Constructed to deter marauding pirates, Horio is an absolute warren of a place. All its tavernas and bars, though, are clustered around the top of Kali Strata. Most of the houses beyond are in ruins, and so is the Knights of St John Kastro at the very top, thanks to an explosion of German munitions during WWII. The island’s Archaeological Museum is up here, too.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Symi attractions

1. Archaeological Museum

0.24 MILES

Reopened after years of restoration, this compact museum contains some fabulous archaeological and folkloric finds, and is worth checking out.

2. Moni Taxiarhou Mihail Panormiti

4.67 MILES

Near Symi’s southern tip, beyond the scented pine forests of the high interior, spectacular Panormitis Bay is home to this large monastery. Monasteries…

3. Ancient Kamiros

19.69 MILES

Cradled in a natural hillside amphitheatre 1km up from the sea, the remarkably complete ruins of ancient Kamiros stand 34km southwest of Rhodes Town…

4. Farma of Rhodes Petting Zoo

21.39 MILES

This little farm, a couple of kilometres north of the Valley of the Butterflies, is home to some unusual residents, most notably ostriches, which respond…

5. Valley of the Butterflies

22.52 MILES

The so-called Valley of the Butterflies, 7km up from the west coast, and 32km southwest of Rhodes Town, is a major day-trip destination for package…

6. Ancient Ialysos

22.55 MILES

Ancient Ialysos was one of three cities that joined to create the new city of Rhodes in 408 BC. Its flat hilltop site, 12km southwest of Rhodes Town, can…

7. Rhodes Aquarium

23.8 MILES

Standing splendidly alone at the island’s northernmost tip, the New Town’s modest aquarium is housed in a 1930s’ art deco hydro-biological research…

8. Modern Greek Art Museum

23.9 MILES

The main gallery of the four-part Modern Greek Art Museum, near the New Town’s northern tip, holds paintings, engravings and sculptures by some of Greece…