How to Get from Rhodes to Symi in 2024: Your Local’s Guide

When you are looking at how to get from Rhodes to Symi Island in Greece, you will note that you have to travel by boat. There is no airport on the little island, and there are just a limited number of ferry connections that connect Symi with Rhodes, Kos, and Tilos. 

Fortunately, Symi is becoming an increasingly popular day trip destination from Rhodes and of course, people live on the island all year round. There are daily departures from Rhodes to Symi in each direction, with multiple departures per day during the peak summer months. In this guide, written by a local, we will look at how to get from Rhodes to Symi in 2024 and beyond, where to buy tickets, and which options are the best ones. 

Despite the fact that Symi is only accessible by sea, it is only 20 nautical miles (38km) from Rhodes. The journey here is a quick, painless, and enjoyable one! 

How to Get From Rhodes to Symi in 2024 

Rhodes to Symi

There are three different ways that you can choose to travel. You can take the commercial ferry from Rhodes port, you can do an organised Rhodes day trip while driving in Rhodes, or you can organise a private water taxi. 

The commercial ferry is the most common and affordable option but if you are short on time, you might prefer to do an organised day tour. It all comes down to personal preference. 

In this guide, we will look at each of the different options so that you can determine which is the best for you. 

Take the commercial ferry from Rhodes to Symi

Rhodes to Symi

Ferries from Rhodes to Symi run daily. During the summer tourist season (May to September), they run multiple times a day – often as frequently as 11 times a day. The journey takes between 50 and 80 minutes depending on the specific service you travel on. 

Ferries are subject to sudden, last-minute schedule changes. So, it is a good idea to start by checking Ferryscanner to check all of the scheduled departure times for your intended travel date. 

The first ferries depart for Symi at around 08:00 am and the last ones depart around 18:00 pm. Numerous ferry companies service this route including Dodekanisos Seaways, Sea Dreams, Sebeco Lines, and Saos Anes ferries. 

Ferry tickets range in price from around €7.40 (Saos Anes ferries) to €29.00 (Dodekanisos Seaways) depending on the specific time you are travelling and the company you are travelling with. It is advisable to book your tickets online in advance rather than at the port. 

Some specific boats do sell out, especially during the summer. It is better to know that everything is booked and taken care of than to arrive at the port ticket office and be disappointed, or be caught in a long queue. 

Purchasing Rhodes to Symi ferry tickets 

Following the pandemic, a lot of Greek ferry companies now offer e-tickets. This means that when you purchase your ferry ticket, through Ferryscanner or elsewhere, you will be sent an email confirmation along with a PDF containing your ticket. 

You don’t need to print this. You just need to download it to your phone and then present it when boarding the ferry for the QR code to be scanned. 

(This is worth noting as up until a couple of years ago, E-tickets were not a thing and you always had to go to the respective ports to physically collect your tickets). Not every ferry company offers E-tickets though. 

If your chosen ferry company does (Sebeco Lines and Saos Ferries do), you will get your ticket via email immediately after booking. 

Arriving at the Rhodes Ferry port 

When you purchase your Rhodes to Symi ferry ticket, you will be advised to arrive at Rhodes port an hour before departure. It is a good idea to make sure that you do that as ferries often start boarding 45 minutes before departure.

If you arrive at the port just in time for your boat to leave, you may find that there are no seats left! On some of the smaller ferries, people are often left standing. 

Do also double-check which port in Rhodes your ferry departs from as there are two separate embarkation points for ferries to Symi. Sebeco Lines services and Dodekanisos Seaways ferries depart from the smaller Kolona Harbor. 

Other ferries depart from the larger Touristic Harbor and Cruise Terminal near the French Harbor. The two ports are essentially right next to each other but you want to make sure you are headed to the right one. 

Services onboard the Rhodes to Symi ferry

Some of the larger ferries that operate in the Dodecanese islands have a bathroom onboard as well as a little cafe serving Greek coffee, snacks, and refreshments. Many of the smaller ones do not. 

Pack plenty of water and snacks for your journey. If you want to sit on the open top of the ferry, particularly at the back, it is even more important to make sure you get to the port an hour before the departure time as these are the seats that go first. 

If you sit here, make sure that you bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. The heat can be intense and there is no shade or escape from it on the upper decks. 

Taking the Symi to Rhodes ferry 

The Symi to Rhodes ferry runs just as frequently as the ferry in the opposite direction. Again, you can use Ferryscanner to check the latest timetables and purchase tickets. 

Symi port sits in a sort of crescent shape. The ferries to Rhodes dock at the right-hand side of the port. 

It is still recommended that you get to the port 45 minutes to an hour before your departure time to head back to Rhodes. There is no specific port area/seating while you wait as Ano Symi harbour is small. 

Instead, you can sit in one of the little tavernas and coffee places overlooking the water as you wait. You will be able to see your ferry from a distance as it turns into the bay.

Take an organised day trip from Rhodes to Symi

Rhodes to Symi

If you are only going to be visiting Symi as a day trip from Rhodes, you can absolutely organise everything independently by taking a boat in the morning and then back in the evening. However, you may find that with the short amount of time you have, you can only really spend your day wandering around the main port area in Ano Symi. 

This place is absolutely beautiful but it’s also the most touristic part of the island and during the day, it is perpetually crowded with lots of other day trippers. Since public transport on the island is a little awkward, if you only have a day on Symi, it is not really easy or feasible to try and get to other beaches and villages with a limited amount of time

That’s why organised Symi day trips can be a great option if you are short on time. Numerous reputable tour companies operate in Rhodes and the wider Dodecanese. 

Your guide will meet you at the port, take you across to beautiful Symi, and give you some time to explore the other island highlights. For example, the monastery at Panormitis on the opposite side of the island, St George’s Bay, and the village of Pedi. 

You can also do tours that combine a trip to Symi with some of the smaller, lesser-known islands in the area. 

Recommended Symi day trips

A selection of reputable Symi day trip tour options is detailed below for your consideration. Book your place online in advance to avoid disappointment!

Organise a private water taxi from Rhodes to Symi 

Rhodes to Symi

If you want to travel from Rhodes to Symi in absolute comfort and luxury, you can organise a private water transfer rather than take a commercial ferry. If there are a few of you, the price doesn’t work out too badly. 

There are a number of different local companies that offer this service using different vessels. Some offer transfers by yacht, others by private luxury catamaran. 

It is a good idea to shop around as the prices can vary quite substantially. When you arrive in Rhodes, you will also notice that there are a lot of vendors close to the seafront, particularly next to Mandraki Port and the Church of the Annunciation of the Theotokos. 

Be prepared to negotiate and discuss prices with a few vendors if you want to orgnaise a private crossing. 

FAQs about travelling from Rhodes to Symi in 2024 

How to get from Rhodes to Symi in 2023
How to get from Rhodes to Symi in 2024

Do you have any further questions about how to get from Rhodes to Symi in 2024, or doing a Symi day trip? The answers to some frequently asked questions on the topic are detailed below for your consideration. 

Hopefully, you will find the information you are looking for there. If not, please do not hesitate to reach out! 

Is it worth visiting Symi from Rhodes?

It is well worth visiting the Greek island of Symi from Rhodes, even if you only have a day to spare to do so. Peaceful little Symi makes a nice change of pace from the crowded, touristic atmosphere of Rhodes. 

The colourful buildings that cascade down the hilltops in the harbour, along with the labyrinth-like network of narrow cobbled streets are a photographer’s dream. It is worth spending at least one night here if your schedule allows. 

After 3-4 pm, most of the tourists and daytrippers head back to Rhodes. The atmosphere becomes altogether more peaceful and you feel like a character in a storybook sitting in the little quaint tavernas by the sea sipping a freddo cappuccino or tucking into traditional Greek fare while the waves lap against the shore. 

Where do I get the ferry to Symi? 

From Rhodes, there are two ports that service the ferry route from Rhodes to the small island of Symi. One is Kolona Harbour, serviced by Sebeco Lines and Dodekanisos Seaways. 

The other is the main cruise port, close to the French tower. It is easy to walk to the port from most hotels/areas in Rhodes’ medieval city and the new town but you can also get a taxi here for just a couple of euros.

Final thoughts on travelling on the Rhodes Symi route in 2024

Rhodes to Symi: Agios Nikolaos beach
Agios Nikolaos beach, Symi

The ferry from Rhodes to Symi is a pleasant and enjoyable direct route – even if you are not a big fan of boats. The journey doesn’t take long at all (around an hour) and the scenery en route (past the southern coast of Turkey and Nimos Island) is absolutely breathtaking. 

The ferry price is also very reasonable.

Since there are always plenty of ferry departures, it’s easy to decide that you want to take a Symi day trip from Rhodes, even at the last minute. Just be sure to arrive at the ferry port an hour before your departure time and buy your tickets a day in advance if you can.

Do you have any further questions about getting from Rhodes to Symi (or vice versa) or planning a trip to Greece in general? I have been living in Greece since 2017 and I am always happy to help out with any questions and queries people have. 

You might also enjoy joining my Facebook Group – All Greek to Me which aims to help expats and travellers in Greece plan their trips around the country. Safe travels and enjoy Greece!

Geia sou! Xo 


highheelsandabackpack

Alice Cooper is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

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