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Symi, a different way

PostPosted: 10 Jun 2019, 18:15
by Allan
We decided to try something a little different this year for our June Symi holiday and thought I'd share my thoughts on the experience in case it helps others with their plans.
This picture might hint at what we did:

Not a bad breakfast view!

Yes, after listening to lots of comments and recommendations from people on Symi, we decided to try the Athens route.

That thing will be good when it's finished

After months of research and weeks spent waiting for timetables to be published we managed to put together an itinery that worked: A Friday afternoon Easyjet flight from Manchester to Athens, two nights in a hotel followed by a Sunday evening overnight ferry from Piraeus to Symi via Santorini, Kalymnos and Kos arriving in Symi at 08.40 on the Monday morning. The return was more conventional: Afternoon ferry to Rhodes and late night Jet2 flight home to Leeds/Bradford.

Despite the complexity of the arrangenents the whole experience was wonderful and I'd strongly recommend it to anyone who fancies trying a different route. If there is a morning flight from your local airport to Athens on a Sunday it would probably be possible to catch the 18.00 ferry and be in Symi early Monday morning after a very comfortable overnight crossing for around the same price as a Rhodes flight followed by an overnight hotel stay and ferry to Symi. Something we have been doing for many years.

We wanted this (our first visit to Athens) to be a special holiday so booked a rather swish hotel and nice cabin on the ferry but even without those frills it would have been an interesting way to get to Symi. A "city break", "cruise" and Symi holiday all in one.

The rooftop terrace was amazing

Views everywhere


Orthodox nun?

Part of the fascinating Monastiraki flea-market

History overload

The rooftop views were equally wonderful at night

Taxi transfers from the airport to the hotel and then on to the port went smoothly and we were dropped right at the bottom of the ferry gangway where the super-efficient crew member carried our cases to reception where another crew member insisted on taking the cases all the way to our cabin, which turned out to be wery nice indeed with plenty of room and a very comfortable bed. We were extremely impressed. Dinner in the a la carte restaurant was one of the nicest meals I've ever had and I had to keep reminding myself: "I'm on a ferry!!"

The cabin on the Blue Star 2 was well appointed

Surprisingly comfortablr beds

No lack of facilities on the ferry

Plenty of seating

shopping too!

Leaving Piraeus

Delicious food

Santorini was disappointing

Symi, of course, was NOT disappointing!

The arrival was predictably chaotic but we were on Symi

The Bluestar 2 is huge by Symi ferry standards and there was no lack of facilities on board. We were very impressed by the level of cleanliness and general upkeep of the vessel and couldn't fault the crew. It was a very pleasant experience.

Re: Symi, a different way

PostPosted: 10 Jun 2019, 18:46
by silverfox
That looks very interesting Allan and another to think about!

Thanks for sharing!

We are on the countdown now for sure! :)

Re: Symi, a different way

PostPosted: 11 Jun 2019, 06:03
by Gemma1
Lovely photos Allan. Your cabin looks very different to the only time I overnighted on a Greek ferry back in 2000. Mine was more like a cupboard :D

Re: Symi, a different way

PostPosted: 11 Jun 2019, 06:43
by D and E
You have certainly sold that to us Allan.
The views from your hotel are stunning.
The onboard dinner looks fabulous.
We have often thought about getting to Symi via Athens so 2020 could be the year.

Re: Symi, a different way

PostPosted: 11 Jun 2019, 13:23
by Allan
Silverfox: Yes it was very interesting. And fun! Do it!

Gemma: I had a quick look at some of the other cabins while they were being cleaned and, yes, they did look small but still good quality and immaculately clean. The inside ones were cheaper but I think they would be a little claustrophobic for me without a window.
We were fortunate to have a large window.


The view was good despite the window being caked in salt.


D&E: The dunner really was excellent.



The whole dining experience was very special.


Re: Symi, a different way

PostPosted: 20 Jun 2019, 05:47
by Kon
That's the only way to travel through the Greek islands ,I only use Blue Star Ferries on the long haul trips ,they are fantastic . Night time travel and watching the islands lit up .

Re: Symi, a different way

PostPosted: 01 Jul 2019, 13:35
by JohnH
We stayed in that hotel in Athens for a couple of nights last year on an archaeological tour of the Peloppenese. Great views and a good position for the Parthenon and the Plaka.