The first sight of Gialos harbour, framed against the pastel-coloured houses rising on all sides, is unforgettable. Although Symi is far from small, it is mostly barren and the only settlements are Gialos, the old village of Horio, which sprawls over the hilly ridge behind and Pedi, down in the valley beyond. One road runs all the way to the monastery at Panormitis, near Symi’s southern tip. The rest of the island is largely deserted, but it is surrounded by blue coves and small beaches.
Rugged Kalymnos is characterised by its mountains that attract climbers from all over the world. Its western flank is spectacular with the dazzling blue waters. Surprisingly for its rocky landscape, it offers a couple of fertile valleys with bee boxes and olive groves. Nowadays, the island's activities have expanded from climbing alone. Diving, hiking and a host of interesting little museums and cultural experiences, are what make Kalymnos a must-visit island.
The main settlement, Mandraki, is a sleepy little fishing village garlanded with cafes, while hilltop villages Nikea and Emborios are stunning. Hike among the wildflowers, admire the island’s natural beauty, head into volcano craters, or immerse yourself in agro-tourism.