This was my first bad experience with Viator.
- You shouldn't take in so many people in single tour. I had to stand on all buses.
- The bus picking me up from the hotel was late, and, because of the gigantic crowd at the meeting point, the organizers were lost as to whom had reserved the speedboat and whom was going by regular ferry. They made us all wait while they took payment from those who hadn't secured it online. In the heat.
- The organizers were overwhelmed, and forgot to give me the most important boarding ticket, that of the boat. I was only given a general boat pass and the bus to Panormitis pass. When I complained to one of the organizers, he dismissed me with : "All be OK, don't worry."
I had to beg my way in with the boat usher, on both ways, and show her my online Viator ticket. She wasn't entirely convinced, and it was humiliating to be mistaken for a thief.
- The trip to Panormitis is not worth it. It is a long and slow and bumpy way into the mountains, and when we reached we were only given 40 minutes. Most of it was being renovated. Inside you are not allowed to take photos in the few places you are allowed in. The only thing that was interesting was the Folklore Museum.
- A tip if you take the bus to Panormitis. On your way back, ask the driver to drop you off at the Kastro area ("castle and church"). They are at the very top, and you can go down to the port instead of climbing up, and photograph the lovely colored houses.
- A few meters down from the main square, to your right, there is the famous Olive Tree Cafe, a delightful place that offers homemade bites and fresh lemonade. Very welcome in this heat.
- The boat was hot, smelly and noisy, so bring earplugs or noise cancelling headphones, and head to the closed AC area.
- Souvenirs in Symi are exorbitant compared to Rhodes, so don't bother.
Symi is a beautiful island to visit, amazing scenery, great food including the local Shrimp. Trip is really easy and relaxing, George from Half Price Tours contacted us to explain where we collect our tickets and provided us with lots of details in advance which was great help. Boat trip is about 1.15 hours and well worth it, recommend getting a boat taxi to Pedi and St Nicolas too.