We should have guessed it just by eyeing the beautiful people in the port. Simi was going to be something.
Waiting for our delayed ferry for Simi in the harbor of Rhodes, we were surrounded by what looked like a spread in the summer holiday edition of the Ralph Lauren catalogue. Bronzed, stylish Italian bodies decked out in their finely-pressed ‘island collection’ wardrobe, hide their faces behind wide-brimmed sunhats and stylish specs. They complimented those toned sun-kissed legs with fancy footwear and carried enormous designer handbags big enough for me to crawl right in. Yep, we’d traveled from the land of have-nots and were now arriving in the land of have-everything.
Gliding into the horseshoe-shaped harbor of Simi I really felt like I was sailing into a postcard. Renowned for having Greece’s most stunning harbor, it’s difficult for me to imagine any place more beautiful. The island has a prosperous history of shipbuilding and from my view on the sea it was abundantly clear. Freshly-polished wooden ships glisten in the water above the reflection of pastel-colored mansions casting down from the hillside.
Had we really only allotted two days for this island? Say it ain’t so.
We had no reservation or any idea where the heck we were going to stay. I’d spent the past few days on the phone trying to get us some sort of room, but everything seemed to be taken. Suppressing the planner-side of me, I had no choice than to follow my husband’s lead, flying by the seat of our pants. As his luck would have it (because you know he’d never hear the end of it) we scored a sweet pad.
Francisco, a burly, white-haired man, came to our rescue in the port. Promising a room with a view, we piled into his Audi station wagon and wound around the harbor and up the mountain dotted with graciously-renovated sea captain homes. Sad to say goodbye to my harbor view, we found ourselves in the mountaintop village of Horio.
In Horio, we settled into our studio apartment. For the first time in a long time, we had a place to eat, to cook, to lounge. We were elated. We even had a little balcony overlooking a mint-colored bay where we spent our first day soaking up the rays. It took no more than a few hours of exploring to be convinced we were here to stay.
What started out as one night, soon turned into five. We fell in love with the island of Simi, and even more so with the mountaintop village of Horio. Surrounded by the locals, we got a real flavor for life on the Greek Isles. We spent our days taking dips in the Agean Sea, lingering in cafes over ice coffees and indulging in traditional dishes at the local tavernas by night.
With no airport, no sandy beaches, no high-rise hotels and no glamourous and glitzy nightclubs, Simi is not everyone’s ideal island. But if you love exploring traditional villages with rocky pathways leading to churches high in the hills, if you enjoy hiking through the mountains to discover hidden inlets and bays, if you want to get to know friendly local people and dine at restaurants offering traditional island food, Simi just might be as special to you as it was for us.
For more on our Greek Isle hopping adventure check out: