Arriving by boat into little Symi is one of the most spell-bindingly beautiful scenes in Greece: a rainbow of handsome pastel-painted houses cascades down rocky hillsides to a horseshoe harbour-front lined with yachts and fishing boats. This alone more than makes up for its lack of sandy beaches - a fact which locals (and the many expats living here) argue is the island's saving grace. Certainly there are no large resorts; instead expect upscale restaurants which are popular with day trippers from Rhodes, and cafes oozing la dolce vita - the island has a strong association with Italy. You'll need to be fit to skip up all those stepped lanes, but the views from the top are worth it.
If you're staying here for a few days, jump on a water taxi to one of Symi's dazzling pebble beaches along the east coast – Ayios Yiorgos Disalonas, Nanou and Marathouda have translucent water and a ravishingly wild setting. Or there are regular boats to Panormitis Monastery, a major Greek Orthodox pilgrimage site with lovely swimming too.
With thanks to Jordan Blakesey of Symi Art for the photos