Symi is an island with a long history. According to mythology, the island was called Metapontida or Aigli by the homonymous Nymph who gave birth there, the Three Graces. Another version is that Symi took her name from the princess of Rhodes, who was stolen here with the god Glaucus since her father the king did not want to approve their marriage.

Glafkos, who is considered the first inhabitant of Symi, was a diligent swimmer and shipbuilder and taught these skills to the inhabitants of the island. Another myth, according to Diodorus of Sicily, states that the first to inhabit Symi was Chthonius, son of Poseidon and Symi, when he was exiled from Dotio in Thessaly and settled on the island, which he named after his mother.

The first inhabitants of the island were probably peoples from Asia Minor, and later Minoans.