The Dodecanese Islands
The Dodecanese islands are located on the south eastern side of Greece, between Cyclades and the coast of Turkey. These greek islands are distinguished for their medieval architecture and the peaceful beaches. The most popular islands of the Dodecanese are Rhodes and Kos, while Karpathos has become more well known in the last few years. Kalymnos is growing as a rock climbing destination, Leros as a diving destination, while Patmos is famous for its spiritual character.
Rhodes is the largest and most popular island of the Dodecanese and is famous mainly for its romantic Old Town and the amazing beach resorts. The Old Town is amongst the best-preserved medieval towns of Europe, with the ancient fortifications, an impressive castle and elegant stone mansions. A sightseeing drive around the island will take you to the magnificent beaches and picturesque villages.
The lovely village of Lindos is one of the most attractive and beautiful villages of Rhodes, located south of the capital. It is dominated by a magnificent and imposing acropolis that sits overlooking the village.
(or Halki) is a tiny island of the Dodecanese, located very close to Rhodes. Not very developed as far as tourism goes, this is a perfect destination for peace and privacy, the island is noted for its traditional architecture and the relaxing beaches. Nimporio is the only village and main port of the island. For the adventurous explorer, there is an abandoned village with a Medieval Castle in the centre of Halki island.
A small island of the Dodecanese, Nisyros is hardly developed for tourism and remains a peaceful, alternative destination. With few tourist facilities, this is the ideal place for total calm and privacy. Nisyros island is mostly famous for its still active volcano found in the centre of the island, the youngest volcano in Greece.
Simi in Greece is a tiny island of the Dodecanese that constantly amazes visitors with its calm atmosphere and fabulous architecture. In fact, Simi island has one of the most impressive ports in the Greek islands, with elegant mansions constructed amphitheatrically on the slopes of a hill and offering breathtaking views to the sea from any spot. A promenade along the port is fabulous for a romantic evening. The beaches of the island are small but clean, some populated and others are secluded, but they all provide a relaxing atmosphere. An interesting sight is the Monastery of Panormitis, on the southern side of the island.
Tilos is a tiny island of Dodecanese, located between Kos and Rhodes. Away from mass tourism, Tilos island is an alternative destination with secluded beaches and small villages. Although it has few tourist facilities, they are enough to cater for the limited number of visitors.
Patmos is world famous as the island where Saint John was inspired and wrote the Apocalypse, this mysterious book of Christianity. In fact, the Monastery of Saint John and the Cave of Apocalypse are the most important sights in Patmos Greece. Thousands of pilgrims go to Patmos every year to visit these two religious monuments, that are so spiritually linked to this island. Due to this connection, festivals of religious music and other events are organised there through the summer in an effort to celebrate the association of Patmos with its past.
Kalymnos is a relaxing family island with a strong character, renowned for its picturesque architecture, the long tradition of diving for sponge and the impressive rock formations, ideal for climbing. In fact, over the last few years, rock climbing has hugely developed on the island and a climbing festival takes place there in autumn. The most popular places for climbing are the mountains on the northern side of Kalymnos and on the neighbouring island of Telendos.
Kos is undeniably one of the most popular Dodecanese Islands. With lovely villages, medieval settlements and ancient monuments, not to mention countless hotels, restaurants and bars, this island bedazzles visitors with its cultural, historical and religious diversity. Sandy beaches, turquoise waters, lush vegetation, tree-lined wide roads, large squares, parks, a superb city plan and an extensive bicycle-only network are the distinctive characteristics of the third largest island of the Dodecanese. The island’s trademark is its medieval Nerantziá Castle, situated at the entrance of the port.
Leros in Greece is a family friendly island with relaxing beaches and picturesque villages. It can be combined for holidays with Patmos and Lipsi, two close islands of Dodecanese. Lovely seaside villages and cozy beaches are found on the island, with Agia Marina, Alinda and Lakki being the most popular tourist places. As the sea around Leros is rich in reefs, small islets and old shipwrecks, scuba diving is gradually developing on the island. Many local festivals and panigiria are also organized in the summer months, attracting many visitors.
Karpathos island is located on the southern side of the Aegean Sea. This is a place with stunning beaches, strong character and marvellous hiking paths in the inland, connecting the villages in the mountainous countryside of Karpathos. With their own distinctive traditional style, Olympos, Menetes and Othos are a few of the most characteristic villages on the island.
Astypalaia island is ideal for alternative holidays. Due to its secluded location, it has enjoyed a fairly low profile tourist development without losing its original character. Astypalea holidays will give a deep insight to authentic Greek life. Although it belongs to the Dodecanese island group, the architecture of the island looks more Cycladic. The small town with the white houses and the Venetian castle on the hilltop offers a picturesque place to explore.
Despite its small size, Kássos was once a mighty maritime and commercial power. The well-preserved mansions that still stand in Fre, the island’s capital and main port, still today reflect this former grandeur. Don’t forget to visit Armáthia, the largest of the islands around Kássos, where you can find some excellent beaches, like Marmara and Karavostassi!