Since ancient times, these islands have been a crossroad between East and West.
Situated at a very short distance from the Turkish coast, the Dodecanese ("Dodekanisa", meaning the twelve islands), was unified with Greece just in 1948, after being successively under Turkish, Italian, German and English domination.
This rich history has left its cultural and architectural imprints, as well as original and ancient traditions.
This archipelago definitely allows you to live a real change of scenery.

Dodecanese

Kos

It is an island with very soft landform, quite green and flowery, with many beaches.
Kos has become a very touristy island and the city of Kos is famous for its nightlife. But other interesting places worth visiting, are the port and its castle of the Knights of Rhodes, some relics of the Turkish period, Italian Facades and especially the tree of Hippocrates. Indeed, Kos is the island of Hippocrates, the father of medicine. A little outside the city is the Askleipeion, a sanctuary dedicated to Asklepios, the god of medicine. It is to Hyppocrates that we owe the foundations of modern medicine, and the famous “oath of Hyppocrates,” pronounced today by all doctors freshly graduated.
Kos has 2 ports, Kos Marina near the main port. It is a very well organized port of embarkation, with all facilities and supplies for charterers. And south-southeast Kardamena, a smaller port, but allowing a docking berth.
There are however few protected bays for anchoring on the island, but if the winds allow it, it is worth sailing to the bay of Kefalos where there are many beautiful beaches.

Port de Kos Dodecanese

Rhodes

It is the largest and most important island of the Dodecanese, in economic terms but also in cultural and historical background. Devoted to Apollo, god of the sun, since antiquity, Rhodes was for a long time a crossroads between East and West. In the 14th century, the famous knights of Rhodes settled there and built the medieval city, a true architectural masterpiece. A visit to the old town, with its ramparts, its cobbled streets, the military quarter of the knights, its towers and its battlements, is absolutely a must. The long Turkish occupation has also left its mark: here and there you can notice some minarets, fountains or hammams.
The port of Mandraki, the port of embarkation, near the two famous statues of a deer and a doe, symbols of the city, is where would have been erected the famous Colossus of Rhodes, collapsed during an earthquake.

Rhodes Dodecanese

Despite all its beauties, there are unfortunately few creeks protected especially in the Northwest.
However in the South East you can find some shelter from the North wind.
Like Lindos, with its magnificent site, where you should visit the acropolis and walk in its village with its labyrinth of alleys, small houses and enchanting cobbled courtyards.
Or “Anthony Quinn Bay”, named so, because it served as the setting for the film “Zorba the Greek”, has the advantage of being well protected.
Prasonissi is also worth seeing, all the way to the south of the island, but very exposed to the wind, especially appreciated by windsurfing enthusiasts.

Samos

It is a fairly large island and the closest to Turkey.
Very mountainous and yet very green, Samos is famous for its vineyards (Dionisos itself, the god of wine, would have taught the viticulture to the inhabitants) and also for being the native island of Pythagoras (remember the theorem ?). In memory of the great mathematician, one of the three ports of the island, which is a small embarkation port for the charterers, is called Pythagoras.  At a couple of miles from Pythagorion, do not miss to visit the tunnel of Eupalinos, built by Polycrate. It is a very long aqueduct that supplied the ancient capital with water. Still in the vicinity of Pythagorio are the remains of a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus and goddess of fertility. A statue of Hera once stood there. You can now visit it in the Louvre.
If the conditions are favorable, along the coast of the island to the Northeast, you arrive at Vathi, the current capital of Samos and one of the ports for ferries.

Samos Dodecanese

Tilos

In the northwest of Rhodes, Tilos is a small island with a strange shape evoking a hippocampus.
We can moor in the port of Livadia, but also anchor in the pretty and well protected bays of the north and south of the island, Plaka, Theologou, Stavrou, Eristos.
The port of Livadia is very lively, unlike the capital Megalo Horio ( “the big village” in Greek).
Besides the walk through its streets, Megalo Horio has an original interest: there is a museum exhibiting dwarf elephant skeletons ,found in the caves of the island. These elephants have lived in Tilos during that  – far away – time, when the island was attached to Asia Minor.

Tilos Dodecanese

Nissiros

Nisyros is an all round, small island, whose center is a volcano.
Besides, its crater (Stefanos) is still smoking and is the main tourist attraction of the island, which also remains quiet and seduces by its authentic character.
The small port of Mandraki is very picturesque with its colorful facades and taverns, but the port of Pali it is better to moor, as it is more protected and calm.
Above the harbor, the village of Mandraki and its network of small picturesque alleys deserves a walk.
Two other villages, Emborio and Nikia overlooking the volcano and the neighboring islands are also worth a visit.

Nisiros Dodecanese

Astipalea

In the west of the Dodecanese, Astypalaia flourishes on both sides of a very narrow isthmus, clearly drawing the shape of a butterfly.
We can moor at the port of Pera Gialos, which is the port of the capital Chora – Chora is a beautiful village with white houses built in height and overlooks by a Venetian fortress – Mills decorate the main square.
Along the isthmus, northwards, we arrive in beautiful bays, especially those of Plakes. If the weather and wind allow it, it is worth going to the small port of fishermen Maltezana and, further north, in Vathy Bay, very protected, and where we can visit the caves.

Astipalaia Dodecanese

Pserimos

Between Kos and Kalymnos, Pserimos is a small island of 130 inhabitants. There are some pleasant bays for mooring in the east and north and some nice tavernas on the port in the southwest. It is an ideal destination to escape and get away completely.

Pserimos Dodecanese

Kalymnos

In the northwest of the Dodecanese, Kalymnos is an island of medium size, rather arid, whose fame is inseparable from the history of the sponge fishermen. Fishing and sponge trade goes back to antiquity.
But this traditional activity has almost disappeared nowadays, firstly because of the many dangers that fishermen were exposed to, and secondly as a result of a disease that has decimated sponges. However in Pothia, the capital and main port of the islandyou can visit the sponge processing plants and the Maritime Museum, discover all kinds of documents and equipment that bring to life the epic story of the sponge fishermen.
Today Kalymnos is developing in terms of tourism, and gained a new original fame: with its escarpe cliffs and steep terrain, it has become a worldwide famous climbing site.

Kalymnos Vathi Dodecanese

Charterers can dock in the beautiful Port of Vathi located in a long and very narrow bay, wedged between the cliffs, it is a fishing port so make sure you enjoy seafood at the local tavernas.
In the North of the island, another small fishing port, in a sheltered bay Emborios, will seduce you with its calmness and simplicity.
Finally, west of Kalymnos, the small island of Telendos, which hardly counts more than 30 people, but where you can find many beaches and a total serenity.

Symi

In the northwest of Rhodes, Symi is located just 5 NM of the Turkish coast. It is a small picturesque island of antiquity. Until the 19th Century, Symi was known for its shipyards and sponge fishing, two activities that ensured its long prosperity. But, the decline of these activities, and the 2nd World War led to the impoverishment and emigration of a large part of its inhabitants. Thanks to tourism, Symi regain some vitality nowadays.
The village of Symi (with Gialos port and upper town, Horio) is the biggest asset of Symi. Built on a mountainside, above the port, its neoclassical restored houses in pastel colors, compete in elegance. Fortunately, traditional architecture is rigorously protected and controlled. Alleys and cobbled squares of black and white pebbles still make the landscape even more picturesque.
You can moor in the port of Gialos, but also in the Bay of Nimborios, north-east of the island. Some taverns on the waterfront offer a pleasant stop.
Finally, despite its new tourism development, we still find in Symi beaches and bays that are not crowded.

Symi

Halki

Small island in the west of Rhodes, Halki has the same history as Kalymnos and Symi. After experiencing prosperity through sponges trade, it experienced a long decline and the emigration of its inhabitants. However a number of their descendants come back and undertake the restoration of their homes in accordance with the neoclassical traditional architecture.
For pleasure boaters, we recommend a stop in the Alimia islet, situated between Rhodes and Halki.
Lonely and beautiful, the southwest  bay will protect you very well from the Meltem.

Chalki dodecanese

Fourni

It is an archipelago of about twenty islands and islets west of Samos and Ikaria.
Only Thymaina and Fournoi the central island are inhabited.
The main occupation of the island is fishing. Recently, the archipelago Fourni opens to tourism and one can spend a pleasant and peaceful holiday.
For charterers, the configuration of this small archipelago allows very pleasant walks in the middle of a very beautiful seascape.

Fourni Dodecanese

Patmos

Registered by the UNESCO as a World Heritage of Humanity, Patmos owes its fame to Saint John, the author of the Apocalypse. Patmos is a place of pilgrimage where many visitors come to see the cave where St. John wrote the Apocalypse, as well as the monastery of St. John the Theologue (Agios Ioannis o Theologos), an imposing medieval building from the 11th century . But Patmos is not only a sacred place.
Hora (the capital) is beautiful, with its white houses and labyrinth of alleys and stairs that seem to transport you to another time.
You can dock in the marina adjacent to the port of Skala, which also has many taverns and where you can taste a specialty of Patmos, the “pougia” made from cheese.
Some protected bays allow anchorage, such as Livadi, north of Skala, and Bay of Stavros, to the south, with its beautiful beach, Psili ammos (in Greek, fine sand).

Patmos Dodecanese

Leros

During dictatorship, Leros was one of the places of deportation for the political prisoners, and later for some year a psychiatric center, so it definitely stayed outside the tourist tours. However, Leros still has beautiful areas where you can experience an authentic way of life and a warm hospitality.
It is a rather small island with very sharp coasts. On the east coast, there is the capital of the island which actually consists of 4 agglomerations, Agia Marina, the main port and Pandeli, a small fishing port. Platanos, the administrative center and Vromolithos complete “this capital”. It is very pleasant to walk in the streets lined with white and blue houses and to linger on the little calm and sympathetic squares. At the top of Platanos stands the Kastro, a Byzantine fortress. From there, the panorama is splendid. Further north is a pretty bay with tavern, where it is possible to stay at anchor.
On the west coast, in the bay of Gourmas, is the village of Drymonas with taverns on the water’s edge.
Finally in the south-west, it is worth to enter the immense bay of Lakki, and further south in that of Xirokambos where one discovers some isolated coves.

Leros Dodecanese

Icaria

According to mythology Icarus who dreamed of flying, drowned in  the coast of this island.
It is a very mountainous and green island, covered with pine and olive trees and in which flow numerous sources.
The coasts have very diverse aspects, with cliffs falling straight into the sea in the South, and beautiful sandy beaches in the North.
Aside from its natural beauty, Icaria is distinguished by a particular lifestyle with a very relaxed pace and a gastronomy based on the Mediterranean diet that is said, ensures longevity to its inhabitants.
In any case, Icaria concentrates an impressive number of centenarians. In the summer, the villages are animated of celebration and “panigiria” (festivals in honor of patron saints) where we eat, drink and dance late into the night.
Two ports are welcoming the boats: the largest in the South (and also capital of Ikaria): Agios Kirikos and Evdilos in the North.
Around Evdilos the coast is the most beautiful. Apart from the beautiful sandy beaches, we can mention Armenistis, charming fishing port and Nas, beautiful bay where the vestiges of the Temple of Artemis remain, and where emerges a river. Nas is part of Natura 2000 protected site.

Ikaria Dodecanese

Finally, in the southern coast in the Bay of Agriomelissa, we can find a beautiful bay with crystal clear waters that took the promising name of … Seychelles!
If you have time, it’s worth taking a trip in the villages of Raches plateau and finally the village of Therma, which benefits from the renowned thermal springs.

Suggested itineraries in the Dodecanese

One week in the South of the Dodecanese

One week in the Dodecanese
Departure from Rhodes

Rhodes (Lindos), Symi, Kos, Nissiros, Tilos, Chalki and back to Rhodes’s marina.

One week in the North Dodecanese

One week in the Dodecanese
Departure from Samos

Agathonissi, Arki, Lipsi, Patmos, Fourni, Ikaria and back to Samos’s marina (Pythagorio)

 

Two weeks in the Dodecanese

Two weeks in the Dodecanese
Departure from Kos

Pserimos, Kalymnos, Leros, Lipsi, Arki, Patmos, (Levithas), Kos, Nissiros, Tilos, Chalki, Symi and back to Kos’s marina

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