Dodecanese

A dozen island beauties that light up the Aegean
Medieval town of Rhodes
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Thrace region-id="pin-13";Macedonia Macedonia Epirus Thessaly Sporades Ionian Islands Western Greece Central Greece Attica Peloponnese Crete Cyclades North Aegean Islands Dodecanese Dodecanese Karpathos Astypalea Tilos Sitia Faistos - Matala Patmos Kastelorizo Kasos Kos Leros Halki Rhodes Symi Sfakia - Loutro Rethymno Elounda - Agios Nikolaos Agia Galini Plakias Hersonissos - Malia Ierapetra Heraklion Chania Nisyros Ikaria Lipsi Tzia - Kea Thasos Samos Lesvos Samothrace Limnos Chios Kalymnos Paros Naxos Zante - Zakynthos Lefkada Corfu Santorini Milos Kythnos Kimolos Serifos Syros Sifnos Koufonisia Ios Kefalonia Mykonos Paxi Ithaca Arta Ioannina Tinos Parga - Sivota Metsovo Anafi Sikinos Folegandros Donousa - Iraklia - Schinoussa Antiparos Zagori Mountainous Arkadia Porto Heli - Ermioni Preveza Amorgos Andros Delos Messolongi Ancient Olympia Aegina Kythira Archea Epidavros Patra Nafplio Kardamyli Kalamata Ilia Corinth Western Messinia Kalavryta Elafonissos Nafpaktos Spetses Poros Hydra Alexandroupolis Pylos Mycenae Monemvasia Loutraki Piraeus Athens Arahova Xanthi Galaxidi Mystra - Sparta Mani Edipsos Delphi Chalkida Karystos Evia Skyros Vergina Alonissos Volos Karditsa Skopelos Skiathos Kastoria Thessaloniki Prespes Agios Athanasios Edessa Serres Veria Larissa - Tempi Elati - Pertouli Trikala Pelion Meteora Drama Ammouliani Mount Athos - Ouranopolis Nymfeo Mount Olympos Katerini Halkidiki Grevena Lake Kerkini Naoussa Kozani Kilkis Kavala Pella Lake Plastira
With endless beaches and unexplored islets, castles and ancient civilisations, cosmopolitan but at the same time unspoilt, the Dodecanese islands are above all charming and hospitable

A cluster of twelve islands at the southeastern edge of the Aegean, the Dodecanese form a bridge between Europe and the East. Everywhere you go, you’ll see traces of peoples and cultures that have made their mark over the centuries: Ionians, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Ottomans and Italians. Each island has its own character and all offer opportunities for relaxation, sightseeing, adventure and culinary delights – with a backdrop of beautiful beaches.

Whether travelling with family or friends, you’ll find the island that’s right for you. Some are extremely popular, like Rhodes and Kos, and others have a virgin charm, like Kalymnos, Symi, Kastelorizo, Kasos, Karpathos, Astypalea, Halki, Lipsi and volcanic Nisyros. And then there’s Patmos, the ‘Jerusalem of the Aegean’, famous as the place where St John wrote the Book of Revelation. 

Countless beaches of all kinds

You’ll find it hard to choose among the seemingly infinite number of beaches. Each is special in its own way. If you’re feeling active, there’s scuba diving, snorkelling and all sorts of water sports. And if you’re looking for something more quiet and intimate, you’ll sunbathe, swim and relax at secluded coves. 
On Rhodes, the beaches are fun for everyone: tubing, jet skiing, stand-up paddleboard and windsurfing go hand in hand with a myriad of lively beach bars. Elli, Ialyssos, Lindos, Agathi and Kiotari are the stand-outs and the best windsurfing takes place at Prassoni
Karpathos’ golden coast will also impress, with the award-winning, sandy Apella and Amoopi among the highlights. Kos also has glittering beauties with for uninterrupted beach-days in the sun. But if tranquility is more your thing, then head to Kalymnos, Lipsi, Tilos and Armathia, near Kasos.

Living, breathing history

The Dodecanese has a rich history, visible everywhere in the form of ancient citadels, castles, renowned museums and important archaeological sites and monuments. 
Among them are Rhodes’ acropolis (Monte Smith) with its Doric temple, and ancient stadium, the ancient acropolis of Lindos, Ialyssos and ancient Kamiros. On Karpathos, visit ancient Vroukounda and Arkesia and the palaces of Doric Nisyros on the islet of Saria. 
Make time to tour exhibits and monuments wherever you travel: on Rhodes, the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Archaeological Museum and the Aquarium; on Patmos, a stately home that has been converted into an exceptional gallery (the Nikolaidis mansion) and don’t miss out on the Volcanic Museum on Nisyros.

Windsurfing, rock climbing and scuba diving 

Karpathos is famous for trekking trails of exceptional beauty, alongside mountain cliffs overlooking the big blue. Meanwhile, Kalymnos is a magnet for hikers and rock climbers from all over the world, as it boasts more signposted trails than you could possibly ever complete and 60 climbing venues of different levels of difficulty.

Local gastronomy

Rhodes, the first island in the Aegean to make wine, has dozens of vineyards and plenty of excellent wine for you to enjoy. In the island’s villages, local dishes await you and the desserts are just as memorable. Particularly noteworthy is melikouni (a sesame bar with honey), served at weddings and baptisms. On Kasos, you’ll never tire of mizithra (the traditional cheese) and on Kalymnos you’ll eat mououri (lamb stuffed with rice), like the Dorians. On Symi, don’t leave without sampling the fried shrimps (small, flavourful and spiked with chilli flakes). 

Dodecanese: Sights and attractions crafted by nature and man

  • Rhodes: Within the beautifully preserved medieval Old Town of Rhodes (a Unesco World Heritage Site) are some incredible monuments, such as the Street of the Knights and the Palace of the Grand Masters. Further afield is the ancient acropolis of Lindos, as well as the grand public buildings of Mandraki and the small fort of Agios Nikolaos. The Valley of the Butterflies, a lush green canyon that attracts millions of butterflies and hundreds of visitors every year, is also popular. 
  • KosKos has numerous must-sees locations, chief among them the Asclepion, built to continue the work of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine and the island’s most famous son.
  • Astypalea: The Hora with its windmills and whitewashed homes is reminiscent of a Cycladic settlement.
  • Patmos: The Monastery of St John the Theologian, the picture-perfect Hora with its grand, stately homes and the mystical ambience of the Cave of the Apocalypse, a significant pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians.
  • Karpathos: The village of Olympus is a 9th-century medieval hamlet that continues to defy the march of time with its windmills, old stone ovens and picturesque chapels, making it one of the most impressive sights of the Aegean. And don’t miss out on Apella, a beach of unique beauty, and nearby Kasos for that special kind of getaway.
  • KalymnosVathy and the Esperidon, the most beautiful fjord in the Aegean, and its underwater treasures, the world-famous sea sponges.
  • Tilos: The Harkadio Cave, where fossilised bones of dwarf elephants were discovered, and the great monastery of Agios Panteleimon.
  • Symi & KastelorizoThese neoclassical settlements are architectural masterpieces.
  • NisyrosThe three-crater volcano, with its lunar landscape and picturesque port, Mandraki.
  • Halki: Very close to cosmopolitan Rhodes, but so very different. An incredibly beautiful little island, a picturesque town with colourful houses, wonderful beaches and everything moving at a laid-back pace. Ftenagia beach with its emerald green waters is simply unique.
  • Leros: Green and blue in perfect harmony. With excellent local cuisine and bays with water as clear as glass. Discover the mysteries of Leros in Lakki, Agia Marina, Alida and Padeli. It makes an ideal base for exploration by boat, not to mention the numerous opportunities for scuba-diving.
  • Lipsi, Arki, Agathonisi and Marathi: The little unexplored gems of the Dodecanese. Rocky islets shaped into incredible forms by the elements, fiords that end up in white sandy beaches and turquoise coves.
Hire a boat and set out down the coastline of Kos

Experience the best of Dodecanese

View of the medieval castle in Rhodes

Exploring the medieval old town of Rhodes

Imagine stepping into a world of chivalry and knights, with castle walls and lamp-lit, cobblestone streets. Now bring that city to life and you have...
The Asclepion was built over three landscaped terraces, each having a different function

Feel the healing energy of the Asclepion of Kos

Built to further the teachings of the father of medicine, Hippocrates, the Asclepion of Kos was the ultimate healing centre of the ancient world.
Olympos itself is a live museum with an idyllic atmosphere when the clouds come down and surround the village

Colourful village-hopping through the mountains of Karpathos

Within Karpathos’ mountainous interior are colourful villages that have preserved everything that is most traditional about the beautiful Dodecanese island in a wonderful capsule of...
The Acropolis and the beach of Lindos

Discovering the wonder of Lindos on Rhodes

Through history, Lindos has inspired its inhabitants to reach incredible heights. Today, you can stand where the ancients and knights of Rhodes once did and...
At the top of the hill, the famous stone castle of Astypalaia which towers over Hora is a special attraction

A walking tour of Astypalea’s radiant Hora

The main town of Astypalea emits classic Cycladic charm everywhere you look – except that it’s not in the Cyclades at all and, once you’ve...
Agios Stefanos, one of the most photogenic beaches on Kos

Sun, sea and a splash of culture at Agios Stefanos beach on Kos

If you’re caught between wanting to spend the day on the beach and experiencing a bit of culture on Kos, then photogenic Agios Stefanos has...
  • Old town, Rhodes
  • Lindos, Rhodes
  • Hippocrates’ Asclepeion, Kos
  • Cave of the Apocalypse, Patmos
  • Olymbos, Karpathos
  • International climbing destination, Kalymnos
Highlights

Islands in the Dodecanese

A lattice-work of rocky outcrops and beaches will offer you endless rejuvenation

Lipsi

A time capsule of authenticity in the Dodecanese
Livadia, the harbour of Tilos

Tilos

An inspiration for poets and painters
Lined with handsome old houses, Kastelorizo’s little harbour could be an advertisement for Dodecanese architecture

Kastelorizo

The Oscar-winning star of the southeast Aegean

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