Greek Island Vacations
Touring the Dodecanese Islands of Greece
In the southeasternmost parts of the Greek islands, the Dodecanese islands offer much in the way of tourism. From fancy restaurants to luxurious resorts, tourists find plenty to do at some of these islands. There are also some great beaches. A few of the Dodecanese islands are near Turkey; only a day-trip away!
Read below to learn about the different Dodecanese islands and what to expect during your visit:
Astypalia is actually two islands that are connected by an isthmus, with most of its visitors being Greeks. It resembles islands from the Cyclades more than it does the other Dodecanese islands because of its geometric houses, villages and a Venetian castle. There are some lovely beach coves. The island makes a great getaway if it’s peace and quiet you want.
The small island of Halki fits well into tourists packages as a place known for unspoiled territory. It’s difficult to find a hotel room, so you’ll want to plan in advance if you plan to stay.
Kalymnos is where the spongefishermen go, and is a busy, working town. Its main port is called Pothia, which has many cafes and even a sponge museum. Resort beaches and other small towns and ports are around the island so you’ll have plenty to see and do during your visit. Several boats leave Pothia to visit neighboring islands such as Pserimos and Nera. From the town of Myrties, you can travel to Telendos by boat. Telendos offers taverns, beaches and rental rooms.
Karpathos is a traditional island with mountain villages and beautiful beaches. There is a line of mountains that separates the island down the middle, with one side of the island being green and fertile and the other side being rocky. There are some hotels and restaurants in the port town of Pigadia, the capital. Tourism is steady here, but it’s not over-crowded. The Olympus mountain village is a secluded village where Medieval crafts are made and customs are carried out. The island has an airport, and ferries that depart from Pireaus, and some that go to Crete, Santorini, Rhodes, Milos, Naxos, Paros, Kassos and Halki.
If you enjoy walking, you’ll love the island of Kassos. You’ll be able to walk from village to village, enjoying the traditional Greek lifestyle in a quiet setting. Phry is the main village on the island. There are some beaches and two monasteries. Only two ferry boats come here per week usually, but the island has an airport with flights to Karpathos, Athens and Rhodes.
Kastellorizo is a very small island that’s famous for the film Mediterraneo. Another name for the island is Megisti. It has no beaches, but does have adorable rocky coves where tourists enjoy snorkeling. There are many historic features of the island, especially the fact that it was bombed severely during World War II. Many different types of people have lived here. The island offers ferry connections to Kos, Kalymnos, Rhodes, Tilos and Symi, and also has an airport.
Kos is an island with beaches, agriculture and archaeology. While on the island, you can explore items from the past at Venetian, Roman, Byzantine and Hellenistic sites. If you enjoy riding your bike to explore, you can ride through the flat interior section of the island very easily. The island connects to other larger islands and also Bodrun in Turkey. There are flights to Athens as well.
Leros is a lovely green island with breathtaking beaches and bays. Those on sailing trips to and from Turkey and other nearby islands enjoy stopping by Leros. Laki is the main port of Leros. Here you can see a detailed example of art deco architecture. This port was designed by Mussilini’s architects in 1923. The capital was then moved to another village called Platanos in defiance to the dictator. Leros has an airport that will take you to Athens, and boats coming from Pireaus to other islands of the Dodekanese group.
Nisyros is a dormant volcano with rich fertile lands. A main port in Nisyros is Mandraki, where there is an ancient acropolis, a beach with black stones and a monastery. Loutra offers a thermal spa. Many tourists enjoy seeing the volcano and visiting the villages of Emboreios and Nikea. From these villages is a great view of the caldera. Walking is a great way to see the island’s landscapes and volcano. Ferry boats can take you from the island to Kalymnos, Rhodes, Tilos, Kos, Kastellorizo and Symi.
The “Isle of Patmos” is known for the famous writings of Saint John the Divine, who wrote the book of Revelations in the Greek New Testament of the Holy Bible. He was exiled to this island after attempts on his life failed. Cruise ships often stop here, and the island has beaches and a beautiful landscape. Skala is the main town, which caters to cruise ship travellers. You can visit the monastery of Saint John above Skala, and the Monastery of the Apocalypse that was built around the cave where Saint John had his vision of end times. There are connections by ferry to Kos, Rhodes, Leros and Kalymnos, and a small boat to the island of Lipsi.
Rhodes is the most popular island in the Dodecanese group, and one of the most popular in Greece. The town of Rhodes has an ancient section with historical sites from Medieval times. There’s a walled city and a castle that was built by the Knights of Saint John. The island has fancy resorts, mountains, beaches and villages to keep you busy. The Valley of the Butterflies is a great place to visit while sightseeing on the island. Be sure to rent a car when you arrive so you’ll be able to tour the remote areas of the island. You can take ferry boat rides to nearby islands such as Tilos and Symi.
This island has pebbled beaches, restaurants and an inviting town. Among the island’s residents are many photographers, writers and astrologers in a co-operative called Symidream. They offer classes in photography, writing and other unique subjects. Connections are made by ferry boat several times a week to Kos, Kastellorizo, Tilos and Rhodes.
If you enjoy walking as you explore a new area, Tilos is the place to go. There are deserted villages, a monastery, landscapes, a Medieval castle and also beaches that are not usually very crowded. Livadia offers many places to stay, and many tourists enjoy camping on the beach as well. You can see many different types of birds on the island since hunting was banned 16 years ago. You might even see some endangered birds! Ferry boat connections are made to Kos, Rhodes, Kalymnos and Kastellorizo.
When in Greece, be sure to visit one or several of the Dodecanese islands if you enjoy history, nature and pleasant scenery!