The “Twelve Islands” that give the Dodecanese its name offer history, culture, sun and sea. Whether it’s a trip through ancient history in Rhodes, a stroll around the charming lanes of Symi, or a dip the turquoise waters of Kos, the Dodecanese archipelago has much to offer.
The largest of the Dodecanese, the history in Rhodes date back to the 16th century BC and the island’s Medieval City is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Numerous civilisations have left their mark on the island since ancient times and a visit to Rhodes feels like going to an open-air museum. Don’t miss the Acropolis of Lindos, a citadel founded by the Greeks and subsequently fortified by the Romans, Byzantines, Knights of St John and Ottomans.
Kos holds some remarkable sites that demonstrate it’s rich ancient history, not least the stunning Asklepion, a healing temple to the Greek God of medicine and the training place of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. But Kos isn’t all about history. You can also take bike rides through the fragrant cedar forests or enjoy the nightlife in Nafklirou.
Sailing up to Symi Town is a site to behold. It’s colourful, Italian-era mansions are nestled on the slopes around the natural harbour. A sparsely populated island, it’s also a great place to find remote azure coves and swim in crystal clear waters. Further inland you can find beautiful forests and dozens of monasteries.
Despite a rather alarming nickname of the Island of the Apocalypse, Patmos has also be named by Forbes as one of Europe’s Most Idyllic Places. With its white houses, green slopes and turquoise coves, the latter title is far more appropriate. The Monastery of St John sits atop the highest hill on this small island and is definitely worth a visit.
One of the smaller islands of the Dodecanese, Lipsi is nevertheless an inspirational place to visit. Surrounded by azure seas, great beaches and islets bustling with bird life, it’s a great place to find tranquillity and peace. Sit back, relax and take in the rugged beauty or grab your snorkel and dive into the crystal clear waters.
Private island-hopping tours and cabin charter cruises of the Dodecanese Islands are navigable on three routes. The first of these is the Southern Dodecanese Islands, which includes Rhodes, Symi and Kos. The second route journeys around the North Dodecanese Islands to Kos, Pserimos, Leros, Patmos, Lipsi and Kalymnos. And the third route also incorporates the Cyclades Islands; you’ll visit Kos before heading to Santoríni, Náxos and Mýkonos.