The island complex of Dodecanese in south-eastern Aegean is the sunniest corner in Greece. Twelve large islands and numerous smaller ones with crystal clear waters, sandy or pebbly beaches, important archaeological finds, imposing Byzantine and medieval monuments and unique traditional settlements are waiting to be discovered.
The westernmost island of the Dodecanese Group, Astypalaia, boasts a centuries-old history, whitewashed villages, deep blue sea waters and sun-drenched beaches. The island, seen from above, has two distinct sections joined by a narrow stretch of land less than 100 m. wide. The western part is known as Mesa Nisi [the inner island] and the eastern part as Exo Nisi [the outer island].
Chora is the island’s capital town and port. It is one of the most picturesque towns in the Aegean, perched on a rock that advances into the sea, forming two bays. On the top, you will see Chora’s castle towering over the town with the strikingly white domes of Evangelistria and Agios Georgios churches, visible over the walls. Around the castle lie Chora’s houses with whitewashed walls, blue doors and windows, and wooden balcony rails.
West of popular Rhodes Island lies a chain of islets, the biggest of them being Chalki. This is a place we’d like to recommend to you if you’re looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday in typical Aegean Sea island surroundings. Chalki is an island with a low profile and an ancient history. It’s been inhabited since the prehistoric times and it got its name from the copper mines (Chalkos is Greek for copper) that were in use on the island in antiquity. The buildings bear the signs of prosperity the island knew during the second half of the 19th c., as trade growth and the sponge harvesting business brought wealth to the locals. After 1912, the Italians possessed the Dodecanese group of islands (Chalki included) until 1948 when they became part of the Greek State.
Welcome to Kalymnos, the world renowned island of traditional sponge harvesting. Following WW2 this was the only Greek sponge trade business that survived and thrived. The island’s particular landscape makes it a favourable destination for alternative tourism: climb giant vertical rocks; explore centuries - old ship wrecks that lie in the sea-bed; discover enchanting caves; and visit wonderful beaches and picturesque island villages. That’s what Kalymnos is all about. A destination offering more than you can imagine!
High mountains, pristine landscapes, fragrant pine groves, traditional villages, turquoise waters and rich history make this island - the second largest in the Dodecanese group - an ideal destination for your holidays. The age-old traditions and practices have shaped the locals’ everyday lives and are part of their festivals too. You are welcome to join the celebrations and see how much they like to enjoy themselves in their special traditional way.
Kasos island is the southernmost island of the Dodecanese complex, with a rich history and common features with the nearby island of Crete. Besides its archaeological and historical interest, the island boasts natural charm. Stunning beaches, beautiful villages, fun local feasts, events and festivals as well as delicious traditional cuisine.
This is the ideal off the beaten path destination for laid back holidays where local customs are very much alive. Don’t miss a visit on the island during the carnival and Clean Monday celebrations. This is the time when you can savour local holiday delicacies and engage in traditional kite-making known as taliera. Throughout the Easter holiday enjoy customs that have been passed down from generation to generation and taste mouth-watering local recipes.
On the easternmost side of Greece you’ll come across Kastellorizo, one of the smallest yet prettiest islands of the Dodecanese complex. Also known as Megisti during antiquity, the island has a long history starting in the early Neolithic era. Its ancient name lasted until the Middle Ages, when the knights of St John built Castello Rosso on the reddish rock above the port. The name of the island was given because of the castle with the high double walls and battlements.
Its economic growth started by the end of the 19th century thanks to fishing and shipping. The beautiful stately houses along the Kordoniou coast are reminiscent of those prosperous days.
The quintessence of the best remote holidays one can ask for is what the island offers: serene atmosphere, rich history, a picture perfect village reflecting off the sea by the port area. How about a visit to Kastellorizo?
Kos is the third largest island in the Dodecanese group. It’s a popular destination amongst travellers. Families, friends and couples enjoy its nightlife, local food, activities and accommodation. The island offers everything you can wish for. Locals are hospitable, the beaches are sublime, the villages are picturesque and there are plenty of historic sites for you to explore.
Kos, home of Hippocrates, father of medicine, gives the impression of an open air museum, where you will see ancient and mediaeval monuments as well as numerous archaeological sites, and spot the buildings dating back to the Italian Rule.
The island has been inhabited since ancient times and influenced by a large number of foreign cultures over the centuries. Explore by bike and see the town of Kos as well as the smaller villages, which are filled with monuments depicting the island's long history.
It’s a destination for all ages and tastes but especially if you love activities in nature!
Leipsoi is a chain of small islands, islets, and rocks, which dot the Southeastern Aegean and form the northern part of the Dodecanese group of islands. Leipso or Leipsoi is the name of the largest island in the Leipsoi chain, and it’s located between the bigger Patmos and Leros Islands. It’s a lesser-known destination that we absolutely recommend to you for your next summer holiday trip, especially if you prefer relaxing in a place of pristine nature, away from the crowds of other popular destinations.
Greek mythology has it that during his return trip to Ithaca, Odysseus was shipwrecked here on Nymph Calypso’s island, who refused to let him go for seven years! The island has been inhabited since prehistoric times, yet today only one village exists, built by Ilias, a Cretan guy who arrived there in the second half of the 17th c. and settled on the hill slope where present day Chora is situated. The town expanded across the slope all the way down to the island’s natural harbour.
Leros boasts natural harbours, coves and inlets protected from the winds, beautiful sandy or pebbly beaches – small and big ones – ideal for swimming or for water sports and picturesque towns. Some of them stand out among other island villages in the Aegean, on account of their urban planning and architecture. Lakki is such a case; the town was named Porto Lago by the Italians who built it about a hundred years ago, during the thirty-year long Italian Rule on the Dodecanese Islands (1912 – 1943). The architectural style on the buildings is called the Italian Rationalism, a popular trend in the twenties and thirties. Lakki possesses the deepest natural harbour in the entire Mediterranean Basin! In Agia Marina, Lepida, Lakki and other villages you will see beautiful neoclassical houses built by wealthy citizens as their residences, which were later used as administration buildings.
In Greek mythology, Artemis was the goddess of wild animals, vegetation, and the hunt. This fertile land of green low hills & plains was her favourite island, and she was much revered by the locals, who built her temple in the Partheni area, in the north. Today, the local agricultural produce includes olives (+oil), citrus, figs, other fruit and vegetables. Follow us on a journey to this Eastern Aegean Island and discover a place where daily life follows a leisurely pace and the famous Greek hospitality is ever-present.
Nisyros is one of the most beautiful and lesser known Aegean islands, part of the Dodecanese island group, next to Kos and Tilos. The island’s obsidian trade is what made its economy thrive in antiquity. The jem was extracted by locals from the nearby Gyali Island where a pumice mining factory is still in operation today.
According to Greek mythology, Nisyros was created during the war between Gods and Giants. Poseidon chased the Giant Polyvotis down to Kos, cut a part of it and threw it to his enemy, sinking him forever in the bottom of the Aegean Sea. The legendary rock referred to in the Myth is supposed to be the island of Nisyros. It is said that when the volcano used to erupt it was the defeated Giant’s angry breath.
Nisyros volcano is the youngest one in Greece. The island has been inhabited since prehistoric times and is home to a large number of cultural monuments. It truly is ideal for anyone searching for an off the beaten track destination offering natural and cultural sights to explore.
Patmos Island is globally known for its religious legacy, as it is the place where John the Evangelist (aka John the Theologian) wrote the Book of Revelation. Over the recent years, it has also become a destination preferred by nature lovers and other holidaymakers who seek to experience this location’s spiritual atmosphere in a setting of beautiful land & seascapes.
Patmos’ uneven landscape includes a sinuous shoreline, steep-faced hills, and a volcanic terrain, and it has known a modest tourism growth, attracting visitors who wish to explore its rugged countryside. Much of this place’s allure is owed to its villages: their winding alleys, stone-paved squares, and traditional houses will make a lasting impression on you, as will the good food you’ll taste. The island’s beaches with the amazing waters are also a great asset that will steal your heart away! These are some of the reasons why Patmos Island should rank high on your must-visit list of destinations.
In 1981, Greece declared Patmos a “Sacred Island'', and in 1999 UNESCO included The Historic Centre (Chora) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse in its World Heritage Site List. Patmos is also part of the COESIMA network, as one of the seven most important pilgrimage sites in Europe.
Rhodes has a long and impressive history; it’s a place where the strong mediaeval aspect blends with the traditional Greek one. It is also an island with great natural beauty: the lovely beaches face the pine woods on the mountainsides; the mountain villages overlook the seaside towns; and the archaeological sites, the mediaeval monuments and the cosmopolitan resorts arranged in the traditional style all conspire to make the popularity of this destination so hard to resist, even to a demanding traveller.
This Mediterranean gem of an island boasts a centuries-old history: a turbulent past full of unexpected turns and twists of fate. It flourished during the 4th c. BC; this is when the famous Colossus of Rhodes, a gigantic statue sculpted by Charis from Lindos, Rhodes, who was a student of Lysippos, a master sculptor at the time. The history of this island is a rich one, as each conqueror left their strong mark on it.
Follow us on a time travelling experience around the Mediaeval town, and learn the stories about the Knights of St. John, who ruled the island from the 14th to the 16th c.. Next, we’ll take you on a tour around Rhodes’ amazing countryside.
While approaching the port of Symi, one has the overwhelming feeling of entering a perfectly painted image of a scenic traditional village. As a rule, people remain agape and cannot take their eyes off the spectacular sight. A galore of two and three-storey traditional stone houses, painted in all colours but mostly in indigo, ochre and terracotta, with red tiled roofs and cute little balconies with railings set up the peculiarity of the island.
The few who can resist the superb spectacle of the town of Symi stretching its impeccable architecture – all of the buildings there have been listed - on the slopes of the surrounding hills, take off their eyes to look at their book guides. They see the picture of the port of Symi printed on their books. They know it might have been photoshopped; in all likelihood, they expected it to be better than the real thing. Still, when they lift their eyes again to marvel at the breathtaking sight, they realise it belies their expectations: Symi is more than words or photos can say!
Tilos is one of the small Dodecanese Islands, located between Rhodes and Kos. The landscape includes high mountains, fertile seaside plains, steep rocky shores as well as long sandy beaches. Tilos Island provides habitat for rare bird species such as the Bonelli’s eagle, the Eleonora’s falcon, the long-legged buzzard, the European shag, the European bee-eater, herons, etc, and it has some four hundred types of flowers and herbs. It is the first green island, energy-wise, and a large nature reserve protected by international treaties.
The last elephants of Europe lived here: the dwarf elephants appeared on the island 45,000 years ago and disappeared about 4,000 years ago. In antiquity, Tilos was popular for its herbs, and it prospered during the Classical period, which was also the time when Irinna, a famous ancient Greek female poet lived. It is today a quiet island of picturesque villages and amazing beaches where you can have a relaxing holiday. It is a destination where the notion of sustainability is put to practice.