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.
Located exactly where the Dodecanese meet the Cyclades, the island of Astypalaia boasts a centuries-old history, whitewashed villages and sun-drenched beaches. Embark on a fascinating trip where the deep blue of the sea meets the bright white colours of beautiful island houses… Astypalaia, the westernmost island of the Group, is naturally separated into Mesa Nisi [the inner island] (western part) and Exo Nisi [the outer island] (eastern part) by a thin strip of land less than 100 m. wide.
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.
Climbing up giant vertical rocks; diving in a sea bottom where centuries- old ship wrecks lie; enchanting caves; wonderful beaches und picturesque island settlements. This is Kalymnos: a destination offering more than you can imagine!
Welcome to Kalymnos, the island of the sea-sponge harvesters! The fourth largest island of the Dodecanese Group is widely known as an international sponge-harvesting trade center. After WW II, Kalymnos remained the only Greek island engaged in the sea sponge-harvesting activity, supplying domestic as well as foreign markets. Thanks to its unique geomorphology, Kalymnos is a tourist destination known worldwide for offering alternative vacations and activities such as climbing, scuba diving, mountain hiking and spelunking, a true paradise for passionate action-lovers!
Tall mountains, pristine scenery, traditional villages, turquoise waters and rich history makes this island - the second largest island of the Dodecanese complex - an ideal destination to fill your holidays with joy. The inhabitants of Karpathos know how to grasp the joys of life during their local festivals and live up to their long-lasting traditions.
Pigadia is the capital and main port of the island, where you’ll come across significant monuments. At the entrance of the port you’ll notice the the “Vouno” Hill where you can see the ruins of an Acropolis at an altitude of 23m. On your left, you’ll see a building with an impressive architecture dating back to the Venetian Rule. It used to house the district officer but today it is used as an information center for the mediterranean monk seal as well as a museum with exhibits from various periods of the island. Make sure to stop by Afoti where you can admire the ruins of the paleochristian Basilica of Agia Foteini and Myloi where Poseidon’s cave awaits you.
It is the southern most island of Dodecanese complex, bearing an ancient history and many common features with the island of Crete, which is quite near. Rocky landscapes, traditional settlements, lacy shores and deep blue waters compose the ideal setting for peaceful off the beaten track holidays.
Phoenicians are considered to be the first inhabitants, while Homer includes Kasos in the list of islands which took part in the Trojan War. Despite the island's small size, it had a great naval and commercial presence, also using its fleet to participate in the Revolution of 1821, fact which cost its complete destruction from the Turks in June 1824. Its later history is identical with one of the rest of Dodecanese islands, until the unification with the mainland in 1948. Many of Kasos’, as well as Karpathos’ inhabitants immigrated to America and Egypt, where they worked for the opening up of the Suez Canal in the middle of 19th century.
The island extends over a surface of 66 km2, its coastline is 50 km long and it has 1,000 inhabitants.
On the easternmost edge of Greece floats one of the smallest and prettiest islands of the Dodecanese complex, Kastellorizo. Called also by its name in the ancient times, i.e. Megisti, 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. Obviously, it is to that high castle with the double walls and the battlements the name of the island is owed.
The palmy days started for Kastellorizo at the end of the 19th century thanks to fishing and shipping. Recalling those days there are the beautiful mansions along the coast. The 9 sq km big island became a tourists’ attraction after the Academy Award winner film “Mediterraneo” was shot there some 20 years ago.
The endless coasts with the turquoise waters, the vegetation, the affluent water springs, the ancient and medieval monuments, as well as the impressive Italian buildings feature Kos island; the third largest island of Dodecanese complex, located just 4 miles away from the Turkish coasts. The name «Kos» probably derives from the daughter of the mythical King Meropas, called Koos.
Kos is the birthplace of Hippocrates «the father of medicine» (460-377 B.C) and was already inhabited during Neolithic Period (5th - 4th millennium B.C). The Knights of St. John conquered the island during the 14th century, reinforcing the older castles and building new fortifications. During Ottoman occupation, the island was attacked by several intruders (Knights, Venetians etc), while during Italian occupation (1912-1945) some really important, monumental public buildings were constructed. The island was officially united with Greece in 1948. It extends over a surface of 290 km2; its coastline is 112 km.
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 the 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 (Diana to the Romans) 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 Aegean islands, still untouched by the tourism growth. It is part of the Dodecanese group of islands, situated between Kos and Tilos. The island extends over a surface of 41 km and its coastline is 28 km long. It can be reached by ferry from Piraeus, Kos and Rhodes.
According to mythology, it 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 is the modern Nisyros and it is said that the volcano’s explosions are the angry breathing of the defeated Giant. These explosions shaped the island, which is considered to be the youngest volcanic centre in Greece, still active – along with the volcanoes of Milos, Santorini and Methana. During antiquity the island thrived on obsidian commerce, extracted by the inhabitants of Nisyros, from the nearby island, Gyali.
Worldwide known as a sacred island for it is the place where Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation, Patmos is an ideal destination for nature lovers thanks to its lace-like coastline, sheer cliffs and volcanic soil.
Designated as “Holy Island” by the Greek Parliament in 1981 as well as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, Patmos had been used as a place of exile by the Romans on account of its steep morphology. That’s how St. John found safe refuge here in the 1st century A.D., exiled by the Emperor Domitian.
Welcome to Rhodes, the capital of the Dodecanese, an island which is ideal not only for those who want to relax but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination.
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.
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 photoshoped; 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!
An island with rough, mountainous and verdant volumes, hills and plains where four hundred species of flowers and herbs germinate, inhabited by numerous species of rare birds (Bonelli’s eagle, hawks, nightingales, goldfinches, herons, bee-eaters etc). It has picturesque villages and charming beaches. This is the place where the last elephants of Europe lived: The dwarf-elephants appeared in the island 45,000 years ago and disappeared 4,000 years ago.
The whole island constitutes a vast ecological park and is protected by international treaties. In ancient times, Tilos was famous for its herbs and became really prosperous during the classic period. During that period the famous female poet, Irinna, lived on the island. The island extends over a surface of 63 km2, its coastline is 63 km long and it has 500 inhabitants. It can be reached by ferry from Rhodes.