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?
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 (pronounced Lipse) are numerous small islands and islets in the Southeastern Aegean Sea, which form the northern part of the Dodecanese island group. Leipso or Leipsoi is the name of the largest island of the Leipsoi chain, and it’s located between the islands of Patmos and Leros. It is blessed with a charming natural landscape, friendly people, ideal for day-trip excursions by boat and is the ultimate get-away-from-it-all island fantasy. This lesser-known destination is highly recommended for your next summer holiday, especially if you prefer relaxing in a place of pristine nature.
Odysseus the legendary hero in Greek mythology, in Homer's epic, the “Odyssey, was captured by the witch Calypso who fell in love with him and kept him captive for next seven years until he managed to return to his beloved Ithaca. The island of Leipsoi has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Today the only village on the island is Chora, 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 located. 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.
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.
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!
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.