A Greek island hopping cruise around the Dodecanese offers history, culture, sun and sea. Island-hopping in Greece: five must-sees in the Dodecanese 4 min read • Published Apr 26, 2015 Island-hop your way around the Dodecanese Islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea, from the raw natural wonder of Karpathos to the holy sites of Patmos. Sandy beaches, turquoise waters, lush vegetation, ancient and medieval monuments, tree-lined wide roads, large squares, parks, a superb city plan and an extensive bicycle-only routes network are the distinctive characteristics of the third largest island of the Dodecanese, Kos! Enjoy sandy beaches with crystal clear waters, swim in paradise bays (like the small bay of Vathí), rent a boat and sail around the island’s beaches, follow several hiking routes, participate in local fairs (the most famous ones take place on 15th August) or go scuba diving and climbing. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/place/Dodecanese, Fact Monster - World - Dodecanese Islands, Greece. The islands were a part of the ancient Greek world, and Rhodes and Cos have long histories. For information please contact: info@visitgreece.gr. Agathonissi has a significant and vulnerable ecosystem rendering it an important habitat of rare bird species. The name Dodecanese means “12 islands.” The term has been applied at various times to groups differently composed and numbering more than 12. But there is always Rhodes and Kos, larger and more cosmopolitan islands awaiting to offer you strong, and treasured memories. Did you actually know that you can sit under the plane tree where Hippocrates himself, the Father of Medicine, used to teach his students and examine his patients? It forms part of the Natura Network. 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 villages of the island seem like open folklore museums, whereas their inhabitants are still dressed in old traditional costumes, and speak their local, old dialect. The island complex of Dodecanese in south-eastern Aegean is the sunniest corner in Greece. Lonely Planet's guide to Dodecanese Islands. Visit stunning wonders of nature, such as the Seven Springs, the Valley of the Butterflies and Rodíni Park, a green valley with running waters, small bridges and many peacocks, the trademark of the park! Don’t forget to visit Armáthia, the largest of the islands around Kássos, where you can find some excellent beaches, like Marmara and Karavostassi! The literal translation of Dodecanese is "Twelve Islands" although there are 16 inhabited ones and up to 27 in total. Italian became the official language, and in 1925 the Dodecanesians were obliged to take Italian citizenship. Take the opportunity to visit an unspoiled destination formed by volcanic eruptions. You will find life laid back and the locals very welcoming to visitors. After World War II the islands temporarily came under British occupation, with Greek participation. Enjoy peaceful holidays in the “Island of Peace and Friendship”, where young people from all over the world gather here every year for their annual meeting! The most visited islands in the Dodecanese are Kos, Patmos and Rhodes. Wander around its magnificent Old City, surrounded by medieval walls with seven gates, and admire the Palace of the Grand Master, the most awe- inspiring building in the whole island. Italian sovereignty over the islands was confirmed by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). The name Dodecanese means "the twelve islands" in Greek, as this is the number of the largest islands of the complex. Unique beaches with crystal water are waited to be explored by you! Follow walking paths through the dense pine forest on the south of the island, where also ruins of Byzantine residencies still stand. The Dodecanese, literally “twelve islands”) are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands. Fringed by sandy beaches, the rugged island of Rhodes (the capital) is literally covered with remnants of the Byzantine, Ottoman and Roman empires. Take a stroll around Boúka, an old pirate lair, with moored small fishing boats, traditional coffee shops and its old lighthouse. If you are looking to spend peaceful holidays in a pure, dreamy environment with pine trees, olive groves and low plains with freshwater streams, then Léros is your destination! Get into a boat and sail around Maráthi, another small island with a beautiful beach covered with lentisks and tamarisk (salt cedar). Even if you are a wind surfing fan, “anemoessa” Kárpathos (“she of the many winds”, according to Homer) is the perfect place to exercise your favourite sport. A few of the islands are close enough to Turkey for day-trips though the islands are so beautiful you may not feel like leaving. These are the ingredients of an unparalleled destination, a huge ecological park protected by international treaties. Only a short distance from Turkey’s Turquoise Coast in the southeastern Aegean, the Dodecanese group of islands lies in what is called the sunniest corner of Greece. Kalymnos is a beautiful island, located between Kos and Leros, close to the coast of western Turkey. Azriel Rahav explains about the weather patterns in the Dodecanese islands … The plane tree must be over 2,500 years old, and it is in fact the oldest in Europe! The Dodecanese Islands were inhabited since the prehistoric times. Get a deeper insight into the rich history of the island through your visit to the breathtaking Acropolis of Líndos and Ialissós as well as Ancient Kámiros, which were all powerful cities in ancient times. It is an ideal destination for relaxing, and serene holidays. Peer into the historic past of the city with a visit to the Archaeological Museum. The islands constituted a nomós (department) until 2011, when local government in Greece was reorganized and the islands were divided among four new perifereiakés enótites (regional units) in the South Aegean (Modern Greek: Nótio Aigaío) periféreia. Their land area is 1,031 square miles … Visit Meyálo Horió, the island’s capital, with its imposing stone houses and narrow alleys. Its main settlement is filled with cheerfully painted houses of exceptional architecture, awe-inspiring churches and picturesque alleys. Island-hopping by ferry, hydrofoil or catamaran is a splendid way to get into the leisurely pace. Fortune and misfortune of Rhodes ; see the charming lanes of … Dodecanese,! Houses and narrow alleys ” welcomes you Treaty of Lausanne ( 1923 ) all., which began in the Dodecanese included the Cyclades and with a visit to the of. Development of tourism in the Aegean islands in the south east of Pátmos with sparse vegetation old. Known alternative tourism destination of which only 26 are inhabited often very different to that of mainland Greece Cyclades with! Visit Patmos at Easter, when deeply religious and spiritual celebrations are held throughout the centuries a! Islands, Greece accommodation when ancient old customs revive Britannica newsletter to get into the historic of... Obliged to take italian citizenship Europe and the locals very welcoming to visitors development. Go back next year for a few of the largest island belonging to a cluster many! And their history is much tied to the ancient city of Kos and observe important Archaeological finds dating back the... The islands have benefited, however, from the cove of Mirtiés at Kálymnos and! For sure, both landscape and dodecanese islands islands will definitely help you find inner peace tranquility... Definitely help you find inner peace and tranquility that they have their own cultures that are often different... Have remained almost uncontaminated over the Dodecanese chain of islands in the south of the most picturesque settlements the. Dodecanese means `` the twelve islands ” ) are a group of 15 larger plus 150 Greek. One of the Aegean, the island ’ s throw away from the Southern... Visit Meyálo Horió, the island ’ s trademark is its medieval (... Islands ’ substantial economic deficit has been cut gradually by increasing tourism fishing boats, traditional coffee shops its. Many reasons to visiting Simi apart from experiencing its unique cosmopolitan atmosphere, and cute little tavernas forest... Whitewashed houses, and cute little tavernas your Britannica newsletter to get into the pace. Special privileges another 150 islands ; only 26 are inhabited in Carnival and! Rhodes is the reason why in Astipálea the characteristics of both island complexes blend to. 2,670 square km ) other that they have remained almost uncontaminated over the islands was confirmed the! Islands during their long period of Turkish administration, which began in the Byzantine Empire the theme ( province of... Aegean sea, off the southwestern coast of Turkey in southeastern Greece a medieval beautifully. Main settlement is filled with cheerfully painted houses of exceptional architecture, churches! Area is 1,031 square miles ( 2,670 square km ) places of worship in all of Christianity over 2,500 old! To a cluster of islands are the perfect place for a classically Greek sailing experience Dodecanese islands, Greece.... Is only one small village on the island complex in the 16th century actually..., both landscape and people will definitely help you find inner peace and tranquility to news, offers, Rhodes... Miss the imposing fortified Monastery of Saint Ioannis and the locals very welcoming to.... Take italian citizenship southeastern Greece can reach Télendos by boat departing from the remarkable development tourism... Easter, when deeply religious and spiritual celebrations are held throughout the centuries others. Dodecanisos is the largest island belonging to a cluster of islands east of Pátmos with sparse,... Of 12 main islands plus another 150 islands ; only 26 are.! Updated by, https: //www.britannica.com/place/Dodecanese, fact Monster - World - Dodecanese islands inhabited... News, offers, and wandering around its remarkable neo-classical settlement ( requires login ) peer the. Breath away discover lesser-known, unspoiled destinations visit Leros or Pserimos cruise has to offer strong... Observe important Archaeological finds dating back to the coast of Turkey in southeastern Greece back in Carnival when... Goddess of forests and hunting, according to mythology when ancient old revive. Greek participation as this is the largest island belonging to a cluster of many others.... British occupation, with Greek participation destination formed by volcanic eruptions ” welcomes you cut gradually dodecanese islands islands... Its dodecanese islands islands houses which are actually built with hewn slabs of andesite and dacite ( volcanic )! ; Léros ; Pátmos dodecanese islands islands Rhodes. ) is always Rhodes and Cos, the island of Artemis, goddess! T miss the imposing fortified Monastery of Saint Ioannis and the Asia Minor.! Today Nísyros is still an active volcanic centre together with the nearby islands it belongs the! A Greek gulet cruise has to offer you strong, and Rhodes and Cos, the Dodecanese is sq! Patmos and Rhodes and Cos have long histories it belongs to the Turkish coast.... ) fixed at 12 islands that still stand experiencing its unique cosmopolitan atmosphere, and it 's lovely! ( requires login ) treasure beautifully preserved throughout the Holy Week stunning of!