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The Dodecanese is a beautiful group of islands located in the south-eastern part of the Aegean sea, between Samos, Crete and the Turkish coast. The main islands are: Rhodes, Karpathos, Astypalea, Patmos, Kos, Tilos and Symi. All of these islands are rich in natural beauties, wonderful beaches, historical monuments and traditions! The most popular island of the Dodecanese is Rhodes, famous for it’s beautiful city center, the yellow beaches and the lush nature that covers it.
Another very popular location is Kos which with Karpathos and Patmos is one of the islands that is developing mostly in the last years but that still hasn’t lost it’s original look. For the rest in the Dodecanese you will find many smaller “paradise islands”. If you want to move away from the rest of the tourists you can get on a boat (or on a plane if you leave from Athens) and set for Leros where you will see gorgeous castles and beaches. You can also visit Kastellorizo a small island with very friendly locals located near Turkey.
Dodecanese islands, Venetian fortresses
The Dodecanese’s history starts in prehistory but reaches it’s peak during medieval times when the islands where conquered by the venetians. The Venetians built fortresses and castles to defend the cities and started a commercial route based on the navigation of these islands.
Some castles from that time like the “great master's palace” in Rhodes, Neratzia castle in Kos and Pandeli castle in Leros. Usually every island has at least one Venetian castle. During the 15th century the Dodecanese islands were conquered by the Ottomans that gave a strong architectural identity to the islands. During the 19th century Italy took over the islands from 1912 to 1947 after which they were given back to the Greek state with the peace treaty with Italy.
How to move around?
Renting a vehicle is the best option. Busses are the cheapest way to move around the islands. There are also KTEL suburban busses that go from Rhodes city to almost all the villages and beaches on the island besides to the some of the most touristy areas like: Lindos, Faliraki, Afandou and Archangelos. Taxis are usually used as a quick way to get around the island but a lot of people avoid them because of the high price.
Renting a car or a motorbike is the easiest way to visit these islands and you will find many renting companies on almost every island, especially and Rhodes and some of the bigger ones.
Since all the islands are very close and well connected to each other you will have the chance to organize many daily trips to a different island. Same happens for the Turkish coasts: in fact they can be easily reached from the Greek islands of Kos and Rhodes. The ferries from Rhodes and Kos arrive in the Turkish cities of Marmaris and Bodrum.
Quiet beaches and hidden creeks
The most famous beaches of the Dodecanese are in Rhodes and Kos, the other islands are famous for their relaxing atmosphere and quiet beaches. In Rhodes and kos you will find very well organized structures like hotels, apartments to rent, restaurants, bars and sport centers. Faliraki, Ixia, Ialyssos, Kallithea and Rhodes are very organized, just like Kefalos, Kardamena and Kos.
Since these islands are quite large in size not every beach will be equipped and you will still be able to find some peaceful places. There are many small and relaxing sandy bays on the different islands, here you will find quiet beaches and relaxing views away from the chaos of the more popular islands.
Villas, hotels, resorts and cheap apartments
There are different types of accomodations to choose from when visiting the Dodecanese. Rhodes and Kos being the most important and popular islands are full of hotels, luxurious villas and 5 stars resorts bsides many apartments that can be rented. The rest of the islands aren’t as developed and have less structures.
Hotels on islands like Karpathos, Patmos, Leros and Kalymnos usually have 2-3 stars but you will also find the typical Greek studios and apartments that can be rented. Islands like Tilos, Nisyros and Halki only have apartments and studios to rent.
The quickest way to reach the Dodecanese: airplanes and ferries
By plane: There are airports inhj many islands of the Dodecanese. There are direct flights from Athens or from international airports to Rhodes, Kos and Karpathos during summer. If you want to go to Leros or Kalimnos there are only national flights from Athens available.
By ferry: Almost all the islands can be reached from Piraeus port after a long journey. There are also daily ferries that connect Rhodes, Kos and all the other islands in the Dodecanese. Karpathos and Kasos are on the southern side of the Dodecanese and they are connected to Agios Nikolaos and Crete during summer. There are also ferries to visit the Turkish cities of Bodrum (leaving from Kos) and Marmaris (leaving from Rhodes)
The Dodecanese is full of small and coloured villages hidden behind the mountains or in the green lush valleys of the different islands.
Rhodes is a medieval treasure that has been preserved over centuries. Walking around the old city you will notice the antique walls that used to protect the city and it’s most famous monument: the “palazzo del gran maestro”.
The other islands in the Dodecanese are famous for their natural and historical beauties. There are also many temples, villages and monuments like: Olympos in Karpathos, Patmos and Astypalea’s Chora, Zia in Kos, Chorio in Symi and Nikia in Nisyros.
Since the islands in the Dodecanese are all close to each other and connected with ferries you will have the chance to organize many daily trips to different islands. The same is for the Turkish coasts that have daily connection to the Turkish cities of Marmaris and Bodrum.