There are many things to explore in the beautiful Dodecanese, a beautiful island complex in Greece. Dodecanese is comprised of 12 large islands plus 150 small islands found in the Aegean Sea. Today, 26 of these islands are inhabited, making it perfect for island hopping trips.
Apart from the islands, the magnificent ancient ruins in Dodecanese Islands are totally fascinating. From Byzantine and Medieval monuments to local and unique settlements, there are many things to discover in Dodecanese. You just have to take your pick. Here’s ours.
When in Dodecanese, do what the tourists do and lounge in the sandy white beaches of Kos. Crystal clear turquoise waters and powder white beaches are complemented with parks and squares that are magnificently planned by the city. They are also serious with the environmental footprint. Most of the tourists and locals here tour the city on bikes. Its famous landmark is the Nerantziá Castle, a beautiful medieval castle that is naturally preserved. It stands near the port entrance giving the place some sort of a fortress vibe. Other notable castles are the 15th century Antimáhia and the 4th century Asclipiion castles.
Once an ancient city, its famous squares— Elefthería Square and Platánou Square—reek of royalty in design. Other than that, the plane tree where Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, once sat is right there in Kos. This tree is about 2,500 years old. According to documents, it is the oldest tree in all of Europe. Don’t miss this chance to sit under its calming shade and let your wind wander back in time.
The most interesting fact about the island of Nisyros is the fact that it was formed due to volcanic eruptions. Amazingly, the island remains as an active volcanic center, along with that of Santorini, Methana, and Milos. In the village of Nikia you will find an interesting Volcanic Museum. This museum is the only one of its kind in all of Greece. The narrow streets of Mandraki offers a certain charm that attracts many visitors from the world over. Photo enthusiasts admire the many colorful houses in Nisyros that are made from volcanic materials dacite and andesite.
The island of Kalymnos is a very popular tourism destination. Known as the “island of the sea sponge harvesters”, the island has enjoyed many visitors from all over the world. When the World War II ended, the island of Kalymnos’ sponge-harvesting livelihood survived, making it the only one remaining in all of Greece. This enabled the island settlers to be the only supplier of sea sponge to the domestic and international markets.
Arriving in Kalymnos, the first thing you will see is Pothia, its capital and main port. Pothia is home to the Chrissoheria Castle and the Archaeological Museum. Kalymnos’ former capital is Horio where Byzantine monuments are preserved. Visiting Kalymnos, one must not pass the opportunity to see the beauty of Elinika during the International Climbing Festival that takes place in May. Don’t forget to take home some of that delicious homemade cheese called mizithra.
Coincidentally, the world pserimos means “looking for the ideal destination for serene, relaxing holidays.” What could be more straight-forward than that? The small bay of Vathi in Pserimos offers just that with its clear waters and powder white sand. There are various local fairs in Pserimos but the most popular one happens every August 15. There are also scuba diving and climbing sports in Pserimos.
The island of Karpathos is known for its olive groves, vineyards, pine tree forests, and rocky caves. Karapthos’ rocky caves are home to monahus monachus. When you step into one of the many villages in Karpathos, like the Mesohori and the Olympos, it’s like you’re stepping into folklore where the settlers still don the traditional clothing from way back. They also speak an old dialect that keeps their culture rich. There are also modern day activities you can enjoy such as wind surfing. There are also local celebrations and carnivals that entice many people to visit all year round.
This is perhaps Dodecane’s most popular island. Known as the “island of the Apocalypse”, Patmos is home to the cave where John the Theologian wrote the “Book of Revelations”. John was one of Jesus Christ’s disciplines. Hora, which is a preserved medieval building, is also a famous destination in Patmos. Enjoy exploring its many maze-like hallways and stone houses. The Monastery of Saint Ioannis is also a must-see place. Popular amongst pilgrims, the island enjoys many tourists especially during Easter and Holy Week.
Step into the island of Artemis. In Greek Mythology, Artemis is the goddess of hunting and forests. Naturally, Leros is famous for both. Peace is found in the many low plains, freshwater streams, pine tree forests, and olive groves in Leros. Peace is also found in the beautiful azure seas in the area. If you’re itching for some fantastically preserves ruins, visit the island capital Ayia Marina and admire the Italian Architecture. There are centuries old castles here as well, the Castle of Panayia and Castle of Brouzi. Shipwrecks also offer a great scuba diving experience for visits.
Rhodes is a medieval treasure just waiting to be rediscovered. The magnificent Old City’s architectural wonders are preserved in its natural beauty. You are free to explore its many walls, gates, and even the Palace of the Grand Master, a beautiful abandoned structure in the island. What could be a more perfect location for a romantic rendezvous other than Rhodes where you can stroll like knights and princesses in this once royal abode? Don’t forget to visit the Archaeological Museum in Rhodes before you hop to the next island.
Don’t be misled because of the island’s size. Though small, the island of Kassos was a powerful maritime and commercial center once. Mansions in Fre, Kassos’ capital and prime port, have been preserved beautifully and now attracts a lot of visitors from all over Europe. Bouka, a former pirates’ lair is also famous for its flair and traditional coffee shops. Armathia, the biggest of the small islands in Kassos, is home to magnificent beaches like the Karavostassi and the Marmara.
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