Greece Holidays in Dodecanese Islands. Endless beaches and unexplored islets, castles and ancient civilisations, cosmopolitan but at the same time unspoilt, these quintessentially Greek islands are above all charming and hospitable.

What does Dodecanese means?

The name means literally “12 islands,” although there are also several islets. The islands were held by Ottoman from 1522 until 1912.

Where is Dodecanese islands?

An island group of southeast Greece in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Crete.

What are the 12 islands of Greece?

The name “Dodecanese”, meaning “The Twelve Islands”, denotes today an island group in the southeastern Aegean Sea, comprising fifteen major islands (Rhodes, Kos, Karpathos, Kalymnos, Patmos, Astypalea, Symi, Leros, Nisyros, Halki, Tilos, Lipsi and Kasos, Kastelorizo (Megisti).

Dodecanese Islands have cluster of twelve islands in the southeastern edge of the Aegean, jewels of all sizes decorating the big blue sea: the Dodecanese islands form a bridge between Europe and the East and everywhere you’ll see traces of peoples and cultures that made their mark over the centuries: Ionians, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Ottomans and Italians. Each island has a character all its own and all offer a plethora of opportunities for relaxation, sightseeing, adventures and gastronomical pleasure – with a backdrop of stunningly beautiful beaches.

11 Most Beautiful Dodecanese Islands

In Dodecanese Islands whether travelling with your children, your sweetheart or a big group of friends, you’ll find the Greek islands that’s right for you. Some are extremely popular, like Rhodes and Kos, and others have a virgin charm, like Kalymnos, Symi, volcanic Nisyros, Kastelorizo and Kasos, Karpathos, Astypalea, Halki and Lipsi. And then there’s Patmos, a sui generis destination, famous as the holy island of the St John’s Book of Revelation, the ‘Jerusalem of the Aegean’. The journey begins: set sail for the Dodecanese Islands, discover these islands’ beaches and cultures. They will never cease to surprise you. Your Greece holidays here will be a montage of beautiful imagery and exciting, unforgettable experiences.

Select Your Island of Dodecanese

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Beaches of Dodecanese

In the Dodecanese Islands, you’ll find it hard to choose among the seemingly infinite number of beaches. Each one is special in its own way. If you’re feeling active, there’s scuba diving, snorkelling and all sorts of water sports. If you’re looking for something more quiet and intimate, you’ll sunbathe, swim and relax at secluded coves all your own. On Rhodes, the beaches are fun for everyone: tubing, jet skiing, windsurfing, go-carting and even bungee jumping, amidst a myriad of chic beach bars, for sipping cocktails while watching the waves lap up against the shore. Enjoy your holiday on these beaches that stand out: Elli and Ialyssos, Lindos, Agathi and Kiotari will enrich your experience on Rhodes. Karpathos golden coast will also impress: the award-winning, sandy Apella and touristy Amoopi standing out among them. Kos also has endless beauties with all the bells and whistles. But if tranquility is more your cup of tea, then head to Kalymnos, Lipsi, Tilos and Armathia, near Kassos.

Map of Dodecanese Islands

Map of Dodecanese, Greece
Map of Dodecanese, Greece

Ancient History of Dodecanese

The Dodecanese Islands has a rich history, visible everywhere you turn: ancient citadels, famous castles, renowned museums and important archaeological sites and monuments. Among them are Rhodes’ acropolis (Monte Smith) with its Doric temple, the ancient stadium, the ancient acropolis of Lindos, Ialyssos and ancient Kamiros. On Karpathos, visit ancient Vroukounda and Arkesia and the palaces of Doric Nisyros on the Saria islet. Make time to tour exhibits and monuments: on Rhodes, the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Archaeological Museum and the Aquarium; on Patmos, a stately home that has been converted to an exceptional gallery (the Nikolaidis mansion); and don’t miss the Volcanic Museum on Nisyros.

Popular Destinations of Dodecanese

The Dodecanese Islands is a popular destination for thrill seekers and lovers of water sports. Rhodes tops the list, with the best windsurfing in the region at Prassoni. At Kos’ organised beaches, you’ll see row upon row of sails in the distance. In addition to windsurfing, Karpathos is also famous for trekking trails of exceptional beauty, alongside mountain cliffs overlooking the big blue. Kalymnos is paradise for rock climbers, as it boasts some of the best climbing routes in Europe. Both aspiring and advanced climbers come here from all over the world for one reason: to challenge themselves on the 60 climbing venues and 1,300 signposted trails. And if you prefer the depths of the sea, then take a lesson with the best in the business: Kalymnos famous sponge divers.

Symi island, Dodecanese, Greece
Symi island, Dodecanese, Greece

Gastronomy in Dodecanese

Rhodes Island, the first island in the Aegean to make wine, has dozens of vineyards and plenty of fine wine for you to enjoy. In the island’s villages, dozens of local dishes await you and the desserts are just as memorable. Particularly noteworthy is Rhodes’ melikouni (a sesame bar with honey), served at weddings and baptisms. On Kassos, you’ll never tire of mizithra (the traditional cheese) and, on Kalymnos, you’ll eat mououri (lamb stuffed with rice), like the Dorians. On Symi, don’t leave without sampling Symi’s fried shrimps, small, flavourful and spiked with chilli flakes. Your culinary journey at this corner of the Aegean is sure to be unforgettable!

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