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How to do Greek Island Hopping in the Dodecanese

Astypalaia ● Chalki ● Dodecanese ● Kalymnos ● Karpathos ● Kasos ● Kastellorizo ● Kos ● Leros ● Nisyros ● Patmos ● Rhodes ● Symi ● Tilos ● 21 May 2018
The Dodecanese is an island complex in the eastern Aegean Sea, close to Turkey. The most famous island of this complex is Rhodes, but the truth is that there you can find many other worthwhile islands, that offer you amazing things to do. These islands are characterised by the beautiful towns, which have an Italian style due to the Venetian and Italian occupation for centuries (the Dodecanese became part of the Greek state after World War II). Hospitable people, off-the-beaten-path destinations, crystal clear sea waters and rich history. These are the Dodecanse islands, a part of true authenticity in Greece. If you want to live the ultimate summer vacation, then visit more Dodecanese islands in an unforgettable Greek Island Hopping, which will show you another side of Greece. Learn here everything you need to know about the Greek Island Hopping in the Dodecanese. You dream summer is just a few clicks away!

Which islands?


Rhodes is a beautiful cosmopolitan island, which offers the traveller stunning beaches, bars and clubs for endless fun, cultural opportunities, great touristic amenities as well as traditional towns and villages. The Medieval Town of Rhodes is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe, while Lindos is another town where the beauty meets the elegant atmosphere with the white houses and the paved streets at the top of the cliff. Some of the most significant historical sites and monuments you can visit -in addition of course to the Medieval Town- are the Acropolis of Rhodes, the acropolis of Lindos, ancient Ialysos, ancient Kamiros, Elaphos and the castles of Monolithos, Kritinia and Feraklos. Rhodes has also beautiful natural environment and traditional villages. Some of the most beautiful places to visit are the valley of butterflies, the Seven Springs, the Tsampika Monastery, the windsurfers paradise Prasonisi, the marine aquarium and the mountains Profitis Ilias, Atavyros and Akramitis that offer great walking paths and breathtaking view. Faliraki is not only a top nightlife spot, which attracts young travellers from all over the world, but also a wonderful organised beach.


Kos is a beautiful island with exotic beaches and a cosmopolitan Chora as well as interesting and long history. Kos is the hometown of Hippocrates, the father of medicine. In the front of the Castle of the Knights, in the centre of Kos Town, there is a plane tree, under which, according to the legend, Hippocrates used to teach his students. Worth visiting is also Asklepieion. In the antiquity, Asklepieion was a medical center, and it was built to honor the God of Medicine and Health, Asklepios. It was built during the 5th century B.C., and Hippokrates had also taught there his students. Don't miss to stroll around the streets of the capital, which combines ancient, Venetian and modern elements.The majority of the beaches on the island are sandy, with crystal blue waters and organised and are considered to be among the most beautiful beaches of the Dodecanese islands.


Kasos is a small island of the Dodecanese, which is located between Crete and Karpathos. It is an off-the-beaten-track destination, an unspoiled island with a charming Chora and one of the best beaches in Greece, Marmara. Golden sand, emerald waters and the feeling that you have just discovered the heaven on earth, this is Marmara and Kasos. After having visited Rhodes or Kos with the vivid nightlife, Kasos is the best place to relax and get rest. If you swim in Marmara, you just don't want to go out!


Karpathos is a lovely island, ideal for exploration and discovery. Beautiful beaches on every corner, unspoiled by mass tourism mountainous villages and friendly hiking routes make this island so interesting and perfect for nature lovers. A trip to Karpathos would not be complete without a visit to the mountainous village of Olympos, where time appears to have stood still for decades. Unique architecture, an important folklore museum and more than 70 windmills at the entrance of the village are only some of the things you will admire in Olympos. It is definitely the best spot in Karpathos and one of the best spots in the Aegean Sea!


Built amphitheatrically, the harbor of Symi will take your breath away as soon as the boat approaches it. Colorful neoclassical houses create a picture that looks like coming from a carte postal. It is a picture like a painting that you will admire again and again during your stay on this charming rocky island. Thousands photos are not enough to captivate the feeling you have when you see this astonishing Chora, which is equally beautiful to the most romantic Italian cities. In addition to the scenic traditional village of the port with the seaside cocktail bars and the awarded restaurants, Symi has also amazing beaches with crystal and deep blue waters.


Chalki is the smallest inhabited island of the Dodecanese with a permanent population of 330 residents, which is increased during the summer months. The island has the same impeccable architecture with Symi, but it is less crowded and developed. There, you can enjoy swimming and sunbathing in secluded beaches, walking around the cobblestone streets and exploring the peaceful side of Greece away from mass tourism.


Tilos is the ultimate Greek island for backpackers and free-campers thanks to Eristos. Eristos is a famous beach of Tilos, where the former mayor has put years ago external public showers and trash cans in order to attract the fans of free-camping. Since then, Tilos is the favourite destination of students, young people and off-the-beaten-path travellers. It is a small island near Rhodes and an undiscovered low-budget summer destination. Tilos has also a well-preserved neoclassical harbour, many secluded beaches for total privacy and an impressive ghost-village that has remained totally untouched by time!


Nisyros, the alternative option to Santorini, is a volcanic island with wide caldera. Its volcano, the youngest Greek volcano, is currently active but not erupting, impressing with its wild feeling all around. Nisyros is an exquisite Greek island on the southern side of Kos. You can stay in Mandraki or Nikia, which are picturesque villages that can offer you the calmness you are looking for. The volcanic landscape will impress you!


Kastellorizo is a tiny island with only one village and without beaches, but this fact should not discourage you because the island has something really different and imposing to offer. It is the easternmost Greek island, literally closer to Turkey than to Greece. The architecture of the port has Italian and Ottoman influences, offering its visitors a surprising mixture of these civilisations in a multicultural atmosphere. On this island, it was filmed in 1991 the Oscar-winning movie Mediterraneo. Although Kastellorizo has no beaches, you can take the boat to visit the impressive caves in a close distance or swim in the small coves near the harbour. Either way, the sea waters are turquoise!


Leros is a virgin island that is ideal for you to visit if you want to get familiar with the virgin side of the Greek islands in a Greek Island Hopping away from the crowds. With a beautiful port and calm beaches with deep blue waters, Leros gives you the opportunity to understand what Greek hospitality is about. On the island, you will eat fresh fish and enjoy low prices for your entertainment, food and accommodation. The colorful port, the first thing you see on the island, welcomes you!


Patmos is the island where Saint John wrote the Apocalypse. After 2,000 thousand years of history, the sacred cave is still there, and you can visit it with respect to its spiritual vibes that attract everyone, even the atheists or the pilgrims of other religions. It is a holy place with a strong aura inside a rock. You can't understand how you will feel, if you don't visit it. Don't miss also the Monastery of Saint John as well as the Chora of Patmos, a medieval town at the top of the cliff, which is a World Heritage by UNESCO. The ultimate elegant destination!


Astypalaia is captured between two worlds. It belongs to the island complex of Dodecanese, but its style is Cycladic. A Venetian Castle at the top of the hill, white-washed houses surrounding it and churches with blue domes make Astypalaia  the island that combines the best characteristics of the Dodecanese and the Cyclades. The "butterfly of the Aegean Sea", as it is its nickname, stands proudly overlooking the deep blue sea waters and attracting visitors that can appreciate what the island has to offer. Astypalaia is the closest Dodecanese island to Athens and is ideal if you want to combine island hopping in the Cyclades and the Dodecanese.


Kalymnos is distinguished by wild rocky mountains, which are ideal for climbing. This is why the island turned into a climbing destination over the last years and developed important sports tourism that is vivid also during autumn, spring and winter. Climbers from all over the world come to the island due to the giant cliffs and the seaside ambience. The Climbing Festival in Kalymnos is something you should definitely not miss! Furthermore, Kalymnos has also interesting seabed and tradition to diving as the island of the spongers. This is why, every July is organised an international diving festival in Kalymnos. In addition to this impressive natural landscape, Kalymnos is also an authentic island that has remained unspoiled by mass tourism and allows you to totally relax and be in contact with the nature.

Where to start?

The Dodecanese islands are not located close to any Greek city. Your options is to take to boat from Piraeus Port or the aeroplane from Athens, but there are also many charter flights especially to the popular islands of Rhodes and Kos. If you take the boat, be prepared for a long trip (10-12 hours) from Athens, but you can also take a cabin, depart from Piraeus at night and arrive in one of the Dodecanese islands in the morning, fresh and relaxed after having slept all night on the boat (on the boat, you enjoy a really peaceful and calm sleep, and the cabins are like a hotel room).

Alternatively, there are daily flights to many Dodecanese islands. Which islands have airport? Astypalaia, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kos, Leros, Kastellorizo and Rhodes. Thus, you can take the aeroplane from Athens or Thessaloniki or even from your country if there are available direct charter flights, arrive at one of these islands and then take the boat to visit more Dodecanese islands. The distance between the islands is really short (1-2 hours or even less between some islands by ferry or boat), thus island hopping in the Dodecanese is easy and convenient.

How to combine the islands?

Although all Dodecanese islands are located in a short distance to each other, there are some combinations that are better than others. Either way, it is probably unlikely you can visit all islands, so we recommend you to make the optimum routes in order to avoid many hours on the boat. From Kos, you can go to the north and visit Kalymnos, Leros and Patmos with this sequence, but you have also the option to go to the south and visit Nisyros and Tilos and then Rhodes. Rhodes can be also combined with Chalki and Symi. Kastellorizo is located on the eastermonst point of Greece, and thus even from Rhodes, you need 2 hours by ferry, but you can also take the aeroplane. Very close to each other, are situated Kasos and Karpathos. Astypalaia is located in the middle of the Aegean Sea, closer to the Cyclades than to Dodecanse. Thus, it can easily combined with Cycladic islands, such as Anafi and Amorgos, but if you want to stay in the Dodecanese, go after Astypalaia to Kalymnos or Kos, which are the closest islands.

Book your ferry tickets online and get profited of amazing ferry deals. For top and cheap accommodation offers, book also online and be prepared for the best summer of your life!

Where to Stay

Hotel & Appartment in Leros, Greece ApartHotel Papafotis
ApartHotel Papafotis
Alinda, 85400 Leros, Greece

ApartHotel Papafotis is located in the popular touristic resort of Alinda, just 50 m from the beach. Agia Marina harbour is 2.8 km away, while Lakki port is 7 km away. The historic capital of Leros, Platanos, is at 3 km. Leros National Airport is 5 km away from the hotel.

Hotel in Rhodes, Greece Sylvia Hotel
Sylvia Hotel
114, Kolokotroni Str., 43065 Rhodes, Greece

Centrally located in the historic Rhodes Town, Sylvia Hotel lies 3 minutes walk from the beach and 10 minutes walk from the main port of Rhodes. The medieval centre of the town can be reached within 10 minutes. Rhodes International Airport "Diagoras" is at 15 km.

Appartment in Tilos, Greece Michalis Studios
Michalis Studios
Livadia, 85002 Tilos, Greece

Michalis Studios is located in Livadia, Tilos, just a few minute's walk from the port and the beach. Megalo Chorio, the capital of the island, is 6.5 km away.