The Dodecanese are a group of twelve large islands (hence the dodeca, Greek for twelve) together with numerous smaller ones, of which about 25 are inhabited. Rhodes and Kos are well-known holiday destinations with international airports and a well-developed infrastructure for tourism (with the obligatory all-inclusive hotels and holiday resorts), while islands like Patmos, Leros, Symi, Chalki, Kastelorizo, Karpathos and Astypalaia are more for the connoisseurs, as are the even smaller/lesser known ones such as Nysiros, Tilos, Kasos or Lipsi.
Holidays on the Dodecanese Islands
Each of the Dodecanese Islands has its own character, style and features: sophisticated Patmos with its whitewashed chora topped by St John Monastery, charming Symi with its neoclassical houses, laid-back Leros with its amazing Art Deco architecture, fascinating Karpathos with its amazing mountain village Olympos, etc.
Apart from Kos and Rhodes (which as long as you stay away from the parts developed to cater to mass tourism have plenty going for them too), the islands of the Dodecanese are totally off the beaten tourist track and your ticket to relaxing holidays that will bring you in touch with the real Greece. Ferry connections between most of the islands are frequent – hydrofoils take you from one to the next in no time – so who not do some island hopping in the Dodecanese?