The Dodecanese Islands are brought to you by – the letter ‘K’. Karpathos, Kassos, Kastellorizo, Kos and Kalymnos seriously outrank the other dozen or so islands in the group when it comes to alphabetic supremacy. In this group of islands, it is common to criss cross back and forth from Greece to Turkey and back to Greece again. Their extremely close proximity to Turkey makes the cultural experience all the more meaningful to your yacht charter vacation.
Of course, there is more to these sun-drenched islands than their Sesame Street synchronicity. The whitewashed walls, deep blue sky, olive groves, fig trees, azure Aegean waters…the Dodecanese Islands have all this and more. If you want to drop out for a while in pursuit of traditional island life, you can. If bars and beaches are your thing, there are plenty of resort areas that cater to your every need. Ancient history is there for the taking, as is a positively Greek and Turkish flavored cuisine. And, last but not least, it’s the place that puts the ‘water’ into ‘water sports’. Island hop your way to heaven in this Dionysian group of Greek Islands perched on the easternmost edge of the Aegean.
KUSADASIis located on the Aegean coasts of Turkey, 75 km south of Izmir. This beautiful town offers an enormous potential of tourism with outstanding natural beauty and rich historical remains of past civilizations. A small settlement founded by Ionian settlers and known as Neapolis, is known to have existed at the site even in ancient times, but it was always over shadowed by its mighty neighbor Ephesus.
EPHESUS is 18 km from Kusadasi and is the most popular ancient site in western Turkey and deservedly so. Ephesus became the most important city of Asia Minor throughout several civilizations and once was thriving with as much as 200,000 inhabitants. The highlights of Ephesus are: the temple of Artemis, the Isa Bey Mosque, the Ephesus Museum and the house of Virgin Mary.
Guvercin Adasi (Pigeon Island) is a small island close to the shores of Kusadasi. On the sharp rocks of the island rests a Byzantine castle also know as Pirate Castle. Today there is a teashop, a cafeteria, a restaurant and a discotheque to satisfy ones needs.
The beaches in Kusadasi guarantee endless fun and unlimited sunbathing during your holiday. The sandy beaches surround Kusadasi and several are protected in the natural surroundings of the National Park, providing swimming in the clearest, most beautiful water that you will ever experience. The National Park covers an area of 11,000 hectares, hosts rare plants only found in the Mediterranean, reptiles, mammals and birds, and sea turtles.
Kusadasi is truly, a shopping paradise. The presence of many shops in and around Kusadasi provides the city with the appearance of a huge shopping center. Historically, Kusadasi has always been a harbor city with extensive trade. It still preserves that quality today. One of the most important Turkish handicrafts bearing thousand of years of Anatolian motifs, Turkish carpets are being introduced to the customers by large and small shops in Kusadasi. The leather products are completely produced in Turkey following the latest in fashion are also very attractive for the customers. Moreover, a rich variety of jewels and hundreds of pieces designed with precious stones from antique Anatolian designs to modern day designs are available in many shops.
SAMOS‘ location played a great role in its development. It lies in the Eastern Aegean in the heart of Ionia, almost midway along the sea route that links Greece with Anatolia, the Black Sea, Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean. The name Samos is most probably of Phoenician origin. The capital, Samos Town or Vathi, is built on the verdant slopes that surround the island’s deepest bay. Vathi has retained its individual appearance, with its attractive neo-classical houses, old mansions with pastel facades.
And do not forget that ancient Anthemousa (as the island was once called), with 1,100 known species of plants, including aromatic and medicinal herbs with a prehistory of thousands of years, has apart from its exceedingly tall plant trees, a large number of wild orchids (about 50 species). Both the town and the countryside have beautiful little coffee shops and the island’s picturesque tavernas serve a great variety of delicacies for every taste.
IKARIA is the majestic island of the Eastern Aegean Sea and the home of the mythical Ikaros. Here you will find wild beauty, breathtaking panoramas, fresh mountain air, therapeutic hot springs, truly unspoiled seas and friendly people. Ikaria has remained true to herself and to the ways of her people- the Ikarians. Tourism on Ikaria is unimposing for all and reflects an “Ikarian Balance” between nature, freedom, time and development.
The Castle of Koskina is an 11th century A.D. Byzantine fortress located on a mountain peak overlooking the village of Kosikia in the center of Ikaria. Inside the castle is the church of St. George Dorganas. Access to Koskina Castle is via an unpaved road near Kosikia. “Natural” hydro-therapy is very popular on Ikaria. Along Ikaria’s coastline there are many areas where radio energetic hot mineral springs flow into the sea from the shoreline and it is possible for one to bath and swim here. One of the most popular spots is the area of Levkada.
Ikaria is renowned throughout the Greek islands for her “Panygiria”, traditional feast days that celebrate the Saints’ name days. If you’re planning a trip to Ikaria during the summer season be sure to choose July or August. Don’t miss the unique opportunity to celebrate with the Ikarians amidst village surroundings with traditional food, live music, dancing, and plenty of delicious Ikarian wine. Ikaria is also renown for its vineyards. High up on the ‘Raxes’, the mountain ridges of Ikaria, one finds the vineyards of “Afianes.” The wine varieties are local and the Phokiano, Koriostaphylo and Beghleri dominate. Cultivated in the most traditional manner, without fertilizers or insecticides (using only sulfur) and with only a small yield per acre, strictly limited wines are produced.
Although part of the Cyclades Islands, one of the most cosmopolitan of all the Greek islands is Myconos. It’s close proximity to the Dodecannese chain makes it a stop-over for many tourists. Myconos has an international reputation and quite justifiably attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world. The capital Chora, with its colorful harbor in which little fishing boats nest happily side by side with luxury yachts, presents quite a different picture from that of the majority of Aegean island towns. One of the most charming districts of Chora is Little Venice with the picturesque houses of the island’s sea captains, built right on the rocks. The mascot of the Island is a Pelican, called Petros, and has been called Petros since time immemorial, obviously many re-incarnations since the first edition.
PATMOS is of volcanic origin and has a much-indented coastline. An isthmus only a few hundred meters wide, on which the island’s harbor lies, separates the north end of the island from the southern half. The “Jerusalem of the Aegean” is one way of describing Patmos. The fortified Monastery of St. John the Divine towers majestically over the whole island. It stands on a hilltop opposite the port of Skala, clasped tightly by the brilliant white medieval town of Chora. Also located in the area is the Cave of Revelation. Patmos has an impressive variety of goods to offer shoppers- exquisite jewelry, fine ceramics, beautiful embroidery, handwoven fabrics and high quality leather goods.
Skala is the capital of Patmos and the biggest settlement on the island. It’s a charming little port with lots of authentic restaurants and café’s. Grikos is an idyllic fishing village located approximately 5 km from the port of Skala in the fascinating bay of Grikos with its mysterious rock ’Kallikatsou’ which was used to house hermits for many centuries. In present day, the old square offers a romantic view of colorful fishing boats and small tavernas offering traditional food at all times of the day.
Kampos is a rural village approximately 5.5 km from Skala located at a beautiful sandy bay with lovely Aegean style houses. Around 2 km to the north of Kampos is the windswept Lambi Bay, which is famous for its colored pebbles. At Lambi you can find very nice traditional tavernas with delicious food..
The beautiful island of Patmos attracts many tourists who are able to entertain themselves in a few nightclubs, although the existence of the Monastery keeps the nightlife low key. Skala is known for the local coffee shops and some of them also serve breakfast. The village has a multitude of pastry shops.
KOS is an island made famous as the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of medicine. Kos is also known for its lovely and gentle scenery. It is both lush and fertile, with an abundance of springs and streams, gorgeous beaches and a marvelous climate. The two most important sites of Kos are:
~ ‘The Asclepeion of Kos’, When referring to Asclepeia it means the sacred hospitals where the methods of Asclepius were applied for the treatment of the ill. The Asclepieion of Kos was the best and most famous of its time, to which many students of medicine and patients from all over the world visited. It is located three kilometers from the modern capital of the island, Kos town.
~ ‘The Hippocrates Tree’, it is believed that Hippocrates planted this tree more than 2,400 years ago. It was one of the locations Hippocrates favored to teach medicine to his students.
The beach of Therma near Kos town has hot springs and is believed to have healing powers. For peace and quiet go to Chelona (which means turtle) beach and bath in exotic blue waters. If you are interested, take a stroll along the harbor full of lights and boats (“kaikia”).
SIMI - According to Homer, Simi contributed three warships to the Trojan War. Simi’s reputation for shipbuilding survived from that remote period down to the end of the 19th century, when the island had some 30,000 inhabitants and was prosperous as a result of commerce and sponge fishing. Today it builds only fishing boats and small ‘caicques’ and the population does not exceed 4,000 – most of the residents are engaged in fishing or sponge diving. Apart from the peace and typical Aegean island beauty that Simi has to offer, there is a Byzantine castle above the town containing a church, dedicated to Our Lady, with fine murals. Near the church are the remains of an ancient temple of Athena. However, the best sight of the island is the Bay of Panormitis with the Monastery of St. Michael, dating from the 18th century. The carved screen inside the church is covered with votive offerings in gold and silver. The monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis is one of the island’s most famous landmarks, built in the early 18th century it overlooks a beautiful bay. Yialos, the main port of Simi, has been declared a protected architectural treasure, and for good reason. This pristine port with its extraordinary array of neo-classical mansions is a large part of why Simi is known as “the jewel of the Dodecanese.”
Simi’s coastline alternates big steep rocks with small sandy beaches and coves. Many of them can be reached only by boat. At Emporio, Simi’s second port and a traditional settlement, there are some marvelous little beaches to visit. Pedi, a fishing hamlet, has a beautiful beach and can be easily reached from the town. Further on this side of the island lies the Bay of Agios Nikolaos the only all sand beach on the island. At the market of Simi, your chef can find fresh fish and honey, as well as fresh cut spices with a fantastic aroma. The folk art stores sell traditional embroidery, hand-woven fabric and other hand-made objects manufactured by the locals.
RHODES is the third largest Greek Island and officially the sunniest place in all of Eastern Europe. The city is among the finest, not only in Greece but also in the whole of the Mediterranean. It is situated at the island’s most northerly point and ringed by sea on the east and west. Rhodes (Rodos in Greek) combines the cosmopolitan character of a contemporary city with the picturesque view of a medieval town, giving the impression of having been untouched by the passage of time. Rhodes has many sites to offer its visitors, listed you will find the three most important:
~ The ancient city of Rhodes was built amphi-theatrically, before the port of the modern city, in 408 BC by Ippodamus. The roads were decorated with statues, the most beautiful being the statue of Ploutos. In the city stood magnificent temples, the most prominent being the temples of Helios and Isis.
~ Ancient Kamiros, brought to light by excavations in 1929, was one of the three powerful ancient cities of Rhodes. It was called “The Greek Pompeii” because nobody knows how the city was deserted and buried underground.
~ The magnificent Venetian Castelllo Castle built by the knights in the 16th century BC on a precipitous cliff to fortify the western coast of Kritinia. The island’s flora and fauna coexist at Rodini, a forest with running waters creating ponds and other aquatic plants. White and black swans swim in the ponds, and thousands of birds’ sing. Millions of rare butterflies, which came from the Himalayas, form clouds as they move around in the Valley of the Butterflies.
Lindos beach, located 5 km south of Kalithea is a sheltered sweep of sandy beach backed by popular taverns and a maze of winding narrow streets. The beach at Fourni, south of the ‘Monolithos’ is sheltered and sandy. One can find a seasonal taverna to sit down and enjoy a traditional Greek lunch. Afandou is a charming village that successfully blends tradition and tourism. It spreads behind an 8 km sand and pebble beach. Rhodes has one of the few casinos one will find in Greece, so why don’t you try your luck!
Itinerary – Myconos to Rhodes
Day 1- Myconos – Ikaria (55 miles)
Day 2- Ikaria – Samos (35 miles)
Day 3- Samos – Kusadasi (19 miles)
Day 4- Kusadasi (all day)
Day 5- Kusadasi - Patmos (45 miles)
Day 6- Patmos – Leros (20 miles)
Day 7- Leros – Kalimnos (18 miles)
Day 8- Kalimnos – Kos (16 miles)
Day 9- Kos – Nisyros (23 miles)
Day 10- Nisyros – Simi (35 miles)
Day 11- Simi – Rhodes (24 miles)