The Dodecanese has longer passages and agreeable weather conditions, which make the south eastern Aegean Sea the perfect holiday destination for those seeking exhilarating sailing.

Look beyond popular Rhodes and Kos and explore the other islands in the chain. Spend your time ashore relaxing on fine beaches, visiting medieval architecture and revel in the peaceful atmosphere.

Dodecanese highlights

  • Rhodes –  Home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Colossus of Rhodes, until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BC
  • Simi –  Visit the harbor with its backdrop of elegant buildings rising up the hillside
  • Patmos – Voted one of Europe’s most idyllic places to live, this island boasts the impressive Saint John Monastery surrounded by white-washed houses at Chora
  • Nisyros – Known for its active volcano, visit Mandraki and try the almond-flavored drink, Soumada
  • Kos – Where Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was born and home to an ancient healing centre
  • Kalymnos – The center of Greek sponge diving and popular with rock climbers
  • Tilos – A quiet island where you can enjoy fantastic beaches or explore the island’s churches and deserted village Mikro Chorio
  • Samos – Home to Pythagoras, after whom the harbor is named
  • Leros – Becoming a renowned diving spot with ancient shipwrecks
  • Haliki – Find wild beaches which haven’t been developed and are free from crowds

The climate is Mediterranean and temperatures can reach 35ºC/ 95ºF in summer. The sailing conditions mean this location is more suitable for intermediate or advanced sailors.

In the summer, the prevailing wind is the meltemi blowing from the north-west at Force 4-6. In spring and autumn, the wind is calmer and blows from the south-east. Gusts are particularly strong off Patmos, Kalymnos, Kos, Nisyros, Tilos, Karpathos and Astypalea.

In the open water between Astypalea and Karpathos, a large and distributed sea is set up when the meltemi blows for days on end. Although it is possible to go north when the meltemi is blowing, it makes more sense to plan to head south in July and August.

 

There are direct flights to Rhodes/Kos from all the major European airports, or here are many connecting flights from Athens to Rhodes/Kos everyday. Direct flights from the US to Kos are rare but there are indirect flights from most major US cities.

Transfer time from Rhodes airport to Rhodes Harbour is 40 minutes and transfer time from Kos airport to Kos Marina is 45 minutes.

7 Day Dodecanese islands

Day 1: Marina Mandraki, Rhodes.

Day 2: Sail to Simi (23nm), walk up the hillside among the sand-colored, neo-classical houses at Gialos or visit the ruined Venetian castle near Kyra Panagia. For undeveloped beaches head to Panormitis beach, or, if you want sand, Nos has sunbeds and umbrellas.

Day 3: Head to Palos, Nisyros Island (32nm) with its active volcano that hasn’t erupted in over 100 years. Try a Soumada, a non-alcoholic, almond-flavored local drink. For sandy beaches head to Pali, Lies and Katsouni.

Day 4: Make for Kos Island (21nm), the birthplace of the father of medicine, Hippocrates. Kos is popular and there is a good reason for that – it has some wonderful beaches, including Mastichari with its white sands.

Day 5: Discover Tilos Island (35nm) with its churches, castles, deserted villages, and fine beaches. It’s also a pioneering nature reserve, entirely powered by renewable energy.

Day 6: Sail onwards to Halki Island (4nm) and its rocky peak of Mount Maistros, nearly 600m above sea level. The surrounding inland areas provide spectacular walks and views in every direction.

Day 7: Return to Marina Mandraki (37nm).

14 Day Dodecanese islands

Day 1: Mandraki Marina, Rhodes.

Day 2: Sail to Simi (23nm), walk up the hillside among the sand-colored, neo-classical houses at Gialos or visit the ruined Venetian castle near Kyra Panagia. For undeveloped beaches head to Panormitis beach, or, if you want sand, Nos has sunbeds and umbrellas.

Day 3: Palos, Nisyros Island (32nm) with its active volcano that hasn’t erupted in over 100 years. Try a Soumada, a non-alcoholic, almond-flavored local drink. For sandy beaches head to Pali, Lies and Katsouni.

Day 4: Make for Kos (21nm), the birthplace of the father of medicine, Hippocrates. Kos is popular and there is a good reason for that – it has some wonderful beaches, including Mastichari with its white sands.

Day 5: Dive at Leros (27nm), which is home to ancient shipwrecks and becoming known for underwater adventure.

Day 6: Sail to Patmos (20nm), voted by Forbes magazine as one of “Europe’s most idyllic places to live”.

Day 7: Make for Leipsoi, also known as Lipsi, (10nm) another one of Greece’s eco islands using renewables. Anchor in the natural harbour and try the local red wine.

Day 8: Levitha (23nm) is one of the smallest islands in the chain with a handful of residents, so you will enjoy peace and quiet. Explore the coves, beaches and fishing spots.

Day 9: Set off for Kalymnos (27nm), where sponge diving shaped the history of island. Today it’s one of the premiere destinations for limestone rock climbing worldwide.

Day 10: Visit Astypalaia (39nm) and check out the Venetian castle, charming white houses that snake up the hill and delicious restaurants with impressive views.

Day 11: Sail to Tilos Island (53nm) with its churches, castles, deserted villages, and fine beaches. It’s also a pioneering nature reserve, entirely powered by renewable energy.

Day 12: Discover Halki Island (14nm) and its rocky peak of Mount Maistros, nearly 600m above sea level. The surrounding inland areas provide spectacular walks and views in every direction. Surrounding inland areas provide spectacular walks and views in every direction.

Day 13: Onwards to Lindos, Rhodes (49nm) with fabulous, popular beaches and plenty of culture, including the acropolis with Doric Temple of Athena, Castle of the Knights of St. John and Greek Orthodox church.

Day 14: Mandraki Marina.

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