The Dodecanese islands are mainly comprised of 12 islands that lay off the coast of Turkey in the area known as “the sunniest part of Greece.” The principle islands of the Dodecanese are Kos,Astypalaia, Kalymnos, , Nisisros, Leros,Patmos, Symi and Rhodes. They present a wonderful and diverse array of cruising destinations, enhanced by an exceptional culture and turbulent past that bears the mark of each passing civilization, whether it be Venetians, Athenians, Persians and Romans.
From the dry limestone hills and typical Greek villages of Symi and Kalymnos which are home to a great number of Venetian castles and Byzantine monasteries to the humming town centers of Rhodes and Kos, the Dodecanese offer something for everyone. Scattered around the main islands are more than 150 smaller islands only 26 of which are inhabited, which is sure to embellish your luxury yacht charter with a plethora of unexpected and interesting destinations to sail around.
Climate conditions and best charter times:
The prevailing wind of the summer season in the Dodecanese islands, much like the Cyclades, is a north-northwesterly wind called the “Meltemi”, which usually blows at BFT 4-6. The meltemi starts to develop in June and gains force towards the end of July to the beginning of September and begins to weaken in October. It should be taken into consideration that it can blow for constantly for days at a time, especially off Karpathos, Patmos, Kos, Kalymnos, Tilos, Nissyros and Astypalea.
Astypalaia is a small island shaped like a butterfly, 18 km by 13 km wide, with an area of only 97 km². Although it is considered to be a part of the Dodecanese archipelago, it is more Cycladic in many ways, geographically and historically. The island is not overly touristic, which gives you the chance of finding secluded coves and bays to drop anchor and enjoy complete tranquility. Its enchanting and beautiful architecture is dominated by a majestic Venetian fortress and the famous windmills, surrounded by narrow, winding streets, all of which provide a stunning setting for a charter. The uninhabited small islands across from Maltezana which is quiet and well sheltered mooring place, and the many wonderful beaches around Papandria , Platis Gialos and Chochlakoura are great places to explore or unwind after a day’s cruising.
Kalymnos is the third most crowded island in the Dodecanese archipelago and lies 12 km south of Kos and only 2 km north of Leros. It has an area of 134,5 km² and it is one of the wealthiest Greek islands and is known as the “island of sponge harvesters.” Kalymnos has something for all tastes and is a wonderful stop on your luxury yacht charter. Your first stop on the island should be Póthia, which is the port and the capital of the island. Be sure to visit the Archeological Museum and the castle of Chrissoheria and to taste the delicacies of the local cuisine, such as mizithra cheese, dried lobster tail, sea ray in sea water and the famous thyme honey.If you are in for some action, The International Climbing Festival in May is just for you.
Kos is a standout amongst the most well known islands in this chain. It is one of the biggest islands, 40km by 8km, and lies off the coast of Turkey. With its expansive brilliant shorelines, perfectly clear waters and unique history, this beautiful island will allow you to get away from the crowds and enjoy the amazing beauty of the Aegean from the comfort of your luxury yacht.Kos island and especially Kos Town is one of the best places to have some fun, with its wide variety of clubs and bars. Pay special mind to Nerantziá Castle at the mouth of the port of Kos Town before taking off and tying down off one of the many isolated sounds and bays specked along the coast.
If you are looking for a lesser known island in the Dodecanese archipelago, where you can escape crowds and spend your luxury yacht charter in utter tranquility, then Leros is the place for you. In Greek mythology, Leros is the island of Artemis, the Goddess of Hunting and of Forests, which is reflected in the unblemished beauty of the island. Appreciate the imposing castles of Brouzi and Castle of Panayia or the ancient churches that are disseminated throughout the island. You can swim in the turquoise waters of the many secluded bays that provide perfect mooring, explore the uninhabited small islands such as Kinaros or Levitha, or dive to the numerous shipwrecks that lie on the seabed.
The volcanic island of Nisyros lies in the center of the Dodecanese islands in the Aegean sea. It covers a territory of 41.6 km2 with a width of around 8 km. It is an island of wild, quiet magnificence without the hordes of vacationers that you may meet on different islands. The quiet and natural beauty of the island as well as its unique architecture, quaint taverns and coffee shops make it a mecca for sailors who seek a tranquil and relaxing port of call. As such, it is a great stop on your yacht charter.
Patmos is referred to as 'the island of the Apocalypse' where Saint John composed the Book of Revelation. With its fertile volcanic soil, beautiful natural environment and interesting coastline has been attracting select visitors each year. Patmos has been named “Holy Island by the Greek Parliament in 1981 and has been placed on the World Heritage list by UNESCO in 1999.
The magnificence of this painstakingly conserved island is amazing, especially that of Hóra and the shoreline of Psili Ammos, named after its powder fine sand that can only be reached by yacht. You can sail to explore the nearby small islands of Arki, Marathi and Lipsi. If you are here around Easter, you will experience the authentic Greek atmosphere and participate in the religious and spiritual ceremonies. In Skála, the main port of the island, you can enjoy local delicacies such as the envelope shaped pastry with nuts and honey and the famous cheese pie.
Rhodes is the biggest and most populated island among the Dodecanese. It is the most celebrated island with a storied and multifaceted history and you can see the wonderful relics of its more than two thousand years’ past. Rhodes caters to every interest. There are magnificent examples of the architecture of the past, such as the City Hall, The Palace of the Grand Master, and the Governors Palace.
The total of the old city was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1988. There are long brilliant shorelines to unwind on and quiet little bays to investigate. The island has numerous famous bars and clubs the best of which are located especially at Hippocrates Square and around the old town, making for a lively night life that attracts tourists and yachtsmen from all over. There are numerous festivals throughout the summer months that add to the magic of the island, such as the Sound and Light Festival and many medeival festivals and celebrations.
Symi is another diamond of a Mediterranean island that will definitely surpass your expectations, however extraordinary they are. Its pleasant ports and villages are amazing in their magnificence and have a novel cosmopolitan air. There are a plenty of flawless shorelines with crystalline waters, both pebbly or sandy on the islands expansive bays or in hidden alcoves. During your yacht charter you will want to explore the famous beaches of Agios Nikolaos, Agios Georgios, Nanou, Nos and Maroni to name a few.
Enjoy the customary ouzo and fresh fish at any of the seaside tavernas, and have a great time at one of the many festivities, the best known of which is the Symi Festival, and you will definitely have the time of your life.
The Dodecanese cuisine has been influenced by a variety of factors, especially the archipelago’s proximity to Crete and Turkey. The great Greek dish, stuffed Paschal lamb is to be found on each island, as well as fried seafood pies and assortment of beans and vegetables that the traditional Greek diet largely consists of. Simi and Kalymnos have a rich cuisine based on seafood dishes, especially grilled octopus marinated with ouzo and spinialo – a pickled mixture of mussels, sea urchins and sea squirts.