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The Dodecanese Islands are a group of twelve larger islands and several smaller islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Some of the best known are Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kos, Patmos and Rhodes. They charm visitors with their gorgeous beaches, white-washed cottages, crystal clear sea and lively nightlife. Whether you are interested in history, architecture, churches, art or just want to soak up the sun on a pretty beach, the Dodecanese Islands offer the perfect place for you, from the developed resorts of Rhodes and Kos to quieter Lipsi and Tilos.
The Dodecanese islands are all fairly close together and island hopping is a popular activity by ferry or on a local boat trip.Beaches
All the Dodecanese have superb beaches and the sunny summer weather makes them popular destinations for renting a Dodecanese holiday rental. Rhodes and Kos have the most developed beaches which are lined with lively bars. Those looking for beautiful unspoilt beaches without the crowds will enjoy Lipsi and Tilos.Eating Out
Whether you want to eat regional cuisine or international dishes, there are plenty of places to enjoy in the Dodecanese. Small tavernas may serve fried eggplant and zucchini slices along with a huge choice of local wines and beers. Larger cities and upmarket hotels are the place to look for international gourmet restaurants. Pizza and fresh fish is easy to find and is reasonably priced.
The volcanic landscape which formed these islands is clearly seen on Nisyros. This round island is just 5 miles (8km) across and has a caldera of 2 miles (3km) which occasionally gives off steam and slight eruptions. Earthquakes are not uncommon. The island also has a wealth of archaeological remains dating back centuries. Nisyros can be reached by boat or helicopter.Rhodes
A visit to Rhodes will reveal its Gothic architecture which coexists alongside mosques and public baths from the Ottoman Empire. See the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Great Hospital and the Street of the Knights, which date back to the occupation by the Order of St John of Jerusalem from 1309 to 1523.
The Dodecanese enjoy long sunny summers with temperatures averaging a hot 86°F (30°C) in August. Winters are mild and sunny with average highs of 59°F (15°C) even in the depth of winter. The islands have some rainfall between November and March.
The best way to reach the Dodecanese Islands is by air. There are direct flights to most of the main islands including Astypalea, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kos, Leros and Rhodes from Athens, where connections to other international airports can be made. There is also a seaplane service from Lavrio on mainland Greece to Kos and Laymnos. Both Kos and Rhodes are connected by ferry and hydrofoil with the Turkish ports of Marmaris and Bodrum.