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Sonnenuntergang auf der Dodekanes-Insel Patmos, Bild: RAndrei / shutterstock

Dodecanese – a Greek archipelago

In the middle of the beautiful Aegean Sea lies the Greek archipelago of Dodecanese – translated from Greek, Dodecanese means “twelve islands”. The largest and probably most famous island of the Dodecanese is undoubtedly Rhodes . Kos and Karpathos are also popular holiday destinations, while the majority of the approximately 160 islands have received little attention so far. Completely unjustified, because there are real treasures among the 25 or so inhabited islands.

Patmos – a divine revelation

For pilgrims and believers, Patmos is probably the most important island of the Dodecanese, after all, the last book of the New Testament was revealed to John during his stay in 95 BC. In addition to the pilgrims who visit the St. John’s Monastery of the Greek Orthodox Church, Patmos is especially popular with younger holidaymakers. Around the harbour of Skala there is pleasant liveliness throughout the day and in the picturesque alleys you can stroll in a heavenly relaxed way. Above the harbour is the old town of Chora, which can be reached via one of the numerous paths lined with whitewashed houses. Especially in the evening, a visit to the small taverns is worthwhile, because the Greek delicacies are accompanied by authentic hospitality and typical music. If you want to dive into the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, Patmos is sure to be an idyllic bay where you can relax.

Symi – the picture-book island

Symi, Dodecanese
The port of Symi, Image: Mikhail Leonov / shutterstock

In the southern Aegean Sea lies Symi, a truly enchanting little island. It is considered the pearl of the Dodecanese, which is not only due to its unique buildings. When you arrive at the port of Gialos, you think you are in the middle of a film set, so wonderfully do the colourful and often quite magnificent houses nestle along the promenade and up the hills. Numerous steps allow you to discover unique corners of the small town, which is truly not stingy with fantastic photo motifs. While in the afternoon hours there is a turbulent hustle and bustle due to the day trippers of Rhodes, in the evening hours you can enjoy the almost magical atmosphere. At the southwestern end of Symi, in a small bay with its own pier, lies the Parnormitis Monastery, an Orthodox pilgrimage site with a monastery complex that is well worth seeing, whose origins date back to the 9th century. The quaint fishing village of Pedi with its beautiful bay is also worth a visit.

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Karpathos – an island with a dream beach guarantee

Karpathos, Dodecanese
The beach of Apella on Karpathos, Image: Pawel Kazmierczak / shutterstock

Another pearl of the Aegean is Karpathos, the second largest island of the Dodecanese. While the island’s capital Pigadia now seems almost modern, its small alleys still hide many rustic treasures and traditional taverns. South of Pigadia, in the villages of Amopi and Lakki, beats the tourist heart of Karpathos. In the given case, however, this only means that they have a good range of hotels and holiday apartments.

You won’t find mass tourism on Karpathos, so you can enjoy the beautiful bays and idyllic sandy beaches, of which there are far more than two dozen throughout the island, in pleasant privacy. Not far from Amopi lies the charismatic mountain village of Menetes, whose colourful house facades gleam happily from under the stone massifs. No less good mood is a detour to one of the many taverns, where excellent regional dishes are served. Fish lovers should also not miss a visit to Finiki, a tiny fishing village on the west coast of Karpathos, where you can feast and swim. Things get sportier in the south of the island, at Vatha Beach, a true surfing Eldorado, or on Kali Limni, the highest mountain on the island at 1,251 meters, which rewards the halfway demanding ascent with a sensational view.

Nisyros – the mysterious beauty

Even the arrival by ferry in the port of Mandraki gives an idea that this small island of the Dodecanese is of very special beauty. Whitewashed houses with the typical blue shutters and doors as far as the eye can see delight the heart. In the middle of the village square stands a gigantic rubber tree, under whose mighty crown the surrounding taverns and restaurants spoil their guests with typical local specialties. Behind Pali, a fishing village well worth seeing, lie the hot springs of Nysros, whose healing effects once spread throughout Europe. Not far from the old thermal bathhouse is the Panaghia Thermiani, which is well worth seeing, built in the remains of an ancient Roman bath. If you are looking for a very special place to swim – be it in the crystal clear sea or under the bright sun – you will find it in Pachia Ammos. A little hidden behind the rugged cliffs is the Lies beach in a spacious bay, which is considered the most beautiful on the island with its mocha-coloured sand. Pleasant peace and quiet can be enjoyed in the once abandoned village of Emporio, whether strolling through the historic streets or enjoying the stimulating volcanic fumes of the natural sauna. Slowed down in this way, the senses can be wonderfully reawakened at the evening meeting on the village square with live music and Greek wine.