THE DODECANESE

About the Dodecanese

The Dodecanese, “Twelve Islands”, broke away from Turkish rule in 1908 and form a coherent group in the Eastern Aegean, clustered along the Turkish coast.

 

Walking the Islands… treats them as a chain running from Fourni in the north to Karpathos in the south and walks are described on nine.

Here you will find:

  • Arid hills dotted with thorn bushes, giant aloes, cacti and limestone outcrops

  • Strong Turkish and Italian influences in archaeology, architecture and place names

  • Lonely hills with very occasional chapels and shepherds’ settlements

  • A less developed network of paths than elsewhere, and kalderimia (old stone roads) too are scarcer

  • Brisk climbs from the quayside to ruined Crusader castles, lookout crags and steep summits

  • Enticing islets, notably Telendos, "the face looking out to sea"

 

 

Getting to the Dodecanese

From Piraeus to Rhodes is a 12 hour sea crossing. Alternatively, choose one of the international airports in the east; Rhodes or Kos or take an internal flight to Ikaria or Samos. On arrival, transfer to the port to travel to the island of your choice.

  • Rhodes's Diagoras Airport is a much used international hub. Overnight ferries link with Piraeus and Crete and more local ferries link to Symi and Tilos and most parts of the Eastern Aegean, including Bodrun in Turkey.

  • For Halki you need to get to Kamiros Skala to the south of Rhodes town, 40 minutes by daily small ferry, or a few connections from the main harbour by ferry or hydrofoil.

  • For Fourni, daily fast ferries from Ikaria (20 minutes), Samos (75 minutes), Kalymnos (3 hours), or Kos (4 hours).

  • Kalymnos is well served by ferries, with several boats a day from Kos, overnight ferries from Piraeus and frequent connections to Rhodes and most other Dodecanese. The hilltop airport at Argos hosts just one or two flights a day.

  • For Lipsi daily fast ferries from Kalymnos (75 minutes), Kos (2 hours), Ikaria (75 minutes), or Samos (90 minutes).

  • Nisyros is well served by day boats from Kos, Tilos and Rhodes and is visited by some big ferries as well as the catamaran between Rhodes and Kalymnos.

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Getting around the Dodecanese

  • Kalymnos, Kos and Rhodes are the home ports for the Dodecanese 

  • The much-declined sponge fishing industry has left a legacy of ports and day boats, so that island hopping can be rewarding. You can sample contrasts between neighboring islands, visit major sites such as Patmos, Nisyros and tiny uninhabited islets.

  • The ferries link the islands throughout the year, joined by caiques and day-boats in the summer.

  • Many of the islands are in fact mini-archipelagos, often reflected in the name (for example Fourni in Greek means “ovens”). We recommend day-boat hops between the islets, linked perhaps with one of our walks, such as Alimia from Halki or Thymena from Fourni.

Walking the Islands is a source of walking routes on Greek islands, from short strolls to longer walks and hikes. We describe footpaths, tracks, trails and the old monopatia or kalderimia, the stone roads which formed the islands' transport network for centuries.

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