Island Hoping The Greek Dodecanese Islands

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Situated on the southeast side of Greece between Turkey & the Cyclades Islands are the Dodecanese islands. Here is how you can island-hop the Dodecanese islands.

The Dodecanese Islands are a captivating group of twelve large and over 150 smaller islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea. The island chain, known for its charming nature and rich culture, is the perfect destination for those looking for a dreamy Greek holiday.

If you don’t know how to plan your itinerary for this charming island chain, you need not worry! I have written this complete guide to the Dodecanese will help you plan the perfect holiday. I know you will love these islands as much as I did..or rather still do!

How Many Dodecanese Islands Are There

Panormitis Monastery Greece - Symi Island
Symi Island

The Dodecanese is a big island chain in the Aegean Sea. Although its name means “Twelve Islands” in Greek, the island chain includes 15 large and over 150 small islands.


Following is a list of the 15 large islands:

  1. Rhodes
  2. Agathonisi
  3. Astypalaia
  4. Halki
  5. Kalymnos
  6. Karpathos
  7. Kasos
  8. Kos
  9. Leipsoi
  10. Leros
  11. Nisyros
  12. Symi
  13. Tilos
  14. Kastellorizo
  15. Patmos

Visiting The Greek Dodecanese Islands

Cheapest Islands in Greece  - Church above Nikia village on Nisyros island in Dodecanese island group, Greece.
Nisyros Island

Located in the southeastern part of Greece, the Dodecanese Islands offer visitors a unique island-hopping experience. The cluster of 15 large islands and numerous smaller ones offers visitors a mix of history, culture, stunning beaches, and picturesque towns.

The islands are connected by ferry services, making it easy to hop from one island to another and explore the region’s diverse landscape and rich history. From the medieval town of Rhodes to the volcanic island of Nisyros, the Dodecanese Islands have something for everyone. Island hopping in this region is a perfect way to explore the beautiful Greek islands and immerse yourself in the local culture.

When To Visit The Dodecanese Islands

Kastellorizo island, Dodecanese, Greece - Quiet Islands In Greece
Kastellorizo Island

Spring And Fall

The Dodecanese Islands are best visited in the spring (April to May) and fall (September to October).

The weather is great during these times, and the crowds are thinner, providing a more tranquil and relaxed holiday. Temperatures range from the low 20s to the mid-30s Celsius, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and swimming. The sea is also warm enough for swimming, with good visibility for snorkeling and diving

Additionally, these seasons are the best time to immerse in local culture through various festivals and activities held around the islands. 


Summer months (June to August) may be sweltering and crowded, with many tourists visiting the islands. They are, however, the perfect time for people who prefer beach activities and a busy nightlife.

Must-Visit Islands In The Dodecanese In Greece


Best Beaches In Rhode - Tsambika beach view from the Tsambika monastery on Rhodes Island

Rhodes should be on your itinerary if you’re a history buff, a culture explorer, or a food lover. The island boasts a rich culture, complemented by an ancient history and unique cuisine.

The island’s old town provides visitors with a glimpse into the olden days of the area, while its pretty taverns offer them some of the best food they can taste, along with local beverages.

The UNESCO-listed medieval old town of Rhodes, with its cobblestone alleys, high castle walls, and historical attractions, including the Palace of the Grand Master and the Boulevard of the Knights, is among the must-sees of the island for those interested in history and culture. 

Rhodes is also the best location for those wanting a beach holiday. Tourists can enjoy the majestic shores of the island, such as Faliraki, Tsambika, and Anthony Quinn Beach, as well as the natural splendor of the Valley of the Butterflies and the Seven Springs, for the ideal summer holiday.


Ancient ruins on Kos - Things to do on Kos Island

Kos is one of the most popular islands in the Dodecanese archipelago, known for its stunning beaches, ancient ruins, and vibrant nightlife.

One of the main attractions of Kos is its beautiful beaches, which cater to all types of travelers. The most popular beaches, including Tigaki, Mastichari, and Marmari, offer clear turquoise waters, golden sand, and water sports activities. The island is also famous for its thermal springs, located at the beaches of Thermes and Agios Fokas.

Kos also has a plethora of old ruins and historical attractions, making it ideal for people interested in history and culture. The Asklepieion, a healing center that was one of the most important medical centers in the ancient world, is the most well-known. Other important sites are the Knights of St. John’s Castle, the Ancient Agora, and the Roman Odeon.

Kos also has a lively nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, nightclubs, and beach parties. The island’s main town, also named Kos, is the hub of the nightlife, with many bars and clubs lining the streets of the old town.


Leipsoi is a small and charming island in the Dodecanese archipelago, located between Patmos and Leros. Despite its size, it attracts visitors with a unique and authentic Greek island experience with its wealth of attractions and activities.

One of Leipsoi’s biggest draws is its beautiful beaches, among the best in the Dodecanese. The island has over 20 beaches, ranging from quiet coves to extensive expanses of sand, all with crystal clear waters and beautiful landscapes. Tourkomilos, Kambos, and Lientou are among the most popular beaches.

Leipsoi is also known for its traditional villages, which offer visitors a glimpse into the island’s rich culture and history. The main town has a charming harbor, whitewashed houses, and narrow streets where cafes and tavernas peppered around. 

Leipsoi is known for its delicious cuisine with fresh seafood and traditional Greek dishes. Visitors can enjoy a range of local specialties, such as grilled octopus, sardines, mussels, homemade cheese, bread, and pastries.


Halki is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a relaxing and tranquil vacation. Away from the crowds of more popular destinations, the island is ideal for strolling, cycling, and resting on the beach. Visitors can enjoy a slower pace of life while immersing themselves in local culture and traditions.

Halki is a small island in the Dodecanese archipelago, west of Rhodes. Despite its modest size, the island’s lovely harbor, colorful homes, and crystal-clear waters provide guests with an outstanding Greek island experience.

Halki is famous for its traditional architecture, with its colorful houses and small alleyways lending to the island’s unique charm. Emborio, the main settlement, features a lovely harbor peppered with cafes and tavernas serving fresh seafood and traditional Greek meals.

Another highlight of Halki is its stunning beaches, some of the most beautiful in the Dodecanese. The island has several small bays and coves with sandy beaches and turquoise waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Visitors can also explore the rugged coastline and hidden caves by boat or kayak.

Other Islands

Olympos - Karpathos Island, Greece
Karpathos Island

The Dodecanese is an island chain of hundreds of beautiful isles in the Aegean Sea’s southeastern corner. 

Each island has its own distinct personality and offers a variety of sights and activities to visitors, ranging from historic ruins and medieval castles to stunning beaches and lovely villages. 

From renowned Karpathos to tiny Agathonisi, the Dodecanese islands, each famed for their delectable cuisine, rich history, and hospitable people, offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Far away from the crowds and noise of metropolitan cities, visitors can enjoy a tranquil and laid-back vacation in the Dodecanese.


Here are the travel guides we have (so far!) about the Dodecanese Islands

Brands We Use And Trust


Map Of The Dodecanese Islands

Below is a Dodecanese islands map that has the biggest 15 islands only.

How To Visit The Dodecanese

Dodecanese Island Group - Patmos

The Dodecanese Islands are in the southeastern part of the Aegean Sea and are accessible by various means of transportation.

  • By Air: The most popular mode of transportation to the Dodecanese is by air. Rhodes, Kos, and Karpathos all have international airports with direct flights from different European cities. Several islands, such as Leros, Astypalea, and Kalymnos, also have domestic airports with links to Athens and other significant Greek towns
  • By Ferry: Another option to reach the Dodecanese is by ferry. There are regular ferry connections from Piraeus, the main port of Athens, to the islands of Rhodes, Kos, and Patmos. There are also ferry connections between the Dodecanese islands. Ferries are also available from other ports in Greece, such as Crete, the Cyclades, and the Northeast Aegean islands
  • By Car: For those traveling by car, the Dodecanese are accessible via the Greek mainland and the Peloponnese, with ferries departing from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina. There are also ferry connections between the Dodecanese and neighboring Turkey, with services from Bodrum and Marmaris.

Greek Dodecanese Islands With Airports & Ferry Routes

Active Honeymoon In Greece - Kalymnos Beach
Kalymnos Island

Here is a list of the Dodecanese Islands with airports:

  • Rhodes – Diagoras International Airport
  • Kos – Kos Island International Airport
  • Karpathos – Karpathos Island National Airport
  • Leros – Leros Municipal Airport
  • Astypalea – Astypalea Island National Airport
  • Kalymnos – Kalymnos Island National Airport

You can easily reach the smaller islands through ferry routes from the major islands. 

Please note that ferry schedules and routes may vary depending on the season, so it’s best to check with the relevant transportation companies for the most up-to-date information.


Here is a list of islands with ferry routes:

  • From Rhodes to Piraeus, Crete, Cyclades, Northeast Aegean islands, and Turkey
  • From Kos to Piraeus, Cyclades, Northeast Aegean islands, and Turkey
  • From Patmos to Piraeus, other islands in the Dodecanese, and Turkey
  • From Kalymnos to Piraeus, other islands in the Dodecanese and Turkey
  • From Leros to Piraeus, other islands in the Dodecanese and Turkey
  • From Symi to Rhodes, other islands in the Dodecanese and Turkey
  • From Astypalea to Piraeus and other islands in the Dodecanese

Now that you have a list of the Dodecanese Greek Islands, which include some of the least touristy Greek islands, tell us, which one will you hop to first?

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