Greek island hopping
A group of twelve islands in the Greek Aegean Sea forms the bridge between Europe and the East. Each of the so-called Dodecanese Islands has its own character, offering visitors a wealth of sights and beautiful landscapes. The Dodecanese have everything to offer for an all-round perfect holiday ranging from historical sites from antiquity to extremely indulgent mealtimes in cosy taverns or diving on one of the countless magical beaches. You can explore several of the islands on a two-week holiday. The most famous Dodecanese islands are Rhodes and Kos. You can fly to both direct from Berlin and they are the island hopping starting and finishing points. But which of the islands should you also visit? How do get around when you are there? You can find the answers to these questions as well as other tips here.
Starting in Rhodes, Island of the Sun
It is said that the sun is at home in Rhodes. The ancient Hellenes believed that Zeus, the father of the gods, ascribed the island to the sun god Helios when he was distributing portions of the world. This and numerous long sandy beaches make Rhodes popular with travellers, above all as a paradise for bathing. There is really no shortage of picturesque beaches on the island. The east coast is dominated by sandy beaches, and the west coast has pebble beaches, which are generally less crowded.
But this sunny island has much more to offer. It is considered to be one of the greenest islands of Greece and also offers numerous splendid historical sites. You can go on a journey into its rich history by visiting the old town of Rhodes with its impressive Palace of the Grand Master and the picturesque town of Lindos featuring the Acropolis.
A trip to the green, wooded interior of the island is worthwhile especially in the summer months. Near the city of Rhodes you can, for example, go to Epta Piges, the valley of the seven springs. Here it is pleasantly cool even in midsummer. You can admire wild peacocks and lush vegetation while you hike through this little natural paradise.
This blog will make you want to travel to Rhodes:
Pastel colours instead of white and blue: Island hopping to Symi
From Rhodes you can take a detour to the small neighbouring island of Symi. The boat trip from the city of Rhodes takes one hour. Just entering the harbour of Symi-City is an experience: the city rises steeply from the sea, giving you a fantastic view of the beautiful pastel-coloured facades which are rather untypical for Greece. This town with its neoclassical, colourful villas is also worth seeing close up. Climbing to the upper part of the city during the summer is exhausting, but rewarding. The magnificent Panormitis pilgrimage monastery at the southern tip of the island is also a must.
Tip: A day trip by ferry is possible from Rhodes, but it is worth staying longer than one day on Symi. When the day-trippers from Rhodes have left again in the late afternoon, you have the opportunity to explore the sights of the island in a relaxed setting, away from tourist groups.
Eco-paradise Tilos and hot feet on Nisyros
There are two more islands to stop at on the way from Rhodes to Kos while travelling by ferry: the small island of Tilos, with its unspoilt nature, has developed into a quiet destination for ecotourism in recent years. Prepare to be fascinated by Tilos’ wild and untouched nature. Charming beaches and picturesque villages alternate with mountainous, densely overgrown rock massifs and deep valleys covered with a colourful variety of herbs and flowers.
The neighbouring island of Nisyros is, like most of the Dodecanese, volcanic in origin – nowhere is this more visible than here. The Caldera, a gigantic volcanic basin with a diameter of 3.8 kilometres and several volcanic craters, is located in the centre of the island. The hike down into one of the craters is an unforgettable experience: the interior of the crater is partly reminiscent of a barren moonscape, sulphurous vapours rise from cracks in the earth again and again, and in some places the ground is so hot that you could fry fried eggs on it.
Island hopping in Kos: sun kissed
The last station by ferry is the beautiful island of Kos, the third largest of the Dodecanese group of islands. You will get some sun for a few days at the end of the trip – indeed, there are magical beaches for every taste. The island is long and narrow, so that almost everything takes place close to the coast and concentrates on the beaches. Nevertheless, there are some important sights to visit alongside the beaches: the mighty fortress of Neratzia in Kos town, the picturesque mountain village Zia at the highest point of the island or the peacock forest near Plaka are among the main attractions of the island.
You can find Chrissy’s tips about Kos here:
Flight connection from Berlin to the Greek Dodecanese
Rhodes and Kos (the two main islands for holidays) are only around a three hour flight away from Berlin. You can fly to the Greek island paradise with Ryanair, TUIfly and easyJet. You should spend two weeks island hopping to get a good look at the varied beauty of the Greek Dodecanese.
Good to know:
- The Dodecanese have been part of Greece since 1948, and before that it was occupied by Turks, Italians, Britons and Germans.
- You eat in taverns in Greece. When ordering food, it is best to observe locals and follow suit: many different dishes are ordered together and placed in the middle of the table, and everyone takes their time to enjoy them.
- The Dodecanese are very well connected with numerous ferry connections, especially during the high season. The ferry company Dodekanisos Seaways is also called the “island metro”.
- The supposedly Greek folk dance Sirtaki comes from the classic film “Alexis Sorbas” – it was choreographed especially for the film, supposedly to make the work of leading actor Anthony Quinn easier.
The Dodecanese consist of twelve main islands, but in total there are about 160 small islands, most of which are uninhabited. Some more beautiful islands are presented in this blog.
A lot of information about Greek cuisine can be found here in the following blog. Try different dishes to find out the rest.