Rhodes is rightly considered one of the most beautiful islands in all of Greece. Here, almost year-round the sun shines, a fresh breeze blows, pine-dotted cliffs rise up from the shores of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, and the beaches are sprinkled with soft sand. According to ancient myth, Helios, the Sun God himself took a shine to the island, and its name derives from that of his wife, the nymph Rhodes. Day after day, yachts come to call in the old port of Mandraki, where a magnificent Colossus once stood. To the southeast lies the fabulous and very modern Rhodes marina. Yacht schools, restaurants, and a customs office are all in the vicinity. From here, it’s convenient to start exploring Rhodes – one of the most magnificent gems in all of the Mediterranean. The capital’s old town has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for good reason. Here, you’ll find splendidly preserved buildings and landmarks from different eras, from antiquity to the Middle Ages. Visit the Palace of the Great Masters, Knights’ Row, the Olympic stadium, and the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. What’s more, the island itself boasts a whole smattering of enchanting ancient towns and popular resorts: Lindos, Kameiros, Faliraki, Ialysos, and Ixia. There are also beaches to suit any taste – pebbly in the west and sandy in the east. The miniature isthmus between Rhodes and the little island of Prasonisi is considered the most romantic and picturesque. Why? It enchants visitors with the tranquil, warm Mediterranean waters, and the bright and blustery Aegean converging in a blue wonderland. The list of unique locales definitely includes Petaludes Valley, where thousands of butterflies flock beginning in late May, as well as the Seven Sources wilderness park.
Though it shares the same mountainous terrain and cove-dotted coastline as its northern neighbours in the Dodecanese Islands, the island if Kalymnos is unique in its own special way. Kalymnos, situated between Kos and Leros, is also a whole chain of islands of the same name. It has plenty of churches, a few museums, and dozens of fantastic beaches. The population is sparse and in the past, the local residents crafted handmade sponges. The history of Kalymnos has the same history of governing bodies as the nearby Southern Sporades: from the Byzantines to the Venetians, the Knights of Malta, the Turks and the Italians. Yet, it does have one standout feature that sharply distinguishes the island from its counterparts, and that’s mountain climbing. The terrain of Kalymnos is so mountainous and yet so varied that it manages to pack in more than 1,500 climbing routes of varying difficulty. Once every two years, it’s the scene of the Kalymnos International Mountain Climbing Festival. Aside from alpinists, the island also draws diving enthusiasts. Kalymnos boasts Greece’s only state-run scuba diving school.
Patmos, like some other northern islands in the Southern Sporades, has a dramatically-jagged coastline, which yachtsmen find particularly alluring. Patmos’ main port is Skala, situated on the shores of a rather large bay – by local standards anyway. Every day in the harbour, curious tourists flock to the waterfront, headed to the island’s main attraction – the Monastery of St. John the Apostle. The saint was banished by Emperor Domitian into exile on Patmos, where he lived in a cave and wrote “Revelation” and “Apocalypse.” From the monastery walls to the shore run the tidy streets and neoclassical buildings of Chora – considered one of the most picturesque island capitals of its kind. The surroundings here are tranquil and serene. Patmos has its beaches too. Kambos and Grikos are the most frequented, Meloi and Aspri – the most quiet and wind-free, and Psili Amos – the most beautiful and inaccessible (but not for those travelling by yacht).
Nisyros, a satellite-island of Kos, can be seen in a single day. You can comfortably visit all three populated towns and two uninhabited ones, stroll the local beaches, dine at seafood restaurants, and even visit the mineral springs and steam cave. Nisyros has one particularly unique attraction that draws tourists to its shores--it’s home to an active volcano. Well, to be more precise, not an active but a dormant one. The last time the volcano “woke up” was in the early 21st century. Now the island’s guests are taking enthusiastic advantage of the opportunity to see with their own eyes all five of its craters, the largest and most famous of which is Stefanos. The two coastal towns, Mandraki and Pali, are suitable for a visit while in Nisyros. Yachtsmen tend to prefer Pali for its strong winds and powerful waves, and prefer Mandraki for its multiple ferries.
The island of Tilos is one of the smallest in the Dodecanese Islands. Its three villages have a combined population of just 300 inhabitants, making Tilos a truly secluded spot. Nineteen beaches, twelve mountains with natural springs, seven medieval castles, a Byzantine monastery, two hundred churches, a cave with traces of past digs, and sixteen conservation areas make Tilos a modern wonder. The island’s main port is Livadia. Here you’ll find Tilos’ most popular beach and a handful of perfectly lovely cafes and restaurants. Not far from the city is the old settlement of Micro Chorio. From there the road north leads to Megalo Chorio, the present-day capital of Tilos, and the road west leads to the island’s most beautiful beach – Eristos. Agios-Antonios is the island’s second port. Situated nearby is the beautiful sandy beach of Plaka. From there the road leads to the Monastery of St. Panteleimon – the island’s protector.
The small island of Pserimos, situated between Kalymnos and Kos, is part of the Dodecanese Islands. It has only one population center, nestled in a quiet cove and shielded from the wind. Yachtsmen will be pleased with its nice harbour, charming beach with a gentle slope into the water, and the few tavernas serving traditional Greek fare. Take it all in in an atmosphere of complete tranquility and peace.
The name “Leipsoi” belongs both to a whole archipelago in the Aegean Sea, as well as to its largest and only populated island. Leipsoi’s landscape is similar to that of neighbouring Patmos and Leros with mountainous, rocky locales, a shoreline dotted with coves, and pristine, secluded beaches. There’s just one city here, also called Leipsoi. You’ll find it nestled along a convenient bay, perfect for mooring yachts. The depth is more than enough for free navigation. The island is sprinkled with so many churches that the locales joke it’s almost as if each family had their own. The most notable of these are the Byzantine church of the Holy Mother of God, the cathedral of St. John the Apostle, the cathedral of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God, and the church of the Mother of God in the village of Kuselio. The island’s beaches are also popular: Kambos, Elena, and Lientu near the city of Leipsoi, Khokhlakura just four miles away, the wild Platis Yalos, the calm-water Catsadia, and windy Turkomnima.
The island of Arkoi is situated in the Eastern part of the Aegean Sea and forms part of the Dodecanese. It’s home to just 50 people, and tourist infrastructure is mostly undeveloped. Nonetheless, the island can offer you the ruins of an ancient acropolis, Tiganakia bay (the “Blue lagoon”), Patelia port, and Limnari bay.
Leros is part of the Dodecanese or Southern Sporades. It’s a relatively small island with a jagged shoreline and lots of natural bays and coves, which explains why it’s been a base for seafaring vessels since ancient times. In the 20th century alone, it’s managed to attract new settlers from Turkey, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy. Citizens from the latter have made a significant contribution to the development of Leros, having built the city of Lakki and adding some flare to the local architecture. Today, Lakki is home to a sprawling new marina, where most yachts come to moor. There are also more modest harbours in the cities of Pandeli, Agia Marina, Vromolitos, and Ksirokambos. These are considered the island’s main resorts. Each is lined with fabulous beaches, the best of which is in the hamlet of Gurna on the west coast. The attractions on Leros include a number of churches sprinkled chaotically throughout the island, the majestic knights’ castle Castro in the village of Platanost, and the Artemis temple ruins seven kilometers from Alindi.