Adventure Cruises in Dodecanese Islands
The Dodecanese Islands are Greek but geographically lie close to the turquoise coast of Turkey and as such have a rich history and culturally are a blend of eastern and western traditions. The group is made up of fifteen main islands and a number of other tiny islets with beautiful scenery and beaches. Given the sheer number of islands, island hopping on a small ship cruise is a very popular way to see as much of the Dodecanese as you can in one visit. Although don't be surprised if you find yourself hooked and coming back again and again, these islands are addictive. The true charm of the Dodecanese lies in the sheer variety that can be found here. You can be one day in the lively city of Rhodes enjoying the nightlife and hustle and bustle, only a short sail later you find yourself on one of Greece’s most traditional and peaceful islands, Karpathos soaking in the atmosphere. Whichever islands you choose to visit on your cruise of the Dodecanese one thing is certain, they will linger in your mind for years to come.
Best Dodecanese Islands cruises and areas to visit
The largest island in the Dodecanese archipelago Rhodes is famous enough all on its own as a historic and fascinating place. The history of the island is as multicultural as the range of visitors it attracts. One of the main attractions of Rhodes is its beautiful coastline with a wide variety of different beaches to inspire everyone. One of the most dramatic beaches is found in the south, Prasonisi, a natural beauty spot and a huge hit with water sports. Other highlights include Kallithea Springs, a thermal bath complex that also has a beautiful beach nearby, and Tsambika, where you can enjoy the beach in the sunny hours, and when it cools down, explore the Monastery up on the hill where there are some fantastic views of the island. Other fascinating historic spots are the walls, palace, and port of Rhodes town, in fact, the entire old town is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the Dodecanese's quirkiest and most fun islands, Kos is an action-packed place that still makes plenty of room for relaxation as well. The beaches are seemingly unending, and water sports are everywhere as well as cyclists making the most of some of the best cycling routes in Greece. As if this wasn't enough, the neighboring islands and islands of Kalymnos and Telendos are some of the archipelago's biggest draws for rock climbers around the world. For history lovers, the island is also rich in heritage, with historic buildings stretching back from ancient Greek times to the medieval period with plenty of influence from both east and west.
Unique in nature, Karpathos is probably the best place in the Dodecanese to experience the old world of the Greek Islands on a small ship cruise. Somehow the island has escaped the transformation into a tourist haven and retains its rare and original beauty. Blessed with impressive contrast in its geology Karpathos offers tiny picturesque villages clinging to the cliffs and secluded sandy beaches dotted all along its coast. The fishing villages, tavernas, and local craft shops are the essence of true Greek tradition without so much modernization as many other parts of the country. This island is the perfect spot to unwind on a cruise and enjoy a more laid-back version of Greece from a bygone age.
Best time to cruise in the Dodecanese Islands
The best time to travel the Dodecanese Islands depends on the activities you want to enjoy most while you are on your island adventure. Those dreaming of long sunny days on the beach will find June to August offer the warmest weather and the liveliest nightlife. May and September to early October offer similarly warm conditions, although the mornings and evenings are slightly cooler, perfect for historical visits and walking around the bars and restaurants at night. It is well worth remembering that this is a trendy region for visitors, and in the peak summer season, many small ship cruises will be booked up well in advance. It is wise to book flights and cruises in the Dodecanese early to be sure of getting the perfect itinerary for you.
How to get to the Dodecanese Islands
Reaching a Dodecanese Islands cruise is fastest by flight directly to Rhodes, which can be found from Newark in the US and most major European airports. It is also popular to fly through Athens, which takes direct flights from New York and indirect flights from several other major US airports. It is also possible to take the ferry from Athens port Piraeus although this is longer, and it is wise to look carefully at the number of stops as with fifteen islands, this can lead to a very long journey.
Dodecanese Islands Cruise Tips
- The Dodecanese Islands are some of the hottest spots in Greece with summer temperatures, nothing short of scorching. Be sure to wear plenty of sun protection, especially when on a small cruise ship, where the cooling sea breeze can trick you into thinking it isn't as hot as it is.
- Several drinks and foods are unique to the Dodecanese Islands, but two of the most iconic are served together and well worth trying. Koukouzina, a raki-like spirit and chickpea fritters with skordalia are one of the archipelago's specialties.
- Services such as shops and restaurants are plentiful on most parts of the Dodecanese; however, if you are visiting a more isolated spot especially, the islets or Karpathos do remember to bring everything you need with you on land. Some of these stunning areas are surprisingly untouched still.