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Sailing Far - Blog

Sailing Greece - Dodecanese Islands

Updated: May 16

Rhodes Acropolis, Medieval City Greece
The Medieval City of Rhodes and the Acropolis are a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Dodecanese Islands, a stunning archipelago in the southeastern Aegean Sea, offer a captivating blend of history, commerce, culture, and natural beauty, making them a prime destination for sailing enthusiasts and travelers alike. This article explores some of the most notable islands in this group: Rhodes, Symi, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Nisyros, Tilos, and Mandraki.

Kos, Greece
Fishing Port in Kos, Greece


The Dodecanese Islands are steeped in a rich history, having been a crossroads of civilizations for millennia. Each island has its unique historical narrative, contributing to the diverse cultural heritage of the region. Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese, is famously home to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The island's medieval Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, encapsulates influences from the Knights of St. John who fortified the city in the 14th century.

Symi boasts an equally impressive historical architecture, with its neoclassical mansions and the imposing Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis, a key religious site that is still an active monastery today. Kos, another significant island, offers a glimpse into ancient medicine at the Asclepeion, an important healing center dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine.


Natural sponge
Natural Sponge Collected By Local Sponge Divers in Kalymnos, Greece

The economy of the Dodecanese Islands has traditionally been based on shipping, sponge diving, and fishing, reflecting their maritime heritage. Today, tourism and related services have taken the forefront, with yachting and sailing being particularly prominent. The islands are equipped with numerous marinas and docking areas, making them accessible to sailors and contributing significantly to local economies.

Kalymnos, traditionally known for its sponge divers, has recently seen a shift towards tourism but still holds onto its heritage, with sponge selling being a unique attraction for visitors. Leros and Nisyros also benefit from their less commercialized landscapes, offering more authentic experiences that attract tourists looking for tranquility and traditional Greek island life.


Symi, Greece
Symi Port, Greece

The culture of the Dodecanese is a vibrant mixture of Greek traditions and influences from Asia Minor, reflecting the islands' geographical proximity to the Turkish coast. Local festivals, music, and dance play an essential role in community life, with many events based on religious festivities and seasonal celebrations.

Symi's Festival during the summer months showcases a range of cultural activities including classical music concerts, art exhibitions, and traditional dance performances, all set against the backdrop of the island's stunning architecture. Kos and Rhodes celebrate their medieval heritage with reenactments and festivals that transport visitors back in time.

Nisyros Volcano, Greece
The Volcano of Nisyros, Greece


The natural landscapes of the Dodecanese are as varied as their history. From the lush green valleys of Rhodes to the volcanic terrain of Nisyros, each island offers unique natural attractions. Tilos is known for its commitment to protecting its environment and has been declared a nature reserve, being home to numerous species of wildflowers and birds.

The sea itself is a major attraction, with crystal-clear waters ideal for snorkeling, diving, and of course, sailing. The mild Mediterranean climate provides excellent weather for most of the year, making the Dodecanese a perfect destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Sailing the Dodecanese Islands not only allows for the exploration of secluded beaches and coves but also provides a deep dive into the rich tapestry of history, vibrant culture, bustling commerce, and pristine natural environments of these Greek gems. Each island offers something unique, making a sailing trip around them a truly diverse and enriching experience. Whether you are a history buff, nature enthusiast, cultural aficionado, or just in search of a peaceful retreat, the Dodecanese beckon with their timeless allure.

Ready to book your next charter in Greece and get more tips and information?

Mandraki Marina and Port, Rhodes, Greece
Mandraki Marina and Port, Rhodes, Greece

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