Get to Know the Dodecanese

With series three of My Greek Odyssey focussed on islands in the Dodecanese Group, I thought it might be a good idea to give you a little bit of background information about this part of the world.

While the name might have you thinking there’s only ten islands there, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s actually 15 large ones and another 150 smaller isles. But of the 165 landmasses, only around 26 of them are inhabited. In all, there’s some 200,000 people calling the region home, and they’re all contained within an area of about 2,700 square kilometres, in the South-Eastern Aegean Sea just off the coast of Turkey.

Of all the islands in the group, you’ll probably best know Rhodes, Kos and Patmos. These are the major centres, where a lot of the people and commercial activity takes place. They’re also where most tourists visit. But there’s also plenty of other fantastic islands well worth exploring, including Karpathos, Kasos, Leros, Symi, Tilos, Agathonisi, Chalki, Kalymnos and Leipsoi to name a handful. To be honest, it’s tough to pick a favourite amongst them all, so you’ll just have to visit every single one of them for yourself!

Because of its location, being on the doorstep of Asia-minor and providing a link to Europe, the Dodecanese Islands have long been important. Not just in terms of trade and military positioning, but also as a bridge that saw countless cultures crossing between Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The result is a rich and vibrant history, spanning thousands of years.

If you’re planning a holiday here, the best place to start your travels is in Rhodes. Apart from having a major airport, there are also plenty of ferries connecting it to the rest of the islands. From there you can reach out as far as time and your budget allows. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself visiting more than once, because it’s impossible to see all that the Dodecanese has to offer in one trip. Plus of curse, there are plenty of places you’ll want to come back to again and again.