Night view of the historic Querini Castle and the town of Chora, Dodecanese

Things to do in  Dodecanese

Underrated Island-hopping paradise

With its spectacular white-washed buildings, glittering azure bays, and miraculous ancient ruins, the Dodecanese Islands are a Mediterranean paradise with unparalleled beauty. Translating to "Twelve Islands," there's more than that within the cluster in the southeastern Aegean Sea. From picturesque dining on Leros Island to swimming in the crystal clear waters around Kastellorizo, there are plenty of things to do for those who want to explore these Greek gems. There's also plenty of history, from Kos' ancient Hippocrates plane tree to the stunning whitewashed Byzantine Church of Saint John the Theologian on Patmos Island.

Top 15 attractions in Dodecanese

Profitis Ilias

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Standing at 2,619 feet (798 meters, the pine-clad peak of Profitis Ilias is one of the highest on Rhodes and offers sweeping views over the island's Aegean coastline. Head to the top to admire the scenery and explore the hiking trails, drink from the Koskinsiti spring, and visit the Monastery of Fountoukli’s historic St. Nikolaos Chapel.More

Anthony Quinn Bay

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Anthony Quinn Bay, named after the actor who filmed The Guns of Navarone on Rhodes in 1961, is one of the most popular spots on the island for sun seekers. The picturesque pebble beach features shallow emerald green water—perfect for swimming—framed by dramatic coastal rocks that form underwater reefs teeming with fish.More

Acropolis of Lindos

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An important site in ancient Greece, the Acropolis of Lindos is one of the most important historical monuments on the island of Rhodes in the Dodecanese Islands. Parts of the site were built more than 2,500 years ago, and this remarkably well-preserved ruin draws tourists from all over the world.More

Symi Island

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Hailed as one of Greece’s prettiest islands, Symi is characterized by pastel-colored town houses and a quaint harbor full of wooden fishing boats. Restaurants serving fresh seafood and Greek delicacies line the seafront, while the heavily forested inland offers an abundance of walking and cycling trails.More

Medieval City of Rhodes

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The beautifully preserved walled old town, the historic core of Rhodes, is the oldest continuously inhabited medieval city in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The medieval center is still encircled by its original fourteenth century fortification walls, which took more than 200 years to construct.More

Mandraki Harbour

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In use since ancient times, Mandraki Harbour was reportedly the site of the Colossus of Rhodes. Today, statues of Elafos and Elafina, symbols of the city, mark the entrance to the harbor, which is used by yachts and boats cruising to nearby islands, while a jetty is home to three historic windmills and the Fort of St. Nicholas.More

Paradise Beach

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By day, Paradise Beach is a water sports hot spot, with swimsuit-clad revelers enjoying banana boat rides, Jet Ski jaunts, and scuba diving excursions. Come late afternoon, its legendary party scene gets going as fun-seekers flock to the beach bars and clubs for music, dancing, drinking, and fun.More

Tsambika Beach

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Hemmed in by a crescent of jagged rocks, Tsambika Beach is an idyllic stretch of golden sand and crystalline water that is considered one of Rhodes’ most beautiful beaches. A popular stop for boat cruises around the island, the beach is well-served by beach bars and eateries—but with no town nearby, the focus is firmly on the sun and sea.More

Acropolis of Rhodes

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Keeping watch over the northeastern tip of the island, the remains of the ancient Acropolis of Rhodes dominate the Dodecanese capital's skyline from atop Monte Smith hill. Highlights of the active archaeological complex include the exquisitely restored and partially reconstructed Temple of Apollo and the Temple of Pythian Apollo.More

Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes

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Though originally constructed in the 14th century by the Knights of St. John, the current Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes is a Mussolini-era reconstruction built after the original was destroyed by a 19th-century explosion. The lavish palace now serves as a museum displaying furniture, statues, and ancient mosaics.More

St. Paul's Bay

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A minuscule cove protected by cliffs, St. Paul’s Bay is reputedly the spot where the Apostle Paul first set foot on Rhodes in AD 51. One of three beaches in Lindos, the water here stays warm as late as October, and the bay is both shallow and protected from winds, which makes it ideal for swimming.More

Kahal Shalom Synagogue and Rhodes Jewish Museum

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Dating back to 1577, Kahal Shalom Synagogue is among the oldest synagogues in Greece. A museum in the former women’s prayer gallery documents the history and legacy of the Rhodes’ Jewish community, from ancient settlements to the mass deportations to Auschwitz in 1944.More

Valley of the Butterflies (Petaloudes)

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Each summer, thousands of colorful butterflies congregate in the humid Petaloudes Valley, earning it the nickname Valley of the Butterflies. It’s one of the island’s most remarkable natural attractions, where you’ll find several species of the winged beauties, as well as the only natural Oriental Sweetgum forest in Europe.More

Waterpark Rhodes

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With almost 25 acres (10 hectares of water slides, swimming pools, and a lazy river, Waterpark Rhodes is the largest of its kind in Greece and an ideal spot for family-friendly fun. Shoot down the extreme water slides or gently bob in the wave pool—there’s something for everyone from thrill-seekers to tiny tots at his vast water park.More

Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

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This archaeological museum showcases priceless objects excavated during digs on the island of Rhodes. Housed in an imposing medieval hospital built by the Knights of St. John, the collection encompasses everything from ceramics and marble statues to mosaics and funeral urns.More

Top activities in Dodecanese

Rhodes Exclusive Swim Cruise with Greek Gourmet Buffet & Drinks
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Rhodes Exclusive Swim Cruise with Greek Gourmet Buffet & Drinks

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Explore the new town and the medieval town of Rhodes on scooters - 3 hours
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BEST OF RHODES ISLAND - Half-day PRIVATE Tour - MAX 4 people
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BEST OF RHODES ISLAND - Half-day PRIVATE Tour - MAX 4 people

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RHODES ISLAND TOUR - FULL DAY PRIVATE TOUR - max 4 people
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RHODES ISLAND TOUR - FULL DAY PRIVATE TOUR - max 4 people

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Private Full-Day Cruise in Greece with Lunch

Private Full-Day Cruise in Greece with Lunch

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Explore the Medieval city of Rhodes on scooters - 2 hours
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Best of RHODES & LINDOS Private Tour

Best of RHODES & LINDOS Private Tour

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Rhodes Shore Excursion: Private Lindos Tour

Rhodes Shore Excursion: Private Lindos Tour

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Private CATAMARAN daytrip - Lindos/ Rhodos with Lunch and drinks
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Private Tour in Lindos

Private Tour in Lindos

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Rhodes Sea Kayaking Tour

Rhodes Sea Kayaking Tour

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All about Dodecanese

When to visit

A visit to the Dodecanese Islands is best experienced during the summer months from June to August when the sun is shining, and the air is brimming with invigorating energy. With temperatures reaching a hot high of 86°F (30°C), it's easy to see why these islands are a popular summer destination. However, some islands can be incredibly busy during these months, so those looking for more seclusion should visit during spring or autumn instead.

Getting around

The best way to get around Dodecanese Islands is by taking one of the many ferries that connect each island. From sleepy fishing villages to white sand beaches and charming red-tiled roofs—you can take it all in when you sail between islands with the sun on your face. Hiring a car or scooter on some larger islands like Rhodes will help you quickly get to all the sights and beaches.

Traveler tips

Plan for plenty of time; these islands hide much to see. Exploring all the islands on your itinerary may be difficult, so sticking to just a few will help you explore them more deeply. Booking ferry tickets in advance, especially in summer, will ease your transport woes and keep your trip as smooth as possible. There are plenty of companies to choose from, including Blue Star Ferries, Dodekanisos Seaways, and Aegeon Pelagos.

Local Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
EET (UTC +2)
Country Code
+30
Language(s)
Greek
Attractions
30
Tours
490
Reviews
15,120
EN
85d8cbe7-62a0-4271-838a-ba3d57da8d1d
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People Also Ask

What are the Dodecanese islands known for?

These idyllic outcrops in the Aegean Sea are known for having a long, fascinating history marked by battles and diverse rulers, with medieval castles, Byzantine churches, and ancient archaeological sites to explore. They're also known for stunning coastal beauty, with white sandy beaches, the bluest water, and rugged hilly shorelines.

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Which Dodecanese Island has the best beaches?

Rhodes and Kos are known to have the best beaches. If there’s one beach not to be missed, it’s Tsambika Beach on Rhodes Island. With sparkling white-sand shorelines leading to crystal clear waters brimming with sea life, it's easy to see why Tsambika stands out from the crowd.

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Which is the largest island of the Dodecanese islands?

Rhodes is the largest island of the Dodecanese Islands. It offers everything from deep blue waters to UNESCO World Heritage sites, making it an ideal destination for those seeking culture and appreciation of natural beauty. Rhodes captures a unique union between traditional charm and modern luxury for travelers.

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What are the top attractions to visit in the Dodecanese?

Some of the most desirable attractions to visit include the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes; Lindos Acropolis with its ancient ruins; Venetian Castle of Halki for a taste of local history; awe-inspiring Kapari Bay; Simi Island and its impressive catacombs; and Patmos where Saint John wrote the book of Revelation.

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Why is it called Dodecanese?

The Dodecanese archipelago has a fascinating history behind its name. "Dodecanese" is derived from Greek and translates to "12 islands." Although the area does include approximately 150 islands, most are too small to name, with just 15 larger islands mostly visited by people.

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Why did Italy own the Dodecanese?

Italy's ownership of the Dodecanese islands was initially a strategic move to protect their interests in the Mediterranean and also expand and fortify their maritime empire. Italy had claimed ownership and fortified them by building multiple military outposts; however, they were transferred to Greece in 1947.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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