The Dodecanese Islands are the south eastern most areas of
Greece and are nearer to Turkey than the Greek mainland and
that influence can still be seen. The islands had a varied
past, being conquered and ruled by various powers including
the Romans, Venetians, Ottomans and eventually united with
Greece in 1948. Samos is separated from the
Turkish mainland by the 1.3 km wide Mycale Strait. Samos has
a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Eupalinian
aqueduct, a marvel of ancient engineering. Pythagoras was
born in Samos as well as the astronomer Aristarchus, the first
person to suggest that the Earth revolves around the sun.
Samian wine was well-known in antiquity, and it is still a
major industry on the island. Gaidharos is a tiny island off
the beaten track. Called Tragia by the Romans, it was where
the young Caesar was captured by pirates in 76BC. George's
restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy fresh seafood. Arki is an even smaller island
with only 60 houses and a fishing quay. From the tiny church
on top of the hill you can see for miles in all directions.
The Blue Lagoon is a fabulous anchorage for lunch and a snorkel.
Enjoy Manoli's mum's cooking at his home taverna. Patmos is a very small island
where Saint John the Divine had his revelation and wrote the
Apocalypse. Today, the cave where he had the revelations and
the monastery are World Heritage sites. Lipsos is another tiny island
off the beaten track. The harbour is surrounded by tavernas
and a short walk up to the old town reveals a maze of charming
old streets leading to the wood fired bakery and town square.
Enjoy a cold retsina or ouzo with the locals at the harbour
front ouzeria. There are some beautiful lunch time anchorages
around the island. Leros is a small and picturesque
island which had a famous sanctuary to the goddess Artemis.
The anchorage in Pandeli under the castle and windmills is
our overnight mooring. Great for snorkeling before dinner
ashore at one of the quay side tavernas. Kalimnos the Sponge Island,
known for sponge diving and boat building. The sponges are
known as Kalimnos gold. The fjord like bay of Palionisos with
the sheer steep sides makes a spectacular night anchorage. Kos had a colourful past including
links to Cleopatra and Herod. At the entrance to the harbour
there is a 14th century fortress erected by The Knights of
Saint John of Rhodes. The ancient physician Hippocrates is
thought to have been born on Kos, and in the centre of the
town is the Plane Tree of Hippocrates. Nisyros In Mandraki life revolves
around the cafeteria on the quay and this higgledy-piggledy
town has retained its charm. Further along the coast is Pali
or Palon, a lovely fishing village with wonderful quay side
restaurants. Near Mandraki itself you can explore some ancient
500BC walls which were part of the acropolis of the island.
You can visit the volcano in the centre of the island. Tilos is one of the best-kept
secrets in the Dodecanese, with friendly people and wonderful
walking country. It shelters groves of figs, almonds, walnuts,
pomegranates and olives, all watered by fresh springs. Near
Livadia, the island's port, are the ruins of a Venetian Castle
and the Kharkadio Cave, in which the bones of prehistoric
dwarf elephants were found. Symi is a beautiful gem of an
island. Once a wealthy boat building and sponge diving centre,
the main port of Symi town boasts handsome 18 and 19 c mansions.
The colourful port is a hive of activity with a wonderful
choice of tavernas ranging from simple family to excellent
water front seafood restaurants. On the west coast of the
island , at Panormitis, is a wonderful anchorage overlooked
by a working monastery.