It is not without reason that the Dodecanese is one of the most popular sailing areas in the world. Plenty of wind, breathtaking nature and relatively low prices attract more and more water sports enthusiasts to the Aegean Sea - nestled between Greece and Turkey.
The Aegean Islands are grouped into seven primarily. In this itinerary, we will focus on the eastern part of the Aegean, the Dodecanese.
A 7-day Sailing Itinerary in the Dodecanese: Let the journey begin
Let the journey begin from probably one of the most famous Greek spots in the Med, where you can sail from and prepare for the next seven days of crystal clear waters, endless sandy beaches, historical sites and picturesque natural paradises. We're talking, of course, of Rhodes.
Rhodes Marina is located southeast of the city harbour on the east coast and is just 14 kilometres from the international airport. After a lengthy reconstruction and rebuilding, it now offers 563 berths. Easy to both enter and exit the marina. One minor note: Watch out for the sand bar in the harbour. When approaching on the way back or at night, the harbour entrance is well-lit on both sides.
After checking in with your charter on your arrival there, you should take the time to stroll a little through this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage city.
You'll surely want to explore the azure blue water bays as you sail your way along the island. Rhodes also offers a veritable splendour of natural beauty. For example, you can explore the Valley of the Butterflies with its most colourful butterflies and hibiscus blossoms or, for those of you interested in history, visit the St. John's Fortress in Monolithos.
View from the ruins of a church in the castle of Monolithos, Island of Rhodes, Greece
Of course, at the end of our seven-day tour, there is still the possibility to visit some of the numerous highlights of the island worth seeing, as it will be difficult to do justice to the island with all its different facets in a short time.
The Island of Symi awaits
Pull up your anchor and off we set sail for the unknown destination of Ano Symi, or Symi for short, an island located at the very edge of the Aegean Sea. Today's route covers 25 nautical miles, including a small stopover in the beautiful bay of Nanou.
This bay is perfect for anchoring and cooling off after enjoying the first hours of your holiday with a delicious lunch on the boat.
After you have enjoyed Nanou sufficiently, you continue to the harbour of Symi, where you can moor overnight. Typically for the area, you will be moored off bow anchors on the north and south sides of the basin. Due to fluctuating water depths, the depth gauge should not be left unattended. It can quickly get up to 40m deep. Thus make sure you have enough chain ready! When entering the marina, the harbour crew assigns your berth and the berthing fees. You'll be able to pay for both water and electricity at the same time.
The island is abundant with pines and oaks with unique neoclassical architecture; it's a unique gem in the Mediterranean. The harbour village of Gialos on Symi was once famous for sponge diving (you'll find many of the souvenir shops selling natural sponges). The village is worth a stroll, especially with its winding alleys, which could end in one of the countless small tavernas at the harbour with a glass of wine and delicious Greek specialities before you head to Mandraki on Nisyros Island the following day.
Mandraki on Nisyros Island
Today we sail for a little longer at 39 nautical miles, but you'll soon find that your destination is well worth it.
The extraordinary scenery of Mandraki harbour on Nisiros has amazed many visitors. Only a few nautical miles away from Kos, the island is still a real insider's tip. The marina welcomes you with three beautiful old windmills. Once there, you can moor at the northern or western part of the quay. We recommend avoiding the southern part, as it quickly becomes shallow, and mooring can be difficult due to fill-ups.
Situated on the long wave breaker at Mandraki harbour, Rhodes, Greece, stand these medieval windmills. The fortress and the lighthouse of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) is in the background.
Mandraki lies at the foot of a volcano. In what seems like a beautiful picturesque contrast, the tiny white houses will seem to shine even more against the dark volcanic rock. We recommend renting a scooter and taking a trip to Emborio. The small village is located directly on the crater rim and offers a fantastic view of the sea, the island and the volcano.
If you make the trip to Emborio, we recommend the Taverna to Balconi to Emporeiou, which offers delicious local food right on the crater rim with an incredible view.
If you prefer to dine at the harbour near the yacht, we can recommend the Aphrodite Grill & Seafood Restaurant, right on the water. Here, not only the delicious Greek food is convincing, but also the friendly service.
The Island of Hippocrates: Welcome to Kos
On the fourth day, we are off to Kos. The most famous island of the Dodecanese, not far from Nisiros. While Hippocrates once taught at the university on Kos, the island is now a popular tourist destination.
You arrive at the officially chosen second best harbour in Europe, which offers 250 berths with mooring lines, water supply, electricity, petrol station and 24-hour surveillance, as well as many extras in reception such as ATM, weather report and internet. There are many historical highlights to see on Kos, such as the plane tree of Hippocrates, which according to legend, was first planted by Hippocrates himself more than 2400 years ago. Or the ancient Agora, the oldest excavation site in Kos.
The mountain village of Zia is a special treat within a short walking distance. A short climb takes you to the church of "Kimissis tis Theotokou", from where you can indulge in a magnificent view of the north coast. Halfway there, you will find a recommendable colourful bar where you can stop for a delicious coffee. Unfortunately, Zia is no longer an insider tip, and many tourists come to the small village every day. Therefore, we recommend an early morning or late evening visit.
Zia and a blue-white village church in front of the Turkish mainland in the north on the island Kos Greece
If you are looking for a wildlife treat, you should check out the large flocks of pink flamingos at the Alikes salt lake near Tigaki. The right time to do this is at sunset when the birds fly into the evening.
The right time also to enjoy a freshly caught fish or calamari with delicious ouzo in one of the tavernas at the harbour...
Livadia on Tilos Island
The small village of Livadia is on the island of Tilos. The village of 300 inhabitants is characterised by its many churches, with many white and pastel-coloured houses.
When you moor there in the harbour, you will immediately notice the many small fishing boats in the harbour. On one side of the bay, you'll find the medieval port of Agios Stefanos with its quaint lighthouse; on the other side, behind the village, you will see a lush green, fertile valley. The nearest beach, which is particularly inviting for snorkelling as a pebble beach, is right next to the harbour.
If you are looking for more beaches, you can walk along the coast to the last more extensive black rock formation. Behind it is a collection of small lakes with green water, an ideal way to cool off from your walk in the warm sun with a dip in the cool water. The island's nature resembles Crete's, with olive groves, whimsically shaped sea-whipped rocks of red and black lava and mountains of limestone. The island also offers a wonderful selection of small tavernas and cafés, all located near the harbour. If you like seafood, the Filoxenia Restaurant is the place to be.
A quiet anchoring spot: Halki Island
We have just under 19 nautical miles to go before we reach Halki Island on our penultimate day at sea. Halki Island is the perfect quiet anchoring stop: spared by the hordes of tourists, you will find it a peaceful resting place on your sailing cruise in the Dodecanese. Only about 350 people live on the 28 km² island and it reminds us a little of the Greece of 30 years ago. The picturesque island is ideal for hiking, and the locals are happy to provide information on possible destinations, such as the pebble beach of Ftenagia. Just a 20-minute walk from the harbour town of Halki. The small promenade with a few local restaurants invites you to linger while enjoying the last evening. One restaurant recommended here is the Minori Restaurant, serving traditional home-cooked food.
On your last day, we sail back to Rhodes. Even after check out, we recommend indulging a few more days in Rhodes (if you haven't done before your sail) and marvel at the mix of modern culture and entertainment, breathtaking history, local cuisine and beautiful nature.
For example, take a look at the Acropolis, the 3,000-year-old landmark of Lindos, which towers 116 metres above the town. Alternatively, for something less history-heavy, visit the wine village of Embonas, the centre of Rhodian viticulture, where you'll enjoy wine tasting in many of the local wineries. We are sure that the islands of Dodecanese will remain in your memory as an unforgettable holiday not only on the water but also on land.