These beautiful islands of the Dodecanese Greece, are strewn out like jewels in the southeastern Aegean Sea of unimaginable blues and aquamarines, directly to the west of Turkey. This group of three dozen or so islands (some too small to show) offer the classic charms of the Greek Isles, including sandy beaches, whitewashed hilltop villages, perfect weather and scenic views almost beyond description.
A map showing the Dodecanese Greece group of islands.
Patmos is famed for the Monastery of St. John, one of the most sacred places of worship in all of Christianity.
Fringed by sandy beaches, the rugged island of Rhodes (the capital) is literally covered with remnants of the Byzantine, Ottoman and Roman empires.
All of the major islands are accessible by a ferry service from ports in Greece and Turkey, as well as by a wide variety of inner-island ferries. The islands of Karpathos, Kos and Rhodes have international airports.
The Dodecanese Greece are in the Aegean Sea which is scattered with small and big islands alike. They are remnants of the ancient Aegiida, which sunk in older geological periods, leaving at the surface only the higher points, that is, the tips of its mountains.
Today, in the Aegean there are 114 inhabited islands with a total of 14,127 square kilometres. Eighty of them form a specific geographic district, called the Aegean Islands which collectively have a total area of 9,071 square kilometres. They are divided into three smaller regions; those of the Dodecanese, the Cyclades and the Greek Archipelagos.
flights to and from
Athens can be taken from the Dodecanese islands of:
Also, Rhodes has flights to:
Astypalea via Kos and Leros
Kasos via Karpathos
Mykonos - summer only
Santorini - summer
Seaplane services fly from Kos
and Kalymnos to Lavrio on the mainland.
The rest belong administratively to different geographic districts of the country.
Thus, Evia belongs to the district of Sterea Ellada, Samothraki belongs to the district of Thrace, the Northern Sporades belongs to the district of Thessaly, while the islands of the Bay of Saranikos and those of the Myrtoon Sea belongs to the district of Sterea Ellada, as departments of the Piraeus Prefecture.
There are also hundreds of other islands which are uninhabited.
The Dodecanese Greece is a group of islands in the south-eastern part of the Aegean.
Nowadays, this area, after a recommendation of the Academy of Athens in 1964, is called Dodecanesean Pelagos (Pelagos-Sea).
The Docecanese group of islands are situated between Crete, the eastern shores of the Cyclades and Asia Minor. It consists of 20 islands which are inhabited and a number of others which are not.
During antiquity these islands together with Ikaria were called the Southern Sporades. Later, in the Middle Ages, the Byzantine chrongrapher, Theopanis, in his history book Chronography, refers to them for the first time by the term Dodecanese (Dhodekanisos/Dhodeka - Twelve, nisos - Island).
The exact same term was used by another distinguished Byzantine chronographer, Georgios Kedrinos, but he, as well as Theopanis, didn't define specifically which of the islands were included in the Dodecanese they each wrote about.
Apella beach on the island of Karpathos. One of the most beautiful of European beaches.
After the conquest of the islands by the Turks, the name Dodecanese shifted gradually from the Cyclades, further east, and was used to identify only the present group of islands.
This took place during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566), who gave some privileges to the islands with the exception of Rhodes and Kos.
Those islands were therefore named the Twelve Privileged Islands or the Privileged Islands of the Aegean.
This term was used officially in 1908 from the then government of the Neoturks, which removed these old privileges from the islands.
In 1912 the same islands were occupied by the Italians, who from then on referred to them as the Islands of the Aegean, making certain they didn't use the Greek term 'Dodecanese'.
However, the term Dodecanese Greece had already been established, not only among all Greeks, especially those living on the islands, but also within the international arena.
Indeed, this is the term that was used during all diplomatic negotiations.
Furthermore, after World War II, when the transfer of the islands from Italy to Greece took place, the same name - Dodecanese - was used.
Today, the Dodecanese consists of 20 inhabited islands and numerous other smaller deserted islands with a total area of 2,663 square kilometres.
These inhabited islands and their respective sizes (areas quoted in square kilometres) are as follows.