The islands of the Dodecanese are engaged in a beauty contest, with no clear winner.
The largest island in the group is Rhodes, also known as the island of the Sun. The capital, City of Rhodes, is like a valuable coin with two faces. One face, "heads", is the old town, a fairy-tale place surrounded by medieval walls and traversed by the Street of the Knights of St. John. On either side of the road is the old town with the "Inns", the Hospital of the Knights and the palace of the Grand Master. The other face, "tails", is the modern city with an intense nightlife, broad streets, beautiful buildings, large hotels, and hundreds of shops where anything can be found. The entire island is crammed with sights worth seeing, from the archaeological sites to the fabulous beaches, from the valley with the butterflies to the ruins of ancient Rhodes, from the Acropolis of Lindos to the archaeological sites at Kameiros (Kamiros) and Ialysos (lalissos). And naturally, the strong sunlight and the beautiful sea are as present in Rhodes as they are throughout the Dodecanese, as they are throughout Greece.
Southeast of Rhodes lies Kastelorizo, whose capital town of the same name is built amphitheatrically and reaches right down to the waterfront. A small island with important sights, such as the Blue Grotto, one of the most gorgeously coloured caves in Greece, and the cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helena.
Between Leros and Ikaria is the "ascetic shape" of Patmos, called the Jerusalem of the Aegean due to overwhelming atmosphere of the island during the great celebrations of Christianity. Here, in one of Patmo's many caves, St. John the Theologian had a vision of the Apocalypse. An imposing monastery devoted to the saint dominates the heights above the picturesque houses and mansions which appear to be 'hooked' to the roots of the monastery.
The image the visitor will keep from Patmos will be completed by an excursion to its rocky coves and pleasant shores before passing over to the nearby islets of Fourni, Lipsi, and Agathonissi.
Lipsi or Lipso is very attractive with enchanting beaches and scenic fish tavernas offering local wine.
Leros is a hilly island with deep green coves, idyllic valleys, indented shores and the imposing Frankish-Byzantine castle over the Hora.
Grey, gold, and green, framed by the blue of the sea and the sky, are the colours composing the portrait of Kalimnos: naked rock, golden beaches, and verdant valleys. The capital Pothia is built amphitheatrically with multi-coloured geometrically shaped houses, churches, and scenic roads. Beautiful areas with picturesque villages, radioactive springs, and idyllic spots for swimming, fishing, and relaxing holidays are everywhere.
Astipalea: Small white houses with brightly painted windows open to the sun, a row of windmills, caves with stalactites and stalagmites at Vathi and Vetses.
Kos is a splash of deep green located between Kalimnos and Nissiros. Among the thousands of impressive sights are the Asklepeion, the houses dating from the Roman era with the fabulous mosaics, the palace of the Knights of St. John, in the town of Kos,the early Christian churches with their noteworthy frescos. The island also has many villages famous for the charm, quiet fishing villages, and beaches, ranging from empty to full.
The visitor will be impressed by the contrast formed by the white houses on Nissiros's grey volcanic soil, just before she ends up in one of the beautiful fishing villages for some quiet sea and sun.
Tilos is fine sand beaches, untouched nature, medieval castles, and a respect for the island's traditions.
You will know you are on Simi by the mountains and small valleys, wonderful coves, strong sense of tradition, and the monastery of the Archangel Michael with its Byzantine frescos.
West of Rhodes lies a small mountainous island, Halki. A thousand songs pay tribute to this quiet place that is ideal for relaxing holidays.
The inhabitants of beautiful Karpathos are famous for their strong sense of tradition and the island is known for its scenic mountains in the north, as well as for its lovely beaches with their charming fishing villages.
The southernmost island, Kassos, closes this brief tour of the Dodecanese. The capital of the island, Fris, with its stone houses, is built in Bouka day. The picturesque villages of the island offer the Kassiot fairs with their special local flavour.