Greece is one of the most popular holiday destinations, with Rhodes, Kos and Karpathos being some of the best known locations. However, the smaller, lesser-known islands are also worth visiting.
The name Dodecanese in Greek means “consisting of twelve islands”. In fact, apart from the 12 bigger areas, the archipelago also has smaller islands, which are equally worth seeing. They are visited by a significantly lower number of tourists, and therefore may be a perfect spot for people averse to crowds.
Most famous for: Symi – natural sponge fishing area. The sponges are extremely absorbent and the biological substances found in them possess antiviral qualities.
A breakthrough moment in history: Tilos – evidence of human habitation dating back to roughly 8 000 BC.
Most famous historical monuments: Rhodes – a medieval Street of the Knight, the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, the Suleymaniye Mosque.
Most interesting architectural styles: Kos – remains of an ancient city, including the temples of Aphrodite, Herakles, and Dionysus.
One definitely needs to: relax on Pserimos – a quiet island with a single port village and beautiful beaches.
Something for gourmets: local taverns recommend fish shashliks and baked clams.
Off the beaten track: Kalymnos – a paradise for climbers, where you can choose from 1000 routes with different levels of difficulty.
Interesting events: Rhodes – Sea Week (beginning of July) – concerts, free entrance to museums.
Nisyros – standing at the bottom of a volcano
The area of each island does not exceed 40 square kilometers and it can be compared to one of the Warsaw’s districts. Nisyros has about a thousand inhabitants. The main source of income for the residents of this area is the sale of natural pumice stone, which is made of rocks and exported worldwide. Nisyros is covered with lush vegetation, thanks to the fertile volcanic soil. The island is a dormant volcano, whose crater, Stefanos, is situated exactly in the middle of the island. In order to reach it, you have to cross the winding roads leading uphill and then steeply down. Stefanos is about 300 meters wide and 30 meters deep. The last activity of the volcano dates back to 1887, but even today its activity can be observed and felt. In winter, the bottom of the crater is flooded with bubbling mud and cannot be approached. In summer, this becomes possible, as its surface is dry, and there are only a few craters from which steam and characteristic odour escape. The crater slopes, covered with yellow sulphur sediment, make a big impression on tourists visiting Nisyros.
Patmos – Greek Jerusalem
It is the smallest island of the whole archipelago, which is known for both flowers and numerous Orthodox churches and chapels. At first, there were supposed to be 365, but many more were built. Patmos is visited by many tourists because, according to the Bible, it is where Saint John wrote the Apocalypse. For this reason, the island is called the Greek Jerusalem and has become the destination of many pilgrimages. No visit to Patmos would be complete without visiting the Monastery of St John built around a grotto where the theologian was said to experience revelation. The island was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The most important part of the island is the city of Kastellorizo, which at the same time serves as the main port and the capital of the island. Here, tourists can see colourful houses with wooden balconies that were built around the coast. It is a mountainous island with few sandy beaches, but it is worth taking a swim in its picturesque coves. Another local attraction are the taverns, which serve fresh and tasty fish as well as seafood.
Astypalaia – a rocky island whose shape resembles a butterfly.
Loggerhead sea turtle They can be found in the bays of the island of Kastellorizo. Some can be up to 1.5 meters long.