Dodecanese Island Hopping Route
The eastern Greek islands, close to Turkey, have been popular for its steady, warm weather, good local food and perfect blue waters. Although the refugee crisis has affected the Dodecanese region according to operators, most of the islands' smaller have not affected. The southeastern region of the Aegean has many must see islands, which you can easily hop-on-and-off, such as Kos located in the central hub, moving around to different islands as Rhodes (optional), the Turkish city Bodrum, the smaller island Lipsi, and pilgrimage settlement Patmos. Book your flight to Kos and start discovering the beauty of the Dodecanese islands with this island-hopping route.
- Route name: Dodecanese Island Hopping Route
- Suggested duration: 12-14 days
- Best by: ferry
- Highlights: The Ancient Agora in Kos, the beach of Prassonísi in Rhodes, the local dish Gözleme in Bodrum, snorkelling in the secluded Hohlakoura Cove in Lipsi, and running along the coast of Grikos Bay in Patmos.
Known as the birthplace of Hippocrates, the Father of Western Medicine, Kos is the ‘most tempered place in the world,’ and boasts an abundance of sandy beaches, which offers you a mix of intriguing surroundings and exciting activities.
Things to do in Kos
- Windsurf the beautiful beaches of Mastihari and Kefalos. Due to its strong summer winds, these Kos beaches are increasingly popular for windsurfing and kitesurfing, resulting in an attractive water sport scene. Other good places to catch the wind are Agios Stefanos, Psalidi, and Lambi.
- View the magical sunset from Restaurant Agios Theologos in the south of the island. This much loved tavern is set in the glooming sand dunes above Agios Theologos beach, offering home made cheeses, and freshly grilled fishes for a romantic set never to forget.
- Visit the Ancient Agora, which was exposed after the earthquake of 1933. The ancient central gathering place was used as market place, selling goods from overseas. In the Ancient Agora you can also find the ruins of Aphrodite's Shrine, a small temple in honour of Hercules, a Christian Basilica, a Hippocrates statue, and some mosaic floors dating back from 300 B.C.
- Enjoy a morning stroll through Kos Town with the warm cinnamon buns, bread, doughnuts, baklava, or chocolate cake in hand from the island's most famed Pikoula Bakery.
Getting from Kos to Rhodes:
It’s optional to visit the largest island of the Dodecanese islands, Rhodes, from Kos – although a visit to Bodrum would make more sense if you are short on time. Ferry services offer trips from Kos to Rhodes in 3 hours.
Getting from Kos to Bodrum:
The ferry service from Kos to Bodrum runs 2-3 times a week and takes about 1 hour to get to Bodrum. Faster boats, and more expensive ferries even take you to Bodrum in 20 minutes.
Rhodes is the largest island of the Dodecanese, and is lined with beach resorts. Although the island is not on top of our recommendation list for you (note: the smaller island are more authentic and appealing), it’s still a good destination to visit in your island-hopping trip. Rhodes offers all the great pleasures a large island has to offer, such as a thriving nightlife scene, water sport activities and a beautiful Old Town.
Things to do in Rhodes:
- Get the best view over the Old Town from above. Climb the medieval walls (from Monday to Friday from noon-3pm), which you can access from the courtyard of the Grand Master’s Palace.
- Drive to the far south of the island to visit the beautiful painted churches. Some of the most stunning ones are the Thárri monastery churches and the Kímisis church in Asklipió village. For pristine frescoes of the Virgin, John the Baptist and several saints, visit Panagía Katholikí, locatd on the main road down to Afándou beach from the highway.
- Go windsurfing in the southerly cape and beach of Prassonísi, forming perfect windsurfing conditions because of its sandpit which brings the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea together.
- Have a beer or cocktail at Raxati Café in Rhodes Old Town, overlooking the stunning Ibrahim Pasha Mosque. The bar is as pretty as it is friendly, with good snacks, well-priced cocktails, and easy tunes, perfect for making casual conversations.
Getting from Rhodes to Bodrum
The ferry from Rhodes to Bodrum takes about 2,5 hours, and runs on Saturdays mostly. Plan your ferry rides in advance, as services may only be frequent in the high season summer months.
Do you need a visa for a day trip Bodrum?
Yes, you do need a visa for a day trip to Bodrum, but there are several ways of receiving one. Some operators offer return day trips with the visa included in the price and fast track passed customs. It’s also recommended to purchase your visa online, as it’s cheaper and less sensitive for bargaining.
You've arrive in Bodrum, Turkey. Renowned for its glamorous jetsetting travelers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Catherina Zeta Jones, the city offers plenty of luxurious resorts and glitzy nightlife. The city is comparable to Marbella and St Tropez, and does not fall far off the mark, but offers a holiday destination that won't break your bank! There’s room for exploration in this century old sunny destination. The cobbled stone streets is usually filled with a crowded mass, trying to sell for market goods and is ideal for bargaining in the summer, although you’ll also able to find local neighborhoods, farmers markets and quiet sea side restaurants in Bodrum.
Things to do in Bodrum:
- Visit the two original wonders of the city: the remains of the Temple of Artemis at the large Greek and Roman city of Ephesus, and the Mauseleum of Halicarnassus. As these are the main highlights of the city, it can be pretty busy during the high season months. Instead, take a boat tour to visit the more tranquil ruins nearby Datca peninsula, having the ruins of Kindos almost for yourself.
- Located next to the sea, Bodrum offers lots of great fish restaurants. The Orfoz Restaurant, situated next door to the Zeki Müren Art Museum, is often mentioned as one of Turkey’s best fish restaurants. Try the oysters with parmesan, the smoked eel, baby calamari with onions and garlic, and blue crab. This restaurant will not disappoint!
- Take in the beautiful view over the city from the Bodrum Castle, built in the 15th century. Forty years ago, this castle needed much reconstruction due to its deterioration, but after renovations, the castle is proudly standing in the center of Bodrum Bay now.
- Try the ultimate Turkish street food: Gözleme. The paper-thin circles of dough are folded and cooked with a mixture of cheese, vegetables and meat. Although local ‘lokantas’ serve Gözleme as well, you’ll find the best ones at the local farmers' markets.
- Take a boat trip to the Bodrum Peninsula to explore a more local side of the city. On first sight, the Peninsula might seem like a high-priced tourist trap, but walking a little further away from cruise line crowds will bring you to local businesses with a welcoming and non-touristy prices. You’ll find some of Bodrum’s best neighborhoods in this area, such as the quieter villages of Gündoğan, Kucukbuk, Kadikalesi, Gümüşlük and Akyarlar.
How to get from Bodrum to Lipsi
To get from Bodrum to Lipsi you need to travel the 20 minutes to Kos first, before continuing further to Lipsi. The last trip from Kos to Lipsi will take you about 2 hours.
The island Lipsi is rather small with only 750 inhabitants. The one village settlement is 8km long and it’s one of those places where everybody knows each other. The small size of this island makes this place perfect for a day trip visit from Patmos and will allow you to cover most of the island on foot or by bike. The island is ideal for a romantic getaway or even for families with children because of its warm and shallow waters.
Things to do in Lipsi:
- Try the authentic Greek cuisine in one of the best restaurants of Lipsi: Pefko Restaurant. This small welcoming gastro serves fresh seafood, salads and traditional Greek dishes that you won’t easily forget.
- Go snorkelling in the secluded Hohlakoura Cove in the south of the island. The hidden rock formation with natural arch and clear water is perfect for sunbathing and discovering the underwater world.
- Make a cultural visit to the Panagia tou Harou Church, the island’s protector.
- Visit a local ‘Ouzerie’, a traditional type of Greek tavern serving the indigenous local drink: Ouzo. On Lipsi, a popular choice that perfectly pairs with your glass of ouzo is the octopus, cooked in many different manners and a favorite both for locals and tourists.
Getting from Lipsi to Patmos
The ferry from Lipsi to Patmos takes about 45 minutes. Plan your ferry rides in advance, as services may only run in the high season summer months.
The 24 islands of the Dodecanese are still considered the hidden gems of the Aegean Sea. The island Patmos is no exception. Voted by Forbes as ‘Europe’s most idyllic island to live,’ Patmos is a mixture of refined architecture complimented by its breath-taking beaches, cultural and religious sites that co-exist in complete harmony. The island is partly a pilgrimage destination for Christians from all over the world, since it was on Patmos that St John wrote the Book of Revelation, and it’s also one of the two places in the world where God’s voice has ever been heard. The island is perfect for relaxation and enjoying serene beaches with idyllic bays.
Things to do in Patmos:
- After you arrive, you need some relaxation. This gem is not easy to reach. Have your refreshment and some deliciouslu homemade cakes at the beautifully located Art Café with a perfect view of the ocean and port.
- The highlight of the island is the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, located on top of the mountain and therefore visible from almost every spot on the island.
- Hike to –as some woul call it – the most beautiful beach of the Aegean: Psili Amos. It’s name means ‘fine sand’ and its unique isolated located make this beach an idyllic spot. There are two hiking paths to reach this beach, but make sure to bring some water!
- Ready for a quick jog? Then head towards Grikos village. The path to reach the village runs along the coast, making this trail popular by joggers. The bay of Grikos has a magnificent view towards the rock of Kalikaltsou and the beach of Petra, making this bay classified as ‘one of the most beautiful bays in the world.’
- Top 10 Foods to Eat in Greece
- Interview with Greece Expert Gabi Ancarola
- Greek Island Hopping: Paros & Antiparos
- Cycladic Island Hopping Route
- Beach Route Through Western Crete
- A Day through Classical Athens
Getting from Patmos to Kos:
The ferry from Patmos to Kos takes about 1,5 hours.