Cruising the Dodecanese Islands

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Cruise of the Dodecanese
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Dodecanese (Δωδεκάνησα - 12 islands) is a group of islands in the SE Aegean. It actually consists, despite its name, of 163 islands of which 26 are inhabited. It is a prefecture of Greece and its capital is Rhodes.

In the early Bronze Age the Dodecanese were dominated by the Minoans from Crete and later, about 1400 BC, by the Achaeans, the people of the Iliad and the Odyssey. In Classical times the islands, many of them inhabited by Dorian Greeks, played a role in the Persian Wars. They have been invaded and dominated by the Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Genovese, the Knights of St. John, the Ottomans, and in the 20th century by the Italians under Mussolini. Finally in 1947 they became part of Greece.

For historical details see the pages of individual islands.

For the cruiser, there are many interesting sight-seeing sites as well as many anchorages. From the popular Rhodes and Kos with strong archaelogical interest, to the volcanic Nisyros, and to the almost uninhabited Levitha and Syrna.

It is assumed that you start your cruise from the island Patmos which not only is an interesting place to visit but it is located on the NW of the Dodecanese. You can, of course, start your cruise at any other island. Also, you may skip or add islands to the overall cruise.

You start the cruise by sailing in the easy southern direction and then proceed east, the NW, and finally north to close the circle. Although most distances are short, given the many interesting islands, it advisable to allow at least a month for the cruise. Should you be pressed for time it best to visit fewer islands and spend a couple of days exploring each island that you do visit. You can either rent a motor-scooter or a car for your land explorations. In many places you may also hire a taxi. Most young drivers will speak some english and the older ones some french.


236 Hisurönü Körfezi to Taslik Burnu including Rhodos
872 Kalimno to Rhodes
1040 Nísos Íos to Vrakhonisídha Kandhelioússa
1055 Rhodes Channel and Gökova Körfezi
1546 Samos Strait to Güllük Körfezi
1604 Gulf of Kos, Doris and Simi
1667 Rhodes Island
2682 Kolpos Patalion to Nisos Nisiros
2824 Scarpanto (Karpathos) and Kasos islands
3922 Astipalia (Stampalia) Island
3923 Niseros and Adjacent Islands
3926 Lero island and approaches
3927 Patmos, Arki and Lipso
G32 Eastern Sporades, Dodecanese & the Coast of Turkey
G34 Southern Cyclades
G35 Dodecanese and the Coast of Turkey
G36 Marmaris to Kekova Adasi
54400 Nisos Samos to Nisos Rhodhos
54403 Samos Strait to Nisos Kalolimnos
54407 Nisos Kalymnos to Kadriga Burnu
54408 NIsos Kos To Nisos Tilos
54410 Nisos Astipalaia
54412 Nisos Amorgos & Plans in Astipalaia
54416 Nisos Rodhos
54420 Iskandil Burnu to Dildarde Burnu
42 Andros to Chalki Island
422 Naxos to Samos & Opposite Coast of Asia Minor
423 Paros to Astypalia
451 Leros to Rhodos
452 Rhodos to Castelorizo


In the summer months the weather is dominated by the meltemi which comes from the NW.

For details see Aegean Weather.

Weather Windows

The best times to tour the Dodechanese are in the Spring, May to June, and in the autumn, September to October. You are less likely to encounter strong meltemi winds and also all the anchorages are less crowded. Other than the weather-wise unpredictable winter months, the worse time to be cruising the Sea of Samos is during the month of August. In August not only will you encounter a number of meltemi gales but all harbors and anchorages, even the most remote, will be crowded as this is the prime vacation time in Greece and the rest of the EU.

In October, especially late in the month there can be southerly winds and occasionally thunderstorms, some of which can be severe. If you are cruising during that time you should always have two possible anchorages in mind: one protected from N winds and one from the S winds.


See Aegean Sea.

Possible Departure Points

You can, instead, start your cruise at any of the islands on the suggested route below.

Route/Suggested Stopovers

  1. Start from Skala/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BPatmos.23Skala.7CSkala.5D.5DHarbour icon Skala [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Skala|Skala]] (Σκάλα) 37°19.4′N, 26°32.9′E in the island of Patmos (Πάτμος) and
    1. sail first SE and then S to Cape Ilias/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#Cape_IliasWorld icon.png Cape Ilias [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Cape Ilias|Cape Ilias]] 37°16.1′N, 26°34.5′E , then turn to the S and sail
    2. to Cape Spano at the eastern tip of the island of Levitha/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BLevitha_and_Kinaros.7CLevitha.5D.5DWorld icon.png Levitha [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Levitha|Levitha]] 36°59.85′N, 26°29.98′E , then turn W and head for
    3. the East Cove, Levitha/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BLevitha_and_Kinaros.23East_Cove.7CEast_Cove.2C_Levitha.5D.5DBuoy icon East Cove, Levitha [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#East Cove, Levitha|East Cove, Levitha]] (Λέβιθα) 37°0.14′N, 26°28.06′E where you catch a mooring. The distance from Skala is 23 nM.
      • You can take several hikes around this small island, populated by a single family. Do not fail to eat at the hamlet.
  2. From Levitha head south to Cape Poulari/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#Cape_PoulariWorld icon.png Cape Poulari [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Cape Poulari|Cape Poulari]] 36°34.8′N, 26°28.7′E at the eastern tip of the island of Astypalea, then turn WSW to the main harbor of Astypalea (Αστυπάλαια), Skala/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BAstypalea.23Skala.7CSkala.5D.5DHarbour icon Skala [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Skala|Skala]] (Σκάλα) 36°32.9′N, 26°21.4′E . The distance from Levitha is 32 nM.
    • Do not fail to climb to Chora and visit the Quirini Castle.
  3. From Astypalea you can, if you want, proceed SSE for 22 nM to remote Syrna/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BSyrna.5D.5DAnchorage icon Syrna [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Syrna|Syrna]] (Σύρνα) 36°20.06′N, 26°40.65′E .
  4. The next stop after an almost direct sail S is Emborió, Kasos/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BKasos.23Embori.C3.B3.7CEmbori.C3.B3.5D.5D.2C_.5B.5BKasos.5D.5DHarbour icon Emborió, Kasos [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Emborió, Kasos|Emborió, Kasos]] (Εμποριό, Κάσος) 35°25′N, 26°56′E , 56 nM from Syrna and 73 nM from Skala, Astypalea.
  5. From Emborió, Kasos we sail E to the small island of Strongili/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#StrongiliWorld icon.png Strongili [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Strongili|Strongili]] 35°26.5′N, 27°1.0′E ,
    1. then we turn right and sail SE to Point Kastello/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#Point_KastelloWorld icon.png Point Kastello [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Point Kastello|Point Kastello]] 35°23.6′N, 27°8.1′E ,
    2. at which point we turn left and go NE to Point Patella/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#Point_PatellaWorld icon.png Point Patella [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Point Patella|Point Patella]] 35°29.72′N, 27°15.56′E ,
    3. finally we turn left again, sail NW and arrive at Pigadia Bay/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BKarpathos.23Pigadia_Bay.7CPigadia_Bay.5D.5DAnchorage icon Pigadia Bay [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Pigadia Bay|Pigadia Bay]] (Πηγάδια) 35°31.6′N, 27°12.27′E in the island of Karpathos (Κάρπαθος), a total of 24 nM from Emborió, Kasos.
  6. Sail NE from Karpathos to the SE side of Rhodes (Ρόδος), to the Lindos/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BLindos.5D.5DAnchorage icon Lindos [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Lindos|Lindos]] (Λίνδος) 36°05.8′N, 28°05.5′E , 56 nM.
    • The village of Lindos was one of the loveliest villages in the Aegean and either walk or hire a donkey to the Acropolis of Lindos.
  7. From Lindos it is fairly long 75 nM sail E to the lovely and easternmost island in Greece Kastelorizo (Καστελόριζο). You can either:
    1. moor in the harbour of Megisti Megisti/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BKastelorizo.23Megisti.7CMegisti.5D.5DHarbour icon Megisti [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Megisti|Megisti]] (Μεγίστη) 36°9.01′N, 29°35.46′E , or
    2. anchor off in the cove of Mandraki Mandraki/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BKastelorizo.23Mandraki.7CMandraki.5D.5DAnchorage icon Mandraki [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Mandraki|Mandraki]] (Μανδράκι) 36°09′N, 29°35.9′E .
  8. Now, you start the return trip by sailing 70 nM ENE from Kastelorizo back to Rhodes but this time to its main yacht harbour Mandraki/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BMandraki.5D.5DHarbour icon Mandraki [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Mandraki|Mandraki]] (Μανδράκι) 36°27.1′N, 28°13.6′E .
  9. After you depart from Mandraki head 32 nM SW to the very attractive uninhabited island of Alimniá/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BAlimnia.7CAlimni.C3.A1.5D.5DAnchorage icon Alimniá [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Alimniá|Alimniá]] (Αλιμνιά) 36°15.36′N, 27°42.1′E .
  10. From Alimniá sail ESE to the nearby, 5 nM, picturesque island of Chálki/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BChalki.7CCh.C3.A1lki.5D.5DHarbour icon Chálki [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Chálki|Chálki]] (Χάλκη) 36°13.3′N, 27°36.9′E .
  11. You then sail NW to Livádia/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BTilos.23Liv.C3.A1dia.7CLiv.C3.A1dia.5D.5DHarbour icon Livádia [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Livádia|Livádia]] (Λιβάδια) 36°24.97′N, 27°23.2′E in the island of Tilos (Τήλος), 19 nM from Chálki.
  12. From Livádia you sail ENE to the very attractive and fashionable island of Sými (Σύμη).
    1. The main port is the picturesque Yialós/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BSymi.23Yial.C3.B3s.7CYial.C3.B3s.5D.5DHarbour icon Yialós [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Yialós|Yialós]] (Γιαλός) 36°36.99′N, 27°50.3′E , 35 nM from Tilos. Alternatively,
    2. you can stop on the way on the very secure cove of Panormitis/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BSymi.23Panormitis.7CPanormitis.5D.5DAnchorage icon Panormitis [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Panormitis|Panormitis]] (Πανορμήτης) 36°33′N, 27°50.68′E at the SW side of Sými with its famous monastery.
  13. You then sail due E to the volcanic island of Niseros (Νίσυρος) Pali/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BNiseros_and_Yiali.23Pali.7CPali.5D.5DHarbour icon Pali [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Pali|Pali]] (Πάλοι) 36°37.16′N, 27°10.33′E , 38 nM from Yialós, Sými. If you want, you may anchor in nearby, 3 nM, SW Cove/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BNiseros_and_Yiali.23SW_Cove.7CSW_Cove.5D.5DAnchorage icon SW Cove [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#SW Cove|SW Cove]] 36°38.5′N, 27°07′E on the small island of Yiali (Γυαλί).
    • The two places to visit here are: the volcano's Caldera and the 4th century BC The Castle overlooking the main town of Mandraki.
  14. From Niseros sail 22 nM NE for to Kos Marina/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BKos_Marina.5D.5DBerth icon Kos Marina [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Kos Marina|Kos Marina]] 36°53.58′N, 27°18.011′E on the island of Kos (Κώς).
    • The most important site on the island is the Aesclepion, one of the most important temples of the ancient world. It is situated about 5 km from the town of Kos.
  15. After you depart from Kos head 16 nM WNW to Póthia or Port Kalymnos/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BKalymnos.23Pothia_.28Port_Kalymnos.29.7CP.C3.B3thia_or_Port_Kalymnos.5D.5DHarbour icon Póthia or Port Kalymnos [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Póthia or Port Kalymnos|Póthia or Port Kalymnos]] (Πóθια) 36°56.9′N, 26°59.6′E , the main harbor in the island of Kalymnos (Κάλυμνος).
    • Worth visiting there is the Nautical Museum which has a very interesting exhibit on the history of sponge diving.
  16. Then, sail along the west side of Kalymnos to the northernmost village of the island Emboriós/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BKalymnos.23Emborios.7CEmbori.C3.B3s.5D.5DBuoy icon Emboriós [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Emboriós|Emboriós]] (Εμποριός) 37°02.7′N, 26°55.7′E , 13 nM from Póthia.
  17. From Emboriós proceed N along the E side of Leros (Λέρος) to the very attractive bay of Alindas/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BLeros.23Alindas.7CAlindas.5D.5DAnchorage icon Alindas [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Alindas|Alindas]] (Άλινδας) 37°10′N, 26°50.4′E , a distance of 12 nM.
    • Distances in Leros are short so, no mater where you are anchored you can easily visit most of the island, but in Alindas you should see the Bellini Tower.
  18. You then can sail NE and visit the small island (150 inhabitants) of Agathonisi (Αγαθονήσι). You can either
    1. moor in the harbor of San Giorgio/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BAgathonisi.23Port_Ayios_Yioryios.7CSan_Giorgio.5D.5DHarbour icon San Giorgio [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#San Giorgio|San Giorgio]] 37°27.4′N, 26°58′E , a distance of 18 nM from Alindas
    2. or anchor in any of the coves: Spelia/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BAgathonisi.23Spelia.7CSpelia.5D.5DAnchorage icon Spelia [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Spelia|Spelia]] (Σπηλιά) 37°27.3′N, 26°57.8′E , Gaidourávlako/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BAgathonisi.23Gaidour.C3.A1vlako.7CGaidour.C3.A1vlako.5D.5DAnchorage icon Gaidourávlako [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Gaidourávlako|Gaidourávlako]] (Γαϊδουραύλακκο) 37°27.1′N, 26°57.7′E , and Tsangaris/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BAgathonisi.23Tsangaris.7CTsangaris.5D.5DAnchorage icon Tsangaris [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Tsangaris|Tsangaris]] (Τσαγκάρης) 37°27′N, 26°58.2′E .

  19. The next island on the cruise is Arki (Αρκοί) a small island of only 50 inhabitants, 14 nM SW of Agathonisi. Here you have several choices and it is recommended to avail yourself of all of them:
    1. the very secure, but small harbor Port Augusta/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BArki_and_Marathi.23Port_Augusta.7CPort_Augusta.5D.5DHarbour icon Port Augusta [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Port Augusta|Port Augusta]] 37°22.7′N, 26°44.1′E ,
    2. the lovely anchorage, about 1 nM S of Port Augusta, Glipapas/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BArki_and_Marathi.23Glipapas.7CGlipapas.5D.5DAnchorage icon Glipapas [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Glipapas|Glipapas]] (Γλίπαπας) 37°22.32′N, 26°44.37′E , and
    3. the tiny island of Marathi/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BArki_and_Marathi.23Marathi.7CMarathi.5D.5DBuoy icon Marathi [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Marathi|Marathi]] (Μαράθι) 37°22′N, 26°43.6′E , about 0.7 nM form Glipapas, where you eat the best and freshest fish you can find.
    4. In good weather a brief stop in the enchanted small island group of Tiganakia/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BArki_and_Marathi.23Tiganakia.7CTiganakia.5D.5DAnchorage icon Tiganakia [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Tiganakia|Tiganakia]] (Τηγανάκια) 37°21.6′N, 26°45.06′E can be very enjoyable.
  20. After your visit of the Arki region, you sail SE along the east side of the island of Lipsi. Once again there are several possibilities:
    1. a brief swimming/lunch stop in the lovely islet of Aspronisi/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BLipsi.23Aspronisi.7CAspronisi.5D.5DAnchorage icon Aspronisi [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Aspronisi|Aspronisi]] (Ασπρονήσι) 37°18.4′N, 26°48.3′E , 3.6 nM from Glipapas,
    2. an overnight in either of the beautiful adjacent coves, on the south of Lipsi (Λειψοί), Katsadiá/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BLipsi.23Katsadia_.26_Papandria_.28Lera_Lipsi.29.7CKatsadi.C3.A1.5D.5DBuoy icon Katsadiá [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Katsadiá|Katsadiá]] (Κατσαδιά) 37°16.9′N, 26°46.3′E and Papardiá/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BLipsi.23Katsadia_.26_Papandria_.28Lera_Lipsi.29.7CPapardi.C3.A1.5D.5DAnchorage icon Papardiá [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Papardiá|Papardiá]] (Παπανδριά) 37°16.8′N, 26°46.2′E , 7 nM from Marathi
    3. Lipsi Harbor/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BLipsi.23Lipsi_Harbor.7CLipsi_Harbor.5D.5DHarbour icon Lipsi Harbor [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Lipsi Harbor|Lipsi Harbor]] 37°17.7′N, 26°45.5′E , 2 nM from Katsadiá & Papardiá
  21. Finally you return to Skala, Patmos/wiki/Cruising_the_Dodecanese_Islands#.5B.5BPatmos.23Skala.7CSkala.5D.5D.2C_.5B.5BPatmos.5D.5DWorld icon.png Skala, Patmos [[Cruising the Dodecanese Islands#Skala, Patmos|Skala, Patmos]] 37°19.4′N, 26°32.9′E , 11 nM from either Lipsi Harbor or Katsadiá & Papardiá.

Possible Arrival Ports

You can, instead, end your cruise at any of the islands on the suggested route above.

Distance & Duration

See also Aegean Distances Tables.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


Also see Aegean Sea.


See Aegean Sea.


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