Cruising the Dodecanese
One of ’Greece’s top three cultural holidays' - The Telegraph (2014)
One of the ’Top 10 Cultural Holidays in Greece for 2016‘ - The Telegraph (UK)
One of the ’50 Best Holidays in Greece for 2016‘ - The Times (UK)
This spectacular gulet cruise takes you from the famous island of Kos through the entire Dodecanese chain, including eleven of the most beautiful and evocative of the Greek islands and no less than three UNESCO-listed World Heritage sites.
The islands’ strategic location, between the open Aegean and the mainland of Asia Minor, has made them a well-connected cultural interface throughout history. Carians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, the Crusader Knights of St. John, Ottomans and Italians visited or settled them, leaving behind a rich legacy of grandiose ancient sanctuaries, mighty castles, serene monasteries and traditional villages, all set within an ever-changing maritime scenery.
The sites you see on this itinerary include world-famous relics, like the Asklepieion of Kos, the extraordinary archaeological museum of Samos, or the medieval fortifications of Rhodes, each among the best of their kind. On the smaller, off-the-beaten-track islands you gain a more intimate view of traditional Greek island life, with their picturesque harbours, village squares adorned with pebble mosaics, and beautiful domestic architecture. These islands are also rich in diverse landscapes: craggy hilltops, strange volcanic formations, and of course coastlines featuring a succession of bays and islets. Another highlight of the cruise is the series of you will meals enjoy at selected venues throughout the islands, ranging from home cooked local cuisine in family-run tavernas to real gourmet food, the finest the region has to offer.
Sightseeing aside, your stylish gulet will moor in secluded coves, allowing you to bathe in azure seas, admire the pristine scenery, or simply relax. From fabulous food to epic history, this is a fascinating journey through Greek culture, past and present. Don’t miss it!
Day 1: Our gulet is in Kos harbour, about 30 minutes from Kos airport. Welcome drinks and dinner on board.
Day 2: We make an early crossing to Kalymnos. We visit to the incredible collection of ancient sculpture in the museum at Pothia, the capital of Kalymnos, and make an excursion to the early Christian basilica of Christ in Jerusalem inland.
Day 3: We make the scenic crossing to the sacred island of Patmos, where we explore the ancient Acropolis.
Day 4: In the morning, we visit the Cave of the Apocalypse and the mighty Byzantine monastery of St. John, a World Heritage Site, set in the attractive town of Chora. In the afternoon, we cruise for a couple of hours to Samos Island.
Day 5: The charming port village of Pythagoreio was built on the ruins of the ancient island capital. We visit the great sanctuary of Hera, the excellent archaeological museum at Vathi and in the afternoon we cross to the island of Leros.
Day 6: On Leros. Where we visit the Castle of Panteli, commanding great views and used as a citadel by the Byzantines, the Knights of St. John and the Ottomans, before strolling through the unusual Italian military town of Lakki. In the afternoon, we pass via the Turkish port of Turgutreis on the way to the great island of Kos.
Day 7: On Kos, we visit the Crusader Castle and stroll through the island’s bustling main town, where 1930’s Italian architecture rubs shoulders with the remains of the ancient Greek and Roman past. We enjoy dinner in a traditional taverna.
Day 8: After a morning visit to the Asklepieion, one of the most important healing sanctuaries of antiquity, we continue onwards to a cove near to the Island of Nisyros. An afternoon at leisure for swimming.
Day 9: We make the short crossing to the small but beautiful island of Nisyros, where we visit the small but excellent archaeological museum before head up to the town of Emborio, set dramatically on the caldera rim and explore the active volcanic crater at Stephanos.
Day 10: After a morning walk to the mighty ancient fortification of Palaiokastro, we travel onwards to a bay off the green and remote island of Tilos.
Day 11: In the morning, we tour Tilos, to visit the monastery of St. Panteleimon and the tiny museum devoted to the island’s extinct species of pigmy elephant. Afterwards, we make the crossing to Chalki (weather permitting), a small island not far from Rhodes. There we ascend the medieval castle and ancient acropolis as the sun sets.
Day 12: We continue to the beautiful island of Symi with its lovely neoclassical port town, one of the prettiest sights in the Mediterranean. We spend the afternoon wandering its winding streets, visiting the Acropolis and savouring the magnificent local architecture. In the evening a chance to enjoy a drink and dinner at a local taverna.
Day 13: We continue to Rhodes, the chief island of the Dodecanese. Here, we visit the extraordinarily complete medieval Old Town with its enormous ramparts, crowned by the Palace of the Grand Masters, former headquarters of the Order of the Knights of Saint John (or Knights Hospitaller).
Day 14: After visiting the ancient city’s acropolis with its shrines and sanctuaries, we explore the rich collections of the excellent archaeological museum, housed in the medieval Hospital of the Knights. Farewell dinner on board.
Day 15: Transfers to Rhodes Airport, about 30 minutes from Rhodes Harbour.
Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport - Kos Island International Airport (Hippocrates)
Departure Airport - Rhodes International Airport
We recommend you arrive at the gulet in Kos Harbour (approx. 30 minutes from Kos airport) in the late afternoon/evening of September 23rd. Disembarkation in Rhodes (approx. 30 minutes from Rhodes airport) is 09:00 on October 7th. We will arrange local transfers from Kos airport at the start of the tour, and to Rhodes airport at the end of the trip.
Guests can board the gulet after 17:00 on the first day. You are more than welcome to arrive earlier to drop off your bags, but please be aware that the crew will be busy cleaning and tidying until late afternoon making everything ready for your group.
If you are staying in or connecting via Athens then the easiest way to get to and from the gulet is to fly. There are a number of airlines that offer domestic flights in Greece such as Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air. Both Airlines have a wide selection of flights on these days. The cheapest way to book flights is directly with the airline online.
Please note: Flights are subject to change. Please contact the airline for exact details.
If you prefer to book with a travel agent, we are happy to recommend specialists in a number of countries around the world, please contact our office for more details.
Travel insurance is a requirement of our booking conditions and we recommend you investigate the options thoroughly to make sure that your trip is properly covered. Please be advised some insurers may require you to take out a policy within 15-20 days of booking your holiday to receive all of their insurance benefits. If you would prefer not to take out travel insurance please let us know. We would require you to complete and return to us a travel insurance waiver form.
A Visa is required to pass through Turkish customs during the cruise. Visas are easily obtained online at eVisa and must be purchased before you travel.
Citizens of European Union or Schengen Treaty member states need no visa for Greece, those from the United States, Canada and Australia do not need to apply for a visa to visit Greece for trips of less than 90 days duration.
Athens, Kos and the Greek islands
If you are planning to stay in Athens before or after your tour we have included below links to more information and things to see and do. If you intend to add time on Kos or any other Greek island, we are happy to offer information and advice.
Nature of the Cruising the Dodecanese itinerary
Cruising and Itinerary: This fabulous cruise through the Aegean, visits 11 of the Dodecanese Islands and has a character very different to that of most of our other gulet cruises. We will be crossing some stretches of wide open sea between the islands and covering considerable distances on some of the days. The Dodecanese Islands (running as a chain alongside the shore of southwest Turkey) are renowned for their wealth of nature and beauty and cruising between them offers a wonderful opportunity to experience and appreciate their fascinating diversity. There will be some early starts so we can make passage in the early morning before the wind picks up in the afternoon. While the average travelling time will be longer than our normal coastal gulet cruises, there will be opportunities to swim each day (schedule and weather permitting).
As with all of our gulet cruises, we have spent a great deal of time crafting the itinerary to be as good as it can be, but we are travelling aboard a boat and may need to make changes according to the weather and the captain’s advice.
Overnights: Compared with our coastal gulet cruises in Turkey and Italy, where we tend to spend a good number of nights moored out in isolated bays, on this trip we will be spending more nights in harbour on the islands. This means you’ll have the chance to explore not only as part of the expert led outings, you’ll also be able to go ashore and wander in the mornings and evenings when we are tied up in the picturesque Greek harbour towns.
Food: The Oğuz Bey is a Turkish gulet with a Turkish crew including a chef who will be cooking up wonderful meals throughout your cruise. As such the food served on board will be traditional ‘Turkish’ or Eastern Mediterranean. We will be going ashore to eat authentic Greek food in family run tavernas at intervals along the way and your tour leader will ensure you’ll have the chance to sample a good many of the local Greek delicacies of the islands. The gulet will be stocked with Greek wine and spirits and your guide, Heinrich, something of a Greek wine connoisseur, will introduce you to some of the best beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) the Greek islands have to offer.