Friday, September 6, 2013


Discover islands that rest like a string of jewels in the Southern Aegean Sea, with medieval castles, walled cities and exquisite beaches en route, executive summary by darmansjah

Originally uksed as flour mills, many of the picturesque windmills on the island of Leros have now been converted into small hotels.

All aboard the Katerina for a island-hopping trip from Kalymnos

Andreas Kalatzis of Patmos continues the art traditions of his island home

 A golden afternoon in the historic main square of Rhodes old town

 the traditional blue domes of the greek islands see red on Karpathos

Whether you want to make one island your home for a week or hop between four or five, travelling through the Dodecanese is adventure made easy.

Getting There

Fly into Athens with Singapore Airlines ( and connect to Rhodes with Aegean Airlines (

Getting Around

Dodekanisos Seaways runs daily catamarans between the Islands ( The easiest way to get to those out-of-the way beaches is by car. You can rent one almost anywhere for US$50 to US$80 per day, including insurance.

Further Reading

For more information, see Lonely Planet’s Greek Islands (US$22.99) or the Discover Greece full-colour guide (US$24.99).

The Final Word

‘The fashions of the ages vary in this direction and that, but they vary for the most part from a central road which was struck out by the imagination of Greece.’ Gilbert Murray classicist (1866-1957).
3 Ways To Do Rhodes Town…


See ; Just outside Rhodes Town, KALITHEA THERMI is an Italian-built spa restored to its former glory. With grand buildings, colonnades, domed ceilings and countless archways delivering stunning sea views, it’s worth a wander (entry US$3.50).

The Hotel Anastasia in Rhodes

Sleep; Tucked away off the main drag, HOTEL ANSTASIA is an Italian mansion with big open rooms. The tiled floors and high ceilings give it stacks of character and the outdoor bar is deal for a coffee or cocktail (from US$55;

Eat; KOYKOS is Greek kitsch personified. Choose from savoury pies, seafood or mezes (main from US$3; Mandilana 20-26).

Drink; Locals sit at long wooden tables, drinking ouzo or beer and listening to live, traditional music at CAFÉ CHANTANT. It’s dark in here but very lively – it’s an expensive you won’t soon forget (beer from US$5; cocktails from US$7; Dimokrtou 3).

The boutique hotel Nikos & Talks

Mid Range

See; Warm yourself on the marble stones or ot for a message at the municipal HAMMAN TURKISH BATHS , located in the Old Town (entry US$7).
Sleep; Boutique NIKOS & TAKIS HOTEL has individually decorated rooms with extras such as DVD players and a bottle of wine on arrival. Check out the Moroccan-themed Marokino with its ornately tiled floor (from US$125;

Eat; Bargain; at NIREAS you can dine outside under a canopy of greenery or inside in the elegant yellow dining rooms. Try seared or sesame encrusted tuna and steamed mussels with garlic and white wine (mains from US$11; sofokleous 45-47).

Drink; METHEXI CAFÉ is a colonial-style mansion filled with black-and-white photos. The atmosphere draws a young crowd who come for live Gree music or for a beer on the terrace (beer from US$4; cocktails from US$10,29 oktovriou,cnr Griva).

diving at mandraki harbour

See; Learn to dive or snorkel with one of the operators at MANDRAKI HARBOUR; all offer a range of courses including one-day lessons and PADI certicification. (US$68 for a one-day lesson; US$49 for a day’s snorkeling;

For true luxury, head out of town to MELENOS in Lindos. Built in 17th-century stylw, almost everything here has been lovingly made by hand (from US$165;

With a high-beamed ceiling and velvet curtains, HATZIKELIS is a step back in time. Popular with local families, it’s well known for shellfish, especially scallops and clams (mains from US$20; alhadef 9).

Music is definitely the main thing at ROGMITOU CHRONOU. Downstairs it’s cosy while upstairs the mood is evocative of the 1950’s. music ranges from live rock to DJs (beer from US$5; cocktails from US$14; Plateia Arionos;



Why Go? The magnificent Parthenon temple, perched atop the sacred rock of the Aropolis, rises majestically over Athens, where precious antiquities fill world-class museums and dot street corners. Beyond its rich cultural heritage, Athens is also one of Europe’s liveliest capitals. Wander the ancient streets of Plaka and at nightfall take in traditional Rembetika music or see a classical performance at the outdoor Roman Odeon Theatre.

Stay Once the mansion of a famous Athenian family, the Eridanus was converted to a hotel for the Olympics, and has become an enchantingly intimate choice and remarkably well priced, given its five star ambience (from US$270;

Getting There Singapore Airlines flies direct from Singapore to Athens.


Why Go? Greece’s second-largest city is located in the north of the country. Thessaloniki is sophisticated and has its own distinct character and cultural delights. The oldest parts is the Turkish quarter, with street circling a Bkyzantine fortress. The waterfront is lined with cafes; ancient Ottoman hammams (baths) have been turned into modern art galleries; nearly every city block has a patisserie selling traditional Turkish sweets; and the restaurant and bar scene is spirited.

Stay The Daios has a contemporary, minimalist design and a sophisticated waterfront balconies (from US$195;

Getting there Both Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air fly from Athens to Thessaloniki.


Why Go? Even the most jaded traveler succumbs to the spectacle of Santorini’s surreal landscape, a relic of what was probably the biggest volcanic eruption in recorded history. Sit back with a cocktail and enjoy the spectacular sunset views from the village of Oia. Or explore ancient houses dug into the volocanic rock, neoclassical mansions and the ruins of Ancient Thira; take a trip on an 18th-century schooner; or simply lounge on back-sand beaches on the island’s eastern side.

Stay in an excellent location on the caldera edge, boutique hotel Aroma Suites has charming service, great views and a stylish, modern interior (from US$155;

Getting There Both Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air fly from Athens to Santorini.

How much planning do I need to do? For trips between May until the end of August, book air and overnight ferry tickets several weeks in advance, along with hotels in popular destinations such as Rhode Town, Kos and Patmos. Short hops on ferries can be booked a few days in advance.

Where can I find information on Island-hopping? For ferry routes and schedules, see For island-hopping by air, see, or Remember that ferry schedules are changeable.

How do I take the hassle out of booking transport? Plenty of travel agencies will happily secure boat and plane tickets for you. Contact Triton Holidays in Rhodes Town or Fanos Travel in Kos Town.

What’s ferry travel like? The majority of the Dodecanese are serviced daily by modern, comfortable catamarans. Overnight ferries to and from Athens are the size of cruise boats with a range of tickets. ‘Deck class’  literally means some floor space for the night. There are also reclining, airlines-style seats and private cabins with bathrooms and comfy bunks.

Is it possible to rent a yacht to tour the islands? If you and another member of your party have sailing certificates, it’s possible to rent a 28-footer that sleeps six from around US$1,400 per week. Add US$1,200 for a skipper. Or join a week-long cruise offered by Ghiolman Yachts & Travel or Trekking Hellas. For general information, visit

What’s the greenest way to island hop? Opt for fast, fuel-economic ferries rather than the slow petrol-guzzlers or planes. Travelling in the shoulder season – early spring or autumn – puts less pressure on precious resources like food and water. You’ll also find more bearable weather, fewer crowds and lower prices.

Recomendation: Where to stay

Acropolis Studios

Perched on the cliffs with views over Kyra Panagia beach, Acropolis Studios has modern and spacious rooms with balconies overlooking the coast and  red-domed church below. Delicious home-cooked food is served at the shady terrace restaurant, including seafood dishes and moussaka (doubles from USD100, including breakfast; Kyra Panagia; 00 30 22450 23002).

Marcopolo Mansion

The magic of the Old Town has found its way to this restored 15th-century house in the old Turkish quarter. A rustic atmosphere sits comfortably with plush decor and warm colours. Have breakfast in a private garden with views of nearby minarets and the city's walls. With just a few rooms, preferences is given to guests staying at least a week (doubles from US$125;

Villa Myrtia

Set amid a flower garden in laid-back village Myrties, Villa Myrtia has spacious apartments and stuidos - nothing flashly, just traditional comforts that refuse to compete with amazing views from shaded verandas. The hotel is right nest to the sea, looking out to moored fishing boats and the Teledos islet beyond (doubles from US$55;

Hotel Nefeli

Whitewashed and spacious, there is something entirely comforting about the rooms at Hotel Nefeli. Maybe it's the village style architecture or the elegant bohemian touches of local art and textiles? Grab yourself a top-floor room and contemplate the answer on the peaceful balcony with views over the flower-filled garden to the sea (doubles from US$115;


Stepping through the door of this hotel is a magical experience. It is a world away from the ancient narrow streets of Hora, with five luxurious suites housed within a 400-year-old mansion. The rooms ar furnished traditionally with very plush touches. Relaxing under the fruit trees in it tranquil garden is blissful (doubles from US$210;

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