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Introducing Dodecanese

Strung out along the coast of western Turkey southeast of Greece, like jewels upon an impossibly aquamarine sea, the Dodecanese both entrance and attract passers-by – many of whom return year after year to sample some of the most culturally and geographically diverse islands in the Aegean.

These 18 islands (including satellites) are an entity unto themselves. Under Italian rule until 1947, they maintain an air of slight separateness and, unsurprisingly, still attract large numbers of curious Italian visitors. The islands are a beguiling mix of sea, mountain and meadow and, because they are all close to one another, can easily be ‘hopped’. They need that extra effort to get to, but the rewards far outweigh the investment.

The spiritually inclined will make a beeline for Patmos. The developed resorts of Rhodes and Kos have beaches and bars galore, while Lipsi and Tilos have seductive beaches, minus the crowds. The far-flung islands of Agathonisi, Arki, Kasos and Kastellorizo await Greek-island aficionados in pursuit of traditional island life, while everyone gapes at the extraordinary volcanic landscape that geological turbulence has created on Nisyros. The islands’ chequered history has also endowed them with a wealth of diverse archaeological remains.