Ever pined for the old Greece, where timeless islands beckon modern-day adventurers just as they did Odysseus and Alexander? Enter the far-flung Dodecanese (Δωδεκάνησα; do-de-ka-ni-sa) archipelago, curving through the southeastern Aegean parallel to the ever-visible shoreline of Turkey. The footprints of everyone from Greeks and Romans to crusading medieval knights, and Byzantine and Ottoman potentates to 20th-century Italian bureaucrats, are found here. Beyond better-known Rhodes and Kos, enigmatic islands beg to be explored.
Hikers and naturalists flock to Tilos, while climbers scale the limestone cliffs in Kalymnos. Aesthetes adore the neoclassical mansions of Symi, Halki and Kastellorizo, divers explore underwater caves and ancient wrecks, and kitesurfers blow in to Karpathos for its legendary winds. Archaeologists and history buffs let their imaginations loose on a bevy of ancient sites, while sybarites can worship Helios on myriad beaches, far from the package crowds.