The Dodecanese or Dodecanissos is the name of a complex of over 163 islands and islets - inhabited and vacant -situated in eastern Greece and off the coast of Turkey. These are Agathonisi, Arkoi, Astypalaia, Chalki, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kastelorizo, Kos, Leros, Lipsoi, Nisyros, Patmos, Pserimos, Rhodes, Simi, Telendos and Tilos. Dodekanese means ‘Twelve Islands’ in Greek, named after the twelve main islands of the complex. The most extraordinary feature of these islands is the highly aesthetic mix of traditional Greek, Italian and Turkish elements.
The most popular islands of the Dodecanese are Rhodes (or Rodos), Kos and Patmos, while Symi, Halki, Leros, Astypalea and Kalymnos are less spoilt and more tranquil. However, there are also other islands such as Karpathos, Nisyros, Kastellorizo and Kassos, which are ideal places to experience traditional and serene island life. The Dodecanese climate is transitional and ranges from temperate to a dry tropical climate characterized by dazzling sunlight and an extended dry summer period that offers a cosmopolitan atmosphere similar to that of the highland villages of the mainland.