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About Dodecanese

An archipelago on the southeastern side of Greece, lying between the Cyclades and Turkey, the Dodecanese are perfect for those wishing to bathe in the sun or soak in history. Translated as "Twelve Islands", they have long been fought over by Minoans, Persians, Crusaders, Ottomans, Brits and Germans due to their strategic importance. Beloved by hikers, windsurfers and scubadivers as much as they are adored by archaeologists and students of history, they are defined by their rugged landscapes, peaceful beaches, azure waters and wealth of ancient and medieval architecture. Though less popular than their cousin the Cyclades, we hope that our collection of the best places to stay in Dodecanese will make you want to come back again and again.

Utterly diverse, you are simply spoiled for choice, whether you're in:

  • Rhodes, defined by her wonderfully-preserved walled medieval town, cobblestone streets and museums;
  • Kos, with her sandy beaches, bright-blue waters, medieval castles and ancient ruins;
  • Leros, a smaller and less-well-known island, with olive-groves and shipwrecks perfect for scuba-diving;
  • Tilo, the spiritual home of naturalists and bird-watchers, with rare species of flowers and birds and rugged mountainsides;
  • Kalymnos, for students of antiquity, with her Mycenaean ruins, early-Christian settlement and sunken ancient city;
  • Karpathos, for her vineyards, olive groves, pine forests and traditional atmosphere.

Rhodes:

Largest island in the group, Rhodes is one of the best places to stay in the Dodecanese if you're looking for a gateway to the other islands. The UNESCO-listed Old Town is strikingly medieval and it's seven-gated wall, cobblestone streets, archaic palaces with coats-of-arms and archaeological museums are really worth exploring. There are some picturesque parks there too, like Rodini, which are full of butterflies and peacocks.

Kos

Most of the package holiday hotels are on the southern side of the island, which also has some of the nicest beaches. There are many ancient sites and ruins, like Nerantzia Castle at the entrance to the port, and authentically-Greek mountaintop villages like Asfendiou. This is the island where Hippocrates, largely considered to be the founder of modern medicine, taught his students beneath a two-thousand-year-old plane tree, which is still there besides the ruins of the ancient town.

Patmos

Patmos is where St. John experienced the visions which inspired the Bible's Revelations. So it's the place to go for travellers looking to rejuvenate their souls as well as their bodies. Patmos is also the greenest of the island group, so one of the best places to stay in the Dodecanese for hikers. The mountain top village of Chora is definitely one of the highlights of the Dodecanese. It's by St. John's cave, a monastery in his name, and there are loads of walks in the area, many offering spectacular views.

Leros

This is probably the perfect destination if you want to relax because time on this island passes slowly and calmly. There are lush olive groves, pure and tranquil seas, low plains and freshwater streams. Scubadiving is popular here due to the mass of WWII shipwrecks off the coastline.

Symi

While it doesn't boast the most beautiful beaches, it has the gorgeously clear waters, stunning varied coastline and one of Greece's most spectacular harbours.

Kastellorizo

So far to the south of Rhodes that it's left off many maps of the Dodecanese. Which is great if your idea of one of the best places to stay in the Dodecanese is remote and traditional.

Daytripping

While not having many hotels, these islands are well worth seeing on day trips from either Kos or Rhodes:

Kalymnos: for ancient sites

The islanders are great harvesters of sea-sponges, but the real charm of the island lies in the wealth of archaeological sites here. In Pothia, the capital, you can go to the archaeological museum and see the displays of Mycenaean and Early-Christian artefacts found in the old sunken city. In the area of Ellinika, you can see remains from the Bronze Age, Classical and Early-Christian eras like tombstones and hilltop fortresses. You can even go scuba-diving and see the sunken city for yourself!

Karpathos: for traditional life

A small island still clinging to the roots of the past, the locals speak a curious dialect and still wear traditional garments, still proudly celebrating ancient festivals. Full of vineyards, olive groves facing the sea and pine-forested mountains. Homer called it "many-winded" and for good reason: it is perfect for wind-surfing.

Tilos: for naturists and hikers

This small and charming island is great for hiking due to its mix of rocky terrain and lush green valleys. Full of flowers and rare species' of birds, it is a treasure trove for naturists and has some beautiful stone houses and hilltop medieval castles.

The best places to stay in Dodecanese

Rhodes

  • Small, cheap and cheerful, the Apollo Guesthouse is close to the ferry port AND to all the major sights of Rhodes Old Town. So it's one of the best places to stay in the Dodecanese if you're staying for a while and you want to see as many islands as possible.
  • The Rodos Park Suites is ideal for families. Comfortable and modern, this hotel has a full size pool as well as being close to the beach.
  • The Hotel Nikos Takis is the one to book if you appreciate unique accommodation. The decor is reminiscent of a harem. But its luxury goes much further. To jacuzzis in each suite, to private yacht and helicopter charter and the use of a guitar or accordion to serenade your lover. This is definitely one of the best places to stay in the Dodecanese for honeymooners too.

Kos

  • Aqua Blu Hotel and Spa is an idyllic seafront property just 15 minutes walk from the centre of Kos Town. Here you'll find adult luxury (no children allowed), gourmet restaurants and top notch spa.

Patmos

  • Our particular favourite on Patmos is the 9 Muses, which as well as offering superb accommodation is very reasonably priced.

Symi

  • The Old Markets Hotel is located in the heart of Old Symi. It offers stylish rooms, gourmet food and is within easy reach of both beaches and sights.

Leros

  • Archontiko Angelou is a pink and white villa built in 1895. It offers six rooms and is very close to one of the island's best beaches. Plus it's excellent value for money.

Kastellorizo

  • Mediterraneo is the perfect boutique hotel to stay in to appreciate this remote island. There's no pool, but it's still one of the best places to stay in the Dodecanese 'cause instead it has a ladder in its courtyard that leads directly into the peacock blue of the harbour!

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments in the Dodecanese.

Travel information

  • Fly to Rhodes or Kos, where you can get ferries to any of the islands.
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.
  • Travel between May and September, when the weather is hot and the seas are warm. They are still very windy, making them ideal for wind or kite surfing.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Dodecanese

  • Domus Rodos 19 rooms from £29

    Rhodes Town

    A quaint pension in the centre of the Old Town, close to all the action. Simple and comfortable white washed rooms. Restaurants and bars within easy walking distance. An inexpensive base to explore the city from.

    Sights nearby  -  In the heart of Rhodes Old Town the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe.
    Great walks  -  Walk along the city walls for excellent views of this ancient city.
    Diving  -  Good diving nearby.
    Traditional
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  • Apollo Guest House 6 rooms from £44

    Rhodes Town

    Lovely traditional guesthouse located in the heat of the medieval town. Charming rooms, some with great views of the old town or prettily draped four poster beds. Good value and a quiet alternative to the boutiques.

    Value chic  -  A lovely traditional property with quirky features and charming courtyard breakfasts all for a very reasonable rate.
    Sights nearby  -  Having admired them from a distance at the property visit the Citadel and the Palace of the Grand Master up close.
    Views  -  Situated near the summit of the citadel, views over the port & fascinating medieval town.
    Great walks  -  Just above the airport is the 'Valley of Butterflies' which makes for stunning walks.
    Recommended by  -  Frommers
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  • Hotel Kokona 10 rooms from £52

    Dodecanese, Symi

    A chic small hotel situated in a quaint village on the picturesque island of Symi. Uniformly styled rooms are cleanly designed and contemporary with soft hues, designer lights and luxurious bathrooms. Serving indulgent breakfasts and with easy access to the island's many attractions.

    Value chic  -  A smartly designed hotel offered at very reasonable rates.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the Monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Traditional
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  • Opera House 29 rooms from £55

    Symi

    Tranquil oasis, simple attractive rooms and apartments, two minutes walk up the hill from the harbour. Relaxed and charming, with views of the village and a small courtyard bar for hanging out. Well positioned and reasonably priced.

    Families  -  Peaceful self catering apartments in Symi's lovely centre, with shared garden and plenty of space to run around.
    Sights nearby  -  Explore the major Monastery complex at Panormitis.
    Traditional
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  • 9 Muses 12 rooms from £53

    Patmos, Pátmos

    A serene small resort with stunning views over the Aegean. Bungalow suites are named after the Muses and simply yet stylishly furnished. Lovely pool area, where you can dine under the stars. Perfect for those who want the Greek Island experience without the crowds.

    Views  -  Incredible views over the Aegean Sea
    Sights nearby  -  Cave of Revelations
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
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  • Archontiko Angelou 10 rooms from £60

    Leros

    A charming 1895 country house, set in lovely grounds filled with red, pink and white geraniums. This stunning villa is walking distance to the island's best beaches. Charming rooms with traditional tiled floors and antique furniture and an honesty bar in the garden. A wonderful Grecian rural escape.

    Country Escape  -  A completely charming rural property set in lovely gardens filled with the music of goat bells and cicades.
    Beach Life  -  Within easy access of lovely sandy beaches, explore the coast and discover hidden coves and bays.
    Diving  -  The B&B can organise great diving opportunities to see both marine life and WW2 underwater wrecks.
    Great walks  -  Head out from the hotel and explore the surrounding countryside and villages.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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  • Fashion Hotel Nikos Takis 8 rooms from £66

    Rhodes Town

    Harem-style high-camp glamour in this boutique hideaway in the old town. Vibrant brightly painted rooms with prettily draped four poster beds and Indian wall hangings. Terraces offer lovely city views. Full of character and well positioned for city exploring.

    City Style  -  The boudoir type suites have the feel of a pasha's harem, with deep colours, rich fabrics, beamed celilings and jacuzzis.
    Sights nearby  -  Walking distance from both the Collachium and the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes.
    Great walks  -  Head out and explore this incredible ancient city on foot.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Check prices
  • Mediterraneo from £70

    Kastellorizo

    Colourful, friendly boutique hotel in a less visited corner of The Dodecanese. No pool but sea bathing yards from the hotel, a tranquil, relaxed base.

    Sights nearby  -  Take a boat trip to the island's famous Blue Grotto. Or pop on a boat to Kas for the day - just a few miles away.
    Remote  -  One of the least known islands in the Dodecanese, just 20 mins by boat from Kas, Turkey.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Hideaway  -  Tranquil and intimate.
    Check prices
  • Melenos Apartments 9 rooms from £70

    Rhodes

    A lovely collection of studio suites and apartments in Lindos. Traditional exterior with leafy courtyard, simple rooms with white washed walls, and kitchens for personal use. Melenos restaurant is fantastic. A great choice for couples looking for privacy, families, or those on a budget.

    Value chic
    Sights nearby  -  The Acropolis and the wonderful Temple of Athena.
    Views  -  Good views from the top balcony.
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller
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  • Koukos Guesthouse from £75

    Rhodes

    Koukos Traditional Guesthouse, Rhodes, Greece A good value guesthouse combining Greek-rustic style, with quirky Alpine deco and excellent home-cooked food. Stay here for a fun holiday within easy walking distance of sandy beaches and Rhodes’ old town.

    Sights nearby  -  Mandraki port, Clock Tower and Archeological museum are a great insight to the history of Rhodes.
    Restrictions on children  -  No children can be accomodated at this hotel.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    Quirky  -  An experience!
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  • Marco Polo Mansion 7 rooms from £79

    Rhodes Town

    Live like an Ottoman pasha in this stylish townhouse in the heart of the old town. An elegant homely feel. Large, high ceilinged rooms with prettily draped four poster beds. A spoiling breakfast is on offer. Friendly staff. A lovely place to explore the city from.

    Value chic  -  An atmospheric mansion, with indivdually decorated Eastern style rooms filled with antiques and Orientel rugs.
    Great walks  -  For stunning views of the Old Town walk along the medieval walls.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the Knight's Castles the best being Kastéllo Kritinías.
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, Fodors
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  • Hotel Emporio 6 rooms from £90

    Symi

    Effortlessly elegant, Hotel Emporio is a wondrous place to stay on Symi. The charming rooms are beautifully decorated with traditional Greek artwork and tasteful furnishings. With lovely views out over the Aegean, it's a great place to relax and enjoy the local island culture.

    Great walks  -  Go for amazing walks along the surrounding coastline.
    Fishing  -  The hotel can organise sea fishing trips for guests.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Full of character
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  • Pylaia Boutique Hotel 25 rooms from £83

    Astipalea, Astypalaia

    Lovely white washed property with a great vantage point of the island. Chic light and airy rooms are a haven of tranquility and many feature great sea views. Modern Mediterranean cuisine and great Greek wines. A small spa and two gorgeous pools. A stylish option on a rugged and unspoilt island.

    Beach Life  -  A lovely hillside property on one of Greece's most unspoilt islands.
    Sailing  -  Take a boat trip to the gorgeous islands of Koutsomiti and Kounoupes.
    Sights nearby  -  Take a walk up to the 13th-century Venetian castle.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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  • Rodos Park Suites 75 rooms from £86

    Rhodes Town

    Chic contemporary hotel surrounded by greenery, yet near the city centre. Large, light rooms with calming muted tones and great views. Enjoy the Mediterranean restaurant, trendy rooftop bar and spoiling spa. A relaxing hideaway yet within close proximity to the city's sights.

    Exclusive offer  -  Early booking discount
    Romantic Break  -  A trendy contemporary couples retreat in the new city with suites offering views of the sea, private jacuzzis and fine dining.
    Spa breaks  -  Indulge yourself in the glorious spa with pampering treatments including hot stone massages and after-sun body wraps.
    Great walks  -  Walk the stunning streets of the Medieval City pronounced a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    Sights nearby  -  Endless options nearby from castles to ancient ruins or ornate churches.
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels
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  • Zacosta Villa Hotel 3 rooms from £88

    Rhodes Town

    A slightly old-fashioned but charming hotel in central Rhodes. Just three rooms with four poster beds, a lovely courtyard terrace, and delicious breakfasts. Great value, romantic, walking distance to the beach.

    Value chic
    Traditional
    Sights nearby  -  Located in the centre of mediaeval Rhodes Old Town, close to the Knights Castle and museums
    Surfing  -  Suitable beaches nearby.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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  • In Camera Art Boutique Hotel 6 rooms from £123

    Rhodes

    A chic boutique with lots of character. Individually decorated rooms and suites, some sleep up to 5, have creamy furnishings and attractive works of photography. Stunning views from a charming terrace. Great for families or couples.

    Families  -  4 rooms sleep up to 5 people.
    Romantic Break
    Groups
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
    Check prices
  • Spirit of the Knights 6 rooms from £127

    Rhodes Town

    A gorgeous boutique hotel with all its original elements in the old town of Rhodes. Romantic rooms in traditional elegance, terraces, roof top jacuzzi, private yoga or massage. The perfect spot for a romantic beach holiday.

    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Romantic Break
    Sights nearby  -  Located in the mediaeval old town of Rhodes Town - a World Heritage Site
    Great walks  -  Walking tours available.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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  • Rodos Palladium from £158

    RHODES, Rhodes

    A contemporary Five Star hotel on the beach with a fantastic spa. Rooms and suites, all with private sea-facing balconies, have pastel furnishings and a beachy ambience. Tropical gardens, lagoon-style swimming pool, multiple restaurants. You really needn't leave your hotel!

    Beach Life  -  Blue flag beach of Kallithea.
    Spa breaks
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.
    Views  -  Most of the rooms have sea views.
    Check prices
  • Boutique 5 Hotel & Spa 44 rooms from £186

    Rhodes

    A really swanky Five Star hotel & spa resort on the beach front. Contemporary rooms and suites offer all the mod cons, private balconies, some even have private pools. Top of the range spa, Mediterranean restaurant, beach front terraces, and private beach. Looking to be pampered? This is the place!

    Beach Life  -  Kiotari is a blue flag beach.
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.
    Spa breaks
    Romantic Break
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  • Petra Hotel & Suites 11 rooms from £171

    Grikos, Pátmos

    A romantic, chic spot without pretence. Classically elegant rooms and suites with luxurious furnishings, all the mod cons, and private balconies. A lovely cafe restaurant, spectacular sea views, and sprawling terraces. An understated, but still luxurious choice.

    Views  -  All rooms have superb views over the Aegean and the Bay of Grikos
    Romantic Break
    Luxury
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Small Luxury Hotels
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  • Melenos Lindos 12 rooms from £180

    Lindos, Rhodes

    A classy and luxurious boutique refuge with spectacular views over the Aegean. Large rooms decorated in a Moorish style with enormous raised beds and lovely sea views. A romantic rooftop restaurant is one of the best on the island. Just minutes from the beach. A lovely romantic escape.

    Romantic Break  -  An enchanting and intimate escape, the lovely rooftop restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner under the stars.
    Hideaway  -  A charming hilltop property away from the hussle and bussle with views sweeping over the city.
    Great walks  -  Hike up to the 10th-century Acropolis above the hotel, you'll be rewarded with fantastic views.
    Sailing  -  Spend a day exploring the island from the sea, the ideal romantic day trip.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Small Luxury Hotels
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  • Aqua Blu Hotel & Spa 53 rooms from £184

    Lambi Beach, Kos

    An idyllic hotel on the sea front. Gorgeous rooms and suites in contemporary chic style with private balconies, some with private pools. Fantastic restaurants, luxurious spa, and sun trap pool area. A romantic choice for glamourous sun seekers.

    Romantic Break
    Honeymoons
    Beach Life
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Small Luxury Hotels
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  • St Nikolis Hotel 20 rooms from £189

    Rodos, Rhodes

    A delightful family-run hotel in a charming 14th century building. Individually decorated rooms are awash with heritage and emblems of the rich history of Rhodes. In the evening, enjoy delicious Greek dishes from the traditional stone oven. Conveniently located in the heart of the cobbled old town.

    Local exploring  -  An ideal base for soaking up the history and culture of Rhodes, situated on a quiet cobbled street in the medieval Old Town.
    Romantic Break  -  Transport yourselves to another time, with traditional suites and rooms overlooking the arches, ramparts and moats.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the ancient Acropolis of Ialyssos, five miles from the hotel. A world Heritage site.
    Local markets  -  Check out the local markets of Rhodes where you can pick up some amazing deals.
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  • Lindos Blu 70 rooms from £193

    Rhode, Rhodes

    A superbly chic and luxurious hotel on a cliff top with stunning views over turquoise waters and a short walk from Lindos. Designer rooms and suites with all the mod cons and private balconies. Two fantastic restaurants, top of the range spa, and a private beach below. Romantic beach life in luxury.

    Beach Life  -  Direct access to it's own private beach.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.
    Wellbeing
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels
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  • The Old Markets 5 rooms from £215

    Symi

    A gorgeous romantic hotel in the heart of Old Symi. Romantic pastel rooms in creams and light blues. Private balconies and elegant furnishings. Wonderful table d'hote and close to beaches and sights. A great choice for couples.

    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    City Style
    Romantic Break
    Sights nearby  -  In the heart of Symi's old town
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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