Much like our one week route out of Rhodes this option is perfect if you want to soak up all the history and culture the Dodecanese has to offer. With ruins and old forts by the bucket load all spread out across numerous islands, this route is ideal for the more adventurous sailors. Those who want slightly stronger winds and to explore this relatively undiscovered area.
Being closer to Turkey than the rest of Greece means this area stays warmer for longer. A windy destination for experienced sailors, the meltimi blows through the islands reaching its peak in July and August with an average wind speed of force 4 – 6, with occasional gusts up to a force 7. It pays to pay attention to weather forecasts in the local area. At the beginning and end of the season, May and October, you will find an average wind speed of force 3 – 5.
The beauty of sailing here is that you will often find there are no mooring fees when staying on a town quay. If the local port authorities do come along and ask you to pay, then you can expect no more than €10 for a 38ft yacht; note this is very very rare.
Once you arrive at the base you'll be met by the charter company who will handle your check-in. After your paperwork is complete you'll be shown to your boat and after a quick briefing it's over to you! Time to relax and start your holiday! There's plenty to do on your first evening here. The Old Town is particularly stunning to stroll through and see the old moat walls that used to be the town's defense.
From Rhodes a great first sail is around 10 miles over to Symi. This colourful town is a must visit with its neo classical look and there's also some great beaches, particularly Toli Bay.
From Symi you could head west to the island of Nisyros. Under a 20 mile sail and in that time you can get to Mandraki, the main harbour on the island. There are plenty of pretty villages to discover and it's often called one of the most beautiful islands in the Dodecanese. Due to it's volcanic nature and the white washed houses made from this rock we can see why.
After Nisyros head north past Kos and up to Emporios on the island of Kalymnos. Emporios is a quiet seaside town with some traditional tavernas, cafes and seaside restaurants and if you fancy it venture to Kastri in the north of the island, where the old fort from the Hellenistic period still stands.
After you've explored Kalymnos Island continue north to Lakki on Leros Island. Lakki is the main port of the island and has a distinctly Art Deco feel to it which makes it stand out from the other islands.
From Leros Island it's a short hop northwest to Patmos Island. This island is often compared more to the Cyclades than the Dodecanese with its barren rocky slopes and white wash houses. The monastery here is worth a wander around above Chora.
From Patmos it's a very short hop over to Arki Island. Around 5 miles east of Patmos this island is a great place to have some peace and quiet. The main harbour has some traditional tavernas next to the port and the nearby beaches are great for snorkelling. We highly recommend Tiganakia beach.
After Arki you can get as far north as you can up to Samos. This is around a 10-15 mile sail from Arki. Samos is great for any wine connoisseurs as it used to be famous for its vineyards and wine production.
From Samos it's best to start heading back south, and a nice stop off is in Agathonisi on the island of Nera. This is a short sail over, less than 10 miles and once you get here it's peace and quiet you'll find. The main port is Agios Georgios which has some bars and tavernas and the beauty of this island is it's basically traffic free.
Once you've seen all that Agathonisi has to offer, contiune south for less than 10 miles back to the island of Leros. Except this time on the west of the island to the town of Pandeli. The houses here are covered in bougainvillea and fishing is the main income here so you'd be silly not to try some of the fresh fish caught that day in one of the local tavernas.
From the island of Leros it's less than 10 miles south to Pserimos. A peaceful and sleepy island, with one main harbour, Ormos Pserimou that has tavernas and bars surrounding it.
Once you've soaked up all that Pserimos has to offer it's a very short hop over the vibrant island of Kos. This much larger island has plenty of bars for you night owls but it also has a unique mixture of restaurants due to its interesting turkish and italian influences, so there's a wide variety to choose from.
From the bustling Kos why not sail south to Tilos. It's around 15-20 miles and is often missed on the mass tourism radar. The little quay in Lavadhi is nice place to stop and there's a surprising number of restaurants for such a small village.
From Tilos on your way back to Rhodes you could stop off in Chalki. Less than 10 miles from Tilos this is the smallest island in the Dodecanese. There's only one town on the island called Nimporio and along the promenade here you'll find many tavernas and cafes offering traditional greek delicacies. Also on Chalki are some stunning beaches, Giali and Potamos are our favourites.
Once you've had your fill of Chalki it's time to head back to base. The sail back to Rhodes from Chalki is a great last days sail, around 20 miles and it's good to note that the charter company usually like you to be back in the marina between 4-6pm. This gives you one last evening to soak up what Rhodes has to offer before heading home the next day.
Below is an indication of the yachts that will sail on this flotilla. Please call us on 020 8459 8787 to check live availability.
Our Shore to Sail holidays are a combination of a one or two week flotilla sailing holiday with another relaxing week or two ashore.
These holidays will appeal to those who enjoy sailing but have family or friends who are not quite so enthusiastic about sailing - a compromise can now be made!
Most people opt for a week of sailing followed by a week of winding down on shore. However it is entirely up to you to do what you want to do (and when!)
Choose from studios or apartments beside the sea at the Iris Hotel, Stena, near Nidri. Or, really pamper yourself at the Salvator Villas and Spa Hotel in Parga, which also has a selection of two-bedroom villas with private pools.
We also have a brand new, exclusive villa available which is nestled in the olive groves on the hill above Sivota Bay on Lefkas Island.
We have no doubt at all that our flotilla sailing gang will really score a few points with the non sailors of the family by bringing them here! The combination of one of our yachts and a room here is about as good as it gets!
For 20 years, our flotillas have been enjoying the wonderful food from the 'Castello Restaurant' in Parga. Spiros and his six sons have now expanded their programme in Parga with a fabulous boutique complex of rooms, apartments and villas called the Salva…
The Iris Hotel is one of our accommodation options in the South Ionian, ideally suited for a shore based week before or after one of our Lefkas or Ithaka flotillas, or one of our two week flotillas which finishes in the South Ionian.
A 'beside the sea' base for your shore based week on Lefkas …