Rhodes and the Dodecanese Feature

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Rhodes and the Dodecanese's Best Beaches

The "Twelve Islands" have lured visitors since ancients from around the world came to be healed at the Asklepieion on Kos and medieval crusaders took shelter in Rhodes. Today sun worshippers, drawn every year by miles of golden strands, enjoy a sandtastic choice of islands and beach experiences.

A pick-your-pleasure principle applies here. If you want a beach experience enhanced with water sports, head to Kos or Rhodes. Both islands are fringed with soft sands that are the launching pads for Jet Skiers, water-skiers, and snorkelers. On Rhodes, Elia and Falakari fill this bill; on Kos, Tingaki and Kardamena are action-packed, and just plain packed as well. Symi's and Patmos's low-key beaches suit the islands' peaceful moods. Symi's beaches are pebbly, but most are wonderfully secluded, and many are reached only by boat; the 24 sand-and-pebble beaches on Patmos are accessible by boat, car, or on foot, but they are no less pristine.

Good to Know

On Patmos and Symi, you can reach many out-of-the-way beaches by caïque.

Walk along the main harbors and look for signs advertising beach excursions.

You pay about €15 for the trip, which will take you to the beach in the morning and return in the afternoon.

A few captains will throw snorkeling gear into the deal.

Some beaches have summertime tavernas, but it is best to bring your own picnic lunch.

Rhodes and the Dodecanese's Best Beaches

Kos: Bay of Kefalos

At beaches along this beautiful bay on the southeastern end of Kos, you can have it both ways. Ayios Stefanos and nearby Paradise beach are action-packed, loaded with beach bars and water sports outlets.

A short walk along the broad, golden sands brings you to the relative seclusion of long stretches of empty beach backed only by pines and dunes.

Paradise beach, easily reached by bus from Kos town (about 40 km [25 mi] north) is the jumping-off point for these Bay of Kefalos beauties.

Symi: Niborios

Beaches on this rocky little island are pebbly, tucked into coves along the rugged coastline.

Most can only easily be reached by boat from Yialos harbor, easily reached on foot or in the island's one bus.

An easier alternative is to walk out to the pebble beach in the little fishing community of Nimborios, about 2 km (1 mi) northwest of Yialos.

Just follow the dirt road past the lighthouse. Nimborios beach has a simple taverna with tables that are practically lapped by the waves—a perfect spot for lunch.

Patmos: Psili Amos

Most of the beaches on lovely little Patmos are a mix of sands and pebbles, and a few, such as those at Mellio and Kambos, offer umbrellas and sun beds. Beachgoers who can do without these amenities should head to the sandy strand at Psili Amos, out of the way near the southern tip of the island. You can reach the beach by caïque from Skala or on foot along a 2 km (1 mi) long path from Diakofti. Pines back the sands, and a basic taverna provides some simple creature comforts.

Rhodes: Ayios Giorgios

If you're on a quest for the perfect strand and are armed with four-wheel-drive and a good map, aim for the pristine, cedar-lined beach at Ayios Georgios—though it will take some doing. If you dare, drive about 4 km (2½ mi) west of Plimiri on the Genadi–Katavia road until you see the abandoned Italian monastery of Ayios Pavlos. Just before the monastery, turn left down the cypress-lined dirt road. Follow the route about 8 km (5 mi) to the little church of Ayios Georgios, where the road forks. Keep going straight to reach the sandy beach, one of Rhodes's loveliest secret spots.

Updated: 01-2014

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