Rhodes is among the top destinations for summer holidays in the Dodecanese thanks to its cosmopolitan & romantic atmosphere, medieval castles and buildings, and rich history. Indeed, there’s quite nothing like an evening stroll in The Old Town of Rhodes, with the incredible Palace of Grand Master situated at the end of the Street of the Knights.
And yet, Rhodes is ideal for vacation for another reason; you can go island hopping to several other islands near Rhodes, and enjoy day trips or weekend getaways.
Here’s a detailed list of the best islands near Rhodes and what to do there:
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7 Islands to Visit near Rhodes
Just opposite the coast of Turkey, the quaint island of Symi is a remote paradise. This beautiful island near Rhodes has a wild, rocky landscape, contrasting with pastel-colored and well-preserved mansions built most of the time amphitheatrically.
The best beaches to visit are Ai Giorgis Dyssalonas, or Nanou, Marathounda, and Toli, where you will find peace and quiet.
You can learn more about the history of Symi by visiting the Archaeological Museum with its nautical artifacts, or Hatziagapitou Hall, a preserved mansion and part of the museum. You can also visit the wonderful monastery of Panormitis.
Alternatively, spend your day there, strolling by and marveling at the neo-classical buildings. Don’t forget to try out fresh seafood! If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss tasting ammoniakena cookies and ravani.
Check here: A Guide to Symi Island.
How to get there:
Take the chance to visit Symi on a one-day or multiple-day trip. It is situated just 39 km away from Rhodes and you can book a boat trip there to explore its remote beauty, impressive architecture, and raw steep landscape. There are about 2-4 ferry crossings from Rhodes to Symi daily, lasting for about 1 to 1.5 hours. You can find further details and book tickets via Ferryhopper with 3 clicks!
The untouched nature of Chalki island near Rhodes is the perfect getaway for people who like to avoid the crowds and enjoy virgin nature. The quaint little capital of Nimporio is built around the island’s port, with many traditional dwellings of the Dodecanese architectural style.
Don’t miss strolling around Nimporio and visiting the Church of Agios Nikolaos, the protector of the island. In Chorio, you can find a medieval Castle, built upon a rocky hill around the 14th century, where the ancient acropolis used to lie. If you want to go swimming, choose Potamos beach, organized and crystal-clear, or Kania and Trachea for a bit of privacy.
You can also explore Alimia, a small islet, now uninhabited, with rich history and divine nature. You can get a boat from the port of Nimporio and go on a daily trip.
How to get there:
Getting to Chalki from Rhodes is convenient and fast, as the journey lasts from 35 minutes up to 2 hours depending on the ferry. In addition, the crossings are quite frequent. Prices are very cheap, starting at only 4.5 Euros for a single trip, and you can book your tickets easily via Ferryhopper.
Tilos, another gem of the Dodecanese, is a small island near Rhodes, with beautiful, wild nature and a picturesque port named Livadia. Livadia is most cosmopolitan, with cafés, restaurants, and souvenir shops, but Mikro Chorio, the abandoned village is surely worth exploring! The medieval castle located there is built by the end of the Byzantine period, a living monument of a glorious past.
In Megalo Chorio, you will find the beautiful Monastery of Agios Panteleimon, as well as Charkadio Cave, a site of paleontological significance. If you want to learn more about the history of Tilos, visit the Archaeological Collection and the Paleontological Collection in Megalo Chorio. You will get to see the fossils of dwarf elephants (one of the few found in Europe)!
If you want some leisure by the seaside, head to Agios Antonios beach, which is unorganized and secluded, with pebbles and vibrant turquoise & blue waters. Other options include Eristos, Livadia, and Plaka beaches.
How to get there:
Tilos is located approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes away from Rhodes if you take Blue Star Ferries and about 2 hours if you choose Dodecanisos Seaways. During high season, there are various ferry crossings you can find, prices starting at only 9.50 Euros, depending on the ferry company. Click here for the ferry schedule and to book your ferry tickets.
Karpathos, the remote and virgin island of the Dodecanese, is another island near Rhodes that has lots to offer; from history, tradition, and great cuisine, to amazing beaches and shipwrecks.
To get to know the history of Karpathos, visit The Acropolis of Arkassa, built upon a hill with a great view of Arkansas. Alternatively, head to the remains of Ancient Potideon in Pigadia village.
In the vicinity, you can also explore the mythical Cave of Poseidon, the sanctuary to the god of the sea and to some others, also to the god of love, Aphrodite. In Pigadia, you can take the boat to Saria islet, the pristine historical place with remains from ancient times.
While in Karpathos, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy wild, pristine beaches with emerald and turquoise waters, such as the ones found at Apella beach, Amoopi Beach, Damatria beach, and Achata beach, among others.
How to get there:
There are about 2 ferry crossings weekly from Rhodes to Karpathos. With Blue Star ferries, the crossing lasts about 3 hours and 40 minutes, and with ANEK Lines it is almost 6 hours long. Ticket prices vary according to season and availability but generally start from 28€. Click here for the ferry schedule and to book your ferry tickets.
Kasos, the forgotten gem of the Dodecanese, with rarely any tourism as we know it on the Greek islands, is a place to visit and enjoy. The warm hospitality of the locals and stunning nature are the distinctive elements that mark its beauty.
In Kasos, you should discover the town of Fry with its narrow, quaint alleys and traditional architecture. In Fry, you can also find the Archaeological Museum of the island, with findings dating as back as the prehistoric era. Most of the artifacts were found in Ellinokamara Cave, near the town of Agia Marina, which you can visit.
Kasos has a rich history of churches, with gems such as Agia Kyriaki, Pera Panagia, and Agios Spyridon. In addition, it has a Traditional Flour Mill in the village of Arvanitochori, where you have the opportunity to learn some about the island’s folk element.
If you want to go for a swim, head to Ammouas beach or Antiperatos beach. For wild landscapes and exploring, go to Helathros rocky beach instead.
Check out my guide to Kasos island.
How to get there:
Crossings from Rhodes to Kasos happen 3 times weekly on average, mostly with ANEK Lines. The average duration of the ferry trip is 7h and 50 minutes. Blue Star ferries also offer a crossing per week, with trip duration at 5 hours and 10 minutes. Prices start from around 23€. There is also the option of flying to Kasos from Rhodes, which only lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes, although prices vary. Click here for the ferry schedule and to book your ferry tickets.
The remotest island of Greece, the renowned Kastelorizo, lies just 800 meters west of the Turkish coasts but preserves a strong Greek character. Thankfully, the island is relatively close to Rhodes, so you can visit it if you are on holiday there.
The capital of the island, Megisti, is a mosaic of cobalt blue- and pastel-colored, neoclassical dwellings. Stroll through the settlement and discover warm hospitality, amazing tradition, and great beauty in its narrow alleys.
Get to know the history of Kastelorizo, by visiting the Acropolis of Paleokastro, built around the 4th century B.C, or discover the Asian Minor influence by visiting the Lycian Tomb, at the foothills of the Castle of Knights. The latter was built during the 14th century by the Knights of Saint John.
The Blue Cave is one of the largest underwater caves in Greece, perfect for diving but also accessible via boat trips from the Mandraki harbor. The Isle of Ro, a rocky islet, is a historic place of resistance and can be reached with a boat excursion daily.
For beach hopping and boat trips in crystal-clear waters, you can also go to the islets of Agios Georgios and Strongyli.
How to get there:
The port of Rhodes is well-connected to remote but beautiful Kastelorizo all year round. There are 2-6 crossings weekly, according to season, provided by Blue Star Ferries, Dodekanisos Seaways, and SAOS ferries. The average duration of the trip is 3 hours and 33 minutes, and ticket prices start from 17.60€ on Ferryhopper.
Another famous island near Rhodes is Kos. The island is the legendary birthplace of Hippocrates, the famous father of medicine as we know it today. You can actually visit the Plane Tree of Hippocrates in the main town, visited by thousands each year.
Visit the Sanctuary of Asclepius (also known as Asklepieion) or explore the Ancient Agora. For “medieval” fans, Palio Pyli is an amazing space to explore. And there is always the Venetian Castle in Kos Town and the Fortress in Antimachia. You can even go on a tour of a ghost village named Haihoutes or Agios Dimitrios, and marvel at the deserted dwellings.
There are countless more sights to see, including the Casa Romana mansion, Nerantzia Castle, the Archaeological Museum, and the Ottoman Mosques in Town.
For some swimming, you can head to Psalidi beach, Paradise beach, or Lambi beach. Thermes beach (thermal springs) is also a great alternative with medicinal qualities. You can also get to visit the Kastri islet and its monuments by boat, and also dive there.
Check here: The best things to do in Kos.
How to get there:
Kos is easily accessible from Rhodes all year round, both by sea and by air. It is located about 52 nautical miles away. You can find ferry tickets for only 17.50€ with 1-2 crossings. The fastest option is Blue Star Ferries with an average duration of 2 hours and 50 minutes. Other ferry company choices include SAOS Ferries and Dodekanisos Seaways, with trips that last anywhere between 3 hours to 5 hours. You can find further details and book ferry tickets here.