Greece: Dodecanese Cruising – Kalymos, Patmos, Samos


Hello from Kos!

I have started my final leg on my recent travels – this time I’m finishing with a relaxing Gulet cruise throughout the Dodecanese Islands; a group of Greek Islands that hug the Turkish west coast. It was bliss to unpack for the very last time and to just enjoy the experience of cruising and site-seeing.  After an overnight welcome in Kos, we sailed for Kalymnos. 

Map courtesy of Peter Sommer Travels

We had glorious sunny weather and headed off to our first stop.  After a morning swim in a small bay we arrived in Pothia the main town on Kalymnos.  This is the Island famous for it’s Sponge Divers and limestone cliffs that are a draw card for rock climbers.  Kalymnos also has a wonderful Museum with excellent marble statues and bronzes and other artefacts from a local ancient shipwreck.




We then sailed for Patmos, arriving late afternoon in glorious weather.  Climbing to a small chapel on what was likely an ancient Acropolis, we had fantastic views of the island and other nearby islands like in the Aegean sea.  (unfortunately during the climb I inadvertently put a small smug on my camera lens and ruined some great shots.) So, I had to wait until the next day to redo some panorama shots from the Monastery of St. John. aagh… 

Shepherds struggling with his goats who stupidly got stuck in a cave on the sea
1st view of the Monastery of St. John
Skala harbour
Chapel halfway to the Acropolis



almost at the Acropolis


evening in Skala harbour
Skala Harbour

Patmos is most famous as the site where in AD 95, St. John the Divine supposedly had a vision from God, resulting in the Book of Revelations….  The site is now known as the Cave of Apocalypse. The nearby Byzantium Monastery of St. John, was built a thousand years later in the 11 C AD and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Monastery of the Apocalypse


Monastery of St. John


views from the Monastery of St. John

We then cruised north to Samos, which is actually strictly not in the Dodecanese group, but part of the northeastern group of Aegean Islands.  Samos is very close to Turkey, not far from Kusadasi and Ephesus.  In the evening we could see the lights on the mainland, so it was very easy to see how closely they were linked in the ancient Greek world.

Samos is famous for being the birthplace of Hera, the wife/sister of Zeus; as well as the birthplace of Pythagoras and the 4C BC philosopher Epicurus.  In fact, we were harboured in the port town of Pythagoreio.

Our Gulet with the Turkish coastline in the near distance.
Pretty harbour of Pythagoreio

The Great Temple of Hera in Herion, Samos was the first of the three great Ionian Temples, from the 6 C BC; the others are the beautiful Temple of Apollo at Didyma and the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus; one of Wonders of the Ancient World. (refer blog 2015 Footsteps of Alexander the Great; Turkey). 

Dedications along the sacred way to the sanctuary of Hera


remains of the enormous Great Temple of Hera

Vathy, the Capital of Samos, has a fascinating museum containing the original finds from the sanctuary of Hera, as well as interesting examples of trade goods in the ancient Greek world.

one of a pair of 5.5m Kouros found in the site of ancient sanctuary of Hera

We were also very fortunate to get a sneak peek of the restoration of the Evpalinos Tunnel.  It was built in 524 BC by the Tyrant Polycrates to secure water for the City of Phythagoreio (then called Samos), then the capital of the island. It is actually two tunnels, a 1034 m long aqueduct tunnel and service tunnel, cut into the mountain at a precise gradient to allow water to flow from the other side of the mountain.  It was used as a hiding place from pirates during medieval times.

Next stop Leros…

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