Yacht charter  Sailboats & Catamaran charter east mediterranean Dodecanese islands  Greece  

DODECANESE ISLANDS - Sailing with a sailing monohull or a catamaran

The eastern Greek islands of the Dodecanese are strung like a string of pearls off the Turkish coast.

They were relatively unknown and untouched until a few years ago, and it was only with the advent of nautical yacht charter tourism that the islands of the Dodecanese in the southeast Aegean (unfortunately) began to receive more attention.

Many bays on smaller, lesser-known islands are now heavily frequented by yachts, especially Turkish motor yachts and sailors as well as gulets that take day trips across the border.

The Greek Coast Guard is therefore increasingly patrolling the bays and carrying out checks.


Refugees immigrating illegally to Europe have been crossing the border between Turkey and Greece for many years.

The border was little monitored and paid attention to, unless Turkey and Greece were arguing about some island or oil reserves.

This was never or rarely a problem for sailors, on the contrary, they enjoyed the freedom of movement (which was in the gray area) when crossing borders (although of course officially illegal for tourists), and many skippers simply sailed between the two in boats, yachts, catamarans or motor yachts - illegally Greek islands and the Turkish seaside resorts back and forth.

Formally forbidden, in practice very beautiful and culturally varied, and actually that's exactly how it should be...but politics and economical problems as well as the refugee situation disrupted that illusion.

Since dramatic scenes and fatal accidents occurred during the wave of refugees in 2015/2016, whereupon a refugee agreement was reached between the EU and Turkey, the border has been much more heavily guarded.

Nevertheless, refugees continue to try to cross from the Turkish coast to the Greek islands, especially where the distances are very small.

Lonely bays on the east side of the greek islands should therefore be avoided and under no circumstances should you spend the night there!

Some inhabited bays or villages on the coastlines of the islands are prepared and have security and surveillance, so it seems to be likely safe to drop the anchor or use one of the buoys in the bays. 
If you leave the boat for dinner, lock the doors and windows.

Night trips between the Greek islands of the Dodecanese and the Turkish coast are also not recommended!


The most famous islands of the Dodecanese are Rhodes, Kos and Samos.

In addition, the beautiful Symi is a mustsee and those interested in religion will also be familiar with the “Holy Island of Patmos”.

These and the other islands of the Dodecanese are explicitly described on their own page, there are tips and tricks for anchoring, mooring and Greek tavern culture!

The Eastern Greek Dodecanese Islands from north to south:

Samos, Phournoi (archipelago), Arki, Lipsi, Patmos, Leros, Kalymnos, Pserimos, Kos, Nisyros, Tilos, Symi, Chalki, Rhodes, Karpathos, Kastellorizon and Astipalaiia.

Although "Dodeka" = twelve and so "Dodecanese" means the "twelve" islands, there are also some smaller islets, each of which is subordinate to the nearby administrations (like a district in our country).

Yachts and catamarans can be chartered on Samos, Kalymnos, but especially from the marina in Kos and also from Rhodes.


If you see refugees in a boat approcahing to you or from east to west direction, you should immediately call the coast guard on CH 16 and request help for them, stating the exact position and number of people in need of help!

Do not take anyone on board - even in an apparent emergency!
Let out your life raft and the dinghy, provide drinks and perhaps some food and/or a life jacket.

The Coast Guard or a boat from the FRONTEX troops is always there quickly!

You should NEVER pick up someone and drive with them to the next port This will immediately end you in prison as you will then be suspected and accused of smuggling people!

Greek fishermen have already been imprisoned because it was assumed that this was a protective claim!

Horrible situation and affecting international sea laws, but it is suggested to care for own safety first - keep the legal situation in mind and as well, that not all people seemingly in need of help are "nice" and thankfull!!