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The Dodecanese Islands

September 2019 | Tour Director: Andrew Wilson




• Join this enchanting archaeology tour taking in the Greek islands of Samos, Patmos, Kos and Rhodes

• Delve deeper into the islands’ classical history during visits to important archaeological sites and museums

• Explore a range of fascinating historical sites, including the Cave of the Apocalypse on Patmos, where Saint John is rumoured to have written the Book of Revelation


The Dodecanese island complex, located in the southeastern Aegean sea, encompasses a dozen large islands – with the term Dodecanese translating as ‘twelve islands’ – and many smaller ones. Our tour will explore these islands’ history and the array of important archaeological finds on Samos, Patmos, Kos and Rhodes.

We will begin with a visit to the Acropolis Museum in Athens, established to house findings from the neighbouring Acropolis and boasting striking views of the Parthenon. From Athens, our tour will transfer to the island of Samos, ancient home to the mathematician Pythagoras, the astronomer Aristarchus and the philosopher Epicurus. Formerly an important centre of trade in the Aegean, Samos once boasted a major naval force. 

The Pythagoreion is the main archaeological site located in Samos’s picturesque town, and, jointly with the nearby site of Heraion, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will explore archaeological museums, the sanctuaries dedicated to Hera, and the famous Tunnel of Efpalinion – over 1000 metres in length, and once part of an ancient aqueduct. Lykourgos Castle, meanwhile, located on a hill close to Pythagoreio, was built in the 19th century out of the remains of ancient monuments.

On the sacred island of Patmos, we will explore the Cave of the Apocalypse, the site believed to be the place where Saint John received the visions that he then recorded in the Book of Revelation. The fortress-like 11th century monastery of Agios Ioannis overlooks the whitewashed houses of the hilltop capital, Chora.

Kos has a long and interesting history: it has been continuously inhabited since the early Helladic period, and was the birthplace of the physician Hippocrates. The island is home to the Asklepieion, an ancient medical centre dating from the 3rd century BC, built for Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine, following Hippocrates’s death. In Kos, we will also explore the old town with its Ottoman mosques, and view the Art Deco buildings that speak of the island’s Italian occupation in the 20th century.

A site near the beautiful village of Kefalos, the first capital city of Kos, will be our location for a scenic lunch following a visit to the Antimachia, a 15th century castle. Before transferring to our final stop, the island of Rhodes, we will explore the Neratzia Fortress on Kos, a well-preserved castle dating from the medieval period, built by the Knights Hospitaller.

In Rhodes, we will explore the medieval town and the Acropolis, which dates from the classical Greek period and contains the remains of an ancient stadium. We will finish our tour with an excursion to Lindos: once three powerful cities of ancient Rhodes.

We will stay throughout in hotels of three and four-star quality.

Please note the itinerary below represents a guide to what we hope to offer, and some details may be subject to change once the full price and dates are released in the summer of 2018.


This tour will be led by Andrew Wilson, BA, BD, FSAScot. Andrew studied archaeology then theology before working overseas as an archaeologist, specialising in Roman frontier systems and Byzantine mosaics. Andrew is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Classical Association of Scotland, as well as a member of the Hadrianic Society. He has led many tours for ACE in the Greco-Roman world, and will be taking this brand new tour of the Dodecanese Islands for the first time in 2018.


September 2019
DAYS | 12


 Make an enquiry for your departure now.








Andrew Wilson, BA, BD, FSASCOT

Andrew studied archaeology then theology before working overseas as an archaeologist, specialising in Roman frontier systems and Byzantine mosaics.

He has led many tours for ACE in the Greco-Roman world, and also several in Britain, with a particular emphasis on the archaeology of his native Scotland.

Andrew is a member of the Society for Libyan Studies and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Classical Association of Scotland. He is also a member of the Hadrianic Society.

Full biography and other tours >







Depart London Heathrow on British Airways for Athens. Transfer to Hotel Herodion for overnight stay. Introductory talk.



Morning visit on foot to the new Acropolis Museum. Transfer to Samos by air, and continue to Hotel Fyto Aqua Blue for three nights. Evening talk: The Ancient Sanctuaries on Samos and Kos.



Morning visits to local sites. By coach to Lykourgos Castle and archaeological museum, followed by free time in picturesque Pythagoreion.



Visits to Heraion and the Efpalinion Orygma (tunnel). Continue to Vathy (capital) for archaeological museum. Evening talk: St John and Patmos.



Depart by ferry to Patmos. By coach to Chora for Cave of the Apocalypse, and to view Chora mansion houses and the fortified monastery of Agios Ioannis. Overnight stay at Hotel Skala, Patmos.



Depart by ferry for Kos: local visits, walk in old town to view Ottoman mosques and Art Deco buildings of the Italian occupation. Transfer to Hotel Alexandra for three nights.



Further visits in Kos including ancient agora, harbour, Casa Romana and archaeological museum.



Whole day excursion to the Asklepieion and Antimachia (15th century fortress). Continue to remote Kefalos area for scenic lunch (not included).



Morning: visit to Neratzia Fortress followed by free time. Transfer by coach to harbour and depart by ferry for Rhodes. Transfer to Hotel Plaza for three nights.



Visits in Rhodes medieval town on foot. Evening talk: Rhodes – from Colonists to Crusaders.



Rhodes Acropolis (with stadium) and Lindos (town founded by the Dorians and boasting layers of classical and medieval history).



Depart Rhodes on Aegean Air for London Heathrow via Athens.


 Full information, including dates and price, will be available in summer 2018.

Contact the ACE office now to register your interest.