A Mothership-Kayaking Adventure in the Dodecanese Islands
After lots of taste-testing, early morning swims, paddles along rugged coastlines and forays into gorgeous white stone villages we have created an unforgettable mothership kayaking journey into Greece’s Eastern Aegean — one of Earth’s most stylish and stunning places.
These islands are geologically and historically diverse — each one feels like its own individual, with an ancient and complex history. Encounter the amazing blend of architectural styles and cultural leave-behinds: Classic Greek and Roman ruins, Crusaders castles, grandiose public buildings from the Italian era, and peasant villages where time stands still.
Based on personal experience, not all dates are created equal when it comes to the Aegean. We’ve chosen a time of year when there are fewer tourists and the weather has cooled off from its summer high, but the ocean is still warm — so it feels like we have the place (and all its wonders) to ourselves.
Our adventure begins on Rhodes Island, in its medieval Old Town. We’ve chosen to stay in a stunning boutique hotel steeped in history: dating back to the 15th Century, it was once a Knight’s residence and has now been painstakingly restored. Then we board our faithful mothership, a gorgeous classic gulet. With her experienced and friendly crew at the helm, we navigate the waters of the exquisite Dodecanese Islands in comfort and style.
By kayak and SUP we explore the remote nooks and crannies of this rugged coastline, pausing to lie on beaches or swim in the warm emerald water. On foot, we follow goat paths to ancient ruins, then rest on the shady porches of tavernas, sipping ouzo and savoring Mediterranean fare with the locals.
And of course, the best moment of all: clinking glasses of chilled Greek wine aboard our lovely mothership as the sunset humbles us with its beauty.
Kayak Greece is a stylish adventure that takes you through the beautiful, remote Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea, and deep into Mediterranean culture and history. Each island has its own special character and wonderful coastlines and bays to explore by kayak. You paddle, SUP and swim in waters warmed by a long summer, wander through the narrow lanes of ancient villages, savor local delicacies in the shade of grape vines and bougainvillea, and relax aboard a gorgeous mothership. This is Greece at its very best!
We meet on Rhodes Island, in one of Europe’s most magnificently preserved medieval towns. After settling into our boutique hotel, a beautifully restored 15th century mansion, we wander along timeless cobblestone lanes to a special restaurant for our welcome dinner.
We have a walking tour of Rhodes Old Town in the morning, and then some time explore on our own before boarding our mothership in the late afternoon.
Day 3 – 9
Rather than set a precise itinerary we let our whims and the weather plot the course. Some of the islands we visit are as follows:
Kalki – A huge castle of the Knights of St. John dominates this small island, and is well worth the hike. We also explore some of Kalki’s bays and beaches by kayak.
Symi – Sometimes described as ‘the island the rich and famous are trying to keep secret! It has a beautiful steep-sided harbour surrounded by grand Italian villas from earlier prosperity derived from shipbuilding and sponge fishing.
Nissyros – This circular island is far more lush and green than its neighbours, yet has a live bubbling, steaming volcanic crater in its centre. It also boasts a Knights’ castle and other ancient ruins.
Tilos – One of the less visited islands of the region. Here dwarf elephants standing 4 ft at the shoulder thrived until 4000 years ago. This of course caught our attention and we see their remains at the island’s only museum.
This is just a sample! We’ll keep our options open and allow the magic to unfold.
In the morning we disembark our mothership in Rhodes Harbor. After bidding farewell to our crew and our newfound friends, we transfer to the airport for homeward or onward flights.
Please note: this itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.
We think of our itineraries as melodies: they have a beginning and an end, a certain arc, dramatic highlights and a few surprises. We like to improvise, to adapt to the mood of our guests or to circumstances that arise — an invitation to a traditional wedding, say, or a local ethnic festival…
Crafting beautiful, harmonious trips with delightful twists is our trade mark and passion.
What is so special about Greece?
Ah, let us count the ways! The islands we explore are spectacular – each one with its own special landscapes and character. Add to that the astonishing layers of ancient history that we literally paddle by and/or hike to: all set in a quintessentially Mediterranean landscape dotted with pines and groves of olives, figs, lemons and pomegranates. The warmth and hospitality of the Greek people is unparalleled, and their cuisine is fabulous: we wager that by the end of the trip you’ll be hooked on Greek breakfasts of fresh yogurt drizzled with local honey, free range boiled eggs, tomato salad, olives and pastries. And then there is lunch and dinner and…. oh, did we mention Greek coffee and delicious local wines? To burn off the calories we paddle, SUP, swim and walk – and there is always the option of relaxing aboard our luxurious private yacht, and watching this wonderful part of the world go by.
How do I get there?
You fly to Rhodes Airport, which you can reach from London and other European hubs.
What are the physical activities on the trip and what level of fitness do I need?
A reasonable level of fitness is required. Typically, we have two kayak excursions a day, each for approximately one and a half to two and a half hours. We have a cultural walking tour in Rhodes Old Town, as well as some hiking in the islands over easy to medium terrain. In our protected anchorages we can swim from the mothership, and try stand up paddle boarding on the two SUPs we will have along.
I'm more into physical activity than my travelling partner, is that a problem?
One of the beauties of Hidden Places trips is that they offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of activities. If one of you isn’t so keen on kayaking, or if you just feel like taking a break, you can relax on the yacht and enjoy the spectacular scenery as you sail to our rendezvous point.
I'm a vegetarian, is that a problem?
Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on your dietary preferences.
Do I need a visa?
No, but please ensure your passport is valid for 6 months after your entry date.
Do I need insurance?
Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance: make sure it will cover the Land Cost, not just the airfare in case you do have to cancel.
Do I need vaccinations?
Your routine vaccinations (tetanus/diphtheria, polio, etc.) should be up to date.
Are bugs a problem?
In general, not at all, however, it’s always worth having some insect repellent along with you on land.
What does the trip price cover?
Airport transfers on the first and last days of the trip, all cultural tour guiding and entrance fees, all accommodation, kayak guiding, instruction and equipment, all meals, and water.
What does the trip price not cover?
International and domestic flights, beverages except bottled drinking water, personal insurance and gratuities.
How can I access cash when I’m on the trip?
ATMs are readily available in Rhodes and most of the smaller harbours we visit. Please ensure you have a card with a 4-digit pin number.
What clothes and equipment will I need?
When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.
I’m travelling alone, is that a problem?
Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups, and usually go home with newfound friends. You can opt to share hotel rooms or you can request a single room for a Single Supplement. On board the mothership single accommodation is subject to availability and will require a separate supplement.
Can I talk to someone who has previously travelled with you?
Of course. Just ask and we will be happy to put you in touch with one of our Hidden Places guests.
What a dream come true – to experience travel and kayaking with you aboard a gorgeous mothership, with fascinating companions! I have so many memories I will treasure for years. Thank you for creating these amazing travel experiences for kindred spirits.
Another wonderful trip filled with laughter and joy. You always create an amazing experience. The boat and crew were wonderful, catering to all our needs. I can’t wait for the next adventure!
The Dodecanese: fantastic textures, coastlines, tavernas and crystal clear warm but refreshing water. All fortified and ferried by our amazing mothership crew!
Thank you for an awesome adventure in Greece. Your trips are always very special and I feel so lucky to be with you and all the guests.
You’ve done it again! Your wonderful spirit brought together this boatload of very special characters, all gifted, cultivated and fun. We will go anywhere with you. Keep finding us more Hidden Places!
A relaxing time with outdoor exercise and a chance to meet new travelling friends. We loved the warm seas, blue skies, wonderful old architecture and funky coastal villages. The boat and the crew were lovely and we had such a fine variety of foods.
The best birthday in years! Thank you for another special adventure.
From US $5450 per person
Private: May through Sep
1 night hotel
8 nights mothership
10 guests maximum
Kayaking, SUP, swimming, hikes, cultural excursions