“Happy is the Man who before he dies has the good fortune to travel in the Aegean Sea. Nowhere else can one so easily pass from reality into dreamland.”, wrote Nikos Kazantzakis, the world-renown Greek writer, globetrotter and author of Zorba the Greek. He must have had these best Greek islands of the Dodecanese, in mind. The Greek Islands of Leros, Lipsi, Arki and Marathi are a paradise in the South Aegean Sea, ideal for families with babies, toddlers and kids of all ages!
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Leros Island: one of the best Greek island for kids in the Dodecanese
Leros is certainly the most beautiful and at the same time most unappreciated island of the Dodecanese. The positive outcome is that Leros was not invaded by mass tourism. It maintained the easy pace that turned it into the perfect place for family vacations. The island is mostly flat; it has beautiful towns and good food; the beaches are sandy and at street level, so you will not need to climb up and down for a swim with your toddlers on your shoulders and your arms full of toys; you will not come across hordes of tourists in the summer; neither will you feel that the place is deserted during the winter; you will be able to choose from a wide range of accommodations with direct access to sea and restaurants, but most importantly, you will be able to enjoy the warm Dodecanese weather that begins in April and continues through November, while during the “cold” months, the weather will never be too harsh.
Those interested in military history will love Leros. Even though tourist development has not really capitalized on the remains of Mussolini’s rule, the island is hiding treasures under its hills and in not easily perceived Italian outposts; at the bottom of its sea it holds the secrets of the WWII shipwrecks and all that the WWII important battle of Leros left behind. All this is certain to keep the interest of kids alive, especially of the ones who are old and strong enough to hike long distances and try scuba diving!
Those who love Greek music tradition will also fall in love with Leros! Three of the most famous and beautiful traditional Greek songs were “born” in Leros: “Bratsera” (a type of small boat), “Tzivaeri” (Turkish word for “precious”) and “Stou Aegeou ta Nisia” (In the Aegean Islands).
Lipsi Island: Authentic Aegean Paradise ideal for kids in the Dodecanese
Lipsi is this complex of 24 small islands, the largest of which is Lipso. Mythology has it that Lipso is the island of Calypso, the nymph that would bewitch people and make them always return to her island. It seems that in the last few years, she has enchanted many Italians, among others, who have ended up living there permanently. So, in Lipsi you will find both Aegean authenticity and Italian finesse.
Actually, Lipsi is an island for a family vacation par excellence and certainly among the best Greek islands to visit with kids in the Dodecanese. Everywhere around you will find children: older, younger, toddlers, you name it. Before you know it, local children will make friends with your kids and will include them in their company. The older ones will be taking care of the younger ones! Ideal!
Lipso: Delight for soul and palate
You will find open year-round many authentic taverns in Lipso. You will order ouzo and you will be served 5-6 dishes with meze’s while the octopus will be cooking on the grill, the scent tantalizing your appetite.
For breakfast try the local cheese puffs and the small breads with the local cheese filling at the bakery right behind the recently refurbished playground. Don’t leave Lipsi without trying the “krasotyri” (wine cheese) made at the Italian’s creamery up the hill from the town, as well as the local sweet wine.
You can easily spend all of your vacation at Lipso without leaving the port or the town. You will enjoy the essence of hospitality and everything will be at your arm’s length. The parents will enjoy the calmness and safety of the island while the kids will be playing carefree all day long. There is a super market for milk, fruit and vegetables; good taverns and restaurants with really homemade dishes; and swimming spots with the calmest waters. You would be missing out, though, if you reached as far as this and didn’t visit the Virgin Mary of the Charon. The icon symbolizes the process by which a mother’s utmost pain can be turned into salvation.
Daily Excursions to Nearby Dodecanese Islands & Islets
Archangelos (Archangel): One of its beaches is chock-full of beautiful shells that you can spend hours picking with your kids. It also has a fantastic little tavern that makes the tastiest fried cheese dish ever!
Patmos: From Lipsi there are boats daily to Patmos. It is just a 20- minute ride if you travel directly.
Arki, Marathi: During the summer months, you can hop on a boat for a day’s excursion tour to Arki, Marathi, Aspronisia and Makronisi.
Levitha-Kinaros: If your kids are too young, an excursion to Levitha and Kinaros may be too much for them. These islets are accessible only by private yacht or boat and the trip involves sailing in the open sea. Levitha has lace-like beaches and intricate fjord formations where you can anchor safely. The island is part of the Natura 2000 Network. Twelve persons, all members of the Kamposos family, live on the islet as contemporary Robinson Crusoe’s, raising goats, fishing, and selling their goods at Patmos and Leros. They run a small tavern and a few rooms-to-let. Kinaro, the second westernmost islet of the Dodecanese after Astypalaia, is located very close to Amorgos (one of the Cycladic Islands). Here, too, the residents are members of only one family. As the reproduction ground for two bird species at the brink of extinction (the Aegean seagull and the black or Eleonora’s falcon), Kinaros is a very important avifauna region.
- In principle, everything! These two Greek islands are the best to visit with kids in the Dodecanese.
- Leros beaches, where you can enjoy swimming almost throughout the year.
- Lipsi beaches; the seaside of Lipsi is simply extraordinary. All beaches are ideal for babies, with shallow waters and many seashells.
- Nikitas the Pediatrician in Leros. He is offering much needed and often crucial help to young and old. His presence on the island makes us feel safe and in good hands!
- In Lipsi everyone recycles. There are special bins for paper, plastic, metals, organic material, and glass.