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2024 Patmos and the Dodecanese Islands

The islands of St. John and St. Paul

Welcome to a ten day, three island voyage, with a five-night stay on Patmos, to uncover rich layers of biblical and historical significance to mankind. This chain of 12 islands has witnessed time spent by two of the apostles, yet their beauty belies the events that occurred here. We include flights, accommodation close to the heart of the historical old towns, all excursions, most meals, cruising between islands and many extras as well as time to enjoy the sparkling blue waters, scenery, time with the locals and time to contemplate. Come join us on this wonderful journey as we walk and sail these beautiful and historical islands.

Patmos Island is globally known for its religious legacy, as it is the place where John the Evangelist (aka John the Theologian) wrote the Book of Revelation. In 1981, Greece declared Patmos a “Sacred Island'', and in 1999 UNESCO included The Historic Centre (Chora) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse in its World Heritage Site List. We spend five nights on Patmos with two days where you can reflect, retreat, take in the local atmosphere and join your fellow companions for dinner on this special island.

The Order of St. John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523 and set about transforming the city into a stronghold. It subsequently came under Turkish and Italian rule. With the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Great Hospital and the Street of the Knights, the Upper Town is one of the most beautiful urban ensembles of the Gothic period. In the Lower Town, Gothic architecture coexists with mosques, public baths and other buildings dating from the Ottoman period.

According to Greek mythology, Kos is the sacred land of Asclepius, the god of healing. Archaeological findings prove that the history of Kos starts from prehistoric times. The Minoans settled around the 14th century BC, followed by the Achaeans and, a few centuries later, the Dorians came and built the ancient city of Kos. The Persians conquered the island during the 5th century BC but were defeated by the Athenians who took control of the island during the battle of Salamina. In 460 BC Hippocrates, the father of Medicine and founder of the first School of Medicine, was born here.

Itinerary

  1. Travel to Rhodes (D, DR)

    Morning: meet your group leader and check-in for your direct flight from London Gatwick to Rhodes.

    Afternoon: on arrival meet your Local Guide and transfer to your hotel close to the walled centre of Rhodes Old Town for a three-night stay.

    Evening: get to know your fellow island hoppers over a welcome drink followed by dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  2. Rhodes Old Town and the Knight’s Palace (B, L, D)

    Morning: join your local guide for a walking tour through the St. John Gate into Rhodes Old Town with its medieval buildings from the Byzantine Empire adorned by a maze of cobbled alleys. See the Holy Catholic Cathedral and visit the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John and Statue of Diagoras. We offer a short optional worship in a local church.

    Afternoon: after a fresh fish meze lunch dig deep into Rhodes past and visit the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus, the Acropolis of Rhodes and the magnificent Olympic Stadium. Finish in the mid-afternoon and enjoy free time to wander at leisure or return to the hotel to enjoy its facilities.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel.

    Total walking distance 6 km

    This walking is all flat in the morning in Rhodes Town. The afternoon sightseeing will be by coach.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  3. Tsambika Monastery & Lindos (B, L, D)

    Morning: drive to Tsambika Monastery, situated on a hill 300 metres above sea level, with magnificent views and its icon of the Virgin Mary that is said to have miraculously moved location. Here we join together in worship. After, continue for views of Feraklos Castle, located where there once stood an ancient Acropolis. The castle was used by pirates before the Knights of St. John ousted them, reinforced the castle and used it as a prison.

    Afternoon: included lunch together in a local taverna before visiting Lindos with its whitewashed houses, pebble paved courtyards, narrow alleys and buildings influenced by Byzantine, medieval, Arab and Rhodian architecture. Apart from the beautiful acropolis one of the main attractions of Lindos is the old theatre of the town, carved from a rock, and the Doric sanctuary of Athena Lindia. St. Paul preached in Lindos in AD 58 and the bay is said to have been where he landed. After, enjoy free time in this beautiful setting.

    Evening: dinner in a local taverna by the port.

    Walking distance 

    Walking today is little in distance but at both sights due to their promontory locations it will require a number of steps that will need to be negotiated.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  4. Cruising to the Holy Island of Patmos (B, L, D)

    Morning: board the ferry service and enjoy the views as you sail between the Dodecanese Islands calling at other island ports on route whilst getting to enjoy the multiple island scenery.

    Afternoon: arrive in Patmos’ main port and town of Skala. In 1981, Greece declared Patmos a “Sacred Island'', and in 1999 UNESCO included The Historic Centre (Chora) with the Monastery of St. John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse in its World Heritage Site list. In Skala we stay in a small  boutique hotel in Skala that is unspoilt and has a lovely friendly family. Take time to relax and freshen up is this unspoilt less-trodden corner of the world that is your home for the next five nights.

    Evening: take a short stroll together for dinner in a local taverna.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  5. In the footsteps of St. John (B, L, D)

    Morning: walk to visit The Cave of the Apocalypse, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2006. Seven silver lamps have been hung in the cave of which the largest is above the place where St. John slept using a rock as a pillow that still exists in the cave. Presently, a monk and/or spiritual leader sits on the rock and tells the story of the Apocalypse and how the book was written and we join together in worship. The cave has a few niches in the stone from where John rested his head and another from his hand, in the shallow cave. Also, a triple fissure can be seen from where Saint John heard the voice of God and which represented the Holy Trinity.

    Afternoon: continue to The Monastery of St. John the Theologian, set like a crown on top of the settlement of Chora, is the island’s landmark. Its construction started in 1088, when the Byzantine emperor Alexios Comnenus the First granted the whole island to St. Christodoulos to organize a settlement for monastic purposes. It was erected over the ruins of the ancient Temple of Goddess Diane (Artemis). It is a building in the form of a medieval citadel with walls and battlements. It is decorated with fresco paints of an exceptional art belonging to various periods.

    Evening: dinner in a local taverna.

    Total walking distance 11km

    Today's walking is considered easy to moderate but steps will be required to reach the monastery. Transport is available in the afternoon to return to the hotel rather than walk.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  6. Discovering Patmos (B, L, D)

    Morning: follow your guide on a gentle stride through the northern part of this Holy Island. Starting with your home in Skala and nearby Campos, visit some lesser-known churches, enjoy the local scenery pick oranges from the trees (when in season), meet the locals’ and sample local produce.

    Afternoon: Patmos is known for pastries so we enjoy a local lunch with dessert that offers some of the finest delicious treats from fresh local produce that the island has to offer.

    Evening: dinner in a local taverna.

    Total walking distance 14km

    A moderate level of walking at a medium pace taking in the local scenery. At lunch transport will be arranged for anyone wanting to return to their hotel eliminating some of the distance involved.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  7. Free day to contemplate and relax on Patmos (B, D, DR)

    A day to sit back, retreat if you so wish and cherish your surroundings. Relax by the hotel pool, swim in the clear waters of Aegean Sea on a nearby beach. Lunch is at your own expense today so sit with locals in a nearby taverna or enjoy a walk or a friendly chat with the friendly hotel family.

    Evening: dinner in a local taverna.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  8. Free to retreat and relax on Patmos (B, D, DR)

    Contemplate on all that you have seen, the stories of history where you are standing and have a day to take it all in. Take yourself back to sites you have visited to absorb the energy in your own time, wander the beaches, enjoy lunch (at your own expense today) in a local taverna or simply relax in the hotel.

    Evening: gala dinner in a local taverna with live music and drinks.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  9. Cruising from Patmos to Kos (B, L, D, DR)

    Morning: a late morning departure for the ferry to Kos. The crossing is around three hours and some services may call in at Leros and Kalymnos giving you further glimpses of unspoilt Dodecanese Islands.

    Afternoon: arrive in Kos the third largest of the Dodecanese Islands and birth place of Hippocrates.  Take the short transfer to your hotel close to the heart of Kos Old Town for a one-night stay. Take a stroll or relax and enjoy the hotels pool for the remainder of the afternoon.

    Evening: farewell drinks gathering followed by dinner in a local taverna.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  10. Historical Kos - evening departure for the UK (B, L)

    You will check out from your rooms prior to the walking tour. Luggage storage is provided and the hotel pool area provides shower and changing facilities should you wish to change and shower prior to the flight home. Do note that if ferry times allow some of todays itinerary may be operated on day nine on your arrival in Kos.

    Morning: walking tour of the Old Town of Kos where you will see its history, imprinted on its architecture and evident in its dozens of monuments and sites, is alive and well. Kos Town is lively with its countless souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants, a harmonious intermingling of past and present. The entirely pedestrianized Old Town begins at Freedom Square and ends in Diagoras Square. Sights today will include the Castle of the Knights of St. John, the commandery, Tree of Hippocrates and Roman Mansion.

    Afternoon: enjoy an included lunch and then you are free to further wander the lanes of the old-town, take a boat trip for the cooling sea breeze or simply relax and enjoy a glass of wine, 'cheers!' Or  as the locals say ‘yamas!’

    Evening: bid a fond farewell to your new-found friends and local guide and depart for Kos Airport for your direct flight back to the UK.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

Essential Information

Included excursions & walks

  • Scenic ferry cruises between each island
  • Rhodes: guided walk of Rhodes Old Town
  • Rhodes: visit of the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
  • Rhodes: excursion to the Temple of Athena and Zeus, Acropolis of Rhodes and Olympic Stadium
  • Rhodes: excursion to Tsambika Monastery, Feraklos Castle & Lindos
  • Patmos: visit of The Cave of the Apocalypse
  • Patmos: visit of The Monastery of St. John the Theologian
  • Patmos: guided walking tour of villages, churches and local life
  • Kos: guided walking tour of Kos Old Town
  • Kos: visit of the ancient castle of The Knights of St. John
  • Kos: visit of the Platanos (Tree) of Hippocrates

Optional excursions 

None! – all excursions and extras as listed above and below are included

Included extras

  • Hotel Porterage
  • Personal audio guiding system
  • All entrance fees
  • All hotel, guide, driver and restaurant gratuities
  • Services of a knowledgeable Local Guide on each island
  • Optional worship with our travelling Tour Leader

Included meals & drinks

Meals: all breakfasts, all evening meals and eight lunches are included. Breakfasts will be buffets in each hotel. Lunches will be six in local tavernas and two may be packed lunches on sailing days between islands, depending on sailing schedules. Evening meals, two will be in your hotels, most will be in local tavernas with a special gala dinner (Greek style!) with live music on Patmos.

Drinks: welcome and farewell drinks as well as water, tea and coffee with all evening meals and other drinks on the gala dinner evening in Patmos. All other drinks will be at your own expense.

Our team in Patmos & the Dodecanese Islands

Each day will also be escorted by our knowledgeable local guide who will also offer local advice, hints and tips for you to get maximum enjoyment of your time with us. Also, our dedicated McCabe Faith leader is there solely for our guests and will arrange optional worship. They will escort all excursions and be available for any queries. On two days on Patmos (if you so wish) you are left to retreat, reflect, swim or wander the island and then join together in the evening for optional worship and dinner with your fellow pilgrims.

Your journey

Flights are available from London Gatwick direct to Rhodes, returning direct from Kos. Flights are with easyJet and include a full 23 kilo luggage allowance and allocated seat. Regional flights to London Gatwick from some UK airports can be arranged at a supplement. An overnight stop at Gatwick may be required which we can assist you with. Please enquire at time of booking.

Gatwick

Outbound

Flight EZY 8227 departs Gatwick: 07:50      arrives Rhodes: 13:50

Return

Flight EZY 8236 departs Kos: 22:00             arrives Gatwick: 00:05 (next day)

Flight times are subject to change and confirmed with your final paperwork. Flights may require a higher deposit to secure seats at time of booking.

 

Your hotels

RHODES: AQUARIUM VIEW HOTEL (4*) - Four-night stay

The 4 star Aquarium View Hotel is located in the northernmost part of the island, just a 10 minute stroll from the new and historic Old Town of Rhodes, and provides high quality services and amenities to its guests. The unbeatable location of the hotel is what makes the difference. Near a beautiful, fully organized beach, it offers the advantage of a magical sea view, the rejuvenating Mediterranean breeze and the chance to visit the best preserved medieval city in Greece.

Hotel facilities: the hotel has an outdoor pool with pool bar for a pre-dinner drink or cocktail. There is an on-site mini-market for all your needs and in in-house laundry service.

Your hotel room: double or twin rooms newly renovated with simple modern furnishings. All rooms have air-conditioning/heating, balconies, fridge, satellite television, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities and complimentary WiFi.

Hotel bathrooms: are bath-tub with shower over the tub and provide soap, shampoo and shower gel. Ample towels are provided for bathroom and beach towels are available.

 

PATMOS: SKALA HOTEL (3* superior) - Five night stay

With a wonderfully welcoming family atmosphere Skala is a firm favourite with McCabe pilgrims. Set in a garden of Bougainvilleas and just 50 metres from Skala Beach and its restaurants, bars and shops.

Hotel facilities: there is a restaurant, pool bar and a seawater pool. The hotel also has a small air-conditioned conference room for worship.

Your hotel room: double or twin rooms with air-conditioning/heating, balconies, fridge, satellite television, hairdryer and complimentary WiFi.

Hotel bathrooms: are with bath-tub with shower over the tub. The hotel provides soap, shampoo and shower gel. Ample towels are provided for bathroom and pool and beach towels are available

 

KOS: ALEXANDRA HOTEL (4*) - One night stay

Kazouli Square and the archaeological museum are a short stroll from the Alexandra Hotel, the harbour area just 200 metres with plenty of shops and tavernas within walking distance and the beaches are just 400 metres away.

Hotel facilities: the hotel has an indoor pool with a fully equipped gym and sauna. The hotel has a comfortable bar and lounge for pre- and post-dinner drinks and chats

Your hotel room: double or twin rooms with air-conditioning/heating, balcony, fridge, satellite television, hairdryer and complimentary WiFi.

Hotel bathrooms: are with bath-tub or shower. The hotel provides soap, shampoo and shower gel. Ample towels are provided for bathroom and pool and beach towels are available.

 

 

Practical information

Entry requirements

British Citizen and EU Citizen Passport holders can currently enter Greece freely with no restrictions or other documentation required. Stays within the EU can be up to 90 days (can be spread over multiple visits) within any 180-day period.

Please note your passport must be valid for three months after your return from Greece.

Full details of entry requirements and any required vaccinations will be detailed in your final paperwork 14 days before departure.

For the latest and most up to date travel advice including entry requirements please consult the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office travel advice website.

www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Health & wellbeing

For travel within the EU you should ensure that you have the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is free of charge.  You can apply for the GHIC card by calling 0191 218 1999 or applying on line at…

www.nhs.uk/ghic

The level of cover offered by the GHIC card varies by country visited and is only applicable in state-run health facilities. In some countries coverage may just be a partial contribution.

Adequate insurance cover will be required for all hospital emergencies and doctors’ visits.

Climate

In the Dodecanese Islands the average daily maximum temperature during your stay should be as below. Coastal winds can make the temperature seem cooler and evenings will see temperatures drop by up to 10 degrees.

May 18 - 25; September 21 - 28; October 18 - 25

Clothing

Dress is cool and casual throughout your time in Greece. You may wish to take one or two smarter items for the evenings. Casual clothing is recommended in the day-time with evenings being smart/casual. As this tour requires a certain amount of gentle to intermediate walking, we suggest you take a pair of lined shoes or boots with decent grip. Sports shoes or trainers are fine as well as walking boots. It is advisable to bring just a couple of warmer items for the evenings as well as coastal walks where the wind may reduce the temperatures.

Mobility

There is a certain amount of walking, light undulations with just one or two steep sections but a number of stairs involved on a daily basis during your time in Greece so please make sure you pack comfy footwear for this so that you are prepared. Your Local Guide will keep you updated on a daily basis with what to expect the following day. If you are finding it difficult to keep up then please make sure you tell your Local Guide who can help you to find places to rest and relax and then you can re-join the group at a later stage. On two or three days, for those who wish we reduce the walking by having transport available for those who wish to return to the hotel early.

Some streets in towns and villages that you will visit will be cobbled. We suggest you take a pair of comfortable shoes with good grips or trainers.  You must be prepared to be on your feet for up to 90 minutes without the necessity to sit down and walk up to three miles unaided. Hiking sticks are fine.

The McCabe Educational Trust

The McCabe Educational Trust is an independent registered charity with the aim of helping inspiring people we meet on some of our pilgrimages. As ‘the haves’ encounter the ‘have nots’ the Trust has become a practical tool for one to help the other.

McCabe Pilgrimages invite all travellers to become partners in this work. A £20 voluntary donation to the Trust’s work is added to every pilgrim’s invoice and all money raised in this way is given in full to the projects the Trust supports. This scheme is voluntary and confidential with nobody put under any pressure to participate.

Travel insurance

Ensuring that your holidays are appropriately protected is one of our main priorities. That’s why we have specifically chosen Holiday Extras as our *preferred travel insurance provider to ensure that you are protected before and whilst you are travelling. Holiday Extras offer McCabe Travel guests favourable rates for single trip, multi-trip and annual policies.

For more information or to obtain a quote click below for their website

https://www.holidayextras.com/travel-insurance

Or call them on 0800 083 3551 to speak to a friendly advisor.

Please quote AG628 upon calling to receive the best rates

Full financial security

All money paid to McCabe is fully secure. Holidays including flights are covered by our ATOL license from the Civil Aviation Authority, and holidays without flights are protected by our membership of the ABTOT bonding scheme. If a pilgrimage is cancelled, for instance through lack of numbers or for political considerations, McCabe will promptly refund all monies paid.

AITO Quality Statement

McCabe Pilgrimages is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages high standards of quality and service. McCabe abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter.

You can read McCabe reviews on the AITO website here

Read reviews

Dates

Our Programme Tour Leader Tour Dates Availability
Islands of St John from Manchester and Gatwick Patmos & Dodecanese Islands Departing From Gatwick Prices from £2499 pp Dr Natalie K Watson 07/05/2024 for 10 days Download brochure Book now Make an enquiry
Islands of St John from Manchester and Gatwick Patmos & Dodecanese Islands Departing From Gatwick Prices from £2499 pp The Revd Prebendary Angela Berners-Wilson 01/10/2024 for 10 days Download brochure Book now Make an enquiry

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