Temperature in May: 23°C high; 17°C low
Season: spring
Travel time from UK: 4 hours 15 minutes
Time difference: GMT +2

Think of the Greek Islands and think of whitewashed stone villages illuminated against the blue Aegean, ancient ruins and tiny little fishing villages. The Dodecanese islands, a chain of 12 larger islands (Rhodes is the best known of them) and lots of little ones, are all these clichés and more. For a real taste of Greek life, the volcanic island of Nisyros is wonderfully welcoming and a haven for artists. Symi, half an hour from the Turkish coast, has Michelin stars and is glamorously old school, Kastellorizo inspired the likes of Pink Floyd and Patmos has incredible Byzantine architecture, or if you can’t settle on one, go island hopping on the Calypso.

Sustainable travel tip: Reaching Rhodes without boarding a plane is possible, but you’ll need to be dedicated. Probably the simplest way is to take the Eurostar to Paris, followed by a TGV to Munich (seven hours), and from here the overnight Lisinski sleeper train to Zagreb. Next day, take a train to Belgrade (seven hours), and spend a night and day in the Serbian capital. An overnight train will then take you to Thessaloniki, from where you can enjoy a very scenic journey on an InterCity train to Athens (four hours). Finally, an overnight ferry sails you to Rhodes. Now, here’s the catch: the sleeper to Thessaloniki only operates mid-June to mid-September. See the brilliant Seat61.com for an alternative route that involves a second ferry and more train changes.

Where to stay: Melenos Lindos, for decorative wooden ceilings, Ottoman-inspired hand-painted tiles, raised wooden sleeping platforms with elaborate carved woodwork, and mirror frames inlaid with mother of pearl. At the terrace bar and restaurant (which serves seasonal Greek food), a vine-covered pergola is threaded with tiny lanterns. For pure, Greek Island relaxation we love this Airbnb with a private pool.

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