Wine tourism in the Southern Aegean


There are numerous possibilities for wine tourism in the Southern Aegean, as its consists of the island clusters of the Dodecanese and the Cyclades, two entities with clear differences in landscape, spatial arrangement and architecture, products and cuisine, and even in dialect and the sound of speech, which draw the attention of interested visitors. Transfer by boat among the islands in each cluster is frequent and increases in summer, as does the connection between the two island groups, thus significantly facilitating wine tourism in the Southern Aegean.

Grape growing and wine production is a common activity on all of the islands, regardless of size, while on some of them, it has become quite organised, chiefly in Rhodes of the Dodecanese and Santorini of the Cyclades. These are the most attractive options for wine tourism in the Southern Aegean.

Kos, which is the third largest of the Dodecanese islands, is the first stop for wine tourism in the Southern Aegean. After an extensive decline which almost led to their disappearance, the revived vineyards of Kos now produce Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) Kos wines. The town of Kos, where the archaeological museum is located, is essentially an archaeological area with many monuments, such as the ancient agora, the Roman odeion and the Fortress of Neratzia. It is also well worth visiting the Asklepeion of Kos, just west of the town.

Wine tourism in the Southern Aegean continues in Rhodes, which is the largest island in the Dodecanese and fourth largest island in Greece. The Rhodes vineyards are located mainly on the slopes of Mt. Atavyros and produce the dry red and white PDO Rhodes wines and the sweet white PDO Rhodes Muscat wines. Starting with the city of Rhodes, with the walled-in medieval city, numerous monuments, such as the Palace of the Grand Master, the archaeological museum and the Rhodes Acropolis, the island features important archaeological locations: Ialysos, Kamiros, Lindos and the settlement of Vroulia opposite Prasonisi. Of course, no visitor comes to Rhodes without going to the valley of the butterflies, and rightly so. In the Dodecanese, there are some opportunities to try locally made wines in Leros and in Lipsi. Patmos, where the Monastery of St John the Divine is a world monument (Unesco), will soon also be on the wine list.

Wine tourism in the Southern Aegean continues in the Cyclades with the first stop in Tinos, where most of the vineyards are located in the centre of the island, in the Exomvourgo area. Panagia of Tinos (Our Lady of Tinos) is a church known throughout Greece to which on 15 August, on the feast day, thousands of visitors flock from all over the country.

Paros is the next island for wine tourism in the Southern Aegean. The Paros vineyards produce the PDO Paros white and red wines. The archaeological museum in Parikia highlights part of the extensive history of Paros. The church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani in Parikia is the best known monument on the island. A visit to Antiparos will prove very easy and very interesting.

Visits to vineyards and sampling locally made wines on the islands of Syros, Naxos, Milos, Sikinos, Anafi and Mykonos, from which one can also reach the Delos archaeological site, round off wine tourism in the Southern Aegean, where the most important destination is Santorini.