The medieval Old Town, port of Mandraki, Acropolis of Lindos, ancient cities of Kamiros and Ialysos, Valley of the Butterflies… Rhodes has so many highlights, that one visit is never enough.
The landscape of this Dodecanese island has so much eye-catching beauty that it’s no wonder Rhodes is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Greece. This is where vast sandy beaches, clear waters, castles and ancient civilisations effortlessly mix with gourmet restaurants and traditional tavernas serving local delicacies.
Rhodes is a beautiful mosaic of experiences: the island of knights and the mythical Colossus of Rhodes, where Byzantines, Greeks, Venetians and Turks all left something to remember them by. Alongside luxury resorts are villages where women still bake bread in an outdoor wood-fired oven.
Things to do on Rhodes
Visit the Unesco-protected Old Town
One of the best-preserved medieval settlements in the world, the Old Town of Rhodes has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. Protected inside its imposing walls – a boundary between past and present – is the island’s coat of arms. Every stone tells a story. Ancient statues, marble crests, fountains, mosques and hammams, the Clock Tower with its breathtaking view of the Aegean… a rich heritage left behind by past civilisations.
Become one with the Street of the Knights
The most famous road in the Old Town of Rhodes is the Street of the Knights, restored just as it was in the Middle Ages. Here you’ll find the inns of the ‘tongues’, or national guards, that made up the Order of the Knights. At the highest point in the road is a significant attraction: the grandiose castle known as the Palace of the Grand Masters, with its enormous towers, now a wonderful museum.
Take a tour around the medieval Old Town of Rhodes
Experience the cosmopolitan charm of Mandraki
Mandraki is a modern town, with hotels and resorts, cafes, restaurants, clubs and impressive sights and attractions, as well as traditional villas called marasiotika (from Marasia). Guarding Mandraki’s marina, from the tops of two tall limestone columns, are the island’s emblems: a deer and doe. At the edge of the dock stands the small fort of Agios Nikolaos, built in the 1460s.
Along the coastal road, public buildings erected by the Italians are sure to impress you: the New Market, National Bank of Greece, Government House, National Theatre, Archbishop’s Residence, City Hall and famous Grande Albergo delle Rose, one of the most luxurious hotels in Europe in the 1930s that today houses the Rhodes Casino in one of its wings. In front of the aquarium, you’ll find one of the island’s most cosmopolitan beaches.
Learn about the legendary Colossus of Rhodes
Although no traces of the statue remain, it is said that the Colossus of Rhodes (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) once stood in place of the statues of deer now found at the harbour. According to the stories, ships sailed beneath its giant legs and every night the passage was closed with an enormous chain.
Fill your Instagram feed with Lindos
Spending a day in Lindos is one of the undoubted highlights of any holiday on Rhodes, The ancient Acropolis of Lindos is one of the most popular shrines of antiquity, surrounded by walls constructed by the knights, standing 116m above sea level. Here, you’ll admire the impressive Doric Temple of Athena Lindia, built in the 4th century BC. Meanwhile, the village of Lindos, built on a slope, is the most attractive and popular on the island. In the summer, its little streets fill with visitors bar-hopping and window-shopping or buying gifts, like the island’s famous decorative plates.
Discover the superb beaches of Rhodes
Beach lovers will be left fully satisfied with the shores of Rhodes. Topping the list are Kiotari, Kallithea, Agathi, Apolakkia, Kolymbia, Anthony Quinn Beach, Lardos, Afandou with its golf course, Traounou with its motocross tracks, Trianda Tsabika. All wonderful, with sand, clear water and water sports. Windsurfers flock to Prasonissi, a green island to the south of Rhodes.
Take a boat trip to charming Symi
Have fun in Rhodes’ No1 party spot, Faliraki
Faliraki is popular with younger tourists. The atmosphere is super-charged and there are plenty of activities to enjoy, such as water sports, go-carting and bungee jumping.
Feel the flutter of the Valley of the Butterflies
In a lush, green canyon, about 1km wide, there is a unique forest with zities, trees that look like planes. The smell of the nectar they secrete attracts millions of butterflies of the species Panaxia guadripunctaria, with its trademark four orange dots on each wing. Tread carefully so as not to scare these miraculous little angels away!
Where to stay on Rhodes
As one of the most popular destinations in Greece, there are plenty of accommodation options on Rhodes. You’ll find options for every taste, from large hotel chains and all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels in and around the Old Town and spread around the island.
Hidden gems of Rhodes, Greece
Villages with a Byzantine or Venetian touch
The treasures hidden in Rhodes’ many villages are priceless. There’s Emponas with its renowned wine and traditional costumes, Agios Isidoros frozen in the 1960s, Apollona with its Folklore Museum, Archangelos with its long tradition of ceramics and music, and Afandou with its skilful weavers.
The quaint villages of Rhodes also include Trianda with its Mineralogy and Palaeontology Museum, Kritinia with the Castello Castle, Lardos with its Byzantine castle, Salakos with its wells, Psinthos with one of the largest town squares in the Dodecanese, Asklipio with its beautiful Byzantine church and Eleousa with its Venetian buildings and picturesque tavernas.
A wine culture going back to ancients
It has been said that Rhodes was the first of the Aegean islands to cultivate a vineyard and make wine. So it’s no coincidence that in ancient times Rhodians were considered the largest wine merchants in the Mediterranean. Today’s wines are excellent too.
Take a culinary tour of Rhodes
The view from Monolithos village
Known as the Castle of Eagles, Monolithos is one of the most impressive villages in Rhodes. It was built by the Master of Aubusson in 1476 on a cliff facing the Aegean.