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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Spending a day in Lindos will be one of the undoubted highlights of your holidays in 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.
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.
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.
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 trademark four orange dots on each wing. Tread carefully so you don’t scare these miraculous little angels away!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands and the most eastern in the southern Aegean Sea. It is one of the most popular Greek islands.
There are regular ferries from mainland Greece to Rhodes throughout the year, with daily routes from the port of Piraeus in Athens (approx. 15 hrs) and connections with many other Greek islands (especially the Cyclades and other Dodecanese islands as well as Crete).
Rhodes has an airport with regular direct flights to Athens and international arrivals during the busier months
As one of the most popular Greek islands, Rhodes does get busy in the peak summer holiday months. So the best time to visit is April-mid-June and September-October, when the summer crowds have thinned (with swimming at its best from June-October). Spring and autumn are the best months for outdoor activities such as hiking.
Rhodes is one of the most popular Greek islands, known for its beaches and excellent choice hotels and villas and the cosmopolitan atmosphere of its medieval Old Town. It is also known for its delicious food and local products and has a wine-making tradition that goes back to antiquity. Beyond the main town, the most famous cultural site on Rhodes is the Archaeological site of Lindos (with the Temple of Athena Lindias dating to 300 BC). It is also known for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Since Rhodes is the largest Dodecanese island, you might need a few days to explore it from end to end. You will need at least 4-5 days to visit all major attractions, along with the island’s smaller villages.
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