Overview of Rhodes
The “queen” of the Dodecanese, and one of the most visited amongst Greek islands, Rhodes is an ideal destination for families, youngsters, couples and group tourists. The reason is that it combines everything: a wide variety of golden beaches, restaurants and vibrant nightlife–spots, exciting nature, fascinating architecture, many sightseeing options and, last but not least, the valuable recognition as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Also known as “the island of Knights” –as it was formerly conquered by the Knights of Saint John-, Rhodes is a place where the past and the present meet in the most graceful manner, rendering its medieval old town as the island’s trademark, contributing to a fairytale atmosphere.
The island combines a mix of past civilizations –the orthodox, catholic, jewish and muslim cultural and religious elements are omnipresent– with a traditional Greek aroma, while offering all the modern conveniences a visitor could ever ask. This remarkable diversity guarantees that, regardless your age, preferences or marital status, you will definitely wave “goodbye” to Rhodes with a smile upon your face.
Find more information on Rhodes at the official website for Greek Tourism VisitGreece.gr
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Photo gallery of Rhodes
Anthony Quinn: This small, organized beach is one of the island’s most popular and crowded. It was named after the famous actor who starred in the movie The Guns of Navarone, which was filmed here. It’s surrounded by rocks and pine trees and features a mix of sand, pebbles and rocks. It’s also perfect for scuba diving.
Agios Pavlos: A wind-protected picturesque sandy bay surrounded by rocks; it truly resembles a swimming pool if you see it from above. It is organized and also features the chapel of Agios Pavlos.
Tsambika: One of the most popular (and longest) beaches on Rhodes. It has fine golden sand, many amenities and shallow waters (families’ favorite). The Monastery of Panagia Tsambika (Rhodes’ patron saint), also located here, is among the island’s top attractions.
Prassonissi: Located at the southernmost part of Rhodes, it is actually an island joined with Rhodes via a strip of sand. Prasonisi consists of two sandy coves, but swimming comes second here, as the place is one of the best windsurfing spots in Europe. Indeed, every year it attracts numerous windsurfers from all over the world.
Ladiko: A small sandy cove located next to the beach of Anthony Quinn, with emerald waters, sun beds and umbrellas. It is very scenic and ideal to relax.
Kallithea: Palm trees and pines, sand and pebbles, relaxation and fun under the sun – this small cove has it all. The area of Kallithea also features the island’s famed thermal springs, an example of fine architecture; well known since ancient times, they were built during the Italian occupation. Recently restored, they are open to the public.
Fournoi: A quiet pebbly beach located near the village of Monolithos. It is perfect for those who wish to enjoy swimming in privacy. Just keep in mind to bring your own supplies.
More beaches on Rhodes: Afandou, Faliraki, Kolymbia, Charaki, Vlycha, Lardos, Genadi, Glyfada, Glystra, Ixia, Elli (beach of Rhodes town), etc.
Manolis Taverna: Faliraki, Greek cuisine.
Kerasma: Chora, Greek modern cuisine, Fusion, Wine Bar.
Tamam: Chora, Authentic creative cuisine.
Coralli: Pefkos, Greek cuisine.
Melenos Lindos Restaurant: Lindos, Greek cuisine
Kostas: Ialyssos, Greek cuisine
Rhodes’ Old Town: One of the largest medieval towns in Europe and definitely among the top attractions in the Greek islands. This UNESCO World Heritage Site seems to have stepped out of a fairytale, mixing medieval, byzantine, ottoman and Italian influences. Eleven gates lead to an atmospheric complex of fortifications, buildings, minarets, churches, fountains, narrow alleys, squares etc, as well as numerous sights. The Old Town’s highlight is the imposing Palace of the Grand Master (it has 80 rooms and also houses the island’s Byzantine Museum). From the Palace, head to the famed cobbled Street of the Knights (Europe’s best preserved medieval street) and visit the Archaeological Museum (housed at the Hospital of the Knights), Suleiman Mosque, church of Panagia tou Kastrou, Jewish synagogue, Ottoman Baths and other sites. The Old Town is also a lively place of more than 5.000 residents, as well as a touristic developed area with many shops, restaurants, accommodation options and nightlife spots.
The Valley of the Butterflies (gr. Petaloudes):
Every year between May and September, this small valley is inundated by thousands of Jersey tiger (Panaxia Quadripunctaria) butterflies. Visitors have the excellent opportunity to see a unique phenomenon, plus enjoy the natural beauties of the site.
No wonder why Lindos, Rhodes’ prominent ancient city, is one of the top archaeological attractions found in the Greek islands. The settlement’s former grandeur and prosperity reflects mainly on its fortified acropolis. It stands at the top of a huge rock and embraces the ruins of the 4th c temple of Athena Lindia, the Ancient Theatre, the Propylea, the Hellenistic Stoa and the byzantine church of Agios Ioannis (the region also features the ancient monuments of the tomb of Kleovoulos and Archokratio). Under the acropolis, lies the village of Lindos, with Cycladic whitewashed houses, its trademark captains’ mansions, cobbled alleys and a lovely beach. It’s better to visit Lindos early in the morning, in order to avoid tourist masses.
Rhodes’ New Town:
Admire the Italian era public buildings (the National Theatre, Post Office, Town Hall, etc), as well as the renovated historic Grande Albergo delle Rose (now the Casino). Stroll around Mandraki, the town’s small port with the trademark deer statue and visit Rhodes’ Aquarium (Hellenic Centre for Marine Research), one of the most important in Greece. At the outskirts of the New Town, relax at Rodini Park, an impressive small valley with lush vegetation, streams and paths (the region also features a number of ancient sights worth seeing). Enjoy panoramic views from the hill of Agios Stefanos (or Monte Smith), where you can walk through the town’s archaeological park and see the acropolis of ancient Rhodes, the stadium of Diagoras, theatre, temple of Apollo Pythios, etc.
Festivals and feasts:
In Rhodes you can enjoy a variety of acclaimed art events, as well as traditional and religious celebrations all year long (Easter and summer in particular). Here are some names and dates: Festivals “Days of Music” Festival of Rhodes (in September), Summer Festival, Medieval Festival, Carnival. Feasts August 15th (at the villages of Kremasti, Vati, Asklipion, etc). September 8th (celebration of Panagia Tsambika at the village of Archangelos). July 17th (Feast of Agia Marina at the villages of Apolakia, Koskinou, Paradisi). July 27th (at the village of Siana). August 6th (at the village of Fanes). 8/10
Traditional villages on Rhodes:
Visit the mountainous Profitis Ilias, Archangelos (famous for its pottery), Embona (well known for its wineries), the colorful and picturesque Lachania, the peaceful Vati, but also Apollona, Siana, Koskinou and Genadi, among others.
More castles in Rhodes:
The medieval castle of Achangelos at the area of Kerami, the castle at the area of Monolithos (built at the top of a huge steep rock by the Knights of St. John, it offers magnificent views, especially in sunset) , the Knights’ castle of Asklipion, situated at the village of the same name, the castle of Kritinia (also known as Kastelos), a combination of byzantine and medieval style.
Time for action:
Rhodes offers all types of activities. You can find facilities to practice water sports (sailing, windsurfing, kite surfing, diving), cycling and mountain bike, horse riding, golf and many more. Moreover, there are 18 marked footpaths to hike on the island. Last but not least, don’t miss the famed Water Park, situated at the popular resort of Faliraki (it’s the largest in Europe and offers high quality services).
Ialissos, Epta Piges, Kamiros villages:
Ialissos: Together with Lindos and Kamiros, it used to be one of Rhodes’ thriving ancient cities. Nowadays Ialisos is a popular tourist resort boasting of various amenities, a fabulous beach and of course important ancient sights. Visit the ruins of the ancient acropolis located at the hilltop of Filerimos, the 3rd c temples of Athena and Zeus, as well as the 14th c church of Panagia Filerimou.
Kamiros: Another famous destination on Rhodes, thanks to its well preserved archaeological monuments; the ruins of the ancient city with the temple of Athena Kamirada, Agora, public buildings, private houses, as well as the nearby necropolis, are testimonies of the area’s 6th and 5th c wealth and glamour.
Epta Piges (eng Seven Springs): This enchanting, refreshing green valley is indeed a small serene paradise; it’s comprised by seven natural springs that flow to a lake, lots of plane and pine trees, as well as many animal species. Walking the 150 m tunnel through which the water ends to the lake is a unique experience.
Daytrips to nearby islands:
Contrary to the cosmopolitan and famous Rhodes, Symi, Kastellorizo, Chalki and Tilos are low key and among of the most unspoiled Greek islands. Discover their picturesque villages, interesting history and virgin beaches – you will be amazed.
Shopping in Rhodes:
The island’s Old and New Town is the place to be and buy whatever you feel like. Souvenirs, as well as the local trademark products of Rhodes are a must; jewellery, embroidery and ceramics, but also ouzo, olive oil, honey and the traditional sweets melekounia (type of pasteli, made with sesame and honey).
Local cuisine & wines:
Rhodes’ traditional specialties include pitaroudia (chick pea nuggets with tomato), lakani (meat with red sauce) and soupiorizo (rice cooked in squid ink). Accompany your meal with the famed wines of Rhodes and of course try souma (the local version of the cretan alcohol drink raki).
Museum of Modern Greek Art:
Located at the island’s Medieval Town, it displays the most important collection of works by 20th century Greek artists, available outside Athens. A real treat for art lovers.