Renowned as an archaeological treasure house, the city of Rhodes, or Rodos, sits on the northern tip of the island with sea on three sides. Rhodes is really three cities in one.
The first Rhodes Town is the modern city - a monumental heap of whitewashed concrete which, but for some nice Italian buildings, varies from the dull to the seedy.
The second Rhodes Town is the medieval walled city - a national treasure granted World Heritage Status by UNESCO and a maze of cobblestone streets and beautiful sights.
The third Rhodes Town is the seashore development that runs along the north and east coasts awash with luxury hotel complexes and overwhelmingly devoted to tourism. There are smart restaurants and some interesting shops and cafes but the main impression is cheap, brash and tacky.
Rhodes Town beach is shingle and sand with little in the way of charm despite the setting and the sunshine. Backed by tower block holiday hotels and bizarrely shaped luxury conference centres it has a sort of regimented misery that belies its lovely location.
The beach is usually very windy and the sea can get very rough. Stones, rocks and pebbles are sometimes flecked with oil from passing ships and there is a steep drop into the sea, so it's unsuitable for children. Visitors can also expect to pay top prices in bars and tavernas.
The 'new town' is dominated by blocks of hotels and throughout the summer it throbs to disco music and revving motorbikes. Mandraki Harbour, guarded by its twin bronze deer, is the hub and cafes banked up beneath the nearby arches are where to sit to watch the city go by. It may be noisy and expensive but it oozes atmosphere with its street sellers, pavement artists and boat trips.
There are interesting Italian buildings near Mandraki harbour and remnants of the Turkish presence that once dominated still persist at the Mosque of Mourad Reis.
The nearby aquarium too is worth a visit, although the stuffed and moth-ravaged monk seals looked a sorry sight. Visitors can catch the scenic holiday train outside the town hall for a tour of the sites with excellent commentary from the driver.
To explore the old city, the wise visitor will get a map and guide. It brands them dumb tourists, of course, but there is just so much to see that there is really no alternative.
A good place to start is Symi Square, near Mandraki harbour, for a tour of the Castello where the knights left their most enduring marks.
For a different era in Rhodes' history find the Plane Tree Walk where the clock tower marks the wall that separated the knights' quarters from the rest of the city. The place is packed with shops, bars, cafes, restaurants - you name it, but expect to pay for it.