Rhodes is the largest and most historically significant island in the Dodecanese group, offering a beautiful fusion of culture, relaxation, and adventure.
Known for its stunning beaches, lush wooded valleys, and ancient history, this Greek island caters to every type of traveller. From exploring past civilisations to enjoying the crystal-clear waters, there is something for everyone on this fascinating island.
The medieval Old Town of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, transports visitors back in time with its charming cobblestone streets and well-preserved architectural marvels.
Discover the port of Mandraki, the picturesque Acropolis of Lindos, and ancient sites such as Kamiros and Ialysos. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the captivating natural beauty of the Valley of the Butterflies.
Rhodes, one of Greece’s most southerly islands, boasts a lengthy tourist season, with warm weather extending well into late October.
The island strikes the perfect balance between cosmopolitan and traditional, creating a timeless yet modern atmosphere.
So, whether you’re seeking a laid-back beach holiday, bustling nightlife, or enriching cultural experiences, Rhodes has everything you need for a perfect Mediterranean escape.
A Brief History of Rhodes
Rhodes is the largest and historically the most important of the Dodecanese islands, located in the southeastern part of the Aegean Sea. The island has a rich history, with influences from various cultures and periods shaping its character.
The history of Rhodes can be traced back to ancient times, when it was inhabited by the Minoans and later the Mycenaeans. The island flourished during the Classical period, becoming a significant maritime power due to its strategic location. It was during this time that the famous Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was erected.
In 1309, the crusading Knights of St. John took control of the island and began their rule, which lasted for more than two centuries. They constructed a beautiful medieval Old Town, complete with fortifications and a palace, which remains a key tourist attraction today. The knights defended Rhodes against multiple attacks before finally succumbing to the Ottoman Empire in 1522.
Under Ottoman rule, Rhodes underwent a period of decline, with many of its historic buildings falling into disrepair. However, in 1912, the island was taken over by the Italians, who established the colony of Isole Italiane del Egeo. During this time, many of the Medieval structures were restored, and new buildings in the Italian-style architecture were constructed, further enriching the island’s heritage.
Rhodes was finally reunited with Greece in 1947, after nearly four centuries of foreign rule. Today, the island is a popular tourist destination, offering a unique blend of ancient, medieval, and more recent history, along with stunning landscapes and pristine beaches.
When to Visit Rhodes
Rhodes, known as the Island of the Sun, offers a pleasant Mediterranean climate, perfect for visitors any time of the year. During the summer months, expect temperatures to range from 19°C to 30°C, with July and August being the hottest. If you prefer cooler weather, consider visiting during spring (April to June) or autumn (September to November) with temperatures between 15°C and 25°C. The island’s winters are mild, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 16°C, and rainfall is minimal.
Peak and Off-Peak Seasons
Peak Season: Rhodes is most popular with tourists during the summer months of June to August, when the weather is at its warmest and driest. This is an ideal time to enjoy Rhodes’ beautiful beaches, but be prepared for crowds and higher prices for accommodations and attractions.
Off-Peak Season: If you prefer to avoid the crowds and seek more affordable travel options, consider visiting Rhodes during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. The weather remains pleasant during these months, and there is still plenty to see and do. Some popular attractions during this time include the medieval Old Town, Acropolis of Lindos, and Valley of the Butterflies.
In conclusion, deciding when to visit Rhodes depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and travel costs. No matter when you choose to travel to this enchanting Greek island, you’ll be sure to create unforgettable memories.
Getting to Rhodes
Rhodes is a beautiful island in Greece, known for its stunning beaches, rich history, and picturesque landscapes. To help you plan your trip, here’s a brief guide on how to get to Rhodes.
There are frequent direct flights from Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos to the island of Rhodes all year long. The flight duration is typically around 1 hour and 20 minutes, making it a quick and convenient option for those travelling from Athens or connecting through the Greek capital.
Some airlines that operate flights to Rhodes include:
- Aegean Airlines
- Olympic Air
- Sky Express
When booking your flight, make sure to compare prices and schedules to find the best option for your travel needs.
Another way to reach Rhodes is by taking a ferry from mainland Greece. Ferries to Rhodes typically depart from Piraeus, which is the main port of Athens. The duration of the ferry journey to Rhodes is around 15-17 hours, with a standard ferry ticket starting at €30.
Ferry companies that operate routes to Rhodes include:
- Blue Star Ferries
- Dodekanisos Seaways
- Anek Lines
Ferry schedules and travel times can vary, so it’s essential to check the latest timetables and book your ferry ticket in advance. Keep in mind that there are various ticket classes to choose from, such as economy, business, and cabin options, depending on your preferred level of comfort and budget.
In conclusion, whether you choose to travel by air or sea, there are several options available for getting to the beautiful island of Rhodes. Plan ahead and select the best method of transportation based on your travel preferences and budget.
Rhodes is an enchanting island in Greece, known for its rich history and beautiful landscapes. In this section, we will explore three of the top attractions in Rhodes: the Old Town, Lindos Acropolis, and the Valley of the Butterflies.
The Old Town of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture. As you walk through its narrow streets, you will be transported back in time, as the Old Town boasts a blend of ancient, medieval, and modern elements. Key highlights in the Old Town include:
- The Medieval City of Rhodes: Explore the historic cityscape decorated with Gothic, Ottoman, and Italian architectural styles.
- Mandraki Harbour: Admire the charming waterfront and enjoy picturesque views from the cafés and restaurants lining the harbour.
Perched on a hill overlooking the picturesque village of Lindos, the Lindos Acropolis is an ancient archaeological site dating back to 300 BC. The site is home to various ruins and monuments, and offers stunning views of the surrounding sea and landscape. At the Lindos Acropolis, you will discover:
- The Temple of Athena Lindia: A 4th-century BC temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.
- Trireme relief: A remarkable rock carving depicting an ancient warship.
To fully enjoy the Lindos Acropolis, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to climb a series of steps to reach the site.
Valley of the Butterflies
The Valley of the Butterflies, also known as Petaloudes, is a natural oasis located on the western side of Rhodes. From June to September, the valley becomes home to thousands of colourful butterflies, offering a unique and magical experience for visitors. Highlights in the Valley of the Butterflies include:
- Walking trails: Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the lush valley, admiring the vibrant array of butterflies and the serene natural surroundings.
- The Monastery of Panagia Kalopetra: A 13th-century monastery situated at the top of the valley, offering panoramic views of the area.
When visiting the Valley of the Butterflies, be mindful of the delicate ecosystem and follow the marked paths to minimise any disturbances to the butterflies and their habitat.
Beaches and Relaxation
When visiting Rhodes, be sure to take time to explore some of the island’s beautiful beaches. Here are three top spots for a relaxing day by the sea.
Faliraki Beach is a popular sandy shore located on the east coast of Rhodes, approximately 15km from Rhodes Town. Known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant atmosphere, the beach offers a variety of amenities, including:
- Umbrellas and sun loungers for rent
- Beach bars and restaurants
- Watersports centres offering activities like jet skiing and paddleboarding
Despite its popularity, Faliraki Beach has plenty of space to accommodate visitors, even during peak season. Just be mindful of the noise levels from beach bars and watersport enthusiasts if you’re seeking peace and tranquillity.
Tsambika Beach is another must-visit spot on the east coast of Rhodes, known for its golden sand and calm, shallow waters. It is an ideal location for families with young children or anyone looking for a more laid-back beach experience. Key features of Tsambika Beach include:
- Ample sun loungers and umbrellas
- Plenty of parking space nearby
- A small beach taverna serving local delicacies
Additionally, there is a picturesque hilltop monastery nearby that you can visit for panoramic views of the coastline.
St Paul’s Bay
Located in the Lindos area, St Paul’s Bay is a serene, sandy cove with crystal-clear waters. Surrounded by rocky cliffs, the bay offers some excellent snorkelling opportunities and a peaceful environment for relaxation. Some of St Paul’s Bay’s highlights include:
- Sun loungers and umbrellas available for rent
- A quaint chapel overlooking the bay, popular for weddings
- A small beach taverna for refreshments
Keep in mind that St Paul’s Bay can get rather crowded during peak season due to its relatively small size. Arrive early in the morning or visit during less busy months to secure a quieter spot.
Outdoor Activities and Adventures
Rhodes Island offers travellers a variety of picturesque hiking trails. Nature enthusiasts can explore the stunning landscapes, rich history, and diverse flora and fauna in the area. One popular trail is the Small Group Hike and Sunset at Monolithos Castle, where adventurers can witness a breathtaking sunset over the Aegean Sea.
Here are some notable hiking trails in Rhodes:
- The ancient site of Kamiros: A trail that takes you through an archaeological site with unique city planning.
- The Valley of the Butterflies: A beautiful nature reserve filled with lush vegetation and colourful butterflies during the summer months.
- Tsambika Monastery: A scenic route leading up to a dazzling white monastery perched atop a hill.
Rhodes Island is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. With crystal-clear waters and a warm climate, the island provides ideal conditions for multiple types of water adventures. Some of the best outdoor water activities for adrenaline-seekers and families alike in Rhodes are:
- Fast Boat to Symi: Enjoy a thrilling ride to Symi island with a swimming stop at St George’s Bay. This 1-hour journey is full of excitement and natural beauty.
- Rhodes Sea Kayaking Tour: Discover hidden coves, rocky coastlines, and pristine beaches while paddling through the mirrored waters of Rhodes.
- Poseidon Submarine at Mandraki Harbor: Embark on a unique underwater adventure in a submarine, exploring the island’s abundant marine life.
Apart from these, you can also try other exciting water sports such as diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. With so many options available, Rhodes indeed has something for everyone seeking an unforgettable outdoor experience.
Rhodes, a beautiful Greek island, offers a delightful gastronomic experience. The island’s local cuisine reflects its rich cultural heritage and diverse influences from neighbouring countries. In this section, we will explore some traditional dishes to try during your visit and recommend some top restaurants where you can savour these culinary delights.
When visiting Rhodes, be sure to try these local specialities:
- Pitaroudia: These savoury chickpea fritters are a delicious taste of the Mediterranean, combining fresh herbs and spices to create a flavourful snack or appetiser.
- Pitarakia: Small cheese pies characteristic of Rhodian cuisine, they showcase the island’s skill in crafting delightful pastries filled with rich cheese and aromatic herbs.
- Meze: A popular selection of small dishes served at tavernas, meze is typically enjoyed as a shared dining experience, allowing you to taste a variety of flavours and textures.
To indulge in the mouth-watering local cuisine of Rhodes, consider dining at these highly recommended restaurants:
- Rhodes Experience: With its commitment to showcasing the best of Greek cuisine, this restaurant offers a range of traditional dishes and hidden gems that will satisfy even the most discerning of palates.
- Taverna Kostas: Located in the heart of Rhodes Old Town, Taverna Kostas is known for its delicious meze and warm, inviting atmosphere. Guests can enjoy their meal in a picturesque courtyard surrounded by history and charm.
- Alexis Four Seasons: A popular destination for locals and tourists alike, Alexis Four Seasons serves a mix of traditional and modern Greek dishes, using the freshest locally sourced ingredients for a truly authentic dining experience.
As you explore Rhodes, make sure to savour its delectable cuisine and feel the warm hospitality that defines the island’s dining scene.
Currency and Money
Rhodes, like the rest of Greece, uses the Euro (€) as its official currency. It is crucial to have some cash on hand, especially for small purchases and tipping in restaurants. However, many shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions also accept credit and debit cards. You can find ATMs scattered across the island, but be mindful of the fees, especially in more rural areas. Here are a few quick tips:
- Cash & card: Carry a combination of cash and cards for convenience.
- ATMs: Withdraw money from ATMs in larger towns to avoid higher fees.
- Tipping: Generally, tip around 10% in restaurants, and round up to the nearest euro for taxi fares.
Language and Communication
Greek is the official language of Rhodes. However, due to its touristic nature, English is widely spoken in hotels, restaurants, and tourist sites. It is helpful to learn a few basic Greek phrases as a sign of respect and to facilitate better communication, especially in rural areas. Don’t hesitate to use translation apps for assistance. Remember:
- English: Widely spoken in touristy areas.
- Greek phrases: Learn basics like “please” (parakaló), “thank you” (efcharistó), and “hello” (yassas).
Safety and Health
Rhodes is generally safe, but it’s always wise to exercise caution and follow some basic safety recommendations. Here are some essential points:
- Safety: Beware of pickpockets in crowded areas, and do not leave valuables unattended at the beach.
- Healthcare: Pharmacies are readily accessible for minor health issues. For emergencies, dial 112 for an English-speaking operator.
- Sun protection: Use sunblock and stay hydrated, especially during the hotter months (June to September).
- Tap water: Although tap water is safe to drink, it is recommended to buy bottled water during your stay.
Frequently Asked Questions
Best time to visit Rhodes?
Rhodes experiences 300 days of sunshine a year, making it an ideal destination to visit almost throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Rhodes is between June and September, when the weather is warm and sunny, perfect for beach activities and sightseeing.
Top attractions in Rhodes?
The island of Rhodes is rich in history with ancient sites to explore. Some of the top attractions include the Acropolis of Lindos, Medieval City, and Ancient Ruins. There are also hilltop villages and gorgeous beaches to enjoy.
Ideal number of days in Rhodes?
To explore Rhodes’ highlights and enjoy its scenic beauty, a stay of 5-7 days is recommended. This duration should allow you to experience the island’s historical sites, picturesque towns, and beautiful beaches while also providing sufficient time to relax.
Easiest transportation in Rhodes?
Rhodes has a well-connected public transportation system. Buses are the most convenient and affordable way to travel around the island. Taxis are also available, and renting a car or scooter is an option for more flexibility and freedom to explore at your own pace.
Most beautiful town in Rhodes?
Lindos is often considered the most beautiful town in Rhodes. With its whitewashed streets, ancient Acropolis, and stunning cliffside views, Lindos offers a unique charm perfect for exploring and photography. Other notable towns include Rhodes Town and Faliraki.
Recommended beaches in Rhodes?
The island of Rhodes boasts over 40 beaches, ranging from lively, sandy shores to secluded, pebble coves. Elli Beach is a popular choice as it is close to Rhodes Town and offers a lively atmosphere. For a more relaxed beach experience, visit Kalathos Beach, Stegna Beach, or Tsambika Beach.
Born and raised on the sun-drenched island of Crete, Sofia Mavromatis is a seasoned traveler and writer with a deep-rooted love for Greece’s vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and rich history.