With sunshine and average annual temperature in September at 29 degrees Celsius, it’s no wonder that tourist season in South Rhodes is still doing well. The pristine natural environment, the upgraded services, the fact that it’s a hub for lovers of wind surfing from around the world, in addition to the great mojitos in idyllic beach bars all comprise a tourist product with a strong identity.
The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of antiquity, represented god Helios (Sun) that was worshiped on this island of the Dodecanese. The bronze statue reflected the sunrays, leaving those entering the harbour speechless. Its size was also impressive, the same size as the Statue of Liberty. After all, French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who made it, was inspired by the Colossus of Rhodes that symbolised the freedom and independence of the people of Rhodes.
How could they not worship the Sun at a place where there’s sunshine almost every day of the year? Its charm has remained unchanged in the centuries, it still gathers millions of “believers” that travel here to feel the sun’s caress. According to official data collected from 1960 until today, the average annual temperature on the island is 22 degrees Celsius. While the average September temperature of 29 degrees and the constant sunshine are great reasons for holidays. Add to that the factor “not too crowded” and you’ll see why the tourist season in South Rhodes is still doing well.
There are over 40 beaches on the island to spend 3.000 hours of sunshine, so tediousness shouldn’t be an issue./Photo: Clairy Moustafellou
Here everything moves at a different pace, even in mid-August. Even though the Municipal Unit of South Rhodes is the largest on the island, at 379 m², it represents just 5% of the rooms on the island and it’s targeted at people who seek calm and the open horizon.
Driving for one hour and a half away from town, towards the southernmost edge of the island, you’ll notice that the buildings gradually give way to open spaces, while the mountainous masses with the lush vegetation of the North turn into exotic images with sand dunes and endless beaches you want to stay on forever.
The more hardcore fans are undoubtedly the surfers and kite surfers. We’ve never seen so many surfers in one place. As we approach Prasonisi beach, we have a panoramic view of hundreds of sails adding colour to the sea and the sky. On the beach on the left, people are surfing the waves, and on the right, they’re in the sky. Prasonisi is a small self-contained world with people from around the globe with one priority: their favourite sport. What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow, how strong will the wind be, what will its direction be, when will it subside?
All life revolves around the moods of Aeolus (the Greek god of the winds). There are many surfing schools and rental shops to cater to the needs of even the very beginners, while the more advance surfers arrive in their caravans or trailers, spending as much time as possible with the waves. Together with those staying in local hotels they form an important part of the local economy, and, by extension, of Rhodes’ tourist season. A colourful medley of people walking around with their boards, competing with the elements of nature and their selves, and, at the end of the day, sharing stories and laughs on the beach, at cafés and restaurants, making the extended summer livelier.
Apart from the those seeking adrenaline highs in the sea, South Rhodes also attracts travellers who want to relax in a pristine environment that offers high quality services. 75% of the hotels in the area are four-star hotels, while on the rest of the island percentage of four-star hotels is 46%, something that speaks volumes. During our visit and our short stay in Lachania – on the southeast coast between Prasonisi and Lindos – a large area centred around the village of the same name on the hill, that stretches to the endless beach, we were able to ascertain with our own eyes the tendency for a quality upgrade. As the distinguished Italian chef, Giovanni Scaraggi, told us when we visited his restaurant “Sole Giaguaro” located in a quiet neighbourhood in Lachania: “The surge in visitors, in South Rhodes, from around the world who seek an upgraded way of life, in relation to flavours, accommodation, and entertainment in general, has contributed, to a great extent, to me realizing my dream here, in this beautiful place.”
On Lachania beach the “Mea Terra” beach bar is of the same logic, as its high aesthetics can be seen in everything, from its architecture and its comfortable wooden sunbeds to the discreet service. The owner, Vartholomaios Kampourakis, commented: “Providing quality services is in our philosophy and we aim to create a friendly atmosphere. I believe we’ve succeeded to a great extent, considering we first opened in 2019 and already couples that came here on holidays decided to have their wedding parties here the next year.”
The now famous “Mojito Beach Bar” rightfully deserves the last word, as it was in large part the first to put Lachania on the tourist map. As you approach the endless beach, a fairy tale that includes treehouses, imaginative colourful art creations made of wood and stone, and relaxed, smiling people, appears in front of you, while bossa nova, reggae and salsa tunes provide the perfect score for the setting. It all started in 2007, when Theodora Androutsopoulou, with origins in Rhodes, came here with her husband, Andreas, and their little daughter, Christina, investing in a better life, choosing to stay and work here: “Everything you see here we’ve built with our hands all these years,” Andreas tell us, and adds: “We opened a beach bar creating a pleasant environment like the one we’d like to visit as customers. Anyone who visits South Rhodes will pass at least once from here, while in the 14 years we’ve been in operation we’ve created strong bonds with people from all over the world who keep returning again and again.”
Of course, we tried the mojito, the popular Cuban cocktail, that gave the bar its name. The colours of the setting sun in the horizon and the cool breeze added to the pleasure of the drink. We finished it without noticing it. Before ordering the next, I asked Andreas: “Have you calculated the number of mojitos you serve each season?” and he answered “The most in Greece, for sure, and it’s likely that we’re among the bars with the largest consumption of rum globally. We make around 15.000 mojitos per season, using 1.5 tones of rum”. There’s still time for you to have yours too, as Mojito Beach Bar remains open until the end of October. Here the sun is always shining. It’s chill.