The flagship of the Dodecanese, Rhodes is one of the country’s most popular and cosmopolitan island destinations. This lush Island of the Sun, as Rhodes is commonly known, junction of cultures, and island of Knights, is a global attraction. It features two sides, the New Town with modern infrastructure, as well as the medieval side with the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, as well as stylish architectural elements from the period of Venetian rule.
The island boasts one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities and, at the same time, one of the most developed hotel industries in the entire Mediterranean. Luxury resorts, boutique hotels, for couples, as well as exceptional hotel facilities catering to family holidays, restaurants, intense nightlife, cosmopolitan activities, villages, inland antiquities, as well as beaches of golden sand and blue waters, are all part of the offering, making Rhodes an unforgettable experience.
Where to go/What to see
The new town, around and beyond the walls, is spread over a large area with roads open to traffic, many old neoclassical buildings and pebble-covered courtyards.
One of the most impressive cities in Greece and the Mediterranean, Rhodes’ medieval city, not surprisingly, has stood as one of the most renowned destinations for tourism and exploration over a number of centuries. Impressive and full of life, it is a mosaic of ancient, medieval, Byzantine, Ottoman and Italian monuments. A junction of civilisations, the medieval city is filled with charm that awaits to be discovered with every step along its cobbled alleys.
The beauty of this seaside village on the east coast, featuring Cycladic charm created by small white houses, as well as mansions with art-decorated ceilings, pebble-covered yards and mosaic floors, has lured many celebrities to buy properties here. The acropolis of Lindos, at the peak, is a strong draw offering a sensational view and renowned sunset experience.
A small picturesque port, Mandraki, the main harbour, is ideal for strolls and viewing of impressive old buildings, yachts, boats, as well as enormous cruise ships entering the adjacent port. The location is also great for a coffee at one of the seaside cafes.
Plane trees, laurels, willows, ponds filled with water lilies and connected by small bridges all feature at Rodini Park, a paradise-on-earth setting that is one of the world’s oldest parks.
The ancient Ialyssos acropolis ruins, Doric Fountain, trails, monastery, as well as the Road of Suffering (Golgotha), have established Filerimos as a tourist attraction.
Mount Profitis Ilias, named after a monastery on the mountain, is a dense forested area with deers. Two chalets, Elafo and Elafina, built by the ruling Italians prior to World War II, are key attractions.
A wine-producing area, primarily, the mountain village Embonas has many wineries and tavernas.
Detached from cosmopolitan ways, Monolithos is an amphitheatrically shaped village with a castle. The visit here can be combined with nearby Vati, a mountain village ideal for trekking plus a selection of tavernas seemingly from other eras, as well as Lahania, a peaceful rural village featuring small white houses with blue doors and window frames and elegant gates, plus tavernas and old cafes, all creating an idyllic setting that has attracted foreign buyers as a residential haven.
A peninsula at the island’s southernmost point, Prasonisi offers two beaches, a windier side for windsurfing and kiteboarding, as well as a calmer, more detached side.
How to get there
Daily flights from Athens.
Flights on certain days of the week from: Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Limnos, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kos, Leros, Astypalea, Kastellorizo and Larnaca, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Lyon, Marseilles and Zurich
Daily ferryboat routes from Piraeus port.
Ferryboat routes on certain days of the week from: Crete, Symi, Tilos, Nisyros, Kastellorizo, Kos, Kalymnos, Halki, Karpathos, Leros, Patmos, Lipsi, Agathonisi, Arki, Astypalea, Kasos, Santorini, Anafi, Milos, Amorgos, Syros, Ikaria and Fourni
Where to stay:
10GR Hotel and Wine Bar: Atmospheric and interesting, this hotel and wine bar is situated just a stone’s throw away from the medieval Clock Tower, the renowned Street of the Knights, and the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights. (Old Town, +30 22410 20910, 10grhotel.com)
Spirit of the Knights: This spot is dreamlike with a style carrying Venetian and Ottoman influences. (14 Alexandridou, Old Town, +30 22410 39765, www.spiritoftheknights.com)
Avalon Boutique Hotel: The Avalon Boutique Hotel, possessing romantic ambience, offers six stone-and-wood suites and a villa in pale colours. (Old Town, +30 22410 31438, www.avalonrhodes.gr)
Allegory Boutique Hotel: Possessing simple design and discreet luxury, this boutique hotel is elegant and atmospheric. (Ippodamou & Antifanous, +30 22410 37470,www.allegoryhotel.com)
Kokkini Porta: Situated within the walls of Rhodes’ medieval city, this 14th century residence for Knights, features unique décor, rugs and embroideries. (24 Arhiepiskopou Efthimiou, +30 22410 75114, kokkiniporta.com)
Melenos Lindos: This facility, built on the rocky side of the Acropolis of Lindos, offers a panoramic view of Rhodes’ east coast. (Lindos, +30 22440 32222-3, melenoslindos.com)
Lindos Mare Hotel: A big unit in an elevated pine forest area above the beach, this hotel offers an all-encompassing view and is very close to the city. (Lindos, +30 22440 31130, lindosmare.gr)
Esperos Village: This enormous facility, the size of a village, remains quiet and relaxed. (Faliraki, +30 22410 84100, www.esperiagroup.gr).
Electra Palace Resort: The Electra Palace Resort, a recently refurbished classic hotel, has maintained its freshness. (Ialysos, Trianta beach, +30 22410 92521, www.electrahotels.gr)
Atrium Prestige: An impressive facility, Atrium Prestige features white-coloured two-storey buildings in the form of bungalows, suites, and deluxe double rooms right by the sea, along with gardens, little bridges and arches. (Lahanias, +30 22440 46222, www.atriumprestige.gr)
Where to eat:
Alexis: Located within the walls of the Old Town, this high-standard seafood and fish restaurant, a classic eatery on the island, is preferred by celebrities and food lovers. (18 Sokratous, Old Town, +30 22410 29347)
Mavrikos: Perhaps the most famous restaurant on the island, its head, Dimitris Mavrikos successfully runs wild with local culinary ways, offering wayward and unanticipated ingredient combinations. (Lindos, +30 22440 31232)
Alexis 4 Seasons: Set at an elegant garden space in the Old Town, this spot’s menu offers seafood, fish, as well as meat dishes, prepared with fresh produce. (33 Aristotelous, Old Town, +30 22410 70522).
Artemida: Greek cuisine and casserole dishes are the strong points here, the grill also having a say. The wood-fired oven makes the difference. (Psinthos, +30 22410 50003)
Taverna Ilias:: Classic Greek cuisine is served here, including grilled food, skewered meat offerings, as well as casserole dishes, at a lovely shady veranda. (Embonas, +30 22460 41415)
Kozas: One of the oldest fish tavernas on the island, with a terrific sea view, Kozas serves fresh fish as well as related appetizers, all prepared with a personal touch. (Arhaggelos, +30 22440 22632)
To Limeri tou Listi: The spot, a classic Rhodes taverna, serves locally flavoured Greek cuisine at a shady veranda. (Apolakkia-Profylia highway, Profilia, +30 22440 61578)
Noble Gourmet Restaurant: The island’s most accentuated gourmet restaurant, within the luxury Elysium Resort & Spa, it prepares Greek and local cuisine, applying modern techniques. (Kallithea, +30 22410 45700)
Dinoris: A vintage island spot in the Old Town, Dinoris, a fish and seafood restaurant equipped with a spacious dining area and private yard, serves, besides fish, seafood and fish mezze (assorted) dishes, urchins, oysters and lobster spaghetti. (14A Mouseiou Square, +30 22410 25824).
Paraga: Paraga serves award-winning Greek cuisine, a delightful mix of ingredients for traditional recipes. The spot, situated at an elevated village position offering cool-temperature evenings, is equipped with a wood-fired oven, used to bake bread, prepare roast goat, and other special offerings. (Apollona, +30 22460 91247).
Five Senses – Sophisticated Greek Gastronomy: Five Senses offers a unique sea view, modern Greek cuisine without forsaking the island’s culinary tradition, all prepared as a masterful mix of techniques and ingredients. Rhodes-Lindos highway, Lindos Blu, Luxury Hotel & Suites, +30 22440 32110).
4 Rodies: This restaurant, based at a neoclassical building with tables set outside at its lovely yard space, serves traditional Greek recipes, modern renditions, as well as vegetarian selections. (29 Kanada, +30 2241 130214)
Koukos: Open from the morning hours, this spot serves fresh baked bread buns and a variety of other products, all from a wood-fired oven, as well as Greek coffee traditionally brewed in hot sand (hovoli), wine, souma (distilled spirit), ouzo and traditional mezze (assorted) dishes. 20-26 Mandilara, +30 22410 73022).
Sole Giaguaro: Chef Giovanni Scaraggi, whose track record includes tenures at two world-renowned restaurants, Noma in Copenhagen and Inua in Tokyo, as well as Athens’ Hytra and Matsuhisha, now runs his own establishment, serving tweaked Italian recipes. (Lahania +30 22440 46262)
Sybetheres: A classic eatery serving home-style casserole dishes, this spot alters its dishes on a daily basis. Selections include moussaka, okra stew, giouvetsi (beef and orzo stew), as well as pastitsio. (12 A. Diakou, +30 2241043630).
Urban Burger Bar
In the heart of the city, this spot serves a range of burgers, vegetarian and spicy dishes, as full portions and snacks. (16 Karpathou, +30 22411 31047).
Traditional foods of Rhodes:
Avranies (wild asparagus), Voloi with pligouri (groats/bulgur) – appetizer with mince beef, pligouri and tomato, Slow-cooked Karavoloi (snails), Baked red pumpkin, Koulouria (traditional pasta dish), Lakani (beef recipe), Matsi (handmade pasta with abundant cheese and hot fresh butter), Pitaroudia (chickpea fritters) or Domatokeftedes (tomato fritters with onion), Pouggia (pies filled with greens), Tsouvras (soup with olive oil, rice, tomato and onion), Amygdalota (chewy almond-based cookies with lemon juice and rose water), Melekouni (honey and sesame bar), a popular Dodecanese treat
Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights: The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, also serving as a Byzantine Museum, is situated at the end of the Street of the Knights, to the right. This medieval castle was constructed by the Knights of St. John to serve as the residence of the Grand Master and the city’s administrative centre. It was largely destroyed by an ammunition explosion in 1856 and rebuilt in 1940, by the ruling Italians, in accordance with the original plans. In 1988, the castle hosted a summit meeting that assembled the leaders of the EEC, as the EU was known at the time.
Archaeological Museum of Rhodes: The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes is housed at a building that originally served as the hospital of the Knights of St. John. Its construction had begun in 1440.
Church of Our Lady of the Castle: Its construction began in the 11th century. The Byzantine church was then reshaped into a Gothic cathedral, while, during Ottoman rule, it was transformed into a mosque.
Museum of Modern Greek Art – Municipality of Rhodes: The museum collection includes painting and engraving collections that are representative of Greek art in the 20th century.
These renowned thermal springs, dating back to the interwar period, feature vaulted buildings, magnificent pebble mosaics, arches and patios with palm trees. The rotunda and sunroom are well known. They have featured in Greek films.
The tower offers an unrivalled view of the Old Town.
Monolithos Castle, Kritinia Castle and the Asklipieion Castle of the Knights manifest the island’s history.
Besides Lindos, Rhodes’ two other ancient cities, Ialysos and Kamiros, are attractions, while it is well worth visiting the Monte Smith hill, where remnants from ancient times exist.
Where to swim
Sandy and windless, this beach is reached following a drive along a 10-km dirt road. It is serviced with beach umbrellas, sunbeds and canteens.
Covered with pebbles and sand, this beach, whose waters are turquoise, offers two small bays, one with beach umbrellas, sunbeds and a canteen, the other more remote.
This beach, made famous by the scenes filmed for “The Guns of Navarone” in 1961, starring Anthony Quinn, has crystal-clear waters and a small pier.
Situated close to the village Asklipio, this beach with blue waters is serviced with beach umbrellas, sunbeds and a beach bar.
An endless beach covered with white and grey pebbles, its waters deepen abruptly. It is serviced with beach umbrellas, sunbeds and beach bar, while also offering beach volley and beach soccer areas.
Located close to Lindos, this beach, covered with golden sand and blessed with blue waters, is renowned, drawing many visitors.
Being shallow, this beach is primarily preferred by families. It is serviced with beach umbrellas and sunbeds. Beach area service, all the way to your sunbed, is offered.
A beach with fine sand and pines at the back, it is serviced with beach umbrellas, sunbeds and a beach bar.
At the southwestern section of the island, Glyfada has emerald, crystal-clear waters and pine trees reaching the rocks by the sea.
The beach of the main town, Elli, renowned, much-photographed, U-shaped, enormous and impressive, draws hordes of visitors.
One of the most extensively serviced beaches on the island, Ialysos, covered with a mixture of pebble and sand, is an attraction for windsurfers.
A continuation of the main town beach, Ixia is serviced, offers water sports, and its winds are appropriate for windsurfing.
A small beach with pines and palm trees, it also features the Kallithea thermal springs.
Situated below the village of the same name, Lindos beach, a major attraction, offers two bays with beach umbrellas, sunbeds and tavernas.
An impressive sandy beach, a paradise for windsurfers, also offers the choice of a windless side. Canteens serve all you need.
Situated below the rock hosting the renowned Panagia Tsabika monastery, Tsabika beach offers fine golden sand, beach umbrellas, sunbeds, a beach bar and water sport facilities.
This renowned Rhodes beach, enormous, is serviced.
A small beach close to the village Monolithos, Fourni is covered with pebbles, has natural caves, and is rocky. This beach is not serviced. Bring your own beach umbrella for shade.
Not surprisingly, this highly developed island offers plenty of alternatives for recreational activities.
Water sports and various other games may be enjoyed at Rhodes’ serviced beaches.
The rocky bays in the southeast are ideal for scuba diving. Numerous professional scuba divers offer their services on the island.
The northwestern beaches are perfect for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Prasonisi, in particular, is renowned its conditions suited to these water sports and gathers enthusiasts from various parts of the world.
The same applies for bicycle touring and mountain biking.
Rhodes, being such an established destination, also offers golf, archery and horse riding, shooting and tennis facilities.
Finally, water parks, including in Faliraki, offer giant water slides and other adventures for children desiring thrills and spills.
Monte Smith. This location, offering a superb view of the old and new town, an enjoyable sunset experience, ancient theatre and acropolis, is well worth a visit.
Wine tasting. The island, like others in the region, places great emphasis on wines. Don’t skip your wine-tasting experience.
One-day excursions to Symi, Halki. Having made it to Rhodes, visits to nearby Symi and Halki are highly recommended. Consider Nisyros and Tilos, too.
Clock Tower. It is well worth visiting for the great view offered from the tower, as well as its superb interior space.
Submarine. Take a ride on a mini submarine. Routes offered last approximately 30 minutes.
Casino. You may also want to try your luck at the casino, an elegant space with plenty on offer, especially if the gambling has gone your way.
Useful telephone numbers
Rhodes Municipality Information Office: +30 22410 35945, +30 22410 35240
Tourism Port Information Office: +30 22410 75316
Tourist Police: +30 22410 27423, +30 22410 23329
Rhodes Airport: +30 22410 82880
Rhodes Port: +30 22410 24138
Emergency Assistance and Public Ambulance Service: +30 22413 60000