With a history spanning over 2400 years, this mythical island in the southeastern Aegean Sea is a treasure trove of wonders, making it one of the most renowned tourist destinations in the world. If you’re seeking an unforgettable vacation experience, look no further than Rhodes.
As you step foot on this “island of the sun,” you’ll be transported through time. Rhodes, once home to the legendary Colossus of Rhodes and a hub for some of the ancient world’s brightest minds, was also ruled by the Knights Hospitallers for two centuries. Their influence is still palpable in the medieval towns that exude an atmosphere of old-world charm. Wander through the enchanting streets of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best-preserved medieval fortress towns globally. The Street of the Knights and the majestic Palace of the Grand Master will make you feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a captivating story.
Nature lovers will find solace in the breathtaking Butterfly Valley. This natural habitat serves as a refuge for thousands of rare and colorful butterflies during the summer months. Witnessing this spectacle is truly a sight to behold. If you’re a history enthusiast, a visit to the ancient Acropolis of Rhodes is a must. Located atop Monte Smith and overlooking the sparkling sea, this beautifully restored Hellenistic site will transport you back in time. Don’t miss the chance to explore the stunning Stadium of Diagoras and the Temple of Pythian Apollo.
Immerse yourself in the island’s rich history by attending the annual Medieval Festival, a three-day extravaganza that breathes life into the bygone era of the Knights Hospitallers. The Old Town comes alive with re-enactments and festivities, offering a glimpse into the island’s medieval past. For a more exotic experience, venture to Prasonisi, a small island covered in pine trees located at the southernmost tip of Rhodes. Depending on the tides, a narrow strip of sand connects it to the main island, creating a paradise beach that attracts windsurfers from around the globe.
No visit to Rhodes is complete without exploring the charming town of Lindos. Once a favorite resort for the international jet set in the 1950s to the 1970s, Lindos exudes elegance and allure. Its Cycladic-style white houses, narrow cobbled streets, and grand captain’s residences create a unique ambiance. Ascend to the ancient walled acropolis atop the rock, where you’ll find the iconic Temple of Athena Lindia, offering sweeping views of the Aegean Sea.
For breathtaking vistas, head to the Castle of Monolithos perched on a steep 236-meter-high rock. Known as the “castle of eagles,” this impressive fortress, built in 1476, provides panoramic views of the neighboring island of Halki. A leisurely stroll along the cosmopolitan seafront of the New Town unveils a living museum of architecture, showcasing iconic buildings from the Italian rule era. Be sure to admire the old Governor’s House, reminiscent of Venice’s Doge’s Palace, and the legendary Albergo Delle Rose hotel, also known as the “Dream of the East” and now home to the Rhodes Casino.
Immerse yourself in the island’s religious and cultural heritage by visiting the historic Tsambika Monastery. Perched on a 326-meter-high rock, this monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary is a significant pilgrimage site in the Aegean. From this vantage point, the views of the Aegean Sea are unparalleled.
To delve into the heart of Rhodes, embark on a remarkable road trip to its mountain villages. Visit Embonas, renowned for its vineyards and winemaking traditions, or explore Archangelos with its pottery and rare miniature horses. Lose yourself in the maze-like streets of Koskinou, adorned with brightly painted houses, or venture to Kritinia to discover its beautiful castle and scenic landscapes.
Rhodes boasts an array of stunning beaches that cater to every taste. Start your beach adventure at the popular Elli Beach, located in the new town. This picturesque stretch of sand, often featured on postcards, offers a large expanse dotted with colorful umbrellas and sun loungers. For a more intimate experience, head to Anthony Quinn Beach, named after the famous actor who starred in “The Guns of Navarone,” parts of which were filmed here. Its emerald waters, rocky coastline, and pine trees create a captivating ambiance, particularly popular among young people and underwater explorers.
If you’re seeking a family-friendly beach, Tsambika Beach is an ideal choice. Situated below the rock on which the Tsambika Monastery stands, this long stretch of golden sand invites visitors of all ages to enjoy its shallow emerald waters and partake in water sports. For a touch of tranquility, make your way to Saint Paul’s Bay, nestled below Lindos Acropolis. With its pebbled shores, crystal-clear waters, and secluded atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot to unwind.
Afantou Beach, one of the largest beaches on the island, offers a mix of sand, smooth pebbles, and deep waters. Whether you’re looking to engage in beach activities or soak up the sun in relative seclusion, this beach provides the ideal setting.
While exploring Rhodes, there are several experiences you shouldn’t miss. Take a tour of the Hellenistic ruins of Kamiros, often referred to as the “Pompeii of Greece,” due to its amphitheater-like shape overlooking the sea. Marvel at the exquisite “Aphrodite of Rhodes” at the Archaeological Museum, housed in the captivating Gothic architecture of the Hospital of the Knights. A leisurely walk in Rodini Park, one of the oldest parks in the world, offers a serene escape surrounded by ancient plane trees, wooden bridges, and babbling streams. Don’t forget to visit the interactive Bee Museum in the village of Pastida, where you can witness entire colonies of bees at work in transparent hives, delving into the island’s ancient beekeeping tradition.
For those with an adventurous spirit, embark on a journey to the top of Mount Profitis Ilias, reaching an elevation of 780 meters. This picturesque climb from the village of Salakos unveils a pine-wooded landscape reminiscent of the Swiss Alps. Explore the Italian-inspired chalets, “Elafos” and “Elafina,” along with other listed monuments from the period of Italian rule.
Discover the enchanting “Seven Springs” and walk through a tunnel leading to a stunning man-made lake with crystal-clear waters and a small waterfall. Ascend the pine-covered Filerimos Hill to reach the gothic Monastery of the Virgin Mary, notable for its symbolic stone “Path of Golgotha” leading to an imposing 18-meter-high cross. Marvel at the architectural beauty of the Kallithea Springs, an art deco complex influenced by Arabic designs, where pebble mosaics in the white-arched rotunda stand as true works of art. Conclude your journey with a romantic stroll to Mandraki Port, where you’ll find St. Nicholas’ fortress lighthouse and three picturesque windmills. Pause to admire the columns adorned with bronze statues of the island’s symbols, the buck and doe, at the port’s entrance.
No visit to Rhodes is complete without savoring the island’s delectable cuisine. Indulge in the famous melekouni, a soft sesame seed and mastic bar blended with honey, almonds, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, often infused with citrus zest. Sample the fine local wines, including the white Athiri and the red Amorgiano (Mandilaria), as well as the sweet Muscat of Rhodes made from Muscat Blanc and Muscat di Trani grapes. Delight in the flavors of pitaroudia, chickpea rissoles with tomato and mint, paired with chilled souma, the local raki. Discover the unique “kamilakia,” dolmades made with cyclamen leaves stuffed with rice and topped with an egg-lemon sauce. Be sure to try roditiki lakani, goat meat slow-cooked with chickpeas, bulgur wheat, cinnamon, and cumin in a wood-fired oven. Seafood enthusiasts must savor soupiorizo, a risotto infused with cuttlefish ink, offering a taste of the sea. And don’t forget to indulge in the excellent local thyme or sage honey, a testament to Rhodes’ rich natural bounty.
Rhodes beckons you with its unparalleled charm, combining history, natural beauty, and culinary delights. Book your ticket and embark on a journey that will leave you with cherished memories and a longing to return to this captivating “Emerald of the Mediterranean.” Greek Locations
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