For those who love beach vacations but need a break from the beaches every now and then, Rhodes is an ideal destination. Large in size and with a millenary history, the largest island of the Dodecanese offers a long list of things to see in addition to its enchanting beaches.
Lovers of art, history and architecture will be able to spend a large part of their vacation visiting museums, monuments, churches and archaeological sites. The city of Rhodes alone is worth a day, and another half a day to the fascinating Lindos!
For those who have a limited tolerance to heat, the forests of the hinterland offer a pleasant shelter from the heat thanks to their shady plants and their bubbling springs. And if cultural visits and walks are not enough for you, you can always add an unforgettable boat trip to your travel plans.
Here are the 10 must-see attractions in Rhodes to alternate with well-deserved hours of total laziness on the island’s most beautiful beaches for a fabulous vacation.
Whether you stay on the island one day or ten, the city of Rhodes is a must-see. You will not find the famous Colossus, the giant statue considered one of the seven wonders of time (it collapsed more than two thousand years ago), but you can visit the Old Town, a treasure chest that contains many treasures such as the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Street of the Knights, the Turkish Quarter, the Jewish Quarter.
For a wonderful overall view of the historic districts of Rhodes, take a walk along its mighty walls, perfectly preserved.
A completely different atmosphere awaits you in the Lower Town and the Port of Mandraki, the most modern areas of the city where museums and monuments leave room for clubs, shopping and beaches.
The romantic Lindos is the most enchanting place on the island of Rhodes: a cascade of white houses clinging to the slopes of a hill dominated by a medieval fortress; the fortress contains the jewel of Lindos, its wonderful acropolis overlooking the sea … to be reached on the back of a donkey!
Lindos is the most “Greek” of the cities of Dodecanese, the one which is closest to the idea that many tourists have of Greek islands. It boasts two enchanting beaches lying along the bay on which overlooks the city, plus one on the opposite side of the hillock, along the bay of St. Paul.
The town is also famous for its small restaurants with roof terraces which offer typical Greek dishes.
A Faliraki here is little to see but much to do. Main tourist resort of the island, is a succession of stores, bars, clubs and theme parks, with entertainment for all ages that are an antidote to boredom of certain effectiveness.
Faliraki is lively from morning until late at night and attracts both families with young children and young people looking for nightlife. It is located along the east coast of the island, just 13 km from the capital.
The name Baths of Kalithea makes one think of an ancient thermal establishment, in reality this building in art deco style with arabesque elements such as fountains and romantic pavilions is of much more recent construction: in fact it dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century and is a testimony to the Italian presence on the island in those years. The project is by the architect Pietro Lombardi.
The thermal spring that flowed in the area has long since dried up, but the beauty of the landscape has remained intact.
From the thermal complex you can enjoy beautiful views of the sea that will certainly make you want to stop and sunbathe in the beautiful beach below.
The beaches of Rhodes deserve a list of their own, but among all of them there is one to see not only for sea and sunbathing but also for cinematographic suggestions.
The splendid rocky beach in the Bay of Anthony Quinn is one of the main scenic beauties of the island: a small beach immersed in a breathtaking natural setting, so beautiful as to enchant even the Hollywood star who came to Rhodes for the filming of the movie “The Guns of Navarone”. Its fame has made the beach that now bears its name an obligatory stop on every tour of the island.
The monastery of Filerimos is a characteristic religious building immersed in nature, located on top of a 267 meter high hill from which it takes its name.
It was built around the thirteenth century by the Knights of St. John and restored in the twentieth century by the Italians, preserves intact a lovely medieval cloister and a church dedicated to the Virgin. From the church starts a way of the cross that ends with a huge cross: it is a magnificent vantage point from which you can admire a breathtaking view of the island of Rhodes.
The second ancient wonder of Rhodes after the acropolis of Lindos is the archaeological site of Kamiros, brought to light thanks to excavations carried out in the late nineteenth century. Unfortunately little remains of the splendor of this city founded by the Dorians in the seventh century, the third oldest of the island after Ialyssos and Lindos.
They are worth a visit, however: the ruins are in fact scattered on a natural terrace with a splendid view of the sea and you can enjoy them without the throng of tourists that clogs the most important archaeological sites of Greece.
How many butterflies can you see in a single day? Whatever number you come up with will always be less than the actual number of specimens – lepidopterans to be precise – that you can see by visiting the Valley of Butterflies in Rhodes.
It is a path in a forest near the town of Petaloudes, in the western part of the island, where small trees grow with aromatic fruits whose smell irresistibly attracts butterflies.
The tour is a beautiful walk in the green, among small waterfalls and lush plants: a corner of nature perfect for some relief from the heat and the sun.
Another refreshing place in Rhodes is the forest of the Seven Springs (Epta Piges): it is located a few kilometers from the town of Kolymbia, but it seems light years away from the heat and the blazing sun of the beaches.
It is a forest of plane trees and pines in which flow several natural waterways that flow into a small lake formed inside a cistern dug by the Italians in the early twentieth century.
The forest is crossed by paths, wooden bridges and walkways; to access the lake you must pass through a narrow tunnel built in the same era of the cistern.
A wonderful day trip from Rhodes is to the nearby island of Symi: considered one of the most beautiful islands of the Dodecanese, is famous for its elegant houses with pastel walls and colorful fishing boats.
It can be visited independently by taking one of the many boats and ferries departing from different cities of Rhodes; the crossing takes an hour or an hour and a half depending on the company and the price is quite cheap. During the sea crossing you can admire the magnificent bay of St. George.
Another way to visit the island is to participate in organized tours: the advantage is that the tours usually include a stop in the town of Symi, the main town on the island, and one at the monastery of Panormitis; in this way you don’t have to worry about how to move once you arrive in Symi.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article