Complete Travel Guide to Rhodes

September 27th 2023 in Explore
Complete Travel Guide to Rhodes

Guide Place to Rhodes

Rhodes, the largest and westernmost of the Dodecanese islands, is spread between Greece and the coast of Turkey, which is only 11 miles away at the closest point. The island is shaped like an ancient arrowhead, with wild and soaring mountains on its north edge and shimmering beaches along its east shoreline. The charming Greek towns on the island are filled with summertime bars, tavernas, and even UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

If you're wondering whether Rhodes is worth visiting, we're here to answer that question. Whether planning a month-long island-hopping itinerary through the Greek Aegean or a fly-in weekend to party the night away in Faliraki with your friends, this guide has got you covered. It will showcase nine of the top reasons Rhodes should be on your radar this year so you can weigh it up against all the other extraordinary isles in this sun-kissed corner of the Mediterranean.

Rhodes has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. It was previously a stronghold of Mycenaean Greeks and was even mentioned in the epic Trojan War as a participant in Homer’s Iliad. However, Rhodes’ golden age did not occur until after 300 BC, when it became a significant hub for grain trading in the aftermath of the Macedonian Empire. This was when the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Wonders of the Ancient World and stood at a height equal to the Statue of Liberty, dominated the harbour but now disappeared.

Today, you will likely encounter relics of Rhodes’ Byzantine and medieval past. The Asklepieion fortress, built in 1479, and the Feraclos citadel are examples. However, they are less awe-inspiring than the Collachium and the Old Town of Rhodes, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. They were once a bastion of Christianity on the edge of the former Ottoman Empire.

Rhodes, the largest of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, is a beach lover’s dream destination with 42 beaches. To put it into perspective, the number of beaches in Rhodes is twice as many as those in Mykonos and Milos. The eastern coast of Rhodes, with its sparkling blue waters and golden sand, is ideal for sunbathing and relaxation. In contrast, the rugged and wild north of the island is a remote paradise where you can escape the crowds and immerse yourself in nature.

Among the most popular beaches in Rhodes are Ixia Beach, located near Rhodes Town, and Limanaki Agios Pavlos in Lindos. With its stunning views and lovely stretch of powder-white sand, Ixia Beach is a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Limanaki Agios Pavlos, on the other hand, is known for its crystal-clear waters, which are perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

One of the most beautiful beaches in Rhodes is Ladiko Beach, a celeb hotspot with ultra-clear water where you can enjoy a refreshing swim or snorkel. Another must-visit beach is Agathi Beach, which boasts a wide and spacious beachfront with awe-inspiring views of the coastal mountains of Rhodes.

For the more adventurous traveller, Prassonissi Beach is the perfect destination. This windsurfer’s paradise, located at the southernmost tip of Rhodes, offers some of the most dramatic scenery on the island. Although often very windy, the beach’s unique location, where the Aegean and Mediterranean seas meet, creates spectacular waves and windsurfing opportunities. If you’re lucky enough to visit Prassonissi Beach on a calm day, the drone shots you take will be truly unforgettable.

In conclusion, Rhodes’s beaches are a must-visit for any traveller, offering incredible scenery and experiences. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday or an adventure-packed getaway, Rhodes has something to offer everyone.

Rhodes is one of the larger Greek islands and offers plenty of opportunities for adventurous travellers to explore. Hiking boots are a must-have for those who want to explore the numerous trails in the backcountry. One of the best trails leads to the top of Attavyros, which rises to a height of 1,250 meters and offers breathtaking views of the Rhodian shoreline and the other Dodecanese Islands. Another must-see highlight of Rhodes is the Valley of the Butterflies, a mountain cleft south of Theologos. The valley is home to pockets of moss-clad Zitia trees, which attract pretty quadripunctaria poda butterflies in the late summer months, turning the place into a symphony of black and white shades. The valley is serene, with trickling streams, wooden bridges, and natural ponds.

Many travellers return to Rhodes year after year for its vibrant nightlife. The resort that stands out from the crowd is Faliraki, located a short 25-minute drive from Rhodes Town, and is the island’s answer to Benidorm and Magaluf. Faliraki is brimming with life from May to August, and the main Bar Street is where you can find all sorts of bars, from pumping karaoke dives to raucous Irish Pubs. The taverna scene in Rhodes Town is an excellent option for those looking for something more relaxed. There are many tavernas, but Taverna Kostas and the Caldera Taverna Bar are two of the best. They offer the best Dodecanese kitchen, including fresh-off-the-boat seafood, mezze dishes, and a hint of Turkish cooking.

Rhodes boasts one of the best climates in Greece, which is a remarkable feat. Situated further south and east than many famous vacation islands such as Mykonos and Santorini, it is shielded from the autumn and winter storm systems, known as medicines, that can cause heavy rains and cold temperatures from September to December.

Moreover, its low latitude keeps the temperature consistently high throughout the year. It is possible to enjoy sunny days with temperatures in the 70s throughout November, which extends the beach season. However, the good news is that the crowds of sun-seekers disperse by the end of August.

It is worth noting that the northerly winds can sometimes switch to southerly breezes during the summer in Rhodes, resulting in warm air from the Sahara. This can cause temperatures to soar to over 110F, which can be uncomfortably hot.

Rhodes Island, located in the eastern Aegean, is half the size of Crete but attracts the same number of annual visitors, around 5 million. It is one of the most popular islands in the region and, as such, offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. From large family resorts with central swimming pools and sprawling gardens to quaint B&Bs that take you to the countryside and mountains, Rhodes has it all.

If you prefer more developed hotels, you should check out the resorts on the East Coast, specifically Lindos and Kalathos, or the long stretch of sandy beaches south of Rhodes Town. However, if you prefer a more rustic stay, you should head to the mountains and the north coast. For party-goers, Faliraki is the place to be.

Rhodes has much more to offer than its well-known coastline. When you explore the hills, you will experience a change in scenery, from the white-painted holiday cottages to the rough stone villages that have remained untouched for centuries.

What is particularly impressive about Rhodes is that these villages’ traditional character and heritage are still present. During your exploration, you can observe it in the local eateries, festivals, people, and churches. The following are some of the best places to visit on your Rhodes excursion off the beaten path:

- Mesanagros: A 13th-century village featuring a haunting church built to escape pirates on the Mediterranean. This village hosts a significant religious festival in the fall

- Archangelos: A lovely village with an Orthodox church renowned for its breadmaking near Lindos.

- Eleousa: This picturesque village in the lush mountain valleys features a strange nostalgia for Italy. The water trickling from the fountains and the slower pace of life make it the perfect destination to unwind.

Rhodes is an island in Greece known for its delicious food, combining Aegean cooking with flavours from the East. The island’s proximity to Asia Minor and Turkey has resulted in a unique blend of spices and flavours that can be tasted in traditional starters called mezethes. These include spice-topped eggplant baked in the oven, meliasti (grilled feta cheese with honey and toasted sesame), and ouzomezes (small, salty plates that complement your evening drink).

Don’t hesitate to order multiple dishes when dining in a Rhodian taverna. The locals often take five, six, or seven dishes for just one person. It’s best to pair your meal with a wine from the island, which has been cultivated there for thousands of years.

Rhodes offers something for every type of traveller. Although not a party mecca like Ios, there are still parties in Faliraki and Rhodes Town. The island is not solely for exploring incredible beach coves like Milos, but it does offer eye-watering inlets for snorkelers and swimmers along the southeast coast. Additionally, the island has wondrous hiking paths that come to life in the highland part of the island.

Rhodes is also easy to get to compared to other isles across the Aegean Sea and the Dodecanese chain. The island has its international airport, the fourth busiest in Greece, catering to 1.5 million passengers in a typical year—plenty of flights from different places, including short-haul links from many EU cities. The only downside is that most flights are seasonal, going only between May and October. There are also overnight ferry connections from Piraeus Port in Athens and international ferry links from Fethiye and Bodrum in Turkey.

Rhodes is the hub of the Dodecanese Islands, and there are plenty of nearby islands and sights to explore. With its pastel-painted Venetian harbour town and creaking windmills on the hills overhead, Symi is the jewel in the crown of the beautiful Dodecanese Islands. You can catch a ferry there from the port north of Rhodes Town. Another option is to cross to Marmaris in Turkey, within a day’s sailing of Rhodes. Organised trips will take you over the Aegean early in the morning for shopping tours of the promenade and a Turkish breakfast in the beachside bars.