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Guide To Rhodes, Greece
Locally known as Rodos, Rhodes is the biggest and most important island in the Dodecanese and the historical capital of this island cluster. Home to important ancient towns, beautiful beaches, and an impressive past, the island is also an important summer destination, family-friendly, and with tons of things to see and do.
If you are planning to visit the Greek Islands but still haven’t decided which one to visit, or even if you’ve already made up your mind and Rhodes is your next travel destination, you’ve landed on the right site. This guide will show you the best things to do in Rhodes and introduce some key things to know before heading to the island.
How To Get To Rhodes
The best way to reach the island is by plane, landing at Diagoras Rhodes International Airport, one of the busiest airports in Greece, which underlines the importance of the island. Rhodes receives daily flights from Athens, Thessaloniki, and other places in Greece and many European countries. The flight from Athens is about 50 minutes.
Another way to get to Rhodes is by sea, boarding a ferry from Piraeus Port, in Athens. There are about five weekly ferries to Rhodes, and the trip is about 18 hours. Why so long? Because the ferry also makes stops at other islands in the Dodecanese, including Kos, Patmos, Leros, and Simi.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Rhodes
The island has pleasant Mediterranean weather with long and very hot summers, often dry and short mild winters and rain in January. Those looking for hot summer temperatures will be able to enjoy the best of the island between June and September.
General Information About Rhodes
The Greek Island of Rhodes receives the imposing nickname of the Knights’ Island thanks to its fascinating historical past and the fantastic ancient buildings that dot the island. Take, for instance, the atmospheric Rhodes Old Town. This is a unique fortified settlement with medieval traits, cobblestones, sumptuous mansions, and one of the best-preserved castles in the world, which dates back to the Middle Ages, the fascinating and mysterious age of knights and princesses.
But not everything in Rhodes is about the knights! The island is one of the most popular in Greece also because of its fantastic beaches, most of them child-friendly, where it is possible to have fun practicing water sports, such as windsurfing and kite surfing on the small and curious island of Prasonisi, which can be reached on foot depending on the tides.
The island is a paradise for adventures, including diving trips to different shipwrecks off the coast and featuring unique hiking trails in the inland. Dotting the landscape, travelers will be surprised by the variety of the local countryside, hosting spectacular valleys, picturesque villages, unexpected castles, and, of course, paradisiac shores, some of them quite lonely and isolated.
Rhodes With The Family
The island is a super kid-friendly destination, starting from the imposing medieval castle, the Palace of the Grand Master in the Medieval Old Town – a place declared a World Heritage Site that marvels all those who visit and leaves a special impression on children.
The Valley of the Butterflies is another place that kids treasure. Here they will have the possibility to discover thousands of small butterflies that populate this special area of Greece, an attraction that can only be found in Rhodes and on Paros Island.
Additionally, kids can enjoy places like the Toy Museum or go hiking horseback riding, participate in a myriad of fun water sports and chill at the beaches. It’s also a fantastic place to introduce their taste buds to the super healthy cuisine based on the tasty Mediterranean diet.
Best Things To Do In Rhodes
Palace Of The Grand Master
In the heart of the Old Town of Rhodes, the castle is located on the imposing Street of the Knights. This fantastic palace is the best-preserved castle all over the Mediterranean, and it stands as one of the most distinctive landmarks of Rhodes.
It was built during the Middle Ages by the Knights of Saint John, and it was reconstructed at the beginning of the past century. You can either visit on your own, or — even better — join a guided tour to better discover and understand its history.
The castle stands on the foundations of the former Temple of Helios (the Sun). It also worked as the island’s administrative center in the Middle Ages.
From an architectural point of view, the huge palace has characteristic spherical towers and a magnificent arched gate. It has over 150 rooms with spectacular marble floors, sumptuous carpets, lavish furniture, and extraordinary Oriental decorative objects.
The first floor hosts the official rooms and the exclusive private quarters of the Grand Master. The impressive ballroom and the elegant Music room are two of the places you don’t want to miss. In modern times, the palaces functioned as a holiday residence for the King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III and for the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
Acropolis Of Rhodes
It is also close to Rhodes Town; it is a good idea to explore the ancient Acropolis of Rhodes, located on Mount Smith. The fantastic archaeological site dates back to Hellenistic times, and it used to host a myriad of sanctuaries and temples, public buildings, and imposing structures such as a theater and a marketplace.
Most of the public buildings were strategically built on precipitous terraces. This is the main reason why you will not find fortifications in this ancient acropolis.
The site represents one of the finest examples of Hellenistic towns in the country, and much of it is still to be unearthed. However, visitors can discover some remarkable monuments, including the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus, featuring massive Doric columns and porticoes.
Acropolis Of Lindos
Another fantastic town to visit in Rhodes is Lindos, not just interesting for its picturesque construction on a hillside but also because it hosts another fantastic archaeological site, the Acropolis of Lindos.
The excavation brought to light Dorian structures dating to the Hellenistic period and some areas that the Knights had previously restored.
The ancient town of Lindos lies about 45 km from Rhodes Town. Dating back to the tenth century BC, it was a major trading center with a very strategic position halfway between Greece and the Middle East.
Some of the important ruins you can explore are the imposing Doric Temple of Athena, the entrance gateways, Propylaea (the gateways) of the Sanctuary, and a more recent Roman Temple.
In order to learn more about the history of the island, the best thing to do once you’ve explored the main archaeological sites is to devote a couple of hours to visit the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes in the Old Town.
One of the reasons for the visit is the setting. The museum is set in the former Hospital of the Kings, one of the most important Medieval buildings you will find on the island with a gorgeous interior courtyard and well-preserved stone walls and columns.
The museum’s exhibits include a collection that spans from Hellenistic to the Early Christian times. Objects include vases, figurines, mosaic floors, and funerary slabs of the Knights.
The Valley of the Butterflies, locally known as Petaloudes, is located near the village of Theologos. This is a stunning green valley and park about 27 km from Rhodes Town.
The natural reserve is a lush valley that is populated with a massive colony of butterflies during spring and autumn. The Pelekanos River crosses the valley with several bridges and endless waterfalls along its whole length.
The Aquarium Of Rhodes
Another reason why we believe that Rhodes is an excellent family destination is that there are tons of exciting places that appeal to kids and adults alike. The local aquarium is no exception. It is located in Rhodes’ Hydrobiological Station in Rhodes City, and it also hosts a marine museum.
The building occupies a circular area with over 25 tanks sheltering fish and marine organisms typical of the Mediterranean Sea, such as sea turtles, seals, dolphins, crabs, and a few species of sharks. The center also has a particular area to treat and protect certain species, mostly turtles and seals.
The Great Hammam
Another important building worth the visit is Rhodes’ Great Hammam, also known as the Baths of Suleiman. This is one of the several Turkish Baths that still remain scattered around the Medieval Town of Rhodes. The building is believed to date back to the fourteenth century, probably in 1558, when the Ottoman Turks occupied most of the islands in the Dodecanese.
The building is an impressive structure with stunning red-tiled cupolas, featuring a section devoted to the men’s baths and a more modern area for women added years later. Once inside, you will be surprised by the rich decorations, including marble floors, elegant fountains, and numerous domes.
At present, the renovated building works as a hammam spa that offers relaxing body and beauty treatments to visitors.
Panagia Filerimos Monastery
Located in the village of Ialyssos, on the side of a hill, the monastery was also constructed by the Knights of Saint John in the Middle Ages.
The monastery is one of the best-preserved religious structures on the island and a beautiful example of Medieval architecture. It is located 10 km from Rhodes Town, and it’s made of stone in Gothic style. Not far from the monastery, it is possible to visit the remains of Ancient Ialyssos, one of the three most powerful city-states of Rhodes.
Castle Of Monolithos
One of the most magnificent sites on the island, the castle is located on top of a massive rock overlooking the small village of Monolithos, about 70 km from the town of Rhodes.
The Venetian castle dates back from the last years of the 1400s, and although it is mainly in ruins, the place is fantastic to check the spectacular views of the Aegean and the beach underneath.
Witness the different cultures and communities that have, since ancient times, been part of the society of Rhodes at the Jewish Museum of Rhodes. During the Second World War, the local Jewish community was devastated and followed the same sad fate as many other Jewish communities that populated the most important Greek Islands. You can visit the museum in the Old Town Synagogue Kahal Shalom.
Among the exhibits, you can see ceremonial dresses and religious objects, old marriage contracts, theological books, and a curious Turkish travel document from 1910. It is a manuscript by the Sultan which gives permission to a local young boy to leave the island with his family.
Rhodes Toy Museum
A fantastic exhibition that attracts kids and parents, the Rhodes Toy Museum is close to the village of Archipoli. It is known for its exhibition of toys, all of them made in Greece, built between 1930 and 1990.
The most important pieces include tin toys, board games, and functioning coin-operated arcade machines that visitors can enjoy and play with. An area in the museum is entirely devoted to Lego and Playmobil, while there are also interactive toys and handicrafts. The gift shop sells original souvenirs where the outside area also features a kids’ playground.
Museum Of Bees And Honey
One more original and fascinating place to see in Rhodes, the museum is located in Patsida, a village about 5 km from Rhodes Town. The Museum of Honey and the Natural History of the Bee is an original place to visit that thoroughly explains and shows the whole process of beekeeping and honey production.
Top 5 Beaches In Rhodes
This popular Greek Island has also gained a reputation for its impressive beaches. We’ve narrowed down the most beautiful ones that you shouldn’t miss during your vacation on the island.
Megali Paralia, Lindos
Also known by the name of Lindos Beach, this shore is located about 47 km from Rhodes Town. It is considered one of the best beaches on the island, and it is very popular among tourists staying or visiting Lindos for the day. The beach features crystal clear waters, and it is fully organized.
The main feature of this beach is its position right below the spectacular hill of Lindos, with the ancient acropolis hoovering on top of the hill. You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas, have lunch in the local seaside taverns, or even try waters sports in the area.
Limanaki Agios Pavlos, Lindos
Also, a bit more than 45 km from Rhodes Town, the small port of Agios Pavlos features a tiny cove under the Castle of Lindos and close to the ancient acropolis of Lindos. There is also a small white chapel dedicated to Saint Paul on the beach.
This gorgeous shore is made of golden sand and pebbles, there are sunbeds for rent, and diving is available from the rock that stands at one end of the beach.
Ladiko Beach (Anthony Quinn Beach)
This is a family-friendly and well-organized beach, home to a great diving club featuring small pebbles, located about 20 km from Rhodes Town.
There is a small cove just meters from the beach where the famous actor Antony Quinn used to swim when filming on the island. The beach is close to Faliraki Beach, among the most popular beaches on the island.
This is another family-friendly beach in Rhodes, with reasonably good organization, about 25 km from Rhodes Town. The shore is bathed by clear turquoise waters, with fine golden sand, perfect for families and couples.
Only 8 km from Rhodes Town, this is another beach perfect for diving and water sports. The pebbled beach is family-friendly, and it is better known for its hot medicinal springs that attract visitors of all ages.
The spot to be on the island for those who intend to practice windsurfing, this quite wild beach is about 85 km from Rhodes Town, and it is not organized.
Considered of the most beautiful and secluded beaches on Rhode Island, a curious peninsula divides the beach in two whenever the tides are high, creating a small island.
Other beaches to visit include Faliraki, with a portion dedicated to naturist sunbathing. Also, check the tranquil shores of Glystra Beach and Lardos Beach, a family-friendly beach about 50 km from Rhodes Town and relatively close to Lindos.
Where To Stay In Rhodes
These are some of the best hotels on the island, divided into different budget categories, and all of them are in a convenient and safe location.
Remember that it is a good idea to book from 4 to 6 months in advance if you don’t want to miss an offer or a beautiful location. Booking in advance guarantees convenient fees and a better room too!
Budget Places To Stay In Rhodes
Summer View is a small 2-star hotel in the area of Theologos, 15 minutes on foot from the beach. The hotel features a restaurant, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a bar, and a gorgeous lounge in Theologos. There is also a garden, a terrace, and a snack bar serving coffees and refreshing cocktails on site.
Rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and a balcony with garden views or pool views. Guests can enjoy a continental or buffet breakfast, play darts or ping pong and rent a car on the premises. The hotel is 6 km from the airport. More info here:
Helena Hotel is in Rhodes Town, only 5 minutes from the beach. Guest rooms offer accommodation with free WiFi and air conditioning and a swimming pool with a sun terrace. The rooms are tastefully decorated and overlook the pool and the surrounding area.
Guests can spend time at the poolside bar enjoying refreshing drinks and cocktails. Dinner is available at the on-site restaurant, featuring Greek and international dishes. This convenient property is within walking the Medieval Town of Rhodes and only 9 km from the airport. Read more here:
Mid-Range Places To Stay In Rhodes
Kallithea Rhodes is a 3-star hotel in Kallithea, 4 minutes from the beach and 2 km from Faliraki Beach. The spacious accommodation has two swimming pools, a sun terrace, a snack bar, and a beautiful lush garden. Rooms are big and bright and include a flat-screen satellite TV and a mini-fridge, with some rooms offering views over the Aegean Sea or the garden and the pool.
The property serves a continental breakfast daily, while the poolside snack bar also serves a variety of beverages, snacks, and cocktails all day long. Families can take advantage of the pool, including a children’s section. Car rental services are also offered. The hotel is 5 km from Rhodes Town and 15 km from the airport. Read more here:
Atma Beach Rooms & Suites
Atma Beach Rooms & Suites is a sustainable beachfront hotel in Faliraki, a 2-minute walk from the featuring accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar, and a picturesque garden. In the hotel, there are also family rooms available.
There are continental and buffet breakfast options available each morning as well as a coffee and tea makers in each room. The hotel is about 11 km from the airport. Read more here:
Luxury Places To Stay In Rhodes
Sentido Asterias Beach Resort
Sentido Asterias Beach Resort is a gorgeous 5-star beachfront hotel in Afantou, about 5 km from Faliraki and Kallithea and 11 km from Rhodes International Airport. The property is a one-minute walk from the beach and offers an outdoor pool and children’s playground.
The hotel has a spa center and a private beach area, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar. Certain rooms include a seating area, a terrace, or a balcony. Guests can play tennis at the hotel or take advantage of the bike hire services. Read more here:
Elysium Resort & Spa
Elysium Resort & Spa is a beautiful resort in Rhodes, featuring a gorgeous beachfront position a. The Elysium Resort & Spa features a lagoon-style pool, a hydromassage pool, and an 800-m² spa center. It offers fine dining, 3 bars, and elegant accommodations. In-room facilities include a mini-fridge. Some units also offer a spa bath. Rooms and suites located on the Elite floor have access to the Elite Club lounge, offering complimentary light snacks and beverages.
Tip: Kids love the two escape rooms for extreme fun!
Facilities include a fitness center, hammam, sauna and vitality pool with 16 massage jets, as well as outdoor hot tub. A rich American breakfast buffet is served at the terrace of the main restaurant. The resort is 5 km from Rhodes Town. Read more here:
Where To Eat In Rhodes
Noble Gourmet Restaurant
Noble Gourmet Restaurant is ranked among the 25 best hotels in Greece. It is located on the top floor of the Elysium Resort & Spa and features unique dishes of Rhodian cuisine.
Location: Elysium Resort
Certainly more affordable and family-friendly, Tamam is one of the top-rated places to eat in Rhodes Town, featuring excellent homemade Greek food and a friendly atmosphere.
Location: Georgiou Street, Rhodes Town
Coffee And Sweets
Old Town Corner Bakery Shop
Old Town Corner Bakery Shop is the place to visit to taste traditional Greek desserts and a cup of Greek coffee or a glass of iced coffee.
Location: Omirou Street, Rhodes TownShare