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When you talk to your friends about vacation destinations in the Greek Islands, Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini are probably the main spots you mention.
But, Greece has another interesting island destination with a turbulent past, which represents a marvelous fusion of modern and ancient. Impressive beaches, peaceful valleys, buzzing nightlife, and historic landmarks – the Greek island of Rhodes has it all.
Rhodes is one of the 12 Dodecanese Islands, situated in the Aegean sea, near the Turkish mainland. Cretans, Phoenicians and Dorians were the first inhabitants of Rhodes.
Later, different civilizations controlled the island, like Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans. After WW2, Rhodes and other Dodecanese islands belonged to Greece.
Have you heard about the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? That monumental sculpture was once a landmark of Rhodes.
So Many Things to do in Rhodes
The main tourist attraction is the Old Town of Rhodes, thanks to its excellent preservation and many alleys lined with restaurants, lovely cafes and shops.
You can explore popular hot spots such as Mandraki Port, Prasonisi Beach, Kritinia Castle and several ancient ruin sites. Booking a boat tour for a day trip to Halki and Symi Islands is another popular thing to do in Rhodes.
Furthermore, you can enjoy relaxing in the Valley of the Butterflies and Kallithea Springs. Or try local wines, stroll through the charming villages on the coast and admire the sunset over the Aegean sea.
The Old town of Rhodes is the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe. A visit to Old Town sits at the top of any list of things to do in Rhodes. Inside the massive walls, you can see the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, the Palace of the Grand Master and the Acropolis of Rhodes.
There are many well-preserved structures from different historical periods, such as Gothic and Byzantine churches, mosques and a synagogue.
We recommend exploring the Turkish quarter Hora, Knights’’ Street and the streets Aristotelous and Socratous. There you can find traditional souvenir shops, many cafes, bars and restaurants where you can eat local food specialties.
Thanks to its cultural and historical significance, Rhodes Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Town.
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The Palace of the Grand Master was built in the 14th Century by the Knights of Saint John. It is situated in the medieval town of Rhodes, at the end of the Street of the Knights.
The Palace was constructed on the bases of the Temple of the sun-god (Helios), and it was used as the residence of the governor in the Medieval era.
With an entry ticket, you can see the courtyard, 24 rooms with antique furniture, beautiful staircases, carpets, frescoes, mosaics, as well as museum collections and historical artifacts.
On the north-western coast of Rhodes, you can visit the ancient town of Kamiros. This is one of the most significant archaeological sites on the island.
Kamiros was founded by Dorians and was constructed in three levels with the Temple of the goddess Athena on the hilltop.
Did you know that the ancient city of Kamiros features significant oil and wine production and its own coins? In the 5th Century BC, Kamiros was part of the strong city-state of Rhodes, along with Lindos and Ialysos.
During the excavations in the 20th Century, archaeologists discovered rich and important findings. Many of those artifacts are in the Louvre and the British Museum today.
The Monolithos castle was built in the 15th Century to protect the island from pirate attacks. It is located on a huge, isolated rock, standing above the village. To reach the castle you must climb many steps, but it’s well worth the effort.
Inside the castle are the ruins of the Church of Saint Panteleimon. The castle also offers a gorgeous view of the Fourni beach and the sea. Just 15 km to the north, Venetians built the castle of Kritinia which dates back to the 16th Century. That medieval castle is situated on a hill, above the village of Kritinia.
From that point, there is stunning views of the Aegean Sea, the surrounding islands and islets. During the Italian occupation, the Kritinia castle was used as a sea base.
Monastery of Tsambika is located 25 km south of the city of Rhodes, on a hilltop. The road does not run to the monastery so you need to park the car halfway and walk 350 steps to a small Byzantine church on the top of the hill dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
It is believed that those who can’t have children visit this monastery as a last resort to have their prayers for a baby answered. Also, a return visit to this holy place is essential for those whose children were born after visiting.
Hiking in the heat will be rewarded with outstanding views of the sea and the surrounding beautiful beaches Tsambika and Kolymbia. After visiting the monastery, go down to the Tsambika beach to relax and enjoy the sun. It is a long sandy beach, with bars, sun chairs and clear water.
Prasonisi is an impressive beach sitting in the southernmost part of Rhodes. It is well-known as the meeting place of two seas: the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. Prasonisi beach is also windsurfing heaven, thanks to the Meltemi wind.
Faliraki is another beautiful beach, placed on the island’s east coast, nearby Rhodes town. It offers many activities like horse riding and bungee jumping, as well as a wide range of water sports.
Near the edge of the historic village of Lindos, you can find St Paul’s Bay, known for its colorful scenery. It has two beaches with clear blue water. St Paul’s is a great place for snorkeling and diving. There are also toilets, sunbeds, cafes and tavernas to take a break from the sun and have something to eat.
Above St Paul’s Bay, you can find one of the most popular archaeological sites in Greece. The Acropolis of Lindos is placed on a high cliff, overlooking the sea. That natural citadel was used by several rulers, from Greeks and Romans to the Ottomans.
You can discover ruins of the Temple of Athena Lindia, the Hellenistic Stoa, the Castle of the Knights of St John, the Greek Orthodox church and other ancient buildings. There is also an old theatre from the 4th Century BC, with a capacity of 2,000 people.
Taking a stroll through the picturesque fishing village of Lindos and relaxing on the Lindos beach are top things to do in Rhodes. It is a long beach with soft sand and many water sports activities, such as parasailing and waterskiing, as well as boat excursions.
The Kallithea Springs is located just 9 km from the city of Rhodes. Although it is called a “spring”, this attraction is actually a small bay of seawater. From ancient times springs of Kalithea have been used by locals as therapy for asthma, allergies, arthritis and many other diseases.
In 2007, Kallithea Springs was fully restored and today this tourist hotspot attracts hundreds of visitors daily. You can admire the monumental architecture, Rotonda Hall and unique mosaics.
There is also a beautiful garden, with palm trees and flowers, one of the main reasons why many couples choose Kallithea Springs for their wedding ceremony.
9. Enjoy Anthony Quinn Bay
This beautiful place on the east coast of Rhodes was named after Anthony Quinn, an actor well-known for his roles in “Zorba the Greek” and “The Guns of Navarone”. Thanks to the lush green vegetation, the water is an amazing emerald color.
Anthony Quinn Bay is located near Faliraki. It has a small beach, but also wonderful underwater scenery making it a popular spot for snorkeling. Anthony Quinn beach is a favorite place for young people but the rocky terrain is not ideal for families with young kids.
If you want to eat some delicious food, there is a beach bar with local dishes. Also, it is recommended to visit nearby Ladiko beach, with fine sand and beach facilities like sunbeds, showers and taverns.
Visiting the Valley of the Butterflies is one of the most unique things to do in Rhodes. From May to September, many visitors come to enjoy the peaceful ambiance of Butterfly Valley on the western side of the island. Here you can walk through narrow trails and watch thousands of butterflies flutter around.
Thanks to the humidity and other conditions, butterflies of the genus Panaxia come here in colonies to reproduce. You must follow the rules and avoid any kind of noise during your visit.
The shade of the trees, river Pelekanos and waterfalls also create a lovely setting for tourists to rest during the hot summer days.
Nearby you can visit Kalopetra Monastery or Farma of Rhodes, where you can see many animal species such as kangaroos, llamas, donkeys, and camels.
Book This Trip
Start planning your escape to Rhodes, Greece. Get prepared with knowledge on how to get around, hotel and VRBO reservations, local recommendations on the best restaurants and more through TripAdvisor and Travelocity.
For the best flight deals, train tickets and car rental options, check out Omio Travel Partner.
Author Bio: Based in Serbia in Europe, Marija Stojanovic Petkovski worked as a journalist but realized writing about the most beautiful places in the world is something that inspires her. She is sure that a pint of good craft beer perfectly accompanies a tasty home-made lasagne. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her children and spending time outdoors with her family.