Something keeps pulling me back to this island. It’s not the most famous nor the one that’s on top of your travel list; but it is as beautiful as any other Greek island. I have been here three times, and I am always ready to go back.
Rhodes is the island with the typical Greek – clear, blue – beaches combined with great history and amazing sceneries. Add to that, not so many crowds – although it does get real busy in the summer.
Here’s a list of what to see and do in Rhodes (other than the Old Town), but let’s start with that.
What to See and Do
Rhodes Old Town
The charming old city of Rhodes has a long history: ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Italians left a mark here – making the history and culture of Rhodes unique. So unique that it was named an UNESCO site and was home to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient World.
You can never get bored of this old town. Its narrow streets, fortified walls, ancient churches, cobblestoned alleys are just some of the things that are bound to take you back in time.
The only right thing to do in the old town is to simply get lost. But if you’re looking for something specific:
– take a walk down the Street of the Knights.
– discover the Palace of the Grand Master, that features ancient art, mosaics, and sculptures.
– watch the sunset from the Clock Tower.
– enjoy the many, many restaurants, cafes, & souvenir shops along its streets.
– climb the fortified walls where sentries used to guard the city.
– explore the old harbor and check out the views of the sea from atop.
Acropolis of Rhodes
Not as impressive as the other acropolis in Rhodes (aka Lindos), but the Acropolis of Rhodes is definitely something to see outside the old town. It is just a short distance from the city center (30-35 minutes walking unless you decide to go by taxi).
As all the acropolises, it is situated on the highest hill in the city, with amazing views of both town and sea. Although the buildings are covered in scaffolding, make sure you check out the temple of Apollo, the reconstructed Olympic stadium, an Odeon, and other buildings and temples.
Bonus! Admission is for free.
No wonder Lindos is the most popular place on the island of Rhodes. White Greek houses scattered on the hillside with narrow streets and blue beaches around it. Top it off with an Acropolis at the highest point of the town: Lindos is definitely something to see if you’re looking to get out of the old town of Rhodes.
We rented a car for the coming days, and our first destination was Lindos. It gets pretty busy during the summer, so make sure you get there early (+ the summer heat is a killer during the day). Along the way, stop at several lookout spots for beautiful views of the town.
Walk through the maze of narrow passages, on slippery stone steps (make sure you have comfortable shoes with you), past souvenir shops and cafes, to reach the main attraction of Lindos. Above the new town sits the Acropolis of Lindos, a natural citadel and a site that has witnessed many civilizations. The two major archaeological remains are the temple dedicated to Athena and the colonnaded stoa, but the most amazing things to see are the surrounding views of the beaches.
- Car ride to Lindos is around 50 minutes from the Old Town of Rhodes.
- Parking is free, but it’s a good walk to the town.
- Entrance to the Acropolis is €12.
My top of the list destination on the island of Rhodes. Why, you may ask… When we were deciding on what to see other than the old town of Rhodes, Haytham’s cousin told us about a beach where two seas would meet.
Wouldn’t you love to swim in the Mediterranean Sea for a minute then walk a couple of steps into the Aegean Sea the next? Well, wouldn’t mind if I do!
That’s probably the perfect way to describe Prasonisi beach. Prasonisi is a temporary island. During the summer months when the water level is low, a sandy beach appears, and Prasonisi becomes a peninsula. During the winter months when the water level is high, the beach fades away, and Prasonisi becomes an island.
Make sure you hike all the way up to the lighthouse. We did so at night and had an amazing view of the lighthouse!
- Prasonisi is located at the Southern tip of the island of Rhodes.
- Car ride to Prasonisi is 1 hour 30 minutes from the Old Town of Rhodes.
Only ruins of the castle remain today, but you will love the views of the sea at sunset, while you peak through the many stone frames, 100 meters above the sea. The castle was built in 1480 to protect the town of Monolithos from coming attacks.
Inside the castle is a small chapel which you can reach by stairs carved into the rocks. Be careful though – the steps are quite slippery.
- Car ride to Monolithos is 1 hour 30 minutes from the Old Town of Rhodes.
- Entrance is free, and the castle is open all day.
Another perfect location to watch the sunset is at the castle of Kritinia. Strategically located on a hill with 360 degrees views of the sea, the castle was also built to defend enemies – mainly pirates.
Although only the skeleton of the castle remains, you can still enjoy breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and different islands as far your eye can see.
- Car ride to Kritinia is 1 hour from the Old Town of Rhodes.
- Entrance is free.
Anthony Quinn Beach
From the many beautiful beaches on the island of Rhodes, Anthony Quinn was my favorite. You go down some steps to reach the clear turquoise water, with greenery and trees surrounding the bay, and many yachts on the water – making it one of the most famous beaches here on Rhodes.
It’s pretty much an intimate beach; however, it does get busy during the months of July and August. We were there in June, so there weren’t a lot of crowds. But you can always check out the quieter nearby beach of Ladiko.
Take a step back from the coast and go on a road trip to the mountains of Rhodes. Profitis Ilias is a famous summer escape for many families (especially for Italian army officers back in the 1930s).
The mountain is named after the Prophet Elias whose monastery is located at the summit. Along the way, pass through forests of pines and cypress, stop at an abandoned mansion – the summer home of Mussolini – have a coffee at the terrace of the famous Elaphos & Elaphina hotel, and just enjoy the cool breeze and views of the mountains.
Valley of the Butterflies
On my first visit to Rhodes back in 2008, we explored the Butterfly Valley, and I haven’t done so on my recent trips because I wanted to check out other attractions on the island.
The valley of butterflies is a haven for nature lovers: a reserve filled with different types of flowers and thousands of thousands of butterflies. The park also includes various trails where you can stop and take in all the beauty around you as well as waterfalls, streams, and pools.
- Car ride to Butterfly Valley is around 35 minutes from the Old Town of Rhodes.
- Entrance is €5.
Although I haven’t experienced these on my travels to Rhodes, I have heard pretty cool things about them, so make sure you check them out, and hopefully I’ll get to do them and share them on here!
- A day trip to Symi Island a short boat ride away (1 hour and 35 minutes), you can choose to either spend the day or stay the night. Either way, you will enjoy the views of its colored houses along its coastline, private beaches, and delicious seafood.
- Kallithea Thermal Springs a relaxing spot if you’re looking to escape the beaches for a day. Get to swim in clear waters while enjoying many health benefits. Entrance is for €3.50.
- Monastery of Tsambika a walk up to the monastery for breathtaking views. You can also enjoy a dip into the blue waters of Tsambika beach.
- Seven Springs where you can enjoy a quick swim in the seven different springs or walk through the forest paths to a waterfall – or both.
Where to Eat
One thing that keeps bringing me back to Greece is definitely the food, and it was as great in Rhodes. You will find many restaurants around the old town (fine dining and fast food), and you will love them all – every single time. But there are three main spots that did it for me.
Zaytouna Perfectly located on the corner in the old town of Rhodes, Zaytouna serves authentic Lebanese food. If you’re looking to take a break from Greek cuisine (although the menu does include that), make sure you take a break from walking through the old town and have a quick bite.
Masasoura 20 minutes away by car, Masasoura is a family run business where you can enjoy great Aegean cuisine. Get out of the old town for a perfect Greek dinner that gets you coming back for more (& I know, I have been there every time I am in Rhodes).
Palladion Small Gelato shop in between all the touristic action in the Old Town. The sign read “Gelato Champion 2017 – First in Greece”, and it was right. Hands down, the best ice cream I’ve tried in Rhodes: home-made with no artificial colorings.
Know Before You Go
- How to Get to the Old Town If you’re coming in by ferry or cruise ship, then you’re just a 5 minute walk away from the old town. If you’re landing at Rhodes International Airport, then you can either choose to make it to the old town by bus (€2-€3) or by taxi (€25-€30).
- When to Visit Although the obvious choice is to visit during the summer months, you can still enjoy what the island has to offer during the low season. I was there in November: the weather was good – a bit chilly at night – and it was so much less crowded than when I visited in June.
- Where to Stay Rhodes Old Town, since that’s where the main attractions are happening. You can find accommodation options here. But you can always spend a night in other towns on the island (like Lindos).
- How to Get Around the Island Scooters are the perfect choice if you’re using it for a quick trip to the beach or through the streets of the old town. If you’re looking to explore more than just the city center, then rent a car and drive around Rhodes.
- Rhodes is pretty much a small island. We were able to tour around most of the places mentioned here in 2-3 days. Our days were packed, but we got to see more of what Rhodes has to offer than just the old town.
Is Rhodes one of the Greek islands you’re looking forward to visit? Let me know in the comments!