Island of Rhodes
The Island of the Knights
George Papadellis (shinygreece.com)
Sophia Parastatidou (MA candidate, ACG apprentice)
Rhodes, one of Greece's top timeless and spectacular destinations, is an island of the Dodecanese complex, so different and unique, combining the medieval aesthetics, the traditional authentic life, and the luxurious way of living, also known as the Island of the Knighs and the Island of the Roses. The most common length of stay to fully satisfy the beauty of the Island of Rhodes is approximately eight days. Visitors mostly come from Great Britain, Israel, France, Italy, Sweden, and Norway. Rhodes Island resorts, hotels and rooms are many, from very affordable to very luxurious. A quick tip for Rhodes island is to pre-book a car or a motorbike, as there are numerous secret treasures that one must not miss, and the island is quite large.
The name Rhodes has many alternative versions depending on the country, such as Rodos in Greek, Rodi in Italian and Rodes in Latin. In ancient Greek times, Rhodes Island was known as Lindos, Rodhi, Telchinis or Helias. There are two assumptions about the origins of the name Rhodes: the first one claims that Rhodes comes from the ancient Greek word Ρόδο (Rhodon = rose) and the second one claims that it is derived from the Phoenician word Erod (snake). The first one explains why Rhodes is also known as “the Island of Roses” and the second one is based on the fact of the existence of many snakes on the island.
The top attraction of Rhodes is the medieval Rhodes City, the largest and best-preserved medieval city in Europe according to UNESCO, with its 4 Km long walls and the strongholds and towers in excellent condition, from the day the Knights of Saint-John built them in 1309. The oldest castle is the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, containing the History Museum of Rhodes and the Grand Master’s apartment. A unique experience is to walk on the Street of the Knights (also known as “auberge” or “palatial residence”) and to see the Roloi Clock Tower, the Church Agia Triada, the Church Agia Aikaterini and the Suleiman Mosque. There are also two museums, the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes in the medieval Hospital of the Knights, containing many well-preserved objects from ancient times, and the Byzantine Art Museum, containing many icons from the Byzantine period.
Other must-see attractions of the Island of Rhodes are the Bank of Rhodes, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Rhodes City Hall, the Stadium, the Pythian Temple of Apollo and the National Theater of Rhodes. The island has also fun options for adults, like the Casino or the several shops for clothes and souvenirs, and for children, like the Aquarium next to the Casino.
Regarding the island's villages, one of Rhodes's most memorable and worthy one is Lindos, with no cars and vehicles, with white houses built on its hillside and with an extraordinary sea view. Walking around, one can enjoy many shops with souvenirs, apparel, cafes, restaurants and cantinas. Of course, the Acropolis of Lindos is the must-see point, built 116 meters above the sea and surrounded by massive walls built by the Knights. We advise you to avoid riding a donkey for your tour, as there are cases of cruel handling. Except for the Acropolis, one can also check the remains of the medieval theater, the Temple of Athena, and the exceptional view of the Aegean Sea.
As summer vacay is much about sun and relaxation by the sea, it is essential to recommend some of Rhodes's most crystal-clear beaches. The most famous one is the Faliraki beach, located 10 km from the centre of Rhodes City, with many hotels and rooms to stay. Two perfect beaches for families with children are Tsambika and Adanfou, as they provide umbrellas, sunbeds and sea activities. A unique beach with an alternative landscape is Anthony Quinn beach. Saint Paul’s Bay is a private beach, well-known for hosting weddings. The Prasonisi beach is located at the south of Rhodes Island for people who love windsurfing. Last, if one has more time and will to explore, beautiful beaches are Gennadi, Kiotari, Pefki, Agathi, Vlycha, and Glystra.
Visit | Taste | Learn
One of the best places to see and a unique experience to have is the Valley of the Butterflies. It is located between the villages Paradisi and Theologos, 26 km from Rhodes City. It contains numerous butterflies that cover the trees. During the previous years, the micro-climate of the valley and the rare plane trees enhanced their reproduction. It is known as one of Europe’s best sanctuaries for butterflies! Close to the valley, the Natural History Museum of Rhodes is perfect for history lovers. A trip to Rhodes is also an opportunity for an exceptional gastronomic experience with the local cuisine in many different Rhodes restaurants and taverns. Local traditional drinks to combine with the food are Koriantolino and Souma, produced by grapes. Traditional products and recipes to taste are Escharitis (a type of local bread), Pitaroudia, Milla, Tsiriggia (a kind of meat fat), Pougia (a local pie), Lakani (a combo of goat meat with chickpeas), Lopia (an alternative combo of goat meat with other beans), Matsi (handmade pasta), Koulouria (a traditional recipe made by Matsi), Synoro (local cheese), Tahinopita (a pie made with sesame butter), Zvigi (an alternative local version of loukoumades), Fanouropita, Katimeria (a local version of pancakes), Amygdalota (almond cookies), and Moschopougia. Some recommendations for Rhodes restaurants are Mylos A La Carte, Mageirotechneio Paraga, Mariposa, To Anoi Tou Patouna, Platanos Vati, Greek Stories, Taverna Ilias, Valentina’s Place, and Konstantin Rhodes.
The Island of Rhodes has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. In the winter period (December-March) there are frequent rains and the average temperature hovers about 5-15°C. In the spring period (March-May), the rains become less frequent, and the temperature rises. From the beginning of June until the end of summer (mid-September), the Rhodes Island is sweltering and sunny, with some winds (like Meltemi) and maximum temperatures of about 35°C. At the end of summer, the welcoming of the autumn period has balanced weather that combines warm, mild, and little rainy days. The sea is warmer from June to October, with an average temperature of 25°C. The best time to visit Rhodes is from the end of June until mid-September for summer holidays. For alternative visitors, autumn in the island is superb. Access to Rhodes is easy as it is connected with many big Greek cities and some European countries directly. The Rhodes International Airport “Diagoras” is 100% operational with numerous flights, located 14 km southwest of the city. Rhodes can be also reached by ship from Piraeus Port.
According to the WTO, Rhodes is the second most visited summer destination in Greece, after Crete.