The Greek island of Rhodes is the largest, and one of the most charismatic of the Dodecanese Islands. Nicknamed the ‘Island of Roses’ because of the rock roses which grow prolifically on the grassy slopes, Rhodes is a beautiful, enchanting and romantic island that you simply can’t avoid falling in love with.
The spearhead shaped island, located in the south of the Aegean Sea, has an exceptionally long and rich history - even by Greek standards. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the Ancient World, its three cities were powerful and wealthy before the Greek and Roman eras began. Impressive ruins, castles and acropolis still stand and pay tribute to the strength the island has always possessed. The Old Town of Rhodes is one of the islands’ most popular attractions. The UNESCO World Heritage Site city remains enclosed by its vast medieval walls, inside which is a world like you’ve never experienced, with medieval castles, a moat and monuments galore. You can’t help but relive your childhood fantasies of knights, battles, castles and treasure once inside. Home to more than just a handful of museums and monuments that simply can’t be missed, Old Town needs a day or two of your time.
The island averages 300 days of glorious sunshine per year – which gives us just enough time to visit all of the island’s beaches. Rhodes offers a variety of beaches; the calm sandy beaches of the east coast are the most popular amongst visitors, with loungers, umbrellas and beach bars to help you make a full day out of your trip to the seaside. The beaches on the west coast are more popular with surfers and kite-boarders, and have remained almost totally untouched by tourism developments.
Apart from surfing and sunbathing, the island offers a myriad of activities to make sure you never want to leave. For those who like to stay active while travelling, the climb up Mount Attavyros is a challenging half-day activity that will reward you with stunning views. Scuba divers will be thrilled by the diving opportunities, including colourful coral reefs bursting with life, intriguing cave complexes and brilliant wrecks. With warm water year-round and an average visibility of 30 meters, you won’t want to do anything else!
But a trip to Rhodes Island wouldn’t be complete without visiting some of the local villages. Three stand out from the crowd and offer you charming countryside, and fascinating historical and cultural sites. These are Lindos, with its magnificent acropolis, Archangelos, where people still live mostly traditional lives and where you’ll find the Church of Saint John with its stunning frescoes, and lastly, Ialissos, which is home to one of the island’s most important archaeological sites.
If you do find yourself exploring the smaller villages of the island, be sure to visit the local restaurants and taverns for some delicious Greek home cooking, and don’t forget to pair your meal with one of the island’s award-winning local wines.
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