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Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes (Rhodos or Rodos in Greek), lies between Crete and the near East in the Aegean ocean. Rhodes is the biggest of the Dodecanese islands. Named the sun island or island of light there are hardly any days when the sun doesn't shine. With its subtropical climate and over 3.000 hours of sun per year you can be guaranteed a good tan on your holiday. Rhodes is one of the most popular holiday islands in Greece - even Greeks themselves come to Rhodes for a holiday from the mainland.

The Dodecanese islands, excluding Rhodes, are:
Astipalea (Astypalia)
Halki (Chalki)
Kalimnos (Kalymnos)
Kastelorizo (Megisti)
Simi (Symi)

Present day, with its 2400 years of history, Rhodes is a city that impresses and fascinates its visitors. Its medieval aspect, fortified behind an impressive wall, merges harmoniously with the refined, cosmopolitan air of a modern resort with luxurious hotels, broad avenues, rich commercial stores and offers one of the highest developed tourism infrastructure in Greece.

The new (modern) City of Rhodes

In the most picturesque of the three ports of the city, the yacht harbour of Mandraki, we are welcomed by two bronze deer, which have become the modern emblem of the town. Nearby on the mole stands the lighthouse tower of St. Nicholas, and the three old windmills. The impressive walls of the Medieval Town and the numerous monumental buildings that surround Mandraki add to its majestic air – among others the New Market, the Archbishops Palace, the Annunciation church, the Central Post Office, Town hall, Theatre and Government House (Italian building). At the north end of the town, and the most northern point of the island, stands the Institute of Marine Biology (Aquarium).

Today, Rhodes has to offer an enormous variety of colours and forms, activities and sightseing. Its marvelous beaches, big modern buildings, picturesque neighborhoods and imposing medieval edifices are all swamped in greenery - in the town itself the streets are lined with trees. Vegetation even grows up as far as the walls of the castle, and the numerous palm trees hint at the tropical.

What to see and do in Rhodes

Rhodes has something for every taste: shopaholics (its August clothing sales are notable), beach habitués, archaeology buffs, museum hounds, and bar-crawlers.


The best laid-out and labelled of several old-town museums occupies the Palace of the Grand Masters (Tue-Sun 8am-2.40pm, may open later in afternoon, including Monday, in summer; €6), where three separate galleries cover Rhodian history thematically from the third century BC to the Ottoman conquest.

Spare time for the unheralded  Museum of Modern Greek Art (Tue-Sat 9am-2pm; €3) at 100 Palms Square, the largest such collection outside Athens: canvases by semi-abstract Nikos Hadzikyriakos-Ghikas, sailor-obsessed Yiannis Tsarouhis, the surrealist Nikos Engonopoulos, the naïve Theophilos and neo-Byzantinist Photis Kondoglou – who also decorated  Evangelismós cathedral on Mandráki port with superb frescoes.

Walk the moat

Now that the public is no longer allowed up on the Old Town’s medieval walls, the consolation prize is the circumambulation of moat below (daylight hours; free), between the two circuits of fortifications. There are several inconspicuous points of access between St Anthony’s Gate (inside D’Amboise) on the west and the Akandiá Gate in the east.

Ancient sites

Of the three ancient settlements which predated the founding of ancient Rhodes town in 408 BC, the Lindos acropolis (Tue-Sat 8am-2.40pm, later hours including Mon afternoon in summer; €6) is the most spectacular, with views along nearly 40 miles of coast, and the reconstructed Athena temple.

Knights’ Castles

The Knights Hospitaller maintained a far-flung network of satellite coastal castles as lookout points, all half-ruined today; the best sited is Kastéllo Kritinías (free), with views to Hálki and a half-dozen other Dodecanese on a clear day.

Painted churches

In the far south, the best of many – recently cleaned – are those at Thárri monastery, dating from 1300-1450, and slightly later ones at the Kímisis church in Asklipió village.

Windsurf Prassonísi

Rhodes’s southerly cape forms a sandspit separating the Mediterranean from the Aegean – creating top conditions for windsurfing. A friendly, established school here is Prassonísi Center (00 30 22440 97044, www.prasonisicenter.com).

Day trips

The preferred destination among several neighbouring islets is Sými, with its venerable Panormítis monastery and achingly photogenic harbour town; departures from Mandráki port. The local catamaran from Kolóna harbour permits a day-trip to Hálki instead a few days per week.
Rhodes travel guide
Views from the acropolis stretch for nearly 40 miles

The best advice is (usually) to shun the obvious, especially in the old city. Rhodes townies themselves mostly dine out in the newer districts just south-west or south-east of the walls, or near Zéfyros beach.

£££ Mavrikos

Founded by Grandpa Mavrikos in 1933, this has long ranked as the island’s cutting-edge diner, with innovative takes on old standards, and original fusion recipes courtesy of the present generation, Mihalis and Dimitris. The 2010 menu featured cured tuna with grilled fennel, cuttlefish-ink risotto, broad beans in carob syrup, pork belly with grape molasses and lamb’s liver chunks with chillis. Expensive Greek wine list, but mandarin-flavoured souma as digestif on the house.

Address: Main square, Líndos.
Contact: 00 30 22440 31232.
Prices: £36 for three courses with wine.
Opening times: 12 noon-late, April to late October.
Reservations: Suggested in summer.
Payment: Credit cards accepted.

£££ Gatto Bianco

Only going since 2011, but already indisputably the island’s best Italian diner. Besides own-made pasta, wood-oven pizza, seafood and a limited line of desserts (panna cotta, tiramusu), killer dishes include fresh-salmon (or beef) carpaccio, eggplant parmigiana Naples style (with mince) and calzone ripieno with salami, mozzarella and Cretan myzíthra cheese. Prices may seem on the big side, but so are the portions, and arugula garnish/salad is the real deal, not adulterated to vanishing point with lettuce as so often in Greece. Sit either on the ground-level, pebble-mosaic patio, or after dark up on the roof terrace with eyefuls of Lindos acropolis.

Address: 100m into village from free parking area, Ágios Pávlos bay, Líndos.
Contact: 00 30 22440 31612.
Prices: £38–45 for three courses with wine.
Opening times: May to early November, dinner; lunch also spring/autumn.
Reservations: Suggested in summer.
Payment: Credit cards accepted.

££ Marco Polo Café

The menu at the creative courtyard restaurant of the acclaimed Marco Polo Mansion inn changes frequently, but maintains a bias towards seafood (think diced cuttlefish on courgette mousse, or grouper souvláki), lamb (with subtly flavoured pilaff) and pork (medallions in fig and red-peppercorn sauce) –  though vegetarians are catered for. Leave room for dessert, in particular succulent mousses, latte in piedi, tiramisu with various flavours, and panna cotta, all prepared by Valeria, the best Italian patisserie chef in town.

Address: Agíou Fanouríou 42, old town.
Contact: 00 30 22410 25562.
Prices: £22-£26 for three courses and wine.
Opening times: Supper only, 8pm-11pm, Easter to mid-October.
Reservations: Recommended.
Payment type: Credit cards accepted.
Bars and nightlife

Rhodes Town nightlife has a split personality: Greeks fill fast-changing old-quarter bars on Platía Aríonos and along Miltiádou, while foreigners mostly patronise the dwindling number of Neohóri clubs. The slump has hit the latter hard, as it has notorious Faliráki, which never recovered from a crackdown on bad nocturnal behaviour which culminated in a 2003 murder.


Before 9.30pm, it’s a bistro with a (pricey) generic Mediterranean menu; afterwards, it becomes a well-loved garden bar with mixed Greek and foreign patronage. At its best in winter, when the wood stove is fired up and there are live acoustic Greek/jazz/rock sessions on Sunday afternoons and two random evenings weekly. In summer, sessions are typically Tuesday and Saturday evenings.

Address: Sofokléous 38, old town.
Contact: 00 30 22410 38119.
Opening times: All year daily 7pm-3am, except winter Sunday exceptionally 1pm-8pm.

Colorado Entertainment Centre

Venerable, likely survivor that attracts seemingly every nationality on earth to its three-clubs-in-one: the live sound stage (house or guest rock bands), club and upstairs chill-out room.

Address: Orfanídou 57, Neohóri.
Contact: 00 30 22410 75120.
Opening times: 11pm-dawn, April–October.

Tags: Rhodes, Greece travel experience, city guide and tourist map of Rhodes, accommodation in Rhodes apartments for rent prices in Rhodes, hotels Rhodes, travel guide Rhodes tourist info, weather forcast, 3

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Map of Rhodes »

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