Rhodes Island in Greece
The city of Rhodes, in the footsteps of the knights
Rhodes, the most important city of the island, is a magnificent medieval city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. Surrounded by a splendid medieval wall pierced by seven majestic gates, it is home to the most important medieval center still inhabited in Europe. The old town is a victim of its own success and quickly becomes overcrowded by the flood of tourists in high season. But out of the commercial streets lined with restaurants, bars and souvenir stores, it is sometimes enough to turn a corner to get lost in a maze of cobbled streets with irresistible charm. And then you have to wait until the evening, when things calm down, for the excursionists to leave, to discover all the magic of the city.
Don’t miss the visit of the Palace of the Grand Masters located at the end of the majestic Rue des Chevaliers. It is an imposing fortress decorated with frescoes and mosaics that plunges you into the medieval atmosphere of the Knights Hospitallers (the palace also houses the Byzantine Museum of Rhodes).
In the direction of Lindos towards the south, the coast follows the seaside resorts. Especially avoid Faliraki, which has become a destination for charter flights of young English men who come to bury their boyhood. Just remember the villages of Stegna and then the village of Charakiet which have retained some of their charm. A little further away from the coast, the village of Archangelos and especially the village of Koskinou are worth the detour for their traditional atmosphere partly preserved.
Lindos, the other jewel of Rhodes
Located on a promontory 55 km south of the city is Rhodes, Lindos is a classic Greek village of white houses overlooked by an Acropolis dedicated to Athena Lidia and overlooking the beautiful sandy beach of Agios Pavlos. As in the city of Rhodes, tourism has taken a considerable place and in high season it is sometimes difficult to find some space to enjoy the place. But Lindos is an exceptional place, without cars, so if you can’t come out of season, get out early in the morning when the tourist is still asleep, to go through the small alleys and soak up the special atmosphere of this timeless village.
From the center of the village, a staircase leads to the castle fortified by the Knights and to the acropolis dedicated to Athena Lindia founded in 11th B.C. which overlooks it (opening at 8am). Again, come early in the morning or late in the day to avoid the crowds, take the time to walk through the remains of the castle and acropolis and let yourself be taken by the exceptional atmosphere of one of the most beautiful views of the Dodecanese if not of Greece. Above Lindos, the beach of Agios Pavlos is a bay of rare beauty with turquoise waters located that resembles a swimming pool due to the circular and crowned rock formations of the Acropolis.
The south coast of Rhodes towards the peninsula of Prasonisi
After Lindos, the tourist pressure is decreasing, which makes it an interesting option if you want to spend your vacations a little bit away from mass tourism. The village of Pefki a few kilometers away from Lindos as well as the village of Gennadi offers beautiful beaches and a pleasant atmosphere and allows you to discover very nice villages a little far away in the land like Asklipiio with its medieval castle and its beautiful Byzantine church recently restored or Lachania, at the foot of the mountain, probably one of the most beautiful villages of Rhodes. Located at the southern tip of Rhodes, the mythical spot of Prassonisi is rightly considered one of the most beautiful windsurfing spots in Europe. An exceptional and wild setting for windsurfers and kitesurfers who take advantage of a spot swept almost continuously by the Meltem (which forces from July to October) making the place one of the windiest and most regular of the Greek islands. The advantage of the place is that the isthmus separates two contrasting spots with waves on one side and a generally flat sea on the other almost like a lagoon with its shallow sandbanks.
The west coast of Rhodes and the interior of the island
The western coast of Rhodes is more wooded (despite the many arsonists who are rampant) and nature is more developed than in the east but the coast here is more rocky and offers fewer beaches. With the exception of the very urbanized and touristic region in the north, one can discover here the agrarian Rhodes which is slowly disappearing while the young people tend to abandon the work of the land. If you have a car, it is then the opportunity to discover a hilly landscape and small authentic mid-mountain villages.
To the north, Pétaloudès, the Valley of the Butterflies (9-17h) is one of the attractions of the island. It is a unique nature reserve very shady with waterfalls, many small streams, small bridges that offers a small haven of peace in the heat of summer. The valley is inhabited by oaks, plane trees, pines and above all by fragrant aliboufiers that attract from June to September clouds of red and brown butterflies that offer a unique spectacle.
The ancient city of Kameiros is worth a visit. Built in a fertile region, surrounded by fig and olive orchards, with a view of the sea, it is a characteristic example of well-preserved Hellenistic urbanism but it is also a timeless moment where white marble blends with the soft green of the pine trees and the azure blue of the sea.
A little to the south, the small port of Kamiros Skala offers boat connections to the island of Chalki. It is overhung by the remains of the castle of Kritinia which offers a magnificent panorama on the sea [360° view]. Perched on the slopes of Mount Attavyros, the highest mountain in Rhodes, the village of Embonas is recognized as the capital of Rhodes wines. The village is not exceptional but the mountain atmosphere in the heart of a cypress forest is special and you will find delicious taverns where you can taste the island’s dishes and especially taste the wine production of the local wine cellars (wine festival in the second week of September).
How to get to Rhodes?
From France, Rhodes is served directly from Paris by Easyjet from Paris Airport CDG (unfortunately no longer linked to Transavia) during the season and by Aegean once a week.
Aegean now provides direct service from Marseille and vacation flights are provided from Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nantes, and Lille.
If you fly via Athens, several daily flights (1h) save you time on the crossing from Piraeus (18h). The airport is located on the west coast of the island about 15 km from the city of Rhodes and a frequent bus service serves the city (charge 25€ for a cab).
The island of Rhodes has three distinct ports but all in the immediate vicinity of the city.
From the Cyclades: Santorini (7:50), Amorgos (Katapola 8:00), Syros (11:00), Anafi (12:25), Naxos (13:55), Milos (18:20), Paros (15:10).
From Crete: Sitia (10:35am) and Heraklion (2pm).
Rhodes is finally accessible from Turkey: from the ports of Fethiye (1h) and Marmaris (1h).
From Rhodes airport Diagoras by Rhodes airport taxi will cost you about 25 euro