Looking for the best things to do in Rhodes? After visiting the beautiful islands of Santorini and Ios in 2021 we knew we had to explore more of Greece. We had fallen in love with the Greek way of life, food, people and culture. After some research we settled on Rhodes. We would stay just outside of Rhodes Town, choosing the Semiramis City Hotel as a base to explore from. Rhodes, Greece: A must-visit destination for history lovers and beach enthusiasts.
Rhodes is a beautiful island located in the Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands and is known for its stunning beaches, ancient history, and vibrant culture. This island has something to offer for everyone.
HISTORY OF RHODES
Rhodes has a rich and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. In ancient times, the island was home to the Colossus of Rhodes. A massive statue of the Greek god Helios that stood over 100 feet tall. The Colossus of Rhodes was considered being one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. An earthquake destroyed it in 226 BC. Today, deer sculptures lie at the harbour entrance where the Colossus once stood. Saint Nicholas Fortress also stands opposite.
Throughout its history, many empires have ruled Rhodes, including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. During the early 20th century, the island was occupied by Italy and they heavily fortified it during World War II. In 1945, Rhodes was reunited with Greece and it has remained a part of the country ever since.
Today, visitors to Rhodes can explore the island’s history through its many ancient ruins and historical sites. Some of the most popular attractions include the Acropolis, Palace of the Grand Master and the ancient city of Kamiros.
RELAX ON ONE OF THE MANY BEACHES
One of the biggest draws of Rhodes is its beautiful beaches. The island is home to over 40 of them, each with its own unique character and charm. If you’re looking for a secluded cove or a lively beach with lots of activities, you will find something that suits your needs.
Some of the most popular beaches on the island include Faliraki Beach, Lindos Beach, and Tsambika Beach. Faliraki Beach is a lively beach with lots of bars and restaurants, and the town itself is very popular with young tourists and families.
If you’re looking for something more secluded, check out Agathi Beach or Anthony Quinn Bay. These beaches are in quieter areas of the island and offer a more peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
We stayed close to Akti Kanari which is a long pebble beach. The sea was very rough during our stay. The only time we used it was for dramatic photos of the waves, and to watch the sunset. It was also a great spot for watching planes land into the airport, as the flight path was directly overhead.
The windmills are a unique feature of the island of Rhodes. They date back to the medieval era and were used for grinding grain into flour. The island has a long history of windmills, which were used to power the island’s agricultural machinery. Some of these windmills are still in operation, and visitors can watch the traditional methods of grain milling.
They typically make the windmills of stone, with wooden blades that catch the wind and turn the millstones inside. The largest windmill on Rhodes is in the village of Embonas. It is believed to date back to the 15th century. There are several windmills along the harbour, and many small groups of the islands cat population surround these.
See the windmills of Ios, Greece, Read: Island hopping from Santorini to Ios.
CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION
A beautiful church next to the Port of Rhodes. Built in the 1920s, it is one of the most famous churches in the town. Built in a Gothic style, it is worth a quick visit for some amazing photos, including the grand fountain out front.
SAINT PAUL’S GATE
The gate dates back to the 3rd century. It was part of the ancient walls that surround the city of Rhodes. Beyond the gate, you’ll find streets filled with shops, restaurants, and cafes.
EXPLORING RHODES OLD TOWN, MEDIEVAL CITY
The Old Town of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. It is home to the Palace of the Grand Master, which was built in the 14th century and now houses a museum. The Old Town is a maze of narrow streets, and we had so much fun exploring the shops, cafes, and restaurants. There is always something exciting around every corner, whether ancient ruins, or bakeries, their windows full of traditional baked goods.
Hippocrates Square is the central square of Rhodes Town. It is named after the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates and features a fountain in his honor. Cafes, bars, and restaurants surround the square, making it a popular spot for tourists and locals. It also serves as a venue for concerts, events, and festivals throughout the year. Relax with an ice-cream and soak up the atmosphere.
PALACE OF THE GRANDMASTER OF THE KNIGHTS
The Palace of the Grandmaster of the Knights is a magnificent structure that stands as a testament to the country’s rich history. Built in the 14th century, the palace was destroyed and then restored during various periods of its existence. It is a unique blend of Gothic, Byzantine, and Ottoman architecture.
The palace was once home to the Knights of Rhodes and served as a fortress and palace. You can explore its halls, museums and galleries that are filled with medieval artworks, and elegant courtyards. The views from the top offer a 360-degree glance of the city and harbor, with mosaics, frescoes, and ancient sculptures all around.
Adult tickets cost from €8 and you can add on a visit to the archaeological museum and Church of our Lady of the Castle.
STREET OF THE KNIGHTS OF RHODES
The Street of the Knights is a cobbled street adorned with restored Gothic buildings. It was once the main street in the town and is named after the knights who once roamed its alleys. The street is home to various shops, bakeries, and taverns that will transport you back in time.
EXPLORE THE CAVE CHURCHES
They carved these unique churches into the limestone rocks of the island and they date back to the Byzantine era. The locals cover the walls in frescoes and many religious artifacts. The cave churches of Rhodes are a true marvel of architecture and art and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, culture, and religion. We had an amazing time exploring these caves, and would recommend them to anyone looking for something quirky to do.
Walking along the seafront from our hotel, minutes away from Akti Kanari beach, you will find the cave church of Archangel Michael Panormitis. You can find it here: Ialisou 3, Kritika 851 00.
The second Cave Church we found, was that of the Chapel of Agios Nikolaos. This was only a few minutes away from the Acropolis, walking back into Rhodes Town. There is also a small colony of cats that live here too, so an even better excuse to visit. Address: Agiou Stefanou 337, Rodos 851 00.
ARCHEALOGICAL PARK & ACROPOLIS OF RHODES
The Acropolis of Rhodes is a historical landmark that sits overlooking the city. Dating back to the 3rd century BC the Greeks built it as a defensive fortress. The temple has been modified and rebuilt many times. Most recently, in the early 20th century. Scaffolding covered the Acropolis at the time of our visit, but it was still an amazing site to see.
You can explore the ruins that remain within the park, including the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus, the ancient stadium, and the Amphitheatre. It makes an ideal spot for taking photographs and enjoying the natural beauty of Rhodes. Admission to the site is free, and if like us you love cats, you will find dozens of strays here all looking for some attention. They are friendly; we had a large bag of cat treats with us, which they loved.
The ancient city of Kamiros is one of the three ancient cities of Rhodes. Kamiros was a significant trading center in ancient Greece, and it has some of the most well-preserved ancient ruins. An earthquake destroyed the city in the 2nd century BC. You can see the ruins of the city’s agora, public baths, and temples.
We only found out about Kamiros when we arrived home, we were pretty gutted to have not visited. I don’t know how we missed it when doing our research. Although we didn’t get to see it for ourselves, I would definitely add this to your itinerary if you love your history.
MEDIEVAL CLOCK TOWER
For €5 you can enter the courtyard of the clock tower and climb it for views out over the Old Town. They built the tower during the 7th century, and they added the clock during the Ottoman occupation. Once you pay your entry, and have had a little look around the tower, you can grab a drink from the bar, this is free with the ticket, you must pay for any extra drinks.
We thought this was great, so we had a beer, recharged our batteries and explored more afterwards. Address: Apollonion 11, Rodos 851 00.
A DAY TRIP TO LINDOS
Lindos is a picturesque town on the East side of the island. The town’s most famous landmark is the Lindos Acropolis, a breathtaking ancient site situated on top of a cliff. The acropolis is home to the Temple of Athena Lindia, which dates back to the 4th century BC.
The town itself is charming, with white-washed houses, narrow streets, and hidden courtyards. It is a perfect place to spend a day, exploring the town’s winding streets, and relaxing in one of the many cafes and tavernas.
TAKING THE BUS TO LINDOS
Taking the bus from Rhodes town into Lindos is easy. After you catch the white and orange KTEL bus from the Central Bus Station, you will arrive at Lindos Central Bus Station an hour and a half later. The journey will take you down the East coast and through the town of Faliraki. A single ticket cost €4. Once you arrive and depart the coach, you are then a short 10-minute walk from the centre of the town.
Lindos Town has an incredible atmosphere that transports visitors back in time. The town is famous for its acropolis and beach, which is beautiful at sunset.
Lindos is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and restaurants serving up authentic Greek cuisine and live music. Visitors can also enjoy shopping for souvenirs and handmade crafts in the town’s many boutique shops and market stalls.
THE BEACHES OF LINDOS & SAINT PAULS BAY
The beaches of Lindos are some of the most beautiful and in Rhodes. With clear turquoise waters and soft, golden sand, these beaches are the perfect place to relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun.
The most famous beach in Lindos is undoubtedly Saint Paul’s Bay, a secluded cove that is surrounded by cliffs and features a small chapel dedicated to the Saint. The beach is small, but its crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery make it a perfect location to top up your tan.
Another popular beach in Lindos is Pallas Beach, which is located just a short distance from the town center. People know this beach for its calm waters and is a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. For those who prefer a more active beach experience, Vlycha Beach is a great choice for water sports, such as windsurfing and jet skiing.
VISIT THE ACROPOLIS & CASTLE RUINS
Visiting the Acropolis is an unforgettable experience. It combines ancient history and breathtaking views. On a rocky hill above the village of Lindos, the Acropolis dates back to the 4th century BC. The climb up is steep, but it is well worth it for the panoramas of the Aegean Sea, the village below and Saint Paul’s Bay. You can admire the temple of Athena Lindia, the amphitheater, and other ancient structures.
The 14th-Century castle built by the Knights of Saint John also sits on the hill, its walls and buildings surround the ancient site. Adult tickets to enter are €15. We advise taking something to drink and wearing comfy shoes.
FOOD IN LINDOS
Giorgos 2 Cafe Bar – Next to Pallas Beach lies Giorgios 2. We didn’t do any research for places to eat, so finding this place was a happy accident. The food here is incredible and better than we expected. Even plates of food being delivered to other customers tables looked delicious.
FILERIMOS HILL & THE BUTTERFLY VALLEY
Filerimos Hill is home to the ancient location of Lalyssos, one of the island’s three ancient cities. You can explore the ruins of the ancient settlement, including the temples and buildings that once stood there. You will also find the 16-meter Filerimos Cross, a huge concrete structure that overlooks the towns and villages below.
At the top of the hill is a beautiful monastery, built in the early Byzantine period. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views from the top of the hill, which stretch out across the Aegean Sea and the surrounding landscape.
The Valley of the Butterflies, also known as The Petaloudes Valley, is a large nature reserve in the western part of the island. The butterflies are actually moths and belong to the Tiger Moth family. You can best see the butterflies, in huge numbers, from June to September.
We booked this trip last minute through Get Your Guide.
TAKE A FERRY OVER TO THE ISLAND OF SYMI
After island hopping in Santorini, we were eager to continue our adventures in Rhodes. Therefore, we embarked on another island hopping adventure, this time to Symi. You can read all about this amazing overnight trip by reading the following post: COMING SOON.
ENJOY A SPECTACULAR SUNSET
Head to the beaches on the West of the island or find a high vantage point and enjoy one of Rhodes incredible sunsets. On clear days, as the sun dips below the horizon, you can make out the silhouettes of other Greek islands in the distance. You have the country of Turkey in the foreground too. This makes for an incredible experience.
Rhodes, Greece: A MUST-VISIT FOR CAT LOVERS
The cats of Rhodes Town are a famous feature of the city. These felines are loved by locals and tourists alike and the cats are known for their friendly and curious nature.
Most of the cats are strays. Local organizations and residents offer food, shelter and care for them. Visitors to Rhodes Town are drawn to these cats and enjoy taking photos with them or simply watching them go about their daily lives.
SOME OF THE BEST PLACES TO EAT IN RHODES
Rhodes is also a must-visit destination for food lovers! Greek cuisine is famous around the world for its delicious flavors and fresh ingredients, and Rhodes is no exception. The island is home to many fantastic restaurants.
Art Falafel George & Maria Restaurant – We were so impressed with this restaurant we ate here twice during our stay. They serve a selection of meat and veggie dishes that are equally tasty. George couldn’t wait to tell us about the food they serve, his family and the island. He treated us like we had known him for years.
He wanted us try some samples of homemade Beef Stifado and Harissa while we decided what we wanted off the menu. The Harissa was available for sale. We made sure we bought a jar and took it home with us. It was absolutely delicious. The Stifado I ate on our second visit. Vicky had the Falafel plate, and she said they were absolutely incredible. Address: 16 Mandilara, Rodos 851 00.
Mama Sofia – Amazing friendly staff, amazing service and good, food. In a perfect location, a short walk from the city walls and directly opposite the medieval clock tower. We ordered the chicken plate & moussaka. Both were incredibly tasty and highly recommended.
Dia Xoiros, Gyro’s – Ok, so we ate here several times during our stay. Quick, delicious Gyro’s served straight to your table or to take-away. Address: Str. Griva 23, Rodos 851 31.
Lukumamma – Looking for a sweet treat? Then try some Lukumádes. Small balls of deep fried doughy goodness, traditionally served with honey. Here, they served them with many sauces and toppings, including, ice-cream, banana cream, chocolate, Ferrero, Nutella, strawberries, to name a few. Sickly sweet, but so tasty. Address: Amarantou 24, Rodos 851 00.
AN AMAZING GREEK ISLAND
Rhodes is a must-visit destination for anyone planning a trip to Greece. The island has a rich history, a stunning coastline, and a relaxed vibe. From exploring the medieval streets of the Old Town to soaking up the sun on one of Rhodes’ stunning beaches. There is no shortage of attractions in Rhodes. Take your time to explore the island, and you will return home with an unforgettable travel experience.
For more inspiration, Visit Greece.