What to see in Rhodes – Towns, attractions and beaches
The island of Rhodes (in Greek Rodos and in English Rhodes) is the largest island of the Dodecanese archipelago with an approximate area of 1,400 km2 and about 130,000 inhabitants.
Rhodes is located in the southeast of the Aegean Sea, very close to the coast of Turkey (about 20 km).
Because of its beauty, Rhodes is also known as "the pearl of the Mediterranean". It has mountains covered with forests and between them there are many fertile valleys, with rivers and streams, oil, wine, honey are produced, as well as beautiful ceramics and carpets.
Rhodes is one of the most famous and most visited islands in Greece. Most of the tourists, coming from all corners of the world, choose as their base in Rhodes the cities of Rhodes (the capital of the island) and Lindos, the second largest center of the island. This side of the island is more sheltered from the Etesio, a typical summer wind from the Aegean Sea. As a result, the sea is calmer and the water is warmer.
The island of Rhodes has 220 kilometers of coastline, with a transparent, crystalline sea, among the warmest in Greece; In addition, Rhodes is of enormous interest due to the archaeological treasures that can be visited throughout the island. Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands.
Let's see the main attractions, cities and beaches to visit in Rhodes:
The old town of Rhodes, in the capital of the same name (north-eastern side of the island), is absolutely worth a visit, even more so after the UNESCO protection of 1988. The extraordinary beauty of the places contributes above all to alleviate the difficulties, including the many beaches spread from north to south. Below we see the main attractions of the island together.
- What to see in Rhodes – Main attractions
- Where to stay in Rhodes? Best areas, hotels and apartments
- How to get to Rhodes
- When to visit Rhodes? climate and temperature
- Map of the main attractions to see on the island of Rhodes
- More about Rhodes and other Greek islands
What to see in Rhodes – Main attractions
On the island of Rhodes you will be able to visit interesting archaeological sites, museums, art galleries, old churches, historical buildings, traditional villages, natural parks and hiking trails, in short, there are so many things to see and do in Rhodes.
The most important archaeological sites of Rhodes show the ruins of the three powerful city-states of Ialyssos, Kamiros and Lindos, which influenced the history of the island and of ancient Greece. When they conquered Rhodes, the Knights of the Order of Saint John built a large number of works, including the wonderful "Old City".
The Turks, on the other hand, created great examples of Moorish architecture: even today in the capital you can admire the minaret of the Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent. During the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-1912, in order to counter the Turkish advance in Greece and Europe, in May 1912, Italian troops occupied some of the islands in the Aegean Sea, including Rhodes.
The island remained in Italian hands until the end of World War II when it became part of the Republic of Greece. The result of that period of occupation is represented by important infrastructure works that improved the life of the island's inhabitants and many interesting palaces of rationalist architecture typical of fascism.
1.- Visit the city of Rhodes
The city of Rhodes (capital of the homonymous island) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, the old town of Rhodes is one of the best preserved medieval citadels in the world. It is bordered by solid walls built between the 14th and 15th centuries.
Walking through its narrow streets (ignoring the many shops, restaurants and taverns), you will feel like you are on a trip to the past, with destination: the Middle Ages.
Among the most beautiful and interesting buildings is the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, built during the Byzantine period in the highest area of the city.
An important example of military architecture, this fortified complex played a fundamental defensive role in the city, representing the last refuge for the population in case of occupation of the island. Do not miss the Street of the Knights (Odos Ippoton), the main street of the old city of Rhodes.
The modern area of the city of Rhodes has an urban structure developed mainly during the Italian occupation. Rhodes was the capital of all the Italian possessions in the Aegean Sea, so it was necessary to create a series of buildings for administrative functions, sales, production, tourism and recreation.
The Government Palace, designed by the Italian Fausto Di Florestán, was the Italians' administrative center during the Rhodes occupation. Today the building houses the Prefecture of Rhodes.
Both in the medieval historical center and in the modern part of the capital some interesting museums allow you to deepen the historical and cultural knowledge of Rhodes. Not to be missed is the Rhodes Museum of Modern Greek Art, which houses one of the largest collections of 20th-century Greek art in Greece.
It is located in four different buildings. In the old town, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, which contains numerous finds from the archaeological sites of Ialyssos and Kamiros.
2.- Visit the city of Lindos
Lindos is a wonderful city that is located about 50 km from the city of Rhodes. In the historic center we find white houses clinging to the side of a hill, dominated by the famous Acropolis, which can be reached on foot.
Lindos is very characteristic thanks to the small houses that form a serpentine of narrow streets where you can find many shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. Lindos has been included by the Greek Ministry of Culture in the list of linked historical assets and therefore retains and will retain its traditional charm forever.
At an altitude of 116 m, the acropolis of Lindos is an important archaeological site containing the remains of a medieval citadel. In addition to the historical importance, the hill offers fantastic points to enjoy the view and take pictures: on one side the white houses of the city and on the other the sea, the beach and the cliffs below the hill.
3.- Visit the archaeological site of Kamiros (Cámiros)
Kamiros is, together with Ialissos and Lindos, the third oldest city on the island of Rhodes. Located on the northwest side of the island, it was founded around the 7th century by the Dorians and due to its fortunate geographical position, it soon became a prosperous commercial center.
Today the archaeological site that gathers its remains bears witness to the glory of Kamiros and its ancient vestiges, a site that undoubtedly represents one of the most important in Greece, comparable in importance to the excavations of Pompeii and Ercolano in Italy.
From the excavations emerged the city's acropolis, market square, various statue bases, temples, houses, and a large cistern; In addition, the coins that were circulating at that time in the city were found, with fig leaves engraved on them.
4.- The Valley of the Butterflies
The Valley of the Butterflies (Petaloudes) is one of the most visited attractions in Rhodes. This small natural park, located 23 km from the capital, is part of Natura 2000, a network of sites of interest created by the European Union to protect and conserve habitats and species, both animal and plant.
Petaloudes is a unique natural reserve because, from spring to autumn, the butterflies of the species Panaxia quadripunctaria poda, attracted by the resin of the park's trees, come to reproduce every year.
5.- Enjoy the beaches of Rhodes
Rhodes has more than 200 km of coastline along which there are many beaches of different types: from long stretches of sand to pebble beaches. Most of the beaches of Rhodes are well-equipped: with bars or restaurants where you can have a drink and eat, bring umbrellas and deckchairs of all kinds, rent equipment for water sports.
Fortunately, even in the high season, in Rhodes, you can always find a beach with few people, to relax with nature in complete tranquility.
The east coast is more sheltered from the wind and generally has sandy beaches, ideal for families with small children, while the west coast has mostly stony beaches as well as being windier, it is an area frequented by surfers and kitesurfers.
Let's see the best beaches to visit on the island of Rhodes:
Rhodes town beaches
The most famous (although not the most beautiful) beach in Rhodes Town is Elli Beach, a long, wide stretch of sand and small pebbles. Although it is close to the port, the water is clear and clean.
The beach can be considered divided into two parts: a very popular one because it is protected from the wind, it is calm and also suitable for those who want to bathe their children; the other, on the other hand, is more exposed to "meltemi" and, therefore, tends to be more alone.
Faliraki is a very popular place in the high season, it has a beautiful beach, very long. On the stretch of road that leads from Rhodes to Faliraki there are several coves with sheltered beaches.
After Faliraki we find the beautiful bay of Anthony Quinn, a small bay, very famous and loved by tourists, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Rhodes. Excellent for panoramic photos.
Kolymbia is a very beautiful and sandy beach, famous for its avenue of eucalyptus trees that stretches for 4 kilometers towards the sea.
Tsambika is a beautiful beach not far from the town of Archangelos; on the hill above the beach is the monastery of Panagia Tsambika, with a beautiful view of the sea.
The town of Lindos is bordered to the north by the main beach, a beautiful beach with shallow water, and to the south by Saint Paul's Bay, a charming bay almost completely surrounded by rocks. South of Lindos we find the wildest and least touristy beaches, often unequipped, and some villages: Lardos, Agios Pavlos, Kattavia.
The beaches of the west coast of Rhodes
Due to the presence of the Etesio or Meltemi wind, the beaches on the west coast of Rhodes are the least frequented, except for some tourist centers near the city of Rhodes.
Like Ixia and Ialyssos, which are important tourist centers, full of hotels and facilities of all types and categories. The beaches near these hotel complexes are always equipped; despite the wind (never too strong), they are full of tourists.
As soon as we move away from these tourist centers, the coast becomes more and more calm and wild. In some places there are very beautiful beaches, and on days when the wind is not blowing, you can enjoy little corners of paradise in complete solitude.
Among the many, it is absolutely necessary to mention Kopria. Although its name does not bode well (in Greek it means dung), this beach is enclosed in a small bay of light rock that is largely sheltered by the force of the meltemi.
Where to stay in Rhodes? Best areas, hotels and apartments
Best hotels to stay in Rhodes – Greece
Due to the size of the island and its conformation, the city where you base yourself to visit the island depends on the number of days you spend, the type of tourism you want to do and the type of transportation you will use to get around.
Let's see the main cities where to base yourself to visit Rhodes:
Sleep in Rhodes city
You can choose the city of Rhodes as your base if you want a city with services, restaurants, bars and nightlife. In addition to visiting most of the museums and the historical and architectural beauties of the island.
Sleep in Faliraki
Faliraki is a small town on the east coast that offers much cheaper accommodation than other island areas. It offers comfortable hotels, hostels, apartments and studios, with all the basic services for family management.
Sleep in Lindos
Sleeping in Lindos is a good option for lovers of romantic panoramas, quiet beaches and beautiful alleyways. Excellent option if you move by car.
If you want more information, you can read our dedicated post: Where to stay in Rhodes? Best areas, hotels and apartments.
How to get to Rhodes
The best option to get to Rhodes is by plane, thanks to Diagoras Rhodes International Airport (Kratikos Aerolimenas Kerkyras I. Kapodistrias) to which the main European low-cost companies fly, with direct flights from many European cities.
The airport is located 14 km from the capital, near the town of Paradisi. In front of the airport there is a bus stop that will take you to the capital in 15-20 minutes.
When to visit Rhodes? climate and temperature
Rhodes is an island that you can visit every month of the year: its mild winter climate allows you to discover archaeological sites, museums and places of interest without being cold. In fact, in December and January, the maximum temperatures sometimes exceed 15° C.
The best time to visit Rhodes is from April to June and from the last week of August and the entire month of September when the temperatures are pleasant and the tourist presence is not excessive. However, even in July and August, it is possible to withstand high temperatures (the maximum can exceed 38°C) because the relative humidity values are very low and there is often a pleasant breeze.
However, avoiding visiting archaeological sites during the hottest hours of the day is advisable. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and of course always bring water!
Map of the main attractions to see on the island of Rhodes
On the following map you can see the location of the main cities to visit in Rhodes, the most important beaches and the location of the island's international airport.
More about Rhodes and other Greek islands
If you are organizing your vacation in Greece, do not miss our best posts about Rhodes and other important Greek islands: