Rhodes: what to see and do. Beautiful beaches and where to escape the crowds on this Greek island
December 4, 2015 | By: High50
Rhodes coastal view

There’s no shortage of beautiful coastal views on Rhodes

Why go

Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese Islands and situated in the warm waters of the Aegean Sea, is a true Greek treasure you’ll want to visit again and again. It’s packed with jaw-dropping culture for a start: the Medieval City of Rhodes has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the beautiful Greek climate offers an impressive eight sunny months a year.

The beaches are stunning, the water clear and explorers keen to escape the tourism trail can venture to one of the traditional villages to see more authentic island life.

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What to do

Rhodes clear water

The small, pretty bay of St Paul’s, near Lindos

Soaking up the sun while enjoying ouzo is all well and good for the first few days – then it’s time to start exploring. Lindos should be on your to-do list, with its whitewashed buildings dominated by the impressive ancient Acropolis on the hill above.

Rhodes Island Greece Lindos Acropolis Temple of Athena Lindia f

The Acropolis, on a hill overlooking Lindos

Rhodes Town is also a must, whether you choose to visit the medieval sites or hit the plethora of shops for local treats including honey and leather goods. There’s even a Marks & Spencer if you fancy something closer to home.

Where to stay

Rhodes Boutique-5-Beach

Boutique 5 on Kiotari Beach is a luxury hotel with a sweeping ocean view

If you’re staying in the heart of Rhodes Old Town, check in to Minos Pension. The affordable rooms are clean and comfortable and you’ll enjoy the best panoramic city views from the hotel’s rooftop bar.

If it’s a sea view you’re after we can’t recommend the Aquarium Hotel highly enough, with most rooms overlooking the sparkling water. For all-out luxury the Boutique 5 hotel on Kiotari Beach offers suites complete with private pools.

Where to eat

For authentic cuisine it’s got to be Yannis, where you can tuck in to hearty portions of moussaka, octopus and Greek salad. For something more refined choose Ambrosia: with just 12 tables it’s well worth booking in advance to experience the freshest fish filleted in front of you.

Fancy a beach bar where you can while away the hours while enjoying tasty cuisine? Head to Portico Antico Beach Taverna, which combines a stunning beachside location with mouth-watering prawns and calamari. It also has a great children’s play area and offers free Wi-Fi and sunbeds.

Getting around

Rhodes Temple of Apollo on Acropolis hill

The Temple of Apollo on the northern tip of the island dates back to 200-300BC

If you want to explore outside your chosen resort, car hire is worth looking in to. However, drive with caution as the roads can be narrow in places and traffic lights at junctions are few and far between. Taxis are a much simpler option and are surprisingly affordable, rather than waiting for a bus and hoping you are headed in the right direction.

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When to go

As with all Mediterranean countries the months of July and August can be very busy and hot, with temperatures often rising to 30°C and beyond. If you’re not a fan of such intense heat it’s safer to book for May or October, when you can still expect a pleasant 20°C.

Three things we like

  1. The beaches. Tsambika beach offers clean sand, crystal-clear water and a watersports centre, while St Paul’s Bay is a quieter delight perfect for indulging in your favourite book. There’s even Faliraki Nudist Beach if you fancy being brave.
  2. The walk to the Acropolis at Lindos is hard-going in the heat but well worth it for the stunning natural citadel. Take plenty of water to keep hydrated and take pit stops along the way. Just don’t be tempted to hop on one of the poor, exhausted-looking donkeys available to hire to take you to the top.
  3. Scuba diving with Waterhoppers PADI Diving. Explore the wreck at Plimiri, with great instructors. Snorkelling is also available if scuba’s not your thing, with a lesson, tours and fish identification all included in the package.

Something we don’t like

Faliraki. If you’re not 25 or younger it’s best to stay clear of the island’s ‘party resort’, where thousands of revellers congest the streets by night and nurse their hangovers on the beach by day. Another annoyance is the constant surge of day trippers who descend upon Lindos from their cruise ships in the summer, so it’s best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

Don’t miss

Rhodes harbour

Millionaires’ yatchs are moored alongside old fishing boats in Rhodes’ Mandraki Harbour

You can’t visit Rhodes without seeing the sights of the Medieval Old Town, starting with the Grand Master’s Palace, a 14th-century structure that was destroyed by a gunpowder explosion in 1856 and then rebuilt according to the original drawings in 1940. ]

There’s also the Museum of Modern Greek Art for an extra dose of culture, found in the atmospheric surroundings of the Knights’ Quarter, which is complete with 3rd-century ruins and a 15th-century knights’ hospital.

See the island in an altogether more exhilarating way on a day excursion with Rhodes Safari. Climb on board your Land Rover for the day and experience rugged terrains, beautiful beaches and mountain villages, before enjoying wine tasting and a locally-sourced picnic.

The Turkish port of Marmaris is just 27km from Rhodes and you can take a day trip by ferry. When you get there, hop in a taxi and visit the nearby bazaar, where there are a variety of stalls and shops selling clothes, jewellery and replica goods, then soak up the sights and sounds with a delicious harbour-side lunch.

Travelling with young children 

Families can happily spend their days soaking up the sun and enjoying the watersports, and the waterpark has a pirate ship, lazy river, rides and a toddlers’ pool for the little ones.

High50 insider tips

  • For a three-course meal for under €9 head to Pefkos, where clusters of restaurants compete against each other with ridiculously low-priced menus. Some are excellent ­and others leave a lot to be desired. We recommend Zorbas for its consistently scrummy dishes.
  • For a truly unique walking tour try the Jungle Of Rhodes. The star of the show is legendary guide Nikos, who has you wading through rivers, seeking out butterflies and even climbing up rocks, before cooking a delicious lunch you’ll feel you well deserve.
  • It can get a bit overwhelming in some resorts with waiters and pushy touts desperate to get you to eat in their establishment. Avoid eye contact and keep your head straight ahead unless you think you might want to eat there, saying ‘óchi efcharistó’ – Greek for ‘no thank you’.

Need to know

  • Flight time is around four hours
  • Rhodes is two hours ahead of the UK (GMT +2)
  • Currency is the Euro
  • Due to the ever-changing economic crisis in Greece it is advisable for you to have access to enough Euros for the duration of your stay, to avoid being restricted to an ATM daily rate
  • Lindos is pedestrianised so in many cases your coach or transfer cannot take you to the door of your resort, so take a suitcase that can withstand the cobbles.