The Knights Island
Rhodes is one of the most beautiful islands in the Aegean Sea, the largest island in the Dodecanese and the fourth largest island in the Aegean. Today, Rhodes Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Rhodes Island has one of the longest and most splendid histories of any place in the world. It has been the capital of the Medieval Aristocracy and there are many impressive historical and modern monuments worth visiting.
Rhodes is the island of contrasts and its beauty lies exactly in these contrasts. Everything you could ask you’ll find it here. Discos, bars, pubs and a Casino, are doing their best to give you a great time.
Rhodes at a glance
It is no accident that Greece’s third largest island is one of the most popular holiday destinations worldwide: Rhodes is a magical combination of spectacular natural charms, a long cultural past evident everywhere around, an excellent climate with the highest yearly average of sunny days in Europe, as well as a unique lifestyle and cosmopolitan character.
Its famous capital enchants its visitors upon the very moment they enter its picturesque harbor, Mandraki, welcomed by two bronze deers on two elegant columns at the entrance. Situated in the north-east tip of the island, at a crossroads between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, wonderful Rhodos Town is a vivid canvas of different identities, cultures, and architectures that have been crossed in the course of its rich history. Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, stood here at the entrance of its port in antiquity, a giant bronze statue of 33 m. height, finally destroyed by an earthquake. Today this fine city is so well preserved, especially the Medieval Old Town, that it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting such wonderful monuments and romantic attractions, as the Palace of the Grand Master, the Governor’s Palace and the Avenue of the Knights. As you marvel at the impressive fortifications with their bastions, their gates, and towers, at the Ottoman mosques and the Byzantine churches, and as you walk along the lovely promenade or amidst the romantic old streets and between the lively cafes and colorful restaurants, you know that these pictures will be simply unforgettable.
Outside the city, the spearhead-shaped island is dotted along its splendid coastline with small villages and beach resorts, since it is one of the most well-developed tourist destinations throughout the Mediterranean. The island’s numerous lacy beaches of fine sand in combination with the crystal clear waters of the Aegean make marvelous settings for enjoying memorable days under the sun. Twelve kilometers from the Town, Faliraki is considered the most cosmopolitan among the seaside settlements, with a hectic atmosphere night and day in its countless beach bars and nightclubs. Lindos is a town on the east coast, 55km south of the Town, also very popular thanks to its fine beaches and archaeological site. The Acropolis of Lindos crowning a hill above the town is a natural citadel which was fortified by successive conquerors ever since the ancient times. From there the views to the surrounding harbors and coastline are breathtaking. Kallithea, on a beautiful bay lined with palm trees 11 km. from the Town, is known for its thermal springs, which, although not in operation today, are worth visiting for their facilities, where the aura of an elegant bygone era seems to linger everywhere.
The landscape of the island’s inland is mountainous and covered with forests of pine and cypress, rich in fauna and flora, the home to Rhodian deer, the emblem of Rhodes. In the summer, large swarms of tiger moths gather in the idyllic Petaludes Valley (Valley of the Butterflies) attracting thousands of visitors every year.
Ialyssos, along with Camiros and Lindos were the three major Doric cities that in the 5th century B.C. formed the powerful city-state of Rhodes. Besides its impressive archaeological site, Ialyssos and its adjacent settlement Ixia boast several modern hotel units and resorts and are noted for their excellent windsurfing conditions. Another archaeological site of great interest is the Acropolis of Rhodes dating from the Hellenistic period (3rd-2nd c. BC) comprising the Temple of Apollo.
Among local products woven ware and pottery have a prominent place, the unique island’s ceramics defined as an exquisite folk art character. Especially in the beautiful traditional village of Archangelos pottery was always one of the major occupations of the people and it is said that the dome of Hagia Sofia was built using light bricks from that village.
The island of Rhodes is shaped like a spearhead, 79.7 km (49.5 miles) long and 38 km (24 miles) wide, with a total area of approximately 1,400 square kilometers (541 square miles) and a coastline of approximately 220 km (137 miles). The city of Rhodes is located at the northern tip of the island, as well as the site of the ancient and modern commercial harbors. The main air gateway (Diagoras International Airport, IATA code: RHO) is located 14 km (9 miles) to the southwest of the city in Paradissi. The road network radiates from the city along the east and west coasts.
The city of Rhodes is the capital of the island and also the capital of the municipality of Dodecanese. Rhodes has a long history and all the different ethnicities that inhabited the island have left their mark on all of its cultural aspects: art, language, architecture. Its strategic geographic placement brought considerable wealth to the island and made the city of Rhodes a prominent city in ancient Greece. Rhodes is the largest island of the Dodecanese.
The island’s capital is situated on its northern tip and it is also the capital of the whole municipality. In 1988, the Old Town was declared a World Heritage Site. The Old Town is an amalgam of different architectures and different historical periods, with dominating periods the occupation of the Knights Hospitaller and the Ottoman occupation. Today, it is a vivid part of the modern town where commercial, touristic and entertainment businesses flourish, while it also has habitable areas.
Rhodes Old Town - Medieval Walls
The old town is encircled by strong medieval walls a typical example of the techniques of fortification of the 14th -15th century built by the Knights of Saint John to protect the city from all dangers. Just outside of the old city of Rhodos you can see the Fishing harbor and some people sailing sponges. You fell that you are living in the troubled past of this place, but at the same time you discover that this city still inhabited, with its lively commercial activity, the Archaeological Museum, the Art Gallery, the Museum of the Folk Art, and it’s night life, is very much alive in the present.
Rhodes Public Libraries
The Public Library is situated in the center of the Old Town near the Sea Gate, on the ground floor of the “Kastellania” building that used to be a gathering point for merchants, the office of the market inspectorate and the merchants’ court during the period of the Knights. The building was transformed into a library in 1947. Today it stocks approximately 31,000 volumes covering nearly all subjects, especially literature, history, and education. It also has all the local newspapers since their issue and all national newspapers since 1950.
Open Monday – Friday (09:00 -14:00 hrs) and Wednesday (16:30 – 19:00 hrs), 1 Aristotelous street, Medieval Town,Rhodos Telephone +2410 24448
The Library of the Historical and Archaeological Institute of Rhodes
By the Museum of Popular Art, one can find the Library of the Historical and Archaeological Institute of Rhodes. It is situated in what it used to be the first hospital of the Knights. It is not open to the public but it is permitted to be used after special permission, by those carrying out researches. The books cover topics concerning history, archaeology, and art in ancient, medieval and recent times in addition to topics relevant to popular art.
Argyrokastrou Square, Medieval Town, Rhodos Telephone +2410 75674
The Municipal Library of Rhodes is hosted in the Municipal Cultural Center, in Rodiaki Epavli the former Royal Pavilion. It has around 10,000 volumes covering a variety of topics in Greek and a substantial number of works in English, French, and German. The Library houses a small exhibition of sculpture collection which belongs to the Municipal Art Gallery and which is open to the public. Its reading room has a spectacular view of the gardens.
About 35 miles (55 km) away from the city of Rhodos is located the legendary Lindos.
It is built on an impressive rock, 400 feet over the blue sea. It has the Temple of Athena (Minerva) offering to the visitor a breathtaking view. Exactly below the Acropolis of Lindos is built the white town of Lindos which counts 3.500 years of history. This place is unique and the visitor will have the opportunity to admire a lot of things around, for example, the streets which are made by black and white pebbles, the interior of the houses, decorated with ceramics. One of the things you can admire is the ancient galley, which is lapidarian on a rock, and symbolizes the naval and trading power of Lindos which was extended in the whole Mediterranean sea.
Also one of the interesting sights is the belfry of the 11th-century church in the town of Lindos. In the beautiful beaches of the island, you can enjoy the sun and the sea, the way that only Greece and especially Rhodos can offer. In contemporary years, Lindos has to offer relaxing vacations to its visitors. During the day, the archaeological sites, the sightseeing in general and the beaches will keep you busy. During the nights, you can enjoy yourselves by eating in the restaurants of the town of Lindos, you can participate in the cultural events with Greek dances, performances, concerts, etc., organized by the Community.
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Situated on one of the largest Dodecanese islands, you could argue that Faliraki is already a well-known tourist destination with its Blue Flag award and a 5km stretch of golden sandy beaches. But did you know that Faliraki is also home to the largest water park in Europe? This is one to get the kids (and the kids at heart) excited about! The incredible water park has lots of thrilling pools and slides for all the family and is a Traveller’s Choice 2014 Winner. What better way to cool off from the hot sun? Plus, at around 22 euros for an adult ticket price, it won’t put too much heat on your wallet either. It is best to get a taxi or bus ride to the park as otherwise, you will have to face a steep uphill climb before you can enjoy any of the water slides!
If you’re interested in more of a natural setting for some relaxing swimming, then Faliraki has also got you covered. Anthony Quinn Bay is truly breath-taking, with idyllic scenery, crystal waters and little fish that playfully swim around your feet. The water is warm and great for snorkeling as well. The bay was once the setting for several scenes from the film ‘Guns of Navarone’ but has now retired to become a quiet and peaceful spot.
For a different way to holiday, Faliraki even has an observatory and astronomy café bar. Enjoy panoramic views of the dazzling seas, bays, and stars! Convinced? You should be! Find out more about where you can stay here.
Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
The Archaeological Museum, housed in the Hospital of the Knights, is one of the most impressive buildings you will see in the Medieval City of Rhodes. It is a two storey building and in its halls and yard, you will find showcased important exhibits. The construction of the building started in 1440 by Grand Master de Lastic, who spent for it the astronomical sum of 10.000 gold forints, and finished in 1489. It has been a museum since 1914. Great exhibits that the visitor can admire here are a small statue of Aphrodite Bathing, known as the Rhodes Venus, the “Drunken Dionysus”, a headless statue of Artemis, grave steles and many more.
Municipal Gallery of Rhodes
The Municipal Gallery of Rhodes houses today one of the best and most representative collections of 20th-century Greek painting. Most of the Greek painters that created during these nine decades, formulating modern Greek painting, are represented in this collection with distinctive works.
Palace of the Grandmaster
The Palace of the Grandmaster is probably the most important building of the Knight’s occupation era. During the Italian restoration in the 1930s, the building obtained its present form, then being the Italian commander’s headquarters and residence. In its halls the visitor has the opportunity to admire the beautiful mosaic floors that were transferred by the Italians, mainly from civilian and clergy buildings in Kos, to decorate the Palace. Besides the impressive mosaic works, there is also pillars and capitals, medieval furniture, mirrors, paintings, prickets and other objects that embellish the imposing building.
It has been operating as Reale Instituto di Ricerche Biologiche di Rodi since 1937. In 1945 it was renamed to Greek Hydro-biological Institute, operating under the supervision of the Academy of Athens. Today it is a museum-aquarium and research unit belonging to the National Center of Marine Research. In the museum, you can admire creatures of the Mediterranean sea, such as various kinds of sharks and other fish, crabs, echinoderms, sea turtles, toothed whales(Odontoceti) and Mediterranean monk seals.
The Decorative Arts Collection
The Folk Museum of Decorative Arts is housed in a building at Argyrokastrou square, which during the Knight’s occupation served as an arsenal. The collection includes traditional arts objects: woodcarvings, chests, armoirs, mirrors, embroideries, ceramics, metallic objects, specimens of the renowned plates of Lindos, marital cloths, as well as traditional apparels mainly from the Dodecanese (Symi, Empona, Karpathos, Nisyros, Telos, Chalki), but from other parts of Greece too. The goal of this collection is not as much to recreate the way of life of that era -something like that would be difficult to achieve- but to present works that express the folk elegance of the Islanders.
Acropolis of Rhodes
The Acropolis of Rhodos is an acropolis dating from the Hellenistic period (3rd-2nd c. BC) 3 kilometers from the center of Rhodos city. The original excavation was conducted by the Italian School of Archaeology at Athens from 1912-1945.
The Hill of Monte Smith, marks the site of the Acropolis of ancient Rhodos. There was a part of the major festival of the Ancient Rhodians held in honor of the god Ilios. On the summit of the Acropolis stands the temple of Pythion Apollon, the patron deity of the city. From here there is a panoramic view of the city of Rhodos and the sea, the sunsets are breathtaking.
Shopping in Rhodes
Ceramic watch for the many “Keramik factory” outlets along the roads).
Bottle of wine- local wines are famous (eg CAIR) and tasty
Jewelry stores are common, particularly in Rhodes Town
Umbrellas – a “joke” souvenir
Colorful sea shells are a popular souvenir item, but very many of them are actually imported and have no authentic connection to the island whatsoever.
Many brand name products for sale in the tourist shops may be fakes and/or unlicensed (t-shirts, towels, handbags, and so on)
Beach Anthony Quinn
The small Anthony Quinn beach is located 15 km. to the south of the capital, between famous beaches Faliraki and Ladiko, in a small bay. The official name of the bay is Vayies, but after the famous war movie “The Guns of Navarone” was filmed in the area, locals and visitors call it with the name of the famous movie’s leading actor, Anthony Quinn. It is considered -and rightly so- of the most beautiful and relatively quiet beaches in Rhodes. It is a small beach with beautiful fine sand, pebbles and lots of rocks in the sea and on the coast. The only amenities the beach offers to swimmers is umbrellas and sunbeds.
Afantou is a beach 18 km. south of the city of Rhodes. It is a long sandy beach, more than 3 km. long, with crystal clear waters, and umbrellas and sunbeds in some parts of it. Since it is such a big beach it can satisfy all kinds of tastes. It is always busy, but it doesn’t look crowded, due to its vast length. In some parts besides sand, you will find little pebbles. Also, following the coastal road, you can visit the Golf Center.
Faliraki is a 5 km long sandy beach on the east coast of the island of Rhodes, about 12 km. from the island’s capital. Faliraki is probably the most organized beach in Rhodes and definitely the most famous one, attracting the biggest number of visitors. The beach is covered with golden sand, small rocks, darker sand or small pebbles -depending on the part you will choose. You will find umbrellas and sunbeds, but also free areas if you prefer. Just keep in mind that the parts of the beach situated in front of the hotels might be only available to their clients.
This small beach located next to the little port in Fanes is located 22 km. southwest of the capital, on the west coast of the island. It is a secluded beach with clear waters and lots of taverns along the small port serving fresh fish.
Ialyssos beach is located about 7-8 km. to the southwest of the capital. The beach is sandy and pebbly and well-organized in its biggest part. It has clean waters and a view of the coast of Asia Minor. There are a lot of sea activities and other sports to do along all of its area. It is very popular with windsurfing fans, so much so that locals call Ialyssos the “capital” of windsurfing. Windsurf contests take place there annually, local, national, European, even world championships.
Iksia beach is located on the west coast of Rhodes to the north, quite close to the center of the city of Rhodes, 4 km. southwest. The beach is well organized, sandy with occasionally small or bigger pebbles. It is a favorite destination for the fans of windsurf and many other sea sports. Due to its being so well organized and near Rhodes and many hotels, Iksia is always very busy. However at the end of the beach, on the road to Kremasti and Theologos, the situation is quite different from the classic picture of the busy touristic resort. The sea though is clean and crystal-clear all along the beach.
It is a huge sandy beach, more than 4 km. long, situated 45 km. southeast of the capital. This beach with its fine sand and some small pebbles in some parts and its crystal clear waters offers all amenities in some parts, whereas others are free to everybody. The small church of Panagia dating back to the 12th century and built in the rocks is definitely worth a visit.
Kalithea beach is located about 11 km. south of the town of Rhodes. The old hot springs facilities from the Italian occupation era, the impressive, exotic vegetation with the palm trees and the rocky coast, create a landscape reminiscent of a movie set. In the rocky bay, you can also enjoy exploring the interesting sea life. The beach offers all the comforts of an organized beach, umbrellas, sunbeds, showers and changing rooms.
The secluded Kopria beach is located on the southwest coast of Rhodes 45 km. southwest of the capital. It is a most beautiful beach with large rocky formations in its two ends, fine sand, and pebbles.
The beach in front of Kremasti resort is located 12 km. southwest of the capital, on the northwest coast of the island.
Ladiko beach is located at a small bay, right after the Anthony Quinn beach, about 15 km. from the capital on the east coast of the island. It is a beach of exquisite natural beauty: fine sand, beautiful pebbles and rocks, and many trees, especially pine trees, that occasionally reach up to the sea. It is a quite organized beach with umbrellas and sunbeds, showers and a picturesque tavern near the sea. It is ideal for underwater fishing due to the rocky sea bottom. During August it attracts lots of visitors daily. But the rest of the summer months Ladiko is quite peaceful, preferred by those who want to avoid the neighboring cosmopolitan beaches.
Lindos is located right beneath the Acropolis, 50 km. southeast of the capital. It is a sandy beach that offers sunbeds and umbrellas and it attracts numerous visitors daily. Its shallow waters make it ideal for families with small children. The waters are clear, crystal-like and they have an exquisite blue color.
Paradissi beach is located 15 km. southwest of the capital. The beach offers all amenities and various sea sports.
Prassonisi is the southernmost point of the island, 95 km. south of the city of Rhodes. Prassonisi is an island during the winter, but it becomes a peninsula during summer -it is connected to land by a narrow sand strip, that is covered by waves during winter. Prassonisi is a meeting point for young people that like windsurfing. With its two bays on either side of the sand strip, it always offers the visitor waves on one side and a peaceful sea on the other.
It is a big, sandy beach on the west coast of the island, beginning right after the Aquarium. It offers all the amenities and has lots of visitors daily.
Beach Rhodes beach
The big sandy Rhodes beach is located on the northernmost part of the city and of the island of Rhodes. It is the most popular beach, spreading in front of the Casino and the city Aquarium. The beach provides all amenities and has thousands of visitors daily, offering plenty of room for everybody and for all kinds of activities. The waters are clear, crystal-like, serene most of the time and the bottom sandy.
Soroni beach is located on the west coast of the island, 25 km. southwest of the capital. For the most part it is covered with pebbles, the sea gets quite deep quite abruptly and it is usually quite wavy. The beach does not offer many comforts and it does not attract many visitors, due to the noise from the airport nearby.
Theologos beach is located 22 km. southwest of the capital. It is a sandy beach that offers umbrellas and sunbeds.
Tsampika is a sandy beach 26 km. south of the city of Rhodes. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Rhodes. Here you will find umbrellas and sunbeds, various sea sports, golden sand, crystal clear waters -no wonder this beach has a lot of fans. Due to its sandy length it is ideal for families with small children.
Vlycha is located 46 km. southeast of the capital, quite close to Lindos.
The Valley of the Butterflies is worth a visit and though their numbers are declining due to the impact of tourism on their habitat, they are still impressive. The Valley oh the Butterflies of Rhodos located 20 km from the airport of Rhodes and is nearby the Village Kalamonas. At the entrance of the Valley, there is a small souvenir shop. The Valley of the Butterflies is a unique natural Park, where each Year from June to September, thousands of multi-colored butterflies appear. The Park is a nice place to walk, under the shade of the trees. During August, thousands of butterflies overwhelm the valley in order to reproduce.
Mainly due to a disturbance caused by visitors in the latest years, the population of butterflies is in decline. However, visitors should not be denied the enjoyment of seeing these lovely creatures but it is prohibited to disturb the butterflies in any way (i.e. whistling, hand clapping). The “Museum of Natural History” is located in a part of the valley.
Windsurfing. If you don’t have a surfboard, you can rent on the island.
Also, you can play tennis, Golf, and water-ski.
Everything you could ask you’ll find it here. Discos, bars, pubs and a Casino, are doing their best to give you a great time.
How to get to Rhodes Island
By boat – Greek Ferries
Rhodes is linked by plane to Athens, Heraklio, Thessaloniki, Karpathos, Kassos, Kos, Megisti, Mykonos and Santorini.
From Athens and Thessaloniki, there are quite a few flights every day during the whole year. The duration of the flight is 1 hour. For more information contact Olympic Airways in Thessaloniki tel. (031) 260.121-9, Olympic Airways in Athens tel. (01) 9666666 or Olympic Airways in Rhodes tel. (0241) 24.555.
From Piraeus, there are daily ferries to Rhodes during the summer (duration:19h). For more information contact the Coastguard of Piraeus tel. (01) 4226000-4. For information about local connections of Rhodes, contact Olympic Airways in Rhodes tel. (0241) 24.555 (by plane) and the Coastguard of Rhodes tel. (0241) 27690.
The main bus terminal in Rhodes city is the Neá Agorá (New Market). Schedules and prices can be found at the ticket booths. Tickets can also be bought in the bus from a cashier or directly from the driver. For example, a trip from Rhodes city to Faliraki will cost €2.20. The buses are often very full and so remember to be actively moving backward in the buses. Sometimes the driver jumps out and peeks in from the middle door to urge tourists to move backward. Only part of the bus stops have the timetables displayed, and the buses are often late.
Taxis on Rhodes are dark blue with white roofs.
By car – Rent a Car
It is not worth the hassle to bring your own car to the island, although it is in theory possible. You can rent a car at the airport or via any hotel and at many local dealers.Local dealers are the best option for rending a car on the island, the services provided by some of the companies is outstanding!!!they can give you all the insider tips you will need so your road trips around will give you the possibility to discover all the natural beauties and enjoy your visits to the endless archaeological sites and places of interest on the island. The prices epecialy at the start and the end of the summer start from 20 euros per day some of the best local companies which are also the biggest are Rodos cars rent a car and Rhodes car rental Asphalt highways will allow you to reach the entire island, especially the last couple of years the road system is improved a lot!
An advantage is that they are cheap to rent, €10-20 a day is the usual price.