By Gkinis Nickos and Barouchas Vangelis
Rhodes is a Greek island located in the southeastern Aegean and it belongs to the Dodecanese. It is the largest island of the Dodecanese and the fourth largest in Greece. Its history goes back centuries, it has a rich natural environment, beautiful beaches with clear blue waters, and modern tourist infrastructure. In recent years it has experienced tremendous economic growth as it has developed into a popular tourist destination and attracts millions of tourists every year.
The island of Rhodes is located at the crossroads of two major sea routes of the Mediterranean, between the Aegean Sea and the coasts of the Middle East such as Cyprus and Egypt. Many civilizations have colonized the island, leaving their mark on all aspects of the island’s culture: in art, language, architecture. Its strategic location brought the island great wealth and made the city of Rhodes one of the prominent cities of ancient Greece.
The capital of the island, with the Medieval City in its center, is located in its north part. In 1988, the Medieval City was recognized as a World Heritage City.
In the classical period, Rhodes produced excellent art. The Colossus was the most famous creation, one of the seven wonders of the world, built between 304 BC and 293 BC, by the Lindian sculptor Haris. The construction of the Colossus lasted 12 years and was completed in 282 BC. For many years, the statue was probably placed at the entrance of the harbor and personified the god Helios, the god of the sun, until a powerful earthquake hit Rhodes in 226 BC. The city was severely damaged and the Colossus statue collapsed. Archeologists are still searching for leftovers of the statue, but so far no solid evidence has been found.
TOP 10 PLACES TO VISIT AT RHODES
The island has a multitude of famous places which are definitely worth visiting.
1. If you are a lover of history and archaeological sites – museums, you should visit one of the most well-preserved castles in the world, the palace of the Grand Master of the Knights or Castello. It is located on the northwest side of the medieval city of Rhodes at the highest point of the castle and it is perhaps the most important monument of the period of the knights.
The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes is housed in a medieval building of Gothic style with renaissance elements which was built on the ruins of a Roman building in 1440 by the Grand Master De Lastique and completed fifty years later by the Grand Master Pierre d’Aubison. There, you can admire many Roman artifacts.
Lindos is a traditional settlement on the island of Rhodes. It has a long history, as it was one of the three ancient cities on the island. In addition, it has a very rich tradition. It is visited by thousands of tourists worldwide, as the Acropolis of Lindos offers an awesome view and the landscape around it is breathtaking. The sunset there is one of the best you will ever see.
The Butterfly Valley is a natural habitat on the island of Rhodes. There you can admire many species of butterflies, one of which, the Panaxia Quadripunctaria, is very rare. A visit there should absolutely be included in your travel program.
The beach of Tsambika is the most popular coast of Rhodes. It is a fairy-tale sandy beach with clear blue waters. There, there are many restaurants, beach bars, and cafes for visitors.
Faliraki is one of the most cosmopolitan seaside resorts in the world. It is a wonderful bay with a golden beach of 6.5 kilometers which stretches northeast of the island of Rhodes. At Faliraki, you will find numerous restaurants, bars, and clubs, as it is well known for its nightlife.
Ancient Kameiros is located at the south edge of Rhodes. It flourished from the archaic to the Hellenistic period and was one of the most important cities on the island. It was built overlooking the sea and it had no fortifications. Ruins of houses, the ancient Agora, a Doric temple and the temple of Athena were found. Nowadays, the archeological site is visited by hundreds of tourists.
The hill of Monte Smith rises in the western part of the city of Rhodes. The archaeological site of the Acropolis of Rhodes, with buildings dating back to the Hellenistic and Late Hellenistic Periods, is located there. The acropolis did not have fortifications like the older ones. Sanctuaries, large temples, public buildings, and underground places of worship are situated on the hill.
GASTRONOMY: A HIGHLIGHT OF THE ISLAND
The island of Rhodes is famous for its traditional cuisine. The basis of Rhodesian cuisine is mainly wheat and olives, as the main advantage of the island is its fertile soil, which yields a rich crop. There are tasty meat dishes, fresh fish and seafood, cool salads, and a wide variety of sweets and desserts made from cereals, olive oil, nuts, fruits, honey, and herbs.
During your stay on the island of the Knights, don’t forget to try the local specialties that will lift your culinary mood! Among the appetizers offered by the cuisine of Rhodes, try the unique Rhodesian pitaroudi (chickpea meatballs with plenty of chopped mints, onions, and a tomato fried in hot oil), pumpkin meatballs, dolmades with lentils in cyclamen leaves.
Among the main dishes, you should try vlitas and yachni sliders, stuffed vegetables (from tomatoes and peppers to pumpkin flowers or onions), kolokoudi (pumpkin) in the oven, mullet beans with tomato and pepper, carabolos (snails with onions and pleghouri), goat meat in pydiako (narrow and tall earthen tsoukali), chicken with pleghouri, spetzofai and chicken with loukumi (a type of pasta), lopi (goat meat with dry beans or chickpeas). A very special dish and a favorite of the locals are the amarangos, which are eaten boiled with vinegar, accompanied by garlic.
Last but not least, Rhodes’ cuisine does not lack fine cheeses (hard, soft and semi-hard), which are mainly produced in the mountain villages.
The island of Rhodes has many great restaurants so here is a list of our suggestions:
Alexis 4 Seasons: Situated in an impressive historical building at the center of the Medieval city, this restaurant is a must when it comes to seafood. The beautiful garden and the stone-built interior make for a great environment and a very pleasant eating experience.
Drosoulites – Rakadiko: From incredible flavors to very economical prices, this restaurant is definitely worth trying out. The staff is very friendly and the live music gives the place a very pleasant touch.
4 Rodies(4 Pomegranates): One of the best restaurants on the island. Very clean and professional. The very friendly reception and the multitude of amazing dishes on the menu will make you want to come back!
There is a wide variety of hotels, rooms, and houses for the guests to stay on Rhodes Island. The best are:
1. Rodos Palace at Ixia
2. Amada Colossos Resort at Faliraki
3. Grecotel Lux.Me Dama Dama at Kallithea
Guests can reach the island by plane or by ship. Here is some information about the airport and the ports:
The International Airport «Diagoras» of Rhodes is located 16 km southwest of the city of Rhodes, in the village of Paradisi. It began operating on 28 June 1977, replacing the outdated for civil use airport which was located a few kilometers further east, in the area of Maritsa, and which is currently a military airport. The parking floor of aircraft covers a total area of 110,600 sq.m. with the possibility of parking 13 aircraft, while the airport building has an area of 20,753 sq.m., with a capacity of 1,700 passengers, with expansion and improvement projects to continue. Traffic control is supported by approach radar, while there is also an automated flight plan management system. The airport operates all year round, while services that are offered include rental cars, car parking, and a duty-free shop. While it is a relatively small airport, it is served by a long list of airlines and was actually the fourth busiest airport in Greece as of 2019.
All things considered, the island of Rhodes is definitely a unique destination which combines many different experiences that definitely cannot fit into one article. Its beautiful natural landscape, its many different beaches, and its traditional settlements will make you plan your trip to the island sooner than you expected!
The port of Mandraki
Near the historic city, there is the port of Mandraki, where many ships anchor. There are commercial facilities near, inside, or outside the port. Water and electricity can be supplied at the dock. There are also toilets and showers.
The port of Nea Marina
Since 2015 the new marina of Rhodes has been in operation. It is located about 2 miles south of the port of Mandraki. Here you can find cafes and offices. The historic town can be reached by taxi in 5 minutes. The Marina has its gas station and all other provision and supply facilities.
A GENERAL COMMENT
All things considered, the island of Rhodes is definitely a unique destination which combines many different experiences that definitely cannot fit into one article. Its beautiful natural landscape, its many different beaches and its traditional settlements will make you plan your trip to the island sooner than you expected!