The largest and most eastern Dodecanese island in the Aegean, Rhodes is the Greek vacation dream. Magnificent homes perch over the blue bay of the Aegean sea, with year-round sunshine, and traditional tavernas serving fresh salads and grilled seafood.
As the historical capital of the Dodecanese islands, history lives and breathes Rhodes. The island is famous for its immense castles, impressive medieval Gothic architecture, archaeological remains, acropolis, and the oldest medieval city in Europe.
Exploring its ancient ruins and temples are among the most popular things to do in Rhodes On top of its rich history, Rhodes is the sunniest spot in all of Greece, with 300-plus days of sunshine! This gives travelers a unique opportunity to explore magnificent archeological sites and then chill out on a beautiful sandy beach while contemplating the marvels of an earlier world.
In this post, we'll cover:
17. Prasonisi Beach
Prasonisi is not any old beach. At the southernmost end of Rhodes, a single strip of sand holds together the mainland of Rhodes and a small island, serving as the meeting point between the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea.
Despite its obvious photographic attraction, the magic of Prasonisi extends beyond traditional tourist visits. Its small wind haven makes it the summer season hotspot for wind and kite surfers who come from all corners of the world to experience this slice of heaven.
Simply soak in the sun on the shore, enjoy an ice-cold beverage, or watch the newbies learning the ropes on their boards.
16. Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
The Archaeological Museum can be found tucked away in the Old Town of Rhodes. An impressive example of Gothic architecture in Greece, the museum is housed in the medieval building of the Hospital of the Knights which used to serve sick pilgrims during the Ottoman era.
Allow this fusion of history and archaeology to guide your trip. Take a step back in time and analyse burial finds from Lalysoss and Kamiros (two of the most powerful towns in ancient Greek times), excavations from small Dodecanese islets, and the impressive marble statuette of the “Aphrodite Bathing”. Don’t forget to admire the beautiful mosaic floors!
15. Valley of the Butterflies
No matter what time of year you visit the Valley of the Butterflies, a trip here will leave you in awe of these fascinating creatures. Whilst in summer you can expect to see thousands of butterflies swarming into the valley to reproduce, during the rainier seasons you will find them still in their caterpillar stages, silently feeding away on the foliage.
The arrival of the butterflies and magic of their final transformations can be experienced towards the end of May.
Visitors are encouraged to enjoy viewing the butterflies at rest, but must avoid making any noise that could disturb the butterflies. During the summer months, there are regular bus services that go to and from the Valley.
Experience the lifecycle of butterflies and let the relaxing chirping sounds of the cicadas take you away.
14. Kallithea Springs
Despite being temporarily transformed into a prison during World War II, these springs have been welcoming visitors to experience the therapeutic power of the water since the 7th century B.C.
The water is not the only attraction here though – take a step inside the white-washed doors of the Rotunda, relax on a sunbed as you sip on a delicious Greek cold coffee, or go for a snorkel with a school of fish.
Since a recent renovation, the springs have become famous for holding events and can even be rented for exclusive wedding parties!
An ancient thermal spa, a cultural center, and an even trendier swimming spot, Kallithea Springs offers the perfect holistic day trip to refresh your mind, body, and soul.
13. Farma of Rhodes Petting Zoo
If you are planning a trip to the Valley of the Butterflies, consider visiting the Farma Petting Zoo as well. Just a brisk 5 minute walk away from the land of colourful wings, here you will find ostriches, blades, kangaroos, ponies, camels and more.
Unlike most zoos, the Farma of Rhodes allows visitors to interact and feed the animals. The park is a natural paradise with an abundance of space to escape the crowds, enjoy a relaxing walk in nature, or take a pony ride.
For souvenir lovers, a stop at the Farm Store before you leave cannot be missed. Browse through the farm’s locally cultivated products: natural olive oil, honey, dyed ostrich eggs, and ostrich grooming natural products are just some of their eclectic goodies.
12. Faliraki Water Park
One of the largest water parks in Europe, Faliraki Water Park is packed with impressive splash pools, high-speed slides, artificial waves, and remarkable rides for endless summer fun.
For the truly fearless, visitors should head to the Kamikaze slide to plunge 30ft down into a pool. If speed and adrenaline aren’t for you, head to the lazy river to simply float your way through the day.
On top of the fun, you can look forward to well-priced food and drink, generous portions, and a reasonable entry fee. It’s a win-win.
A bucket-list spot for those who are seeking a thrill, Faliraki is home to some of the most exciting summer moments for all the family.
11. Grand Master Palace
Greek history is rampant within the story of the Grand Master Palace. Originally a 7th century Byzantine citadel and later the residence of the Knights of St John of Rhodes, the palace is another rare example of Gothic architecture in Rhodes.
This magnificent building was crucial in the medieval fortification of the northwestern part of the walled city of Rhodos and the same charm can be felt today.
Before even entering the palace of the Grand Master, prepare to be mesmerized by its imposing entrance, towering arched doorways, and impressively well-preserved battlements. Greek and Roman statues line the palace’s spacious courtyard and grand ornaments sit proudly in the 150 rooms of the palace. The mosaic of the enigmatic Medusa is just one of the stories that visitors of the palace can look forward to.
10. Mandraki Harbor
Mandraki Harbor is one of three harbors on Rhodes and the only yacht harbor. It is thought one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the statue Colossus of Rhodes once stood in this harbor.
Travelers today will find deer sculptures, medieval windmills and the St. Nicholas fortress at the entrance. The windmills were once used to grind grain brought to the harbor by ancient cargo ships; most have disintegrated, but three have been renovated.
Mandraki Harbor was once the military port for Rhodes and could be closed by chains. Now yachts, cruise ships and fishing boats share the harbor.
9. Ancient Kamiros
Kamiros is an ancient city on the northwest coast of Rhodes. Kamiros is one of three Doric cities that combined with two others to form the city-state of Rhodes. Its residents, however, gradually abandoned Kamiros to move to the city of Rhodes.
Mentioned by Homer in his writings, forests covered the city until ancient graves were discovered in 1929 and an excavation of Kamiros began.
Archaeologists believe a temple to Athena topped the Acropolis, but it was destroyed in a 226 BC earthquake. The city was built on three levels: the Acropolis on top, residents in the middle, and water reservoirs on the bottom.
8. Anthony Quinn Bay
Anthony Quinn may have been from Mexico, but he filmed several movies in Greece, including Zorba the Greek and Guns of the Navarone, which was filmed at Faliraki. While there, the actor bought the bay part of the island. Because of this, the bay was renamed from Vagies Bay to Anthony Quinn Bay, which is just over a mile from Faliraki.
Because of its rock surroundings and crystal clear emerald water, it’s considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Rhodes. The bay is a popular mooring spot for sail boats and small watercraft.
7. Tsambika Monastery
Travelers looking for tremendous scenic views in a religious setting may enjoy a visit to Tsambika Monastery that is situated on a hill. The hill, about 25 km (15 miles) from Rhodes city, is topped by a small Byzantine church dedicated to Our Lady.
A local legend says if an infertile woman climbs the hill she will be blessed with a child, which must be named after the monastery. The legend must be true since many island residents answer to this name. Origins of the first monastery are unclear, but a working monastery was constructed in 1770.
6. Faliraki Beach
Dotted with colourful sun loungers and umbrellas stretching across 5km of its sandy coast, Faliraki beach is one of the most cosmopolitan resorts in Rhodes.
Come day or night, Faliraki is buzzing with crowds in pursuit of summer fun. Trendy beach bars, affordable cafeterias, restaurants, nightclubs, and quirky souvenir shops line the beach for visitors to enjoy.
From banana boat rides to jet-skiing, the beach is also a very popular spot for water sports. For those seeking a more relaxing beach day, the bay of Kathara is just a few steps away from Faliraki.
The water is impressively calm and the sand is silky smooth. You can expect to pay around 5-10 euros to rent a sun lounger for the day.
5. Lindos Beach
Located 50 km (31 miles) south of Rhodes city, Lindos is a popular tourist destination because of its ancient ruins and great beaches. With a history that dates back to the 10th century BC, Lindos was once a meeting place for the Greeks and Phoenicians, and later became a major trading center.
It once had a large temple complex that fell into disuse during the early medieval period; it is an important archaeological site today. The beach itself is a busy place, with many British residents spending entire summers here. The deep blue bay waters make Lindos Beach an especially pretty tourist attraction in Rhodes.
4. Monolithos Castle
At one time, Monolithos Castle was considered one of the most powerful fortresses on Rhodes. Built in 1480 to protect the area from pirates and enemies, not much of the castle remains today save the external walls.
One thing that does remain, however, is the stupendous view at the top of the hill that overlooks the sea. In order to enjoy the view, hardy visitors will have to climb up via small steep stone steps; the climb is strenuous, so past visitors recommend frequent breaks to rest. Inside the castle that was built on a former castle, travelers will find two 15th century chapels.
The magic of this castle and its prime location makes it very popular amongst hikers, runners, and walkers. Nonetheless, visitors can enjoy some solitude during the quieter hours of the morning.
3. Tsambika Beach
Tsambika Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Rhodes. It’s hard to dispute that: Turquoise blue waters lap on the half-mile of pure golden sand beach. Owned by the Orthodox church, Tsambika Beach is overlooked by a peak where stands the Tsambika Monastery.
Because the water is shallow and sandy, the beach is considered a good place for families to have fun in the sun, either lying under an umbrella or participating in water sports. A section of the beach is set aside for visitors who prefer to go au naturel.
2. Acropolis of Lindos
The Acropolis of Lindos is the main archeological site of Rhodes. Located on the top of the hill, a visit to this ancient place of worship requires a 20 minute walk up 250 steps but, rest assured, the views over Lindos and the Mediterranean sea are well worth the climb.
If you don’t feel like walking, you can enjoy a bumpy donkey ride with one of the local guides.
Once at the top, visitors will find a well preserved Acropolis enclosed by battlements, 20 white Hellenistic columns and remains of the temple to Athena Lindia. There’s no shade at the top, so visitors may want to wear hats and take along water to drink.
For anyone with an interest in Greek history, the Acropolis of Lindos is not to be missed.
1. Medieval Town of Rhodes
Occupiers over the centuries have left their stamp on the Medieval Town of Rhodes, which dates back hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. The conquerors that had the most influence over this ancient city were the Order of the Knights of Saint Jon or Jerusalem that occupied Rhodes from 1308 to 1523.
Visitors can explore an intricate network of busy little commercial streets, winding alleys, and cobbled paths lined with tiny shops and cafes. With unnamed streets, getting lost is guaranteed!
Take a wander and arrive at street markets with oriental motifs, Byzantine and Gothic churches, mosques, and synagogues. Admire the panoramic view of this ancient civilization from the Clock Tower before heading to Hippokratous Square (the old town’s main square) for a delicious candlelit dinner by a fountain.
Step into a world of castle walls, chivalry, and knights, and enjoy some of the most interesting walks on the entire island of Rhodes.