Best Things To Do in Rhodes
Visit Rhodes and discover a beautiful island like no other. Medieval cities, breathtaking beaches, and valleys filled with butterflies - here are our top things to do!
The Minoans and Mycenaeans. The Romans. The Ottomans, the Crusaders, the Italians and, most recently, the Instagrammers - who hasn’t invaded Rhodes? Well, now it’s your turn.
Situated in the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes used its strategic position in the Mediterranean to both welcome and repel every major civilisation in the region including Rome, Sparta, Persia and Alexander the Great before settling on being a part of Greece. As a result, the island’s architecture, food, art and culture have retained and preserved the best parts of all of them, carved into a spectacular natural landscape and kept pristine in the glorious Mediterranean sun.
While the Colossus of Rhodes, built to celebrate the failed siege by Demetrius in 305 BCE and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, may be long gone, there are so many great reasons to visit and things to see.
A car will get you the length of the island in just over an hour-and-a-half, and the local bus will take just over two. The entire island is in striking distance for exploring - from wherever you choose to stay - and when the kids want to know if you’re nearly there yet, the answer is yes! This gives you access to everything from the Medieval Capital, the Lindos Acropolis, and Ancient Kamiros, to the ancient castles and stunning beaches spread across the island.
Here are our top ideas for your Rhodes itinerary:
Rhodes’ Medieval Capital
Start at the heart of it all. Ostensibly divided into three parts - the Knight’s Quarter, Hora or Turkish Quarter and the Jewish Quarter - Rhodes’ Medieval Capital features a fabulous mixture of Byzantine, Italian and Turkish architecture surrounded by ramparts and walls. Explore plazas, cafes, shops and mosques in the centre, walk parts of the ancient walls, descending to the gardened moat walkway to escape the heat. The ancient part of the city is traffic-free so wear a hat and sensible shoes. As with all such attractions, the large tour groups follow set routes and are easy to escape by wandering the quieter picturesque backstreets.
Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
While you’re in the ancient capital, the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes is a must-visit. Situated in the former hospital of the Knights of St John, it’s an authentic fourteenth-century Medieval building complete with vaulted walkways, a courtyard and a garden. All that and it houses all the historic exhibits that set the scene for your exploration of the island of Rhodes and its complex history.
Now that you’ve loosened up those leg muscles with a walk around the ancient city you’re ready to tackle the Lindos Acropolis. It’s a short but steep climb - “Acropolis” is usually translated as meaning a fortified hill - and this one was last fortified by the Knights of St John in the fourteenth century, building on previous work by everyone from the Ancient Greeks to the Ottomans. Inside are the beautifully preserved remains of the Temple of Athena Lindia, the Hellenistic Stoa and an ancient church, with the blue Mediterranean sea as the stunning backdrop.
Instagram yourself like a pro-influencer at the Monolithos Castle. This stunning hilltop location can be found on the southwestern side of the island. Your choice of selfie backdrops include the classically white-painted Greek Orthodox church of St. Panteleimon, the gnarled and weathered ancient “lonely tree”, the olive groves on the surrounding hills, and the crumbling walls with archways looking out over the Med in the daytime or a stunning orange sunset in the evening. The castle itself is free to enter and there are further churches, viewing spots, and tavernas on the drive there.
Rhodes has so many beautiful beaches to choose from that picking a favourite is nigh-on impossible. However, after some careful thought, we offer Tsambika Beach for your consideration. It's a thirty-minute drive south of Rhodes town, has all the family-friendly amenities you need to be able to stay the whole day and into the evening (including a floating water park suitable for older kids) and enough sand to build your own Acropolis. Start with this one then try others around the island to find your own favourite.
Rarely do you get the opportunity to stand and look out across an entire ancient town laid out before you, but at Kamiros you do. Destroyed by earthquakes in both 226 and 142 BCE, the layout of the streets and even the houses are clear to see, along with a view to the sea only a kilometre away. The remaining columns of the stoa give some height and scale to the site which can be viewed like a map by walking around the surrounding gentle hills.
Valley of the Butterflies
While not always as relaxing as its name suggests (as it can be an extremely popular tourist destination) the Valley of the Butterflies is a cool, green, wooded haven after the hot browns and blues of the coastal sites. The butterflies mostly appear from early June to mid-September, attracted by the sap of the storax trees, but a stroll through the valley is a great excuse to visit the interior of Rhodes at any time of the year.
All this sightseeing has, of course, made you hungry! Well, remember all those invasions we mentioned earlier? They resulted in the Dodecanese islands, and Rhodes in particular, picking the best of each cuisine the invaders brought with them. So in addition to all the traditional Greek favourites, there are local specialities like Lacan and Pitaroudia (more heavily spiced with cumin than in other parts of the country) for grownups, while the Italian influence means that pasta and pizza dishes can be found on many menus.
Find Your Dream Holiday To Rhodes
Book a holiday to Rhodes with Brightsun Travel and take in all of these amazing sights, sounds, smells and tastes for yourself - plus all the others you’ll discover as you tour the island! Or alternatively, pick from any of Rhodes’ breathtaking beaches and relax.