Choosing between a cultural city holiday and a relaxing trip to the sun is usually the tough choice that has to be made but, in the stunning Greek island of Rhodes, you can enjoy a little bit of both.
While the destination does not have the same metropolitan appeal as Barcelona or Madrid, it is by no means just a beach holiday spot. Tourists can look forward to delightful museums, historic architecture, delicious food and more on this delightful stretch of land. Although Rhodes is an island, its small size means that, no matter where your location is, it is relatively easy to hire a car and explore all the best sites it has to offer.
It has a decorated history
Rhodes has a decorated history and has been inhabited by a variety of different cultures since the Stone Age. It was originally settled by Cretans, though it became an ally to the Romans before the Byzantine State seized control in 1261 before it was eventually sold to the Knights of the Loannites. These Knights left a significant legacy on the island, developing palaces, churches and a host of buildings and establishing a character that remains to this day. Later in its history, Turkey was in control of the island until Italy took over in 1912 and then, following the end of World War 2, Rhodes became Greek land.
Outstanding cultural events are scheduled
The Medieval Rose Festival is one of the top annual events in Rhodes, transporting tourists back to the medieval era through a selection of amazing theatre. Taking place on 26-28th May, expect witch and fairy dances, fire eaters and more at this magical celebration in Rhodes Town.
In mid-May every year, the island’s Flower Festival takes place. Exceptional flowers, colourful floats and an amazing atmosphere await on the Mandraki Harbour in Rhodes Town.
What’s more, the destination’s entertainment industry falls under the spotlight every June when the Ecofilms, Rodos, International Films and Visual Arts Festival is scheduled. Documentaries and films shown are focused primarily on ecology and the natural world and aim to raise awareness of environmental causes affecting the globe today.
Along with the regular annual events, you can visit Cafe Chantant or Raxati Cafe in Rhodes Town to hear live traditional Greek music. Not far away from the venue is the Old School bar, where excellent live jazz gigs are scheduled.
The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes and the Municipal Gallery of Rhodes also often introduce new exhibitions that are only available for a limited time, so be sure to check what is on the calendar ahead of your trip.
Delicious Greek food and drink is available
Greek food is appreciated across the world for its wonderful flavour and style, offering a mouth-watering twist on some of the most popular Mediterranean recipes.
One of the most well-known meals is the signature Greek salad, which can be found in restaurants across Rhodes. While the dish has a reputation for being light and small in the UK, you can expect a far more plentiful version on the island. It typically includes olive oil, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, feta cheese, olives, peppers and other ingredients. It can be served as a starter to be shared among several people or as a delicious main.
Another popular meal is the Greek Moussaka. With ingredients including aubergines, potatoes, olive oil, garlic, onions and mixed beef, it’s easy to see how this delicacy can fill you up quickly. It is perhaps best compared to a lasagne and is often made in large portions, making it a perfect option after a long day of exploring Rhodes’ attractions.
It isn’t just the mains that are sure to delight travellers either, as there are some mouth-watering desserts available. Top of the list is perhaps Greek Yoghurt, which is vastly superior to the versions sold in British supermarkets. Eateries find amazing ways to incorporate yoghurt into dishes, mixing it with honey, walnuts, vanilla and a host of other excellent flavours.
Of course, you’ll want a delightful drink to accompany your meal and there are some incredible options to choose from. Although most of the mainstream alcoholic drink brands will be available in Rhodes, there are some tipples unique to Greece that should not be missed.
Firstly, there is the Ouzo, which is viewed as the national drink of Greece and is a mix of alcohol and aromatic herbs. Other ingredients such as cinnamon and fennel can also be added depending on the supplier. The brandy Tsipouro is another popular alcoholic beverage and is particularly strong (40-45 per cent alcohol content), so many decide to drink it alongside water.
Recommended restaurants: Botrini’s (Rhodes Town), Ktima Lindos (Lindos) and Taverna Cavos (Faliraki).
Recommended bars: Ostria Beach bar (Rhodes Town). Atmosphere (Lindos) and Elvita Beach Bar (Lardos).
Average cost of a meal: 20-30 euros
Average cost of a beer: Three euros
Average cost of a bottle of wine: Seven euros
Beautiful historic districts can be explored
There are many outstanding districts for holidaymakers to explore across Rhodes. Thanks to the glorious architecture and relaxed atmosphere of the island, aimlessly exploring the landscape can lead to stunning discoveries.
However, one area that has to be seen to be believed is the magnificent Old Town in Rhodes. Spread out over 200 streets and lanes, it’s hard to follow directions accurately in this historic labyrinth. Instead, take the opportunity to follow your curiosities and see what you find. As the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe, there are plenty of fascinating sites to look forward to.
The Plateia Simi area contains ruins of the Temple of Venus as well as the Municipal Art Gallery of Rhodes. The Street of the Knights is another extraordinary attraction. Stretching 600m, this beautiful pathway was constructed over an ancient walking route from the Acropolis of Rhodes to the port.
Other awe-inspiring places include the Palace of the Grand Master of Knights and the Ancient Olympic Stadium. Both of these developments have stood for centuries and have been well maintained by the government to provide an unforgettable insight into their history. As an added bonus, many of the heritage sites are either free to explore or charge a low entrance fee, helping you to save money and learn about the island’s fascinating past.
Elsewhere, the village of Lindos is another great option for history buffs. The area, which includes the ancient Acropolis and its Doric Temple of Athena, is full of structures of cultural importance. After you’ve explored them all, you can take a dip into the stunning waters of nearby Lindos beach to relax, cool down and marvel at the breathtaking sea views.
The weather is glorious
Rhodes’ Mediterranean location means it enjoys a truly enviable climate, with sunshine through the majority of the year.
The average temperature is 20 degrees celsius or more from April all the way through to November, providing fantastic conditions for beachgoers. Even the usually dreary winter months see mild temperatures, with the lowest being 15 degrees in January and February.
Unlike stormier climates that go through wet seasons in the summer, Rhodes’ average rainfall is relatively low. June, July and August only see 6mm, 1mm and 2mm respectively. Instead, the wet weather is expected in the winter, with December seeing the most (168mm).
Plus, even when the rain hits, knowing you’ll soon be bathing in warm (or at least mild) temperatures makes the weather much easier to deal with!
Amazing resorts await
Rhodes isn’t just known for its fascinating history, as it has developed a glowing reputation for its magnificent holiday resorts.
Firstly, the quaint village of Lardos is a fantastic destination for those looking for a quiet retreat, but there are great sporty activities to enjoy, too.
Top of the list are perhaps the watersports available in the area, with many tutors at hand to give tourists advice on how to take on the waves. Whether you’re experienced in the water or new to the activities, Lardos is a brilliant place to try surfing, snorkelling and a host of other fun skills.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the resplendent village, the Folklore Museum of Lardos is ideal. With entrance only costing four euros, the collection makes for a cheap and insightful afternoon. What’s more, mini golf is just a short walk away, so it’s a great area to spend a few hours in, whether you’re putting birdies or appreciating artefacts!
Faliraki is another extraordinary resort for holidaymakers hoping to get away from it all this year. While it has a reputation as a lively destination, there is far more to this beautiful town than its nightlife.
Along with stunning stretches of sand, such as Faliraki Beach, Traounou Beach and Anthony Quinn Bay, there are some truly magical experiences to enjoy. One of the most popular is stargazing, as the resort’s coastal location makes for some breathtaking views of the night sky. Hipparchos Observatory and Astronomy Cafe are tailor-made for the activity, providing a perfect vantage point for astronomy enthusiasts. As well as a cafe serving cocktails there’s even a fascinating astronomy garden, featuring interesting exhibitions and excellent models.
For those looking for the ultimate relaxing holiday, Kiotari is ideal. As a relatively new resort, it has fewer tourists than other areas and presents a more luxurious experience. It has several excellent beaches and a selection of shops and restaurants. Quad biking is particularly popular, with some wonderful scenery waiting to be explored.
The resort is tailored primarily to travellers on an all-inclusive basis, making it a marvellous option for people who just want to put their feet up, soak up the sun and enjoy fantastic hospitality.
If you’re looking to stay somewhere close to some of Rhodes’ top historic sites, the picturesque resort of Lindos should definitely be considered.
Lindos puts you close to the legendary Acropolis, where some of the oldest ruins in the modern world can be appreciated. Reaching the top of this structure requires some effort, but the sensational views and ancient ruins at the top cannot be missed.
The village is also a wondrous sight in itself, with charming cobbled alleyways leading tourists to amazing restaurants and shops. When you’ve explored the area, you can then put your feet up on Agios Pavlos Beach and listen to the calming waves.