Rhodes is a cosmopolitan island with centuries-old tradition that can serve every visitor’s needs. It combines unique natural beauty, archaeological wealth, great beaches and intensive nightlife.
Due to its strategic position, Rhodes had been important since the ancient times and one of the most important seafaring and trading centers in the Eastern Mediterranean. When it became a province of the Roman and later the Byzantine Empire it initially lost its ancient glory but in 1309 the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem conquered Rhodes. They built strong fortifications to protect the island turning it into an important administrative centre and a thriving multinational medieval city. In 1523 Rhodes was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and the Greeks had to settle outside the city walls. During the Ottoman occupation, new buildings were erected within the Old Town, mainly mosques and baths. In 1912 Rhodes and the rest of the Dodecanese, were seized by the Italians. The new rulers embellished the city with magnificent buildings, wide roads and squares. The Palace of the Grand Master was rebuilt and the Street of the Knights was reconstructed in order to regain its medieval glory. It was not until 1948 that Rhodes officially became part of the Greek State. In 1988 the Medieval City of Rhodes was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Outside the walls of the Old Town extends the modern city. A stroll around Mandraki, the small marina with the Rhodian deer statues at its entrance and the surrounding windmills, is an experience not to be missed. The multicultural character of Rhodes is also evident in this part of the city, since at a very central point you can find the Murat Reis Mosque with its elegant minaret. Enjoy the sun and the sea at cosmopolitan Elli beach at the northern tip of Rhodes town, lined with modern hotels. Here you will also find the beautifully renovated historic Grande Albergo delle Rose, which today operates as a Casino. A visit to the Aquarium, one of the most important marine research centers in Greece, is also a must! In the underground aquarium, reminiscent of an underwater cave, the visitor can see many of the species living in the Aegean.
By airplane: Regular daily flights from the airports of Athens and Thessaloniki. There are also connections to and from other Greek islands such as Kos, Leros, Mytilini, Karpathos, Kasos, Kastellorizo, Mykonos, Santorini and Crete. Rhodes International Airport is also connected with direct flights from/to major European airports such as Frankfurt, Brussels, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Bologna, Cagliari, Milan, Pisa, Rome, Liverpool, London, Stockholm and Kaunas.
By ferry: The Port of Rhodes has daily connections to the Port of Piraeus (Athens). The trip lasts approximately 12 hours with intermediary stops at the islands of Patmos, Leros, Kalymnos and Kos.
Rhodes is also connected directly to all the other islands of the Dodecanese and Crete.
Palace of the Grand Master: The Palace, also called “The Castello”, is built at the highest point of the medieval city. It was a strong structure, indissolubly linked to the fortifications and played an active role in the defence of the city, forming the last refuge of the population in the event of the city boiling to the enemy. It was destroyed in 1856 by a large explosion of gunpowder that was hidden in the basement of the Church of St John and was then rebuilt according to the original drawings by the Italians in 1940. Nowadays, it occasionally houses exhibitions and major cultural events.
Archaeological Museum: The Archaeological Museum is located in the Old Town of Rhodes, housed in the medieval building of the Hospital of the Knights, in the Palace of the Grand Master. The Museum showcases findings from excavations all over the island. Visitors can see a collection of vases, figurines and small objects, all dating back to the Roman times.
Valley of the Butterflies: One of the most fascinating and popular attractions of the island, a habitat of unique value for the reproduction of the Panaxia Quadripunctaria butterfly. Enjoy an atmosphere of incomparable beauty with lush vegetation and streams as you stroll along cleverly laid paths. All in all, this amazing valley constitutes an excellent destination for an excursion. If you get tired, you can have a refreshment drink or lunch in the picturesque taverns with a view to the waterfalls and enjoy the natural beauty!
Filerimos Monastery: Located on a hill above Ialyssos, about 10 km from Rhodes Town. The monastery is dedicated to Virgin Mary and its architecture is much different than the usual monasteries in Greece. It was built in the 15th century by the Knights of Saint John, on the site of an older Byzantine monastery.
Aquarium: The main objective of the Aquarium is to present and preserve selected species of the Mediterranean Sea which are displayed in public view: sea turtles, dolphins, seals, mollusks, echinoderms, crabs and many kinds of fish. The Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes runs today a lot of research on the oceanography of the Dodecanese islands and works as a model research unit in the Mediterranean area.
SWIMMING & SPORTS ACTIVITIES
At the picturesque small bay of Ladiko where the film “The Guns of Navarone” was shot and where you can find the scenic “Anthony Quinn” Bay
In the verdant area of Afandou where you can either bask on beautiful sandy beaches or play golf on a modern 18-hole golf course that is open all year round and attracts golf enthusiasts from all over the world!
For trekking enthusiasts, do not miss the chance to discover the unique natural beauty of the island. You can choose among a large variety of trekking routes and difficulty levels
Take a day trip around Rhodes: Choose among the following destinations
- Kastelorizo: the easternmost island of Greece, bearing a long and stormy history. Only 300 people live on the island today but the town and its magnificent neo-classical houses reveal the former prosperity of the island.
- Chalki: a former sponge-diving center, famous for its Theological School. Emborio, with its grand houses and a picturesque waterfront offering fresh fish, is the only inhabited hamlet on the island. Horio and the Knights’ Castle are both well worth visiting.
- Symi: just an hour away by ferry from Rhodes. Symi used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today the island attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved neo-classical buildings and the famous monastery of Panormitis.