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The Island of the Knights

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Discover Rhodes

Rhodes, which is the fourth largest island in Greece and the capital of the Dodecanese, is among the most famous travel destinations in the world.

In its rich 2,400-year history it has been the home of great sages and orators, and of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Colossus of Rhodes; the headquarters of the Knights of the Order of St. John; and a favourite of the international jet-set, who put it on the map of the most cosmopolitan resorts in the Mediterranean.

The “Island of the Knights” offers an inexhaustible kaleidoscope of images and experiences. Travellers of all ages are drawn here by its splendid archaeological sites, UNESCO world heritage centres, stunning beaches, lush vegetation, picturesque villages, architectural grandeur, excellent hotel infrastructure, culinary delights, and uninhibited fun.

7 memorable experiences on Rhodes
  1. Don’t miss Rhodes Medieval Festival, held every June, with a re-enactment of what life was like in the Old Town during the era of the Knights.
  2. The sunset from the “Castle of Eagles” (1476) in Monolithos.
  3. A walk among the magnificent Hellenistic remains of Kamiros, known as the “Pompeii of Greece”.
  4. A climb to the top of Mount Profitis Ilias, at an altitude of 780 metres, following the paved footpath from the village of Salakos.
  5. Gazing out over the sea from the famed Monastery of Our Lady Tsambika (patroness of childless couples), near the village of Archangelos.
  6. A romantic afternoon in the port of Mandraki, admiring the famous columns with the bronze statues of a buck and a doe; the fortress of Saint Nicholas, built by the Duke of Burgundy at the end of the jetty; and the three picturesque windmills.
  7. If you choose one of the itineraries to Rhodes, don’t forget to visit the lovely Rodini Park, among the oldest public gardens in the world and, in antiquity, the home of the illustrious School of Rhetoric of the Athenian orator Aeschines. It is an oasis of venerable plane trees, springs and wooden bridges.
Beaches of Rhodes

Rhodes is well-known for its large and well-organised beaches. The most popular and touristy run along the east coast from north to south. The west side of the island is characterised by rugged natural beauty and breezy conditions that are ideal for windsurfers. It is worth discovering:

  • The much photographed and frequented Elli, right next to Rhodes Town, acclaimed by the British author Lawrence Durrell as the most perfect beach in the Mediterranean.
  • The family-friendly Tsambika, a long stretch of golden sand with green waters, below the imposing rock on which the monastery of the same name stands.
  • The lively Afantou, for beach games and parties.
  • The rocky Saint Paul’s Bay, with its double beach, below the Acropolis of Lindos.
  • The idyllic Kallithea, whose celebrated ​​thermal springs are surrounded by pines and palm trees.
  • The tiny emerald paradise of Vagies, with its enchanting waters, a favourite of young people. It is also known as “Anthony Quinn”, after the actor in the “Guns of Navarone”, by which it was first made famous.
  • The exotic Prasonisi, for endless surfing.
  • If you want to enjoy the sea and uninhibited fun, follow the multitudes from every corner of the globe who flock to Faliraki, which has the largest water park in Europe.

You can enjoy them by choosing one of the ferry tickets to Rhodes.

Postcards from Rhodes: 10 things not to miss

The Old Town
A UNESCO world heritage centre since 1988, the fortified medieval city of Rhodes is the island’s foremost attraction. Behind the remarkable 4-km-long walls with their countless towers, bastions, and knightly coats of arms, is a labyrinthine architectural complex that transports visitors back to a bygone era. Don’t miss the amazing 14th-century Palace of the Grand Master, with its priceless treasures, and the atmospheric Street of the Knights, as well as Hippocrates Square, the Square of the Jewish Martyrs, and Socrates Street, the commercial heart of the town.

Butterfly Valley
A pine-covered valley traversed by the small river Pelekanos near the village of Theologos is the location of a unique natural spectacle, as it is a refuge for the rare butterfly Panaxia quadripunctaria.

Rhodes Acropolis
These breathtaking Hellenistic ruins on Monte Smith hill are a majestic sight. Tour the wonderfully restored stadium of Diagoras, dating from the 2nd century BC, the Doric Temple of Pythian Apollo, and the Roman Odeon, a restored 800-seat theatre. The highest point of the area has panoramic views of Rhodes and perhaps the most gorgeous sunset on the island.

The Archaeological Museum
Housed in the magnificent Knights’ Hospital (1440-1499), a jewel of Gothic architecture in the Old Town, the museum’s collection contains finds from excavations on Rhodes and the neighbouring islands.

Among the island’s most dazzling natural wonders, this pine-covered islet just off the southern tip of Rhodes is joined to it by a thin 500-metre strip of sand, depending on the weather and the level of the sea. Surrounded by water, the beach is an international destination for windsurfing enthusiasts.

One of the most popular Mediterranean resorts from the 1950s to the 1970s. Its characteristic Cycladic aesthetics, with narrow cobbled streets, traditional white houses, and grand captain’s residences, give the village a picture-postcard quality. It lies in the shadow of the ancient acropolis of Lindos, dominated to this day by the Temple of Athena, and offers exceptional views of the Aegean.

The Monastery of Our Lady of Filerimos
Standing on a green hill, this historic 14th-century monastery is notable for its Gothic architecture and beautiful environment. Its most prominent feature is the “Street of Martyrdom”, a paved uphill path of 134 steps that represents Christ’s fourteen stops on the road to Golgotha. The route ends in a giant cross, 18 metres high, with unparalleled views.

The New Town of Rhodes spreads out from the port of Mandraki, outside the walls of the medieval city. A showcase of building design from the Italian occupation, it is well-worth exploring.

Kallithea Springs
Built in 1929 by the Italian Pietro Lombardi, the island’s renowned spa complex brings together a variety of styles, from Arabian to art deco. Its most striking feature is the rotunda, with its pebble mosaics and white arches.

The mountain villages of Rhodes
A drive around the island’s interior is the perfect way to discover its unforgettable villages and authentic customs. Be sure to make a stop in Embonas, with its old wineries; Archangelos, with its medieval ruins and age-old tradition of pottery; the maze-like Koskinou, with its colourful gates and ornate pebble mosaics; and Kritinia, with its impressive castle.

Tastes of Rhodes

The local cuisine, a singular marriage of cultural influences from East and West, is distinguished by its range of flavours. 

Outstanding specialities of the island include: pitaroudia (various types of croquettes), lakani (goat with bulgur wheat and chickpeas baked in a clay pot), the local version of dolmades (with lentils and rice wrapped in cyclamen leaves), soupiorizo (risotto made with cuttlefish ink), purslane yiahni (braised in tomato sauce), snail stifado (a stew with tomatoes and shallots), and chicken with hilopitas (Greek noodles). Cumin takes pride of place in many of the local delicacies, along with bulgur wheat and handmade pasta. 

Those looking for something sweet will discover treats such as melekounia (sesame seed bars), mantinadas (small pancakes), moschopoungia (pastry parcels with an almond filling), and an unusual preserve made from cyclamen bulbs. 

Viticulture is an ancient tradition in the mountains of Rhodes, where produce unique wines are produced to this day, including the white Athiri and the red Mandilaria (also known as Amorgiano). 

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