Located in the Aegean Sea, southeastern Greece, Rhodes is the capital island of the Dodecanese islands group. It is one of the Greek islands with airports, so it is easy to access from anywhere in the world. This also makes it quite busy during the high season.
Rhodes is best for history, medieval architecture, beaches, wineries. The island of Rhodes is most known for the Colossus of Rhodes, a giant bronze statue of Helios, the Greek god of the sun, and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. According to historic sources, the statue collapsed in 226 BC, in the aftermath of an earthquake and it remained on the ground for more than 800 years.
Some of the best things to do in Rhodes include visiting the historic Rhodes Old Town with its Street of the Knights, Palace of the Grand Master, Roloi Medieval Clock Tower, Modern Greek Art Museum, Monte Smith & The Upper Acropolis of Ancient Rhodes, Butterfly Valley, Faliraki Beach, Tsambika Monastery, Lindos, Seven Springs, Kallithea Springs, Anthony Queen Bay, and a day trip to Symi island.
- 1 Best Experiences in Rhodes for your Trip
- 2 Visit the Medieval City of Rhodes
- 3 Explore the New Rhodes Town & the Port of Mandraki
- 4 Enjoy the Best Beaches of Rhodes
- 5 Climb Monte Smith
- 6 Take a Day Trip to Symi Island
- 7 Visit the Anthony Quinn Bay
- 8 Visit Tsambika Monastery
- 9 Take a Boat Tour with Underwater Views in Mandraki Port
- 10 Visit Lindos and Climb the Acropolis
- 11 Visit the Butterfly Valley
- 12 Hike to the Seven Springs (Epta Piges)
- 13 Interact with Animals at Farma of Rhodes Petting Zoo
Best Experiences in Rhodes for your Trip
Rhodes 3-hour boat cruise with swimming and snorkeling – the boat trip includes local snacks and drinks from the open bar on the boat – you’ll get pickup from Rhodes, Ialysos or Kremasti
Rhodes Profitis Ilias sunset hike – this is an easy hike that takes you to the most stunning sunset scenery on Rhodes Island. This experience takes 4-5 hours and it includes transportation by private coach to the starting point of the hike, Salakos Village.
Cooking lesson and wine tasting tour in Central Rhodes Island. This is a small group tour that takes you to a traditional village near Mt. Profitis Ilias.
Rhodes North off-road adventure – in this fun off-road adventure, you get to drive a buggy on dirt roads across the island.
Now let’s see what you can visit on the beautiful Greek island of Rhodes, the capital of the Dodecanese.
Visit the Medieval City of Rhodes
Surrounded by 4km of stone wall, the Medieval City is a magnificent, with stone streets and buildings, but also with restaurants, bars, hotels and shops. It is a touristy place by all means, but this doesn’t make it less impressive.
Why visit the Old Town of Rhodes? Because it is one of the best preserved medieval cities worldwide. Or because it can provide you with amazing photo opportunities. The gates that open to the sea, the cobbled streets, the mosques, the flowers, and the Clock Tower are as many reasons to take a stroll in the Medieval City of Rhodes.
The old city is divided in two: the Upper City (The Collachium) and the Lower City (Chora). The Upper City, with its medieval architectural style, has a monastic look, stripped from any intricate adornment. The Lower City showcases some relevant examples of the Ottoman and Italian architecture.
I’ve listed here, below, some of the main objectives to see in the old town of Rhodes. What I didn’t add to this list are the many tavernas and shops scattered along the beautiful streets of the old town. One of my favorite things to do in Rhodes was to sit at a table, in the shadow of an old tree and sip a Greek frappe at the first hour of the day.
The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes impresses not necessarily by its interior decorations (as there are barely any) but rather by its medieval architecture. This building, now a museum, hosts a collection of mosaics from the island of Kos, brought and installed inside this castle by the Italians who handled the 1937-1940 restoration. I liked how these mosaics contrast with the walls and the ceilings. I also liked the views from the upper floor of the castle.
If you want to visit this UNESCO Heritage Site that is the historical home of the Knights of St. John, check out this guided tour, here.
If you want to read my article about this palace and to see some of the photos I’ve taken there, check out this link.
The Street of the Knights
If you want the best photos of this street ever, make sure you walk it at sunrise or shortly after sunrise. There won’t be any tourists, so you’ll have the street all to yourself. That’s what I’ve done and here’s the result: best photos of the Street of the Knights by dawn.
I have to confess, though, that I’ve been forced by the heat wave to schedule my Rhodes walks as early in the day as possible. That’s what you get when you choose August to visit Greek islands, anyway, but last year was truly unusual, as Rhodes caught fire and we were left without electricity for many hours, until the firefighters put out the fire.
The Roloi Clock Tower
If you take a stroll in the Medieval City, you can’t miss the Roloi Tower, as it is the tallest building inside the citadel. Climb it to enjoy a panorama of Rhodes Town and of the Old City.
Keep in mind, though, that the tower isn’t open 24/7. There’s a 5 Euro entrance fee which includes a drink in the bar by the top of the tower.
The Archeology Museum of Rhodes
The building that hosts the Archeology Museum of Rhodes was once the hospital of the Knights of Saint John. The building itself is well worth a visit, so make room in your Rhodes Island visiting schedule for this edifice.
The Museum of Ancient Greek Technology
The Museum of Ancient Greek Technology by Kotsanas is the newest museum in Rhodes Town. You can find it near the Kolona Gate. The museum consists from one hall hosting some of the most interesting contraptions dating back from ancient times.
In fact, the Kotsana Museum counts five locations: Athens, Ancient Olympia, Katakolo (Peloponnese), Crete (Heraklion) and Rhodes.
The Muslim Library (Hafiz Ahmed Agha Library)
Built in 1793, the Hafiz Ahmed Agha library is one of the most beautiful Ottoman buildings in the Medieval City of Rhodes. It hosts a collection of rare manuscripts and scrolls. The library can make a very nice stop during your strolls through the Old Town, even though you can only visit the first room, where there aren’t any of the old books or manuscripts. The admission is free.
Unfortunately, when I visited Rhodes the library was closed because of the pandemics, so I couldn’t enter. Nonetheless, I was impressed by the small garden area in the front yard.
The Suleimaniye Mosque
The Sultan Suleiman built this mosque in 1522 to commemorate the Ottoman conquest of Rhodes. The original building got destroyed. The mosque has been rebuilt in 1808 and it is still here today.
The mosque is beautiful, but it is in dire need for renovation. It is closed to tourists. Nonetheless, it adds a special charm to the old town, as it is visible from a distance.
The Old Mosque of Mehmet Aga
The original Mehmet Aga mosque was built in 1820, then redesigned in 1875, and then restored in 1948. You’ll find it on Socrates street.
Explore the New Rhodes Town & the Port of Mandraki
The New town of Rhodes is a lovely place to explore, either early in the morning, just after sunrise, or late afternoon, when the light becomes yellow and all photos look so much better!
Mandraki, the old port of Rhodes, is now home to leisure boats and trip vendors.
The best things to see in Mandraki Harbor are the old windmills, the Saint Nicholas Fortress, and the two bronze statues (a stag and a doe) standing on the columns where supposedly the Colossus of Rhodes once stood. There’s nothing to remind of this giant bronze statue of Helios, the Greek sun god, though.
While here, make sure you don’t miss the Saint Paul’s Gate, the part of the fortifications that connected the Old City to the harbour. St Paul’s Gate looks amazing by sunrise (and it is less crowded than later in the day).
Enjoy the Best Beaches of Rhodes
Rhodes is an island that’s best for its beaches. Elli Beach and Faliraki Beach are well-known, the former for its diving platform and posh beach bars and the latter for its water sports and fine, yellow sand.
The northern tip of the island is a very long beach that stretches for many kilometers both sides of the Aquarium. If you like big waves, choose the western side. If, on the contrary, you prefer a calm sea that’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling, choose the eastern side.
Jump from the Diving Platform at Elli Beach
Elli Beach has everything you might expect from a modern beach. There are sunbeds and umbrellas, there are beach bars and restaurants, showers, toilets, water sports facilities, and even a device that helps people with mobility problems to get into the sea.
Elli Beach stretches on the northern tip of Rhodes island, between the Aquarium and Mandraki Harbor. This blue flag beach has an extension on the other side of the Aquarium, Miaouli Beach. That’s also a nice beach, but the waves are higher on this side of the island, there are fewer amenities, and there’s only one beach taverna.
If you enjoy diving, Elli Beach, with its diving platform, is for you. If you love snorkeling, Eli beach is also for you. I’ve seen some amazing fish there. One of my best findings was the devil fish on the bottom of the sea, just a few meters from the shore.
Spend a Day on Faliraki Beach
Faliraki is a yellow sand, blue flag beach. The fine sand, the beach tavernas and the water sports make Faliraki one of the best choices on Rhodes for beach lovers.
There’s a public bus going from Rhodes Town to Faliraki. The bus stop is right near the beach. Remember to take a photo of the bus schedule, so that you can make sure you don’t have to wait for too long.
Spend a Day at Kallithea Springs
Kallithea Springs is a thermal spa and beach located on the east coast of Rhodes, about 8km from Rhodes Town. The same bus that goes to Faliraki stops by Kallithea Springs. Funny enough, during summer, the bus is full with people wearing beachwear and flip-flops.
Windsurfing and Kitesurfing on Prasonisi Beach
Prasonisi Beach is the southernmost part of Rhodes Island. A stripe of golden sand splits the sea in two: a rough part, ideal for windsurfing, and a calm part, perfect for swimming. Here’s a video of this beautiful beach on Rhodes:
Climb Monte Smith
Monte Smith is rather a hill than a mountain. It is near Rhodes Town. You can either climb the hill by taking the narrow streets to the top of the hill or take a bus that will get you straight there, near the Acropolis of Rhodes.
I climbed it early in the morning, in order to be back by the beach before 10 am, when the heat took over and made almost everything impossible.
I found out that cats grow on cars:
Take a Day Trip to Symi Island
Symi is an island apart. The architecture here is special. Tiny houses with colorful walls are scattered along the hillside. Everything looks like a giant LEGO set. This view alone is well-worth the boat trip from Rhodes Town to Symi.
While on Symi, don’t forget to try the baby shrimps – they are delicious!
Take a Swim in St. George’s Bay
All boat trips from Mandraki offer a swimming stop by St. George’s Bay. This stop is more than welcome, you can take my word for it.
If you take this boat trip on a very hot day, you’ll want to apply a generous layer of sunscreen on your skin. Make sure you wear a big hat, as the sun can be merciless. There’s not enough shadow on the deck for all passengers, so you may end up spending two hours under the scorching summer sun. There’s some room inside the boat, but it smells like gasoline.
Visit Panormitis Monastery
Some boat trips to Symi also include a stop by Panormitis Monastery. If monasteries are your thing, choose this boat company for your trip to Symi.
Visit the Anthony Quinn Bay
Anthony Quinn Bay is near Faliraki, in a small cove surrounded by pine trees. The name of this bay comes from Anthony Quinn, the famous actor who shot there for The Guns of Navarone.
Visit Tsambika Monastery
Tsambika Monastery is on top of the Zambiki hill. This is a hike of several hundreds of steps, but the effort is well worth it.
Take a Boat Tour with Underwater Views in Mandraki Port
This boat tour with underwater views is advertised as a submarine trip. Don’t let yourself fooled by this; there’s no submarine anywhere in Rhodes. These boats have a regular deck where you’ll sit while the boat takes a tour of Mandraki (great photo opportunity).
After the tour, they shop near some big rocks by the shore, a diver goes underwater and you go to the basement of the boat, where there’s a room with glass walls. As the diver feeds the fish, they come in dozens. The show is captivating, I must say. Those fish reminded me of the cat following me everywhere in the house while I bring her the food. The captain said that the fish already know their schedule, so they await impatiently for the boat to arrive.
Visit Lindos and Climb the Acropolis
Many travelers consider Lindos as being the most beautiful place on Rhodes. It surely is different than Rhodes Town. Houses in Lindos have a Cycladic-style architecture.
Visit the Butterfly Valley
The Butterfly Valley is at about 25km from Rhodes Town. Home to the butterfly Panaxia Quadripunctaria, this natural park is one of the things to see in Rhodes. Here’s a short film that shows you the paths, the wooden bridges, the river, and of course, the butterflies:
Hike to the Seven Springs (Epta Piges)
Seven Springs (or Epta Piges) is near Archangelos, about 19 km southeast from Rhodes Town. There are buses that go to this lovely place, but you can also get there by taxi.
Interact with Animals at Farma of Rhodes Petting Zoo
This is one of the best things to do on Rhodes with children. Take them to interact with ostriches, lemurs, raccoons, and other cute animals. Adults can also have a lot of fun here. For more details, check out their official website, here.
Farma of Rhodes is near the Butterfly Valley, so you can visit both of them the same day.
Rhodes is a big enough island to keep you busy for at least two weeks. If time allows, you can also take day trips to other nearby islands, Chalki and Kastellorizo. You can also take a trip to Marmaris, on the Turkish coast.