When getting from Diagoras Airport to Rhodes Town, you won’t be able to see the Acropolis of Ancient Rhodes. At least, I had the feeling that the West Coast was all about beaches, five-star resorts and a beachfront promenade. It only took me two days to discover I could climb Monte Smith Rhodes, with its Stadium, its Theater and the Doric Temple of Pythian Apollo (or ruins thereof). On the highest area of Monte Smith there are also some remains of the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus.
How To Visit the Acropolis of Ancient Rhodes?
You can get to Monte Smith and the Acropolis of Rhodes by foot, by bus, by tourist train and by hop-on hop-off bus. The last two options are only available during the summer. Also, you can always take a taxi.
If you start from anywhere around Elli Beach, or from any other beaches in Rhodes Town, you can take bus no 6 from the Central bus station in Rhodes Town, from the Town Hall, from the Casino, from the Aquarium or from Grand Hotel.
This bus will take you to the top of Monte Smith. Click here to see the schedule. Beware, though, buses pass every hour, so you wouldn’t want to miss yours. Besides, they have a different return route. To return to the center, you’ll need to take a bus to the hospital and then back to bus central station. Or you can walk all the way down to the coast. The shortest route takes you to Rhodes Horizon Blu. Here’s the little street that leads to the beachfront road and promenade:
Monte Smith (St. Stephen’s Hill) – A Rewarding Walk from Rhodes Town
There are many roads that lead to the top of Monte Smith. If you start from Rhodes Casino, you can get to the Ancient Olympic Stadium and to the Acropolis of Rhodes in 35-40 minutes. Click here to see the route on Google Maps. As you’ll see on the map, once you’re on Papanikolau Street, you turn right onto Amerikis Street and walk for about half km.
After you pass Sephora, you take the Ethnarchou Makariou Street, then Navarinou Street, and then you turn right on Pindou Street and keep going until you meet Isidou Street.
Turn right on Isodou and you’ll get to the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus. In fact, there’s no temple as such, but only scattered rocks and fragments of pillars. Keep walking and you’ll have the Acropolis of Rhodes on your right side. I climbed Monte Smith very early in the morning. As you can see, that’s not the best time to take great shots of the Acropolis. Besides, the monument is surrounded by scaffolding (as of August 2021), apparently for better protecting it against the elements.
If you climb the hill at dawn, expect to see lots of cats on cars. On your way down, as the air gets hotter, all cats seek the shadow under the cars.
The Scenic Bench & The Rhodes West Coast Panorama
While re-creating my climbing of Mount Smith on Google Maps, I noticed a landmark called “Scenic Bench.” I had no idea the bench I sat on to rest was such a famous one! As a matter of fact, there are two benches, not one.
The haze in the above photo came from wildfires in Rhodes and Turkey. This was a terrible time for Greece. Fortunately, nobody died in the fires on Rhodes.
The Descent to the Statue of Diagoras
When getting back to Rhodes Town, seek for the shortcut that takes you directly to Rhodes Horizon Blu Resort on Akti Kanari. The path and the stone stairway are covered by the tall grass, so you’ll have to work to find them. I was fortunate to see an old man walking his dog on this path to the top of Monte Smith. This is how I found out there was a shortcut.
If you choose to take the shortcut, you’ll end up in the courtyard of an apparently empty building, the International Writers and Translator Center in Rhodes. There are no dogs on the property, so you can safely trespass it to get to the town.
Because of the heat wave, I chose to climb Monte Smith Rhodes just after the sunrise. As you could see, my photos are not the best. If you want good photos of the Rhodes panorama, consider getting to the top of the hill late afternoon and stay for the sunset. You might need to take a taxi on your way down to the town, so ensure you organize it beforehand.