Top 5 things to do in Rhodes

Rhodes offers a wealth of intriguing things to do. It’s true that the gorgeous climate and balmy Aegean Sea lapping at numerous beaches are two of the main draws, but the island also has rich culture and an intriguing history. Here is our guide to the top 5 things to do in Rhodes.
Tsambika beach on Rhodes. Photo: Shutterstock
Tsambika beach on Rhodes. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Explore the Acropolis at Líndos

The climb from the village of Líndos up to its famous Acropolis is steep, and made more arduous in summer by the hot air that hangs heavily in the often windless village. It’s worth it, though, when you get to the top and discover a series of ancient monuments including the inner Temple of Athena Lindia at the highest seaward point on the rock. The remains seen today – columns of the propylaia and inner bemas (raised platforms) – date from 342BC. Perhaps what impresses most, though, are the superb views of Líndos Bay to the north, the town to the west, and perfectly sheltered St Paul’s Bay to the south. Add a stop at Rhodes to any of Insight Guides' fully customisable trips to Greece

Staircase of the Propylaea and Church of St. John on the Acropolis of Líndos.Staircase of the Propylaea and Church of St. John on the Acropolis of Líndos. Photo: Shutterstock

2. Stride down the Street of the Knights

In Rhodes' old town is the Street of the Knights, where many of the inns of the crusading Order of the Knights of St John were based. One of the most intact medieval streets in the world, its buildings of finely chiselled sandstone form one uninterrupted facade that rises to a double archway spanning the road at its peak. Discover it for yourself: add a stop at Rhodes to any of Insight Guides' fully customisable trips to Greece

During the day the street is crowded with strolling visitors, so it is easier to imagine yourself back in the 14th century at night, when the street takes on a more magical atmosphere with the waxy glow of the streetlights reminiscent of medieval oil-lamps, and the only sound is the gurgle of the fountain in the Villaragut Mansion garden.

3. Walk to the Tsambíka

Panagía Tsambíka Monastery sits on the peak of a rocky promontory overlooking the east coast. Although a narrow, steep but drivable concrete lane leads most of the way there, female pilgrims usually walk (or crawl on hands and knees) from the main road to pray for fertility and the chance of a child, especially during the festival on 8 September. Even from the parking lot and taverna, there are still 298 steps up to the pinnacle, a breathtaking walk in all senses of the word. The original, vaulted, 17th-century church retains fresco fragments; the wonder-working icon resides in a separate recess, emblazoned with támmata (votive offerings). The views from the grounds along the coast are second to none. Do the walk yourself, with a tailor-made trip to Rhodes

Some 326m (1,060ft) directly below is sandy Tsambíka Bay, Rhodes’ finest beach. Gently shelving, it is the first beach on Rhodes that becomes swimmable, in April. Beyond this, several bays are visible as far as Líndos, and other rugged limestone promontories fill the panorama.

Panagía Tsambíka Monastery, Rhodes Island.Panagía Tsambíka Monastery, Rhodes Island. Photo: Shutterstock

4. Marvel at the beauty of the Valley of the Butterflies

Up in the hills south of the airport is Petaloúdes. This literally translates as ‘butterflies’, and the area is usually known as the Valley of the Butterflies, one of the island’s beauty spots and an unmissable attraction. Petaloúdes is actually a seasonal home not to butterflies but Jersey tiger moths, which are attracted by the oriental sweetgum trees that grow densely in this valley.

The whole valley has been set aside as a well-laid-out nature reserve for visitors, who can walk through the trees, over streams and around ponds and waterfalls, looking out for the winged creatures. The climb to the 18th-century chapel of Kalópetra at the top of the valley takes around one hour. Experience the Valley of the Butterflies for yourself with a tailor-made trip to Rhodes

5. Take a day trip to Sými

The small island of Sými is deservedly the most popular day trip from Rhodes, and is about one hour away by the fastest craft. Arrival at Sými’s major port, Gialós, offers one of the most impressive vistas in Greece. Hundreds of neoclassical stone facades and iron balconies combined with thousands of pastel-hued shutters rise from the harbour side up the slopes. High above Gialós and just out of sight lies Horió, the island’s inland village, reached either by 357 broad stone steps, the Kalí Stráta (the ‘Good Road’), or, less strenuously, by bus from the south quay. Horió is crowned by the inevitable Knights’ castle, built amid the ruins of Sými’s ancient citadel. Add a stop at Sými to any of Insight Guides' fully customisable trips to Greece

The beautiful Sými island.The beautiful Sými island. Photo: Shutterstock

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