Rhodes is the largest island in Greece’s Dodecanese island group, which is set in the southeastern Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey. And boy, it sure has some stories to tell. With ruins and archaeological sites strewn over the island dating as far back as Hellenistic Ancient Greece, the rest is a tale of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and even Italian rule. Taking time to lap up the historical sights of this island would be a fine way to spend your time here; from old fortresses to Greek temples, almost all styles of classical architecture exist.
Then there’s the charming Dodecanese flavor of the streets. Whitewashed houses and historical residences share the same cobbled streets in its charming towns, while ruined acropolises tower above settlements – reminders of a bygone age.
Map of Rhodes
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Of course, it isn’t all about history; you may just want to get away from it all. If that’s the case, Rhodes certainly has enough sun, sea, and sand for everyone. Choose from a beachside destination in the north that’s perfect for watersports, or laze on a beach in the southeast for a relaxing time. If you are here to party, you’ll find that too – Faliraki is famous for it.
There is a whole lot of accommodation on offer in Rhodes. The most budget of guesthouses and hostels cater to the lower end of the spectrum, while self-catering studios and apartments and 5-star boutique resort offerings provide a more luxurious stay. Combine this with ferries for exploring further afield and a bus network to get you around the island, and you have a Greek island destination that’s got it all.
Rhodes Town is, fittingly, the main town of Rhodes. Though there is a modern part to this area – usually just referred to as the New Town – it’s the Old Town that gets all the attention. At its heart is the citadel, featuring improvements on the town’s old Byzantine fortifications enacted by the Knights Hospitallers in 1309.
Add to that the Roman ruins and gothic Palace of the Grand Master, and wandering around this part of Rhodes’ major town is bound to transport you back in time. Accommodation ranges from affordable guesthouses to fancy boutique hotels set in medieval buildings with period features intact. The New Town is to the north of this historical gem and is the place to go for its beachside bars, backstreet cafes, and larger, more modern lodgings. Sunsets from here are beautiful.
If you’re coming to Rhodes for the history, Lindos is a great option. Away from the more crowded Rhodes Town in the north, Lindos is a relatively small town set on a small peninsula towards the southeast of the island.
Next to its charming whitewashed houses and winding streets is a full selection of archaeological sites to marvel at. Places like the picturesque Temple to Athena Lindia – dating back to 300 BC – and the iconic Acropolis of Lindos towering over the town make Lindos a fascinating area. Combined with its small-town feel and numerous coves, this part of Rhodes is a dreamy place stay. Picking your spot is made easy due to the smattering of accommodation options, with studios and hotels running the gamut from affordable to high-end.
Lindos also features a large ferry port, meaning you can get around to other Greek islands from here with relative ease.
With no shortage of places to stay, a sweeping stretch of sand, and a booming nightlife, Faliraki isn’t necessarily the place for history lovers or travelers after a taste of Rhodian culture.
The center of town is all about bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, offering visitors the chance to have fun in a seaside destination. While it can get a little bit rowdy, staying at either the northern or southern ends of Faliraki is a much more relaxing option, and is suited to those looking for a quiet alternative.
Families can enjoy Faliraki too – there’s even a waterpark here! The beach is well maintained and boasts beachside accommodation, places to eat and drink, and plenty of sun loungers, beach umbrellas, and lifeguards. There’s something for all budgets and types of travelers in Faliraki, and with good bus links around the island, getting to see some culture is easy.
To the west of Rhodes Town on the northern coast of Rhodes, Ialysos is an excellent all-round destination on the island. There are nightclubs found here, a good stretch of beach (ideal for windsurfing), numerous restaurants, bistros, cafes, and other eateries – as well as some history and culture.
Ialysos is named after the ancient Greek town of the same name – one of the most significant archaeological sites on the island. Located on a hill slightly inland, here you can see two-millennia-old temples dedicated to deities Zeus and Athena Poliada. There are even Byzantine-era fortifications to marvel at.
Back in town, there’s a host of accommodation options – studios, apartments, guesthouses, upscale hotels – some beachside – which means you will be spoilt for choice. Almost a suburb of Rhodes Town, getting to this hub is easy with the bus network.
Archangelos is located just inland from Rhodes’ east central coast. While not a beachside location in itself, this town is located just off the main ring road that connects the majority of the island’s large towns, giving it a convenient position for car hire and traveling around by bus.
That said, the nearby Stegna – with its own beach – offers its own, sometimes quite high-end accommodation options, though there are also a few affordable hotels in town itself. Archangelos isn’t all about its location on the island. There are some interesting sights in town, including the main church, which features a bright white, extremely ornate bell tower. There’s also the ruins of the Castle of Saint John, a fortress built by the Knights Hospitallers after the Ottomans took Constantinople in 1453.
Set just around the coast to the south of Lindos on Rhodes’ eastern coast is the little town of Pefkos. If Lindos has a small-town feel with its winding streets and historic residences, then Pefkos has a small village feel.
That said, there is still quite a lot going on here; Pefkos is a place that is continually developing. Bars and restaurants dot the streets, set back from Pefkos’ own slice of southwest-facing beach, while there are a few different places to stay here.
Choose from a large resort set away from town, or your own self-catering lodgings in the action of the settlement itself. The beach was awarded Blue Flag status back in 2008 and is a good place for watersports or to simply unwind and soak up the sun.
On the southeastern coast of Rhodes is the small area of Kiotari. Centered around the beach of the same name, this place certainly feels a lot more like the place in Rhodes you come to get away from it all than other destination on this Greek island.
There are a fair few high-end hotels to choose from. In terms of other amenities, there are several bars, local tavernas, and restaurants. Dotting the hills are the villas of wealthy residents.
Further along the beach – which is populated by many sun loungers and beach umbrellas and is popular for watersports – is the town of Gennadi. A vast stretch of sand and pebbles which occasionally hosts DJs, music, and dancing well into the night, this is an old village that is well worth a wander.
With its relaxed tempo, sea-lapped beaches, and picturesque backdrop of cliffs, Kolymbia is a chilled place to stay in Rhodes. Positioned on the island’s east coast just south of Faliraki, Kolymbia is noted for its chilled setting.
Leading from the main road to the beach is a eucalyptus-lined boulevard. The hotels work very
well with the natural surroundings, and there isn’t much of a party atmosphere. Put simply, Kolymbia is an uncrowded destination that will charm you as soon as you arrive.
Choose from one of several polished hotels in town; almost all of them have their own pools, restaurants, and countless amenities. Those visiting Kolymbia with small children in tow should head to the smaller of this town’s two beaches; the sea is shallower and calmer here than on the larger one, making for the perfect place to paddle, splash around, and play in the sand.
This small area, almost lost in the suburban sprawl between Rhodes Town and Ialyssos, is home to a fantastic stretch of beach. Ixia is all about fun in the sun and water activities. People enjoy jetskiing here, but most of all, Ixia Beach is well known for its good kite-surfing and wind-surfing. Being on the north, windward side of the island, Ixia gets just the right breezes to make it a favorite spot for wind-propelled watersports.
This cosmopolitan beach area is also known for its high-quality accommodation just outside the main hub of Rhodes Town, meaning you can often get stylish apartments and modern hotel rooms in a fairly refined setting for a better price than equivalent accommodation on the island’s main town. Getting in and out of Rhodes Town is easy, plus the ancient sights of Ialyssos are only a stone’s throw from here.