Whether you’re exploring its Old City, swimming from Agathi Beach or kitesurfing in Prasonisi, Greece’s Island of Roses is packed with marvels. If you’re planning a visit, read on to discover the best things to do in Rhodes.
The largest of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, there are several reasons Rhodes is a perennial favourite among holidaymakers – namely its endless golden beaches, azure waters, wooded valleys and rich history. The island has been home to ancient civilisations since the 16th century BCE, and culture buffs will get their fix here, as will adventure seekers. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ll talk you through what to see in Rhodes first.
Get happily lost in the Old City
In the oldest inhabited medieval city in Europe, you’ll be greeted with Byzantine and Gothic churches, mosques, fountains and Eastern motifs during a visit to Rhodes’ Old City – the mix of East and West is a result of the island’s rulers switching throughout its history. When you visit Rhodes, set aside a day or two for wandering the 200 streets and alleyways that make up the Old City – it’s the perfect place to get lost – but be sure to find your way to the Palace of the Grand Master and the Street of the Knights.
Take in the views from Lindos Acropolis
Sitting on a steep cliff, the Lindos Acropolis is a well-preserved fortress with incredible views over the sea and island. Here, you will discover ruins of the goddess Athena Lindia, as well as temples from the 4th century BCE and a Byzantine chapel. The only way to reach the citadel is by foot or by donkey – but the walk only takes about 20 minutes, and the views are well worth it.
Be charmed by Butterfly Valley
It’s not hard to see why this is one of the most popular things to do on Rhodes. As its name suggests, Butterfly Valley is a 600-acre (240ha) nature park that becomes home to thousands of butterflies in the summer months. One species in particular, the panaxia quadripunctaria, swarms the valley, usually during August. Those who visit can also experience the Natural History Museum of Rhodes, which sits at the entrance to the valley.
Take a tunnel to Seven Springs
One of the more romantic spots in Rhodes, Seven Springs (also referred to as Epta Piges) gets its name from the springs that fall into a lagoon, surrounded by lush greenery. To get there, you’ll have to walk through a short, pitch black tunnel, but don’t worry – it’s over before you know it, and the natural landscape you’re greeted with at the end is well worth the journey.
Swim from Agathi Beach
A favourite spot for locals, Agathi Beach is all golden sands and crystal clear, teal-hued waters. Flanked by two rocky cliffs, it’s protected from the wind, and its shallow waters mean it’s a great option for families with smaller kids. When you start to feel a bit peckish, simply meander back to one of the beachfront tavernas and dine on some freshly made Greek fare.
Explore the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
One of the coolest things about Greece is that there are pockets of ancient history dotted all across the mainland and its islands. At the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, you can discover findings from excavations all over the island and as well as from some small islets of the Dodecanese. Expect to see vases, figurines and tiles from Hellenistic times (pre-300 BCE).
Learn to kitesurf at Prasonisi
If you prefer a more active holiday, why not try your hand at kitesurfing? Prasonisi Beach, which sits on the very tip of Rhodes’ Prasonisi peninsula, is renowned for the sport, offering ideal conditions for those with any level of experience (novices are very welcome here). After a lesson or two, head to the Prasonisi Lighthouse for lovely sunset views.
Go wine tasting at CAIR
Considering wine has been made on Rhodes for the past 2,400 years, it’s only fair that you sample some of the best local vino for yourself. We recommend a visit to CAIR (Compagnia Agricola Industriale Rodi), which was established on the island in 1928, for a tasting of the area’s most famous wines, including the CAIR Brut, which is produced using the local grape variety athiri.
Try the local delicacy pitaroudia at Artemida Taverna
No trip to Rhodes is complete without sampling a pitaroudia. A local delight in Rhodes, this fritter is traditionally made with ground chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, mint and cumin. The best place on the island to taste one for yourself is at Artemida Taverna, which sits just back from the main square of Psinthos. This taverna specialises in local dishes – save room for the moussaka and fried halloumi.
Hike up the Monastery Tsambika for sunset
Perched precariously on the top of a rocky hill, Monastery Tsambika is a Byzantine church that can only be reached by clambering up the 350 steps you’ll find halfway up the hill. Be sure to time your visit for sunset, as the view of the sea, beaches and villages dotted over the island is best seen when the sky turns pink.
To explore more of Greece, check out the best boutique hotels in Santorini, and the best hotels in Mykonos. These are bookable with Culture Trip. During your stay, explore the 11 best things to do in Zakynthos, and relax on the 10 best beaches in Santorini. Make sure you also book a table at at least one of the best bar restaurants in Zakynthos to sample some delicious Greek cuisine.
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