What to see in Rhodes
Rhodes is the pearl of the Mediterranean. On this Greek island, tourists will find a unique blend of ancient architecture, religious sites and incredible natural treasures: mountains, beaches, capes and open bays.
What to see on vacation:
- Archaeological sites
- religious sites
- picturesque nature
- ancient cities
- amusement parks
Recommended attractions are located in different parts of the island, to see all worth renting a car.
Island of Simi
The most popular day trip to Simi Island begins in its capital. From the port on a comfortable boat begins the journey to the “Venice of Greece” with colorful houses – the town of Symi.
During the tour you can:
- admire the picturesque scenery during the boat ride;
- stroll through the streets of Simi in bedecked and bright colors;
- learn the traditions of the locals about the extraction of sea sponges;
- visit Panormitis Bay and the Monastery of the Archangel Michael;
- taste Simian shrimp and sea dragon.
The capital of the island is the city of Rhodes
The ancient city was founded in 408 B.C. in the northern part of the island during the Peloponnesian War. It was home to one of the “Seven Wonders of the World”, the Colossus of Rhodes. Unique for its time monument more than 30 meters in height lasted just over 50 years and was destroyed by an earthquake (226-227 B.C.). The city has survived many wars, conspiracies, changes of rulers and religions. In the Middle Ages the island became the abode of the Knights Hospitaller Order. All these events have left a vivid mark on the history, culture and architecture of the city.
The fortification built by the knights in the 13th century was considered impregnable in the Christian world for more than two centuries. The stone ring of fortress walls is about 4 km long.
Inside the castle there are medieval labyrinths of streets, more like Turkish, hospital, school and temples.
There is also the Palace of the Grand Masters, built on the site of an ancient temple in honor of the sun god Helios, the patron and creator of the island.
Street of the Knights
The main street of the city, paved with stone, begins at the gate of the Grand Master’s Palace. Here are the houses of the knights who came to the island from other countries and the stables of the order.
The residences had names corresponding to the nationalities (languages) of those living in them. For example: the house of French knights, Spanish, English, Italian, Germanic, Castilian houses.
The Acropolis in Monte Smith Park
In today’s Monte Smith Park, on the elevation of St. Stephen’s is the Rhodesian Acropolis (upper city). It includes the remains of the temple of Apollo the Pythian, an amphitheater, and a stadium dating from the 3rd to 2nd century B.C. Many artifacts were discovered during the excavations of 1912-1945. But the main part of the acropolis has not yet been excavated. Archaeologists hope to find ancient sanctuaries, theaters and public buildings here.
A sports facility that dates back to the 2nd century BC. The local athletes, who are considered the strongest in Greece, dedicated all their victories in the games and competitions to the patrons of the island – Helios, the sun goddess and Athena, the goddess of wisdom and patroness of science. This is the only fully preserved Olympic stadium in the world, an exact replica of the ruined Olympia structure.
At the intersection of Orpheus and Socrates Streets there is a medieval watchtower with a clock. It was laid by the Byzantines and completed by the Knights Hospitallers. It is a square three-tiered structure with an arched entrance and columns. On the third tier there is a clock on all four sides, with Arabic numerals and decorative elements. The triangular top is decorated with a bird. From the top of the tower there is an incredible view of the old city.
Unfortunately, it is only an exact copy of the clock tower of the medieval knights. The real one was destroyed in the explosion of the Turkish gunpowder arsenals.
The Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent
In December 1522, after a long siege, Rhodes was conquered by Suleiman the Magnificent and became part of the Ottoman Empire. The construction of a mosque, a Muslim shrine, named after the conqueror’s sultan, began almost immediately.
During the 400 years of Muslim rule many buildings typical of Turkish cities were built. The city now resembles the Turkish Antalya in some places. The Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent is one of the beautiful architectural structures of the period.
It is located in the palace of the Grandmasters. On the lower floors are displayed items of archaeological excavations: amphorae, utensils, coins and statues found in the city and the island. All exhibits are authentic and perfectly preserved. Photography and video recording in the museum is forbidden.
Two hundred huge halls and rooms on the upper floors are occupied by another museum. The exhibition is devoted to the period of chivalry. The Greeks perfectly recreated the atmosphere of that era, managed to convey the luxury and splendor that surrounded the religious leaders of medieval knightly orders.
For 2.5 thousand years Mandraki harbor was the most important harbor on the island. Two columns, where the 36-meter Colossus of Rhodes was located, decorate the entrance. Today they are with statues of deer. These graceful animals once saved islanders from a huge number of poisonous snakes and were honored to crown the ancient columns.
Fort St. Nicholas
In the mid-15th century, fortifications were actively built on the island to protect against enemy invasion from the sea. Thus on the southernmost breakwater of Rhodes a fortified tower, known as the “Tower of the Mills” and a lighthouse appeared. The long Turkish siege contributed to the construction of a defensive wall and moat around the tower. There is also a church named in honor of St. Nicholas, the patron saint and protector of sailors.
Ancient city of the mid-5th century BC. Strong economic ties with the mainland states, trade with Asia Minor, minting its own coins and developed agriculture made it the most powerful on the island. A devastating earthquake nearly destroyed the city and forced the inhabitants of Kamiros to abandon their homes. The settlement gradually fell into decline.
A sacred place steeped in legend. Once the Greeks found an icon of the Virgin Mary, belonging to the Church of Cyprus, on the top of the mountain, and all attempts to return the holy face to its place failed. Each time the icon ended up where it was found. Eventually, the Greeks decided to build a small church for it at the foot of Mount Tsambika. To this day, couples come here in the hope of begging a child for themselves. According to the islanders, not a single couple has been left without the long-awaited gift. Pilgrims from all over the world flock to the monastery at the top of the mountain.
The 307 steps leading up to it are climbed by the devout on their knees.
The hilltop offers stunning views of the bay and the beach.
Kahal Shalom Synagogue
Jews have lived in Rhodes for almost 2,500 years. During this time, only six houses of worship were built. The Sephardic synagogue was built in 1577 in the Jewish quarter of La Juderia. It is the oldest synagogue in Greece. Having survived centuries and World War II air raids, it could not survive the Nazi regime and was no longer used for its intended purpose. In 1997, the Jewish Museum was organized here.
The Valley of the Petaludes Butterflies
Every year on a summer couple, tens of thousands of butterfly bears fly in to smell the fragrant resin of the styrax trees. You can’t call them beautiful and the view colorful, but the thousands of exotic butterflies hanging in bunches on the rocks look spectacular. Wooden bridges, steps covered with moss, numerous streams, waterfalls, lakes, an abundance of greenery, giving coolness even in the heat of the day, make the park a great place for a walk and communion with nature.
Filerimos Mountain is a 17 meter high cross, where a cypress alley leads, decorated with many bas-reliefs. The length of the path is equal to the distance covered by Jesus with the cross, hence the name “the way of Golgotha”. On the way up the colors adds a lot of freely walking proud and beautiful birds – peacocks. Here are also the ruins of the ancient temples of Zeus and Athens, the castles of the Knights Hospitalier with unique frescoes, the Church of the Virgin.
An ancient, typically Greek city at the foot of the hill, which dates back to the 6th century BC. Here is the “tomb of Cleobulus” – the ruler of Lindos, one of the seven ancient Greek sages. The structure dates from the 6th century BC.
The narrow streets are paved with stone, the snow-white houses resemble sugar cubes, sparkling in the bright sunlight. The luxurious captain’s houses, built in the 16-18th centuries, with high walls, arches, massive wooden doors and courtyards are decorated reminiscent of local history museums.
St. Paul’s Cove
This place is famous for being the cradle of Christianity. It was here in 57 A.D. that the Apostle Paul landed and brought the word of God to Rhodes. The bay has been named after him ever since.
If you look at the bay from the high castle walls of the Acropolis it has almost a regular heart shape. The small, snow-white church of St. Paul on the shore is popular with those who want to get married on the island.
The Acropolis of Lindos
On a hill, overhanging the sea, is one of the most important monuments of antiquity, not only in Greece, but in all Europe, the Acropolis of Lindos. Among the well-preserved pagan buildings stands out the main sanctuary of the Acropolis, a temple built in the 4th century B.C. in honour of the patroness of Athens, Linda. Later on it was founded the fortress of the Knights of the Order of St. John (Hospitallers).
From the walls of the castle you can see a wonderful panorama of St. Paul’s Bay and the surrounding area.
On the southern part of the island, Prasonisi is called the ‘kiss of two seas’. On one side is the dark blue waters of the Aegean Sea and on the other the gently turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Its sandy beaches are popular with kitesurfers and windsurfers from all over the world.
In a relict forest of pine, cypress and sycamore trees there is an amazing lake with crystal clear drinking water. It is fed by a spring that springs from a rock in seven places at once. This is the only water body with fresh water on the island. To get to the source you have to go not only through a picturesque forest, but also through a narrow concrete tunnel, located underground. It was built by the Italians in the 1930s to collect and divert water into an artificial lake (reservoir).
Those who want to walk 150 meters have to be ankle-deep in water and almost in complete darkness, as daylight reaches here through a ventilation shaft, located at 13 meters underground.
Thermal Springs of Callithea
The mineral baths that were built by the Italians in the first half of the last century are located in the village of Callithea, on the place of the ancient sources of healing. The project was worked on by the famous architect Pietro Lombardi.
For a long time the baths were out of use and in decline, but the amazing properties of the springs and the incredible beauty of the natural surroundings contributed to the revival of the thermal spa in a new format of “spa”. The reopening took place in 2007. The fabulously beautiful pavilions of the baths not only adorn the modern spa resort, but are a monument of architecture.
Anthony Quinn Cove
Anthony Quinn Cove is rightly considered one of the best places for beach holidays – it is well protected from the wind and waves, the water here is crystal clear and incredibly beautiful. There are sunbeds on the small coastal rocks, a cafe and the necessary facilities on the shore.
The name of the famous Hollywood actor in the past, the bay got not just for fun. After filming the movie “The Greek Zorba” the actor decided to spend some time in this picturesque place. The news of this was widely publicized and fans and tourists began to flock here, bringing considerable income to the region. Grateful Greeks expressed their gratitude to the actor.
- Opening hours: 9:00 – 20:30
- Price: 5,50 euros
- Web site: https://rhodes-aquarium.hcmr.gr/
The Rhodes Aquarium is smaller than the Cretan Aquarium, but no less interesting. The complex, consisting of an aquarium itself, museum, research center and hydrobiological station was founded in 1935. Its inhabitants are octopuses, turtles, lobsters, crabs, various mollusks, fish and echinoderms. Here you can see the stingray, parrot fish, sea rooster and sea urchin, a huge number of plants. Museum exhibits include stuffed fish, corals, oceanographic instruments and tools.
It is not only an entertainment complex, but also one of the leading research centers in Greece. Here they deal with the problems of the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, the preservation of their inhabitants in the natural environment.
- Cost: €24 for adults, €16 for children
- Opening Hours: 9:00 – 19:00
- Web site: https://www.water-park.gr/
The amusement park is located in the resort town of Faliraki. The place is popular with tourists and during the high season is always a big influx of people. The water park has been created taking into account the interests and safety of visitors of all age groups, so the place is ideal for families with children. There are steep slides for thrill-seekers, “lazy” river, jacuzzi and shallow pools, children’s slides. Near the water park there is an outdoor beach, cafes, restaurants, stores and souvenir shops.
A corner of ancient history just a few kilometers from the capital. The exact date of its founding is unknown, but there is historical evidence that during the Roman Empire this place was popular as a place for recreation and secluded walks. It is one of the oldest landscape parks. Among the centuries-old cypresses and pines are scattered small natural lakes. Roman aqueducts have been partially preserved in the area.
A defensive structure that has fully justified its purpose. Built by the Knights of the Order of St John in the 15th millennium, Monolithos castle was never taken by storm. But time proved to be an unequal enemy for the castle – today the building is in a poor condition, although it has retained its medieval appeal.
A fortification built by the Hospitallers in the 16th century. The position of the castle was chosen so as to offer a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, allowing the enemy’s movements and manoeuvres to be monitored. The siege of 1480 caused serious damage to the castle. The knights hoped to rebuild the structure later, but the victory of the Ottoman Empire in the battle for Rhodes did not leave the castle a second chance. Today you can see the remains of the castle wall and the still preserved fragments of the inner structures.
The highest point of the island is 1215 meters above sea level. In addition to the modern systems for controlling air traffic and the wind turbines for generating electricity on the mountain, there is the Temple of Zeus Atabirion, or rather its ruins.
Mount Profitis Ilias
Hidden among the old pines and firs are a couple of luxurious buildings built in the thirties in the style of Alpine chalets. The version for tourists is that these houses belonged to the Italian dictator Mussolini. In fact, the chalets were the property of the governor, and he was Italian.
The protected area, covered with a dense forest, preserves rare, unique species of orchids and an endangered species of deer lady deer, considered a symbol of the island.
In addition to the listed attractions, the island has many churches and temples, cultural heritage sites, places for fun and outdoor activities, beaches and resorts.
The top 30 places to see in Rhodes
The Greek island of Rhodes was a popular beach resort back in the early 20th century. A sufficient number of first-class hotels, equipped beaches and comfortable infrastructure have always attracted large flows of tourists. Today Rhodes maintains with dignity the brand of one of the most visited Mediterranean islands.
However, Rhodes can offer not only a beach holiday. Its history goes back thousands of years. Here are well preserved monuments of Antiquity and the Middle Ages from the Ottoman Empire and Italian rule. Among the picturesque valleys of the island are scattered charming Greek cities, as if frozen in time under the gentle Mediterranean sun. In the colorful tavernas you can enjoy the local cuisine, which uses the best and only the freshest products.
What to see in Rhodes?
The most interesting and beautiful places to walk. Photos and a brief description.
The fortress of Rhodes was built in the 13th century by the knights of the monastic order of St. John, better known as the Hospitaller Order. The walls of the structure grew on the site of the ancient acropolis. In the XV century, the castle was considered one of the most impregnable fortresses of the Christian world. The ring of stone walls was more than 4 km long. Inside is the Palace of the Grand Masters, built on the site of the temple of Helios. Only the walls of the castle have survived.
Medieval city of Rhodes
Inside the walls of Rhodes Fortress lie the Medieval quarters of Rhodes, built during the reign of the Order of St. John on the foundations of the structures of the Ancient Age. The territory of the old town is accessed by 10 gates along the perimeter of the fortress wall. The streets of the medieval town are cobblestone, and the strong walls of surviving buildings once housed knights, a hospital and administrative offices.
Street of the Knights
The street of the knights is situated in the Medieval town of Rhodes. It begins at the gate of the Palace of the Grandmasters. Mainly the houses of the “tongues”, the national groups of knights who came to Rhodes from different countries, are located in this street. For example, there was once the House of the French Knights and the House of Spain. In the Middle Ages, the Street of the Knights was also home to the stables of the Order.
City of Lindos
Lindos is one of the oldest cities on the island, founded in the 10th century BC. The local ancient Acropolis is second only to Athens in importance. The local temple of Athena of Lindos was once visited by Alexander of Macedonia, and in the first century A.D. it was visited by the Apostle Paul. All of the city’s buildings are painted white. The ancient houses are many hundreds of years old, but by law no new buildings can be erected in the city in order to preserve its historical appearance.
Mandraki is an ancient harbour which has been the main harbour of Rhodes for 2.5 thousand years. At the entrance to the port there are two stone pillars on which in the III century A.D. the giant 36-meter statue of the Colossus of Rhodes was based (now there are deer figures). On the stone breakwater there are three medieval mills, preserved from knight times, and the fortress of St. Nicholas.
Fort St. Nicholas
In the past, the fort was part of the Rhodes defense system. It is situated on the edge of the stone breakwater, a breakwater built during the Antiquity. First, in the 15th century the central tower of the fortress was built, called the Tower of the Mills. A few years after the Turkish siege of 1480, the structure was surrounded by a moat and walled. Today the Fort of St. Nicholas is the site of a lighthouse.
The Acropolis of Lindos
The Acropolis of Lindos is one of the most important architectural monuments in Greece. It is situated on a rock overhanging the sea. The first pagan temples date from the 5th and 4th centuries BC. The main sanctuary of the Acropolis is the temple in honor of Athena Linda who was considered the patroness of the island. Many buildings are quite well preserved until today, so tourists can see not only the ruins.
The Acropolis is situated on a hill of St. Stephen, where nowadays there is a park of Monte Smith. It consists of a stadium, an amphitheater and the remains of the temple of Apollo of Pythia. According to the data of excavations the first buildings were built in III-II century B.C. In the antiquity the sanctuaries of gods, public institutions and theaters were situated on the Rhodos acropolis. The main artifacts were discovered during the excavations of 1912-1945.
The stadium is located on the grounds of the Acropolis of Rhodes. It was built in the 2nd century BC. Here sporting events were held in honor of the sun god Helios, who along with Athena was considered the patron of the island. It should be noted that the Rhodesian athletes were among the strongest in ancient Greece. They constantly won prizes in competitions and earned numerous awards.
Ancient city in the north west of the island, one of the most powerful polities of Rhodes, which flourished in the 5th century BC. In addition to maintaining economic ties with Asia Minor and the mainland Greek city-states, Kamiros developed its own agriculture and minted coins. In the 3rd century A.D. Rhodes suffered a devastating earthquake as a result of which the inhabitants left Kameros and the city fell into decay.
One of the best look-out points in Rhodes. From here you can see the ancient city of Ialysos and the resort of Ixia. Also on the top and slopes Filerimos are the ruins of the ancient Greek temples of Athena and Zeus and the picturesque Christian cathedrals of the XV-XVIII centuries. In the XVI century on the mountain was built monastery of the Virgin, which placed a miraculous icon created by the Apostle Luke. At the entrance to the mountain stands 18-meter concrete cross.
The exact date of the building of the monastery is unknown. Since the XV century, a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary has been kept here. It is believed that it helps childless couples conceive, so the flow of pilgrims to this place never dries up. Tsambika monastery is divided into a lower and upper monastery. On the territory of the lower monastery there is a temple with icons, an Orthodox museum, a cafe and a souvenir store. The upper part of the monastery is located on the top of the hill, which offers a magnificent view of the beaches of Tsambika.
Church of Our Lady of Lindos
The church was built in the 13th century and is located in the center of the ancient city of Lindos. During the following centuries, the church was repeatedly reconstructed, one of the major restorations being that of Pierre de Aubusson, Grand Master of the Order of St. John. The interior of the temple was updated in the XX century during the Italian domination of Rhodes. The church has a very picturesque snow-white facade that contrasts sharply with the bright red tile roof.
Kahal Shalom Synagogue
The Jews settled in Rhodes over 2,300 years ago, but the first synagogues began to appear as early as the Middle Ages. Kahal Shalom is considered to be the oldest synagogue in Greece, it was erected at the end of the 16th century and functioned until the 1930s, before the arrival of the fascist dictatorship. The Jews were expelled from the island and the synagogue was abandoned. Nowadays, the synagogue has reopened its doors, but only during the high tourist season, when a sufficient number of tourists come to the island.
The church of Agios Nektarios in Faliraki
St. Nektarios is a much revered figure in the Greek Orthodox Church despite the fact that he was canonized relatively recently. He is believed to help the sick heal their ailments. A small church in his honor was built at the expense of pilgrims. The church was erected in the classic Byzantine style. Its facade is of unusual terracotta color and is decorated with elegant columns.
Church of Saint Panteleimon in Xi’an
The temple is located in the center of the small village of Siana, 65 km. from Rhodes, on the slope of Mount Akramitis. The temple was built in the 14th century of natural stone. On the edges of the main façade are two symmetrical clock towers and the roof is covered with red tiles. The interiors of the church are luxurious, the ceiling decorated with magnificent frescoes and finished with gilding.
Rhodes Archaeological Museum
The museum’s holdings display an extensive collection of artifacts found during excavations on the island. Many of the exhibits are over a few thousand years old. One of the most valuable pieces in the collection is the statue of Aphrodite of Rhodes, dating back to the 1st century B.C. The sculpture is made of Paros marble. There are also statues of the gods, created in the VI-V centuries BC.
A 15th-century castle built by the Knights of the Order of Saint John. Like the majority of similar constructions of that time, the Monolithos was built for defensive purposes. The building has justified its purpose – during the entire history of its existence the castle was never taken by storm. Nowadays the building is in a very bad condition as it was seriously damaged.
This is a 16th century fortification built during the Hospitaller period. It was built in the Venetian style. Thanks to its position, it offers a panoramic view and a good view from the walls, which allowed the observation of enemy manoeuvres. After the siege of 1480, the castle was badly damaged. The Knights of the Order decided to rebuild it later, but due to the defeat in the fight for Rhodes these plans were not realized.
The park is located a few kilometers from the center of Rhodes. It is considered the oldest landscape park in the world and one of the main attractions of the island. It is unknown exactly when Rodini was founded, but during Roman times the park was already a popular place for walks and recreation. Parts of Roman aqueducts have been preserved and there are centuries-old cypresses and pines, as well as small lakes.
Baths of Calyphea Springs
The thermal springs located in Kalifei, a resort village near the city of Rhodes. The bathing complex was erected in 1928 as part of the development of the tourist infrastructure on the island. The baths were built by P. Lombardi and nowadays they are considered valuable architectural monuments. The baths were open until 1967 when they were closed for 40 years. It was reopened in 2007.
A natural landmark near the village of Kolimbia on the road from Rhodes to Lindos. The Seven Springs is a network of small streams and springs that gush directly from the rock and form a lake with clear drinking water. The area itself is quite picturesque, as it is located among relict forests, overgrown with pines, cypresses and plane trees. To get to the lake, you have to go through a small tunnel.
Valley of Butterflies
The protected area is located about 27 km from Rhodes town. Here you can find lush greenery, waterfalls, numerous streams flowing into small lakes. Even in the hottest weather you can find here a welcome coolness. In summer, thousands of colorful butterflies come to the valley, which makes the whole landscape covered with bright colorful carpet. The place is considered unique not only in Greece, but also in the whole of Europe.
Rhodes Ostrich Farm
More than 120 ostriches live on the farm, as well as deer, camels, birds, donkeys and goats. For the entertainment of visitors, there are rides on huge birds. Like all such places, the farm has a store where customers are offered products made from various parts of the ostrich. The local restaurant serves ostrich meat and scrambled eggs for lunch. The farm is located near the village of Petaludes.
A picturesque piece of coast with golden sand and clear blue sea. The beach is near the village of Haraki. Agathi is popular with tourists with children because of the fairly gentle descent into the sea. The beach has a well-developed tourist infrastructure with tavernas, sun lounger rentals and other services. “Agia agati” means “holy purity”.
The beach, located at the foot of Tsambika mountain, the neighborhood of which is considered the most beautiful places in Rhodes. The beach has a long sandy strip, it is characterized by high purity and transparency of the sea. Numerous cafes, sports centers and entertainment facilities are at tourists’ disposal. Quad biking around the beach is a popular way of spending time.
It connects to Rhodes through a narrow, sandy isthmus. In winter, the waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea flood this passage, while in summer they recede, forming a magnificent sandy spit that is used as a beach. Cape Prasonisi is a popular destination for kite surfers and windsurfers.
Agios Pavlos cove
The cove of Agios Pavlos is a short distance from the acropolis of Lindos. It’s thought that in the 1st century A.D. the Apostle Paul landed here. There is a beautiful sandy-pebbly beach, equipped with all the necessary infrastructure. Natural ledges of the surrounding rocks serve as springboards for jumping into the water. In honor of St. Paul, a small snow-white church has been erected on the bay.
Anthony Quinn’s Cove
The cove is on the list of the most picturesque places in Rhodes. It is named after the actor E. Queen, who was popular in the first half of the XX century. In the 60s, the actor bought a plot of land and settled on the bay. According to another version it is believed that the Rhodes authorities were so happy with the presence of a star that granted him the land in perpetual use in exchange for the establishment of the island’s movie center. But Queen never did anything and had to leave.
Water Park in Faliraki
A popular amusement park located in the resort town of the same name. The water park has areas for children of all ages, so even the youngest visitors are safe. Near the complex there is a beach, many stores, restaurants, and souvenir shops. During the high season there is always a large influx of tourists, and that’s why the slides form lines.
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