Last Updated on January 1, 2022
All roads lead to… Greece! Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands and is located just northeast of neighbouring Greek island, Crete. Nicknamed island of the Knights after the Knights of Saint John who conquered the island many moons ago, Rhodes is full of history. Ancient history enthusiasts will know that Rhodes is famous for the Colossus of Rhodes which one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Rhodes has long been a tourist favourite and is the perfect holiday hotspot for couples who are after a cultural getaway, complete with good food and a slower pace of life.
Rhodes is great for those who love walking. You can get around the island’s biggest attractions fairly easily. Just watch out if you go in the very hot months and make sure you’ve always got a bottle of water on you to keep hydrated. With so many attractions to see, which should you visit first? Here’s our lowdown on the best that Rhodes has to offer.
1. The Acropolis at Lindos
A holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without a donkey ride. This is just one way you can reach the magnificent Acropolis (which translates to high city in Ancient Greek). Alternatively you can walk up there but it’s a steep climb and the donkey rides usually cost about €5. Once you’re up there, you’ll be met by a collection of ancient monuments; the Temple of Athena Lindia is the highest point on the acropolis and you can see the remains of the propylaia (gateway) and the bemas (platforms). The views from the top are breath taking and you’ll feel like a modern Indiana Jones as you walk through some of the oldest remains in the world.
2. Panagia Tsambika Monastery
This stunning monastery sits atop a peak of jagged rocks that look over the east coast of Rhodes. For something a bit different, make this a definite visit. You can reach the monastery by car (there are organised tours), and this involves driving up a narrow and pretty steep lane. You can walk but – depending on when you go – your path may be hindered by the many female pilgrims who usually walk (or crawl) at the side of the road praying for fertility.
This is usually September. Once you’ve parked, make your way up the steps (there’s about 300 so take it easy) to the monastery. It was built in the 17th century and the fresco’s fragments remain. Directly below the monastery is Tsambika Bay, possibly Rhodes’ best beach. The views of it our stunning up here.
The Valley of the Butterflies
Historical attractions to see in Rhodes
3. The Valley of the Butterflies
A simply must-see, this valley is covered with millions of butterflies from July to September. This is easily one of the prettiest attractions in Rhodes. You can find every colour of butterfly under the sun here and thousands of different species. As amazing as any church, beach or cathedral, these butterflies are a natural wonder.
Walk through the valley (which eventually leads to a monastery) and enjoy what could possibly be the best walk of your life. There’s a river close by which looks beautiful in the sun and the butterflies will flutter lazily past you. It’s obviously prohibited to disturb them in any way, so it’s a good idea to keep this trip kids free. Any clapping or waving can result in a telling off.
4. Thermal baths at Kallithea
At the beginning of the twentieth century the Italians who came to Rhodes (and ruled for a bit) built these incredible thermal baths. They have long since been considered unavailable for use as the years ravaged them slightly and they became abandoned. However, they are now open for business and visitors can enjoy bathing in the hot water, surrounded by stunning architecture, the glistening sea and brilliant flora. Definitely a trip to make when you’re after a more relaxing day.
5. Filerimos and the ancient city of Ialysos
Ialysos is one of the three ancient cities of Rhodes. While all three are worth the visit, this is definitely the best so if you’re strapped for time, head to Ialysos! The city lies on the Filerimos hill which, back in its Byzantine days, was used as both a strong point and place of worship. There is plenty to see here, set beneath a backdrop of pretty trees and cobbled paths, marvel at the set of shrines the Italians created during their rule using the Passion of Christ as their inspiration and the large stone cross that is a replica of the one built, but was subsequently destroyed during World War Two.