Rhodes, the most beautiful sights and insider tips

Rhodes is popular with package tourists. But they rarely move out of their hotel strongholds in the north of the island. Wrongly, because the island offers you not only 300 days of sunshine, but also a lot of interesting history with 5,000 years of settlement.

Rhodes, the most beautiful sights

Rhodes is the largest island of the Dodecanese and the fourth largest in Greece (about half the size of Mallorca). Due to its strategic location between the trade routes of Western Europe and the Levant, Rhodes had to endure many foreign rulers before the island became part of Greece again in 1947. Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, the Crusader Order of the Knights of St. John, the Ottomans, the Italians from 1912 (and for 2 years in the Second World War also the Germans) conquered the island and left their mark.

Here we have compiled the most important and beautiful sights of Rhodes with tips and also a few insider tips for you 😉 :

1. the Colossus of Rhodes

Well, hm … the probably most famous sight of Rhodes unfortunately no longer exists. An earthquake destroyed the 33 meter high statue in 226 BC. However, you will encounter her everywhere in Rhodes as an image or a figure. Broad-legged standing on two pillars in the gateway of the ancient port. Printed on T-shirts and mugs, as miniature editions in souvenir stores or on the brochures of the tourism authority. However, neither the exact location nor the appearance has survived flawlessly. Today’s images come mainly from the imagination of the 16th century. More about the
Colossus of Rhodes
and where it is said to have really stood.

Sights in Rhodes Town

2. rhodes old town

Named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, the Old Town of Rhodes is one of the most beautiful medieval towns where ordinary people still live. A mighty, closed fortress wall encloses the entire old town. Inside, a mixture of buildings from antiquity, from the Knights of St. John and the Ottomans.

Book a hop-on, hop-off tour for Rhodes

3. grand master palace

This mighty castle was built on the highest point of the town by the
Knights of St. John
from 1309 as the seat of their grand master. After the Ottomans conquered the island in 1523, they used it as an administrative seat, and the church standing on the site served as an ammunition depot. In 1853, lightning struck there and destroyed a large part of the castle complex. Only the mighty entrance gates, which seem to have come from a fairy-tale castle, have been preserved. In 1929 the Italians rebuilt the Grand Master’s Palace, it was to serve as Mussolini ‘s residence. He, however, never set foot in the palace. The upper, magnificently furnished rooms are worth seeing; the lower part houses an exhibition of the Byzathine Museum.

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4. knight road

In the so-called Knights’ Street (Ippoton) you will feel like you have been transported back 500 years. Here everything is still exactly as it was in the Middle Ages, when the various “tongues” (divisions by language) of the Order of the Crusaders had built their hostels here for the pilgrims and knights. Unfortunately, you cannot visit the buildings from the inside, only in the Spanish hostel event rooms can be rented. In between, however, you have the opportunity to enjoy a little refreshment in the enchanting courtyard of Café Avalon. The café and hotel is located approximately in the middle of Ritterstraße.

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5. archaeological museum

The present archaeological museum was built by the Knights of St. John and was once the most modern hospital of its time. In terms of its shape, it is somewhat reminiscent of a caravanserai with a large courtyard and porticoes. Above the entrance is the huge hospital hall with ceilings over 5 meters high, which meant that the hall was always at a comfortable temperature. In the adjoining rooms there are Hellenistic and Roman sculptures worth seeing, including the crouching Aphrodite and also a life-size statue of Aphrodite with her robe lowered a little shamefully. In the large, romantic garden of the former hospital you will find more impressive sculptures and large-scale mosaics.

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6. socrates street

Socrates Street, which runs parallel to Ritter Street, is the shopping street of the old town. At first sight there seem to be only tourist restaurants and kitschy souvenir stores, but in between you will also find good stores of young Greek designers. Socrates Street was already in ancient times one of the central shopping streets with its former extension, Pindou Street.

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7. the clock tower

From the clock tower (
Roloy
) you have a magnificent panoramic view over the entire old town. The entrance fee of 5 euros includes a drink, which you can have in the small lounge bar below the tower. It’s worth it!

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8. mandráki port

As in Venice, two columns stand at the entrance to the port. The Italians had set them up after conquering Rhodes from the Turks in 1912. on one side with a stag, the heraldic animal of Rhodes on the column and originally with the Roman she-wolf on the opposite column. However, this was reversed in 1947, after the annexation of Rhodes to Greece. Instead, the stag was joined by a doe as a suitable female companion.

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9. rhodes new town

New Town does not mean the (less beautiful) Rhodes, which spreads south of the city walls, but the neighborhood that the Italians had built from 1912 in the north, west of the port. There should be a Become model city of the future, with buildings in the so-called modern international (related to Bauhaus architecture) and neoclassical style. Rhodes was also to become a tourist destination for the Italians in the times of fascism, so several large hotels were built, such as the Grande Albergo delle Rose, now the Casino.

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Sights outside Rhodes Town

10. kyra tsambika

From the monastery church, high on the mountain between two bays, you can enjoy a wonderful view over the east coast of Rhodes. However, a very steep road and an equally steep stairway lead through the forest to the top. However, many Rhodians have always gladly taken on this arduous journey (in the past there was no road). For the icon of Mary venerated in the monastery was to fulfill the desire of young parents to have children. For this, they spent the night in the church. After that, if a child actually came, it was called Tsambika if it was a girl, and Tsambiko if it was a boy. In fact, these are the most common first names in Rhodes.

The beach of the same name, Tsambika Beach, with its fine sand and no hotel development in the background, is considered one of the most beautiful on the east coast. However, huge colorful water slides are anchored in the water, the beach is often very crowded, but for children it is certainly exciting.

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11. lindos village and acropolis

Lindos is a real highlight of Rhodes. A white dream town nestled on the hillside around a high rock with a castle of St. John and the Acropolis. Cars have to stay outside and so vacationers crowd through narrow streets during the season.
The climb to the Acropolis is not as strenuous as you might expect, so you won’t have to ride up on a donkey, as offered right at the entrance to the place. At most, if you should be disabled. The path is well signposted. The medieval castle and the ancient complexes excavated and partially reconstructed by the Italians are absolutely worth seeing. And from the top you have fantastic panoramic views. Afterwards, relax on one of the beautiful shady roof terraces, some even with a small pool, with a cool frappé coffee. And afterwards just stroll through the quiet side streets. Everywhere in the town you will find so-called captain’s houses with elaborate entrance portals, which were built by the wealthy captains of the town.

Tip: Take water with you to the Acropolis and wear sturdy shoes, with flip-flops you will easily slip, because the pebbles are ground down by the centuries and very slippery. You can park a little outside the city, mostly free of charge.

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12. Kameiros excavations, the Greek Pompeii

Located on a hill overlooking the sea, this city was founded by Doric immigrants almost 3000 years ago. Together with Lindos and Ialyssos, Kámiros formed one of the three city-states on Rhodes. However, in 226 BC the city was destroyed by the earthquake, which also killed the Colossus of Rhodes. Kamiros was subsequently rebuilt, but largely abandoned after a second earthquake in 146 AD. However, remains of a Christian church were also found, so it is believed that Kamiros was not built until the 4th century. n. Chr. was finally abandoned. From the very top, where an imposing 200-meter-long portico once stood, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city and the shoulder-high foundations of houses. By the way, here were found the remains of advanced sewage and fresh water pipes made of clay. (Maybe you should also read our article about
historical bathroom fittings
).

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13. valley of the butterflies (Petaloúdes)

Especially on hot summer days it is worth visiting this cool natural park, unusual for a Greek island. From June to September, tens of thousands of butterflies of the species “Russian bear” flutter around here, looking for food and mates. However, their bright red underside is only seen when they flutter. Because as soon as they settle on the trees, they are perfectly camouflaged with their dark markings on the upper side.
The nature park is crossed by a stream that forms small ponds and waterfalls. You will hike through the valley on marked wooden paths. Scaring up the sensitive animals and also talking loudly is prohibited under penalty, because the butterflies need their power to maintain the population 😉

Tip: The entrance to the valley costs 5 euros. There are 3 parking spaces, which are surprisingly still free of charge. You will also find one above the entrance to the hill coming from Psínthos (Parking 3). From there it is only a few steps to the entrance. The parking lot below (Parking 2) is reserved for coaches and disabled persons. Parking 1 is the first one coming from the west. There is a cafe, a restaurant and a butterfly museum. Sturdy shoes are recommended because the paved paths and boardwalks are slippery.

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14. Profitis Ilias, Swiss Chalets, Villa Mussolini and Campochiaro

At an altitude of about 800 meters, it is pleasant even in high summer. Profitis Ilias is therefore also a popular weekend destination for Rhodians. Up here, the Italians had built two Swiss chalet-style hotels in 1929; the Elafos Hotel is in operation, the other is increasingly decaying.

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But a few steps away is another relic of Italian history worth seeing: Villa Mussolini, an insider tip!

More about Villa Mussolini

15. beaches Rhodes

There are more than enough beaches on Rhodes. From tourist beaches with booming basses, e.g. in Faliráki, to lonely bays, each of you will surely find your favorite beach. For us it was the beach in Stegná. To the right and left, the bay is framed by imposing cliffs reminiscent of the
Calanque near Marseille
reminiscent. The fine sandy beach is wide enough to offer enough space, at the same time it is only a few steps to the nearest tavern. Parking is available on the street directly on the beach. And under shady tamarisk trees you sit well to chat or just to look at the sea in the distance. Or even better from a fish taverna with delicious grilled octopus or shrimp from Symi, ouzo and wine , e.g. at the recommendable restaurant Pitropos. Wonderfully relaxed and unagitated.

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16. surfing beach Prassonisi

In the very south of the island is Kite-Surfer’s Paradise, a hot spot in the Mediterranean. With an average of 5 to 6 Beaufort winds, it is one of the windiest surf spots in the world. You can easily park directly on the wide beach, unpack your sails and board and get into the fun!

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17. silent villages and old churches

Especially in the south there are still many villages where time seems to have stood still. Lachaniá, for example, is one of these original villages on Rhodes. Here you can watch the life and hustle and bustle of the villagers in peace and quiet, for example under a shady plane tree in the Taverna O Platanos, right next to the church.

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18th Folklore Museum in Lardos

And we would like to give you one more tip: If you are interested in the recent history of Rhodes and the Greeks on the island, you should definitely visit the Folklore Museum in Lardos. In a private initiative, Panagiotis Loukaras has lovingly collected more than 1,000 objects and photos from the past century here. And Panagiotis also likes to tell in German the background of individual devices and illustrations. More about the Folklore Museum in Rhodes

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Siegbert Mattheis

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Rhodes travel guide

These two travel books by Marco Polo and Dumont helped us a lot in the preparation of the trip and also on site. both equally informative, with many insider tips and hints. The Dumont guidebook is much more detailed in some points, the one from Marco Polo offers suggestions for adventure tours.

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