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The best things to do in Rhodes

Photo of Heidi Fuller-lovePhoto of Heidi Fuller-love
By Heidi Fuller-love

17 January 20245 min read

An aerial view of Mandraki port in Rhodes, Greece

Mandraki, Rhodes Exploring local towns is high on the itinerary for a Rhodes holiday.

With 300-plus days of sunshine, endless golden beaches and a smorgasbord of thrilling attractions, Rhodes is one of Greece’s most loved holiday destinations.

Littered with magical ancient sites – including Lindos’ 4th century BC acropolis and the capital’s UNESCO-listed old town – this lovely Greek island, where the legendary Colossus statue once stood, also has plenty of modern attractions.

From splashing about in one of Greece’s largest waterparks, chilling with the winged inhabitants of the unique Butterfly Valley or lingering in a string of traditional tavernas, this dazzling Dodecanese Island is a real all-rounder with something to suit every taste.

Here are ten things to add to your itinerary for your holiday to Rhodes.

1. Explore Rhodes' old town

With its massive medieval walls enclosing a labyrinth of cobbled alleys and the Palace of the Grand Master, Rhodes’ UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town is like a time capsule.

Dive deep into the tangle of streets to discover mosques, synagogues, cafes and shops on a private tour with knowledgeable guide Dimitris, then stroll along the ramparts marvelling at views of the old town’s domes and minarets spread out below.

Don’t miss: Trying a moist slab of the local portokalopita orange cake from the Old Town Corner Bakery

2. Discover lovely Lindos

Crowned by a 4th century BC acropolis that gazes out over the deep blue waters of St Paul’s Bay, Lindos is best explored in mid-afternoon when it’s cooler and the cruise ship crowds have gone home.

Stroll the steep paved streets of this ancient fortified city to discover ancient temples, age-old tombs and Byzantine chapels, then cool off in the sparkling waters of the bay below.

Don’t miss: Dinner at Mavrikos, a century-old family-run taverna, where celebrities from Gregory Peck to Jackie O have dined.

3. Hang out with the wildlife in Butterfly Valley

Reached via a winding road dotted with silver-leaf olive groves, Butterfly Valley is a unique nature reserve where Jersey Tiger moths flock in their thousands, covering trees with their fluttering black- and red-striped wings from May to September.

This vast nature reserve, where the island’s endemic fallow deer run wild, also has plenty of other attractions, including forest hiking trails, natural springs and waterfalls.

Don’t miss: The stunning views from the 18th-century Kalopetra Monastery.

4. See the sights from Monolithos Castle

From afar, the 236m-high (774ft) thumb-shaped rock of Monolithos, crowned by two ancient chapels and the ruins of 15th-century castle built by the Knights of St John, looks like something out of a fairytale.

Reached via several hundred steps carved into the cliff face, it’s a stiff climb to reach the top of this pine-studded protrusion. It’s worth it, however, for the spectacular views over the Aegean Sea and out to Halki island.

Don’t miss: A visit to Siana village next door where they make the island’s punchy white spirit, Souma.

5. Visit spectacular monasteries

Renowned for an icon that’s said to grant fertility, Tsambika is one of the island’s best known Byzantine monasteries. Even if you’re not visiting for its mystical history, it's worth climbing the 292 steps for breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside.

In the north of the island, high on a hilltop where peacocks roam, Filerimos is worth visiting. It’s an easy hike from the 5th century BC site of ancient Ialyssos.

Don’t miss: Sampling the monks’ famous herb drink in the canteen at Filerimos monastery.

6. Visit the springs of Kalithea

The mineral-rich springs that have gushed from the rocks at Kalithea since ancient times are said to have healing properties – drawing royals and celebrities to take the waters here since the 1930s.

Swim in the bay that’s still watered by Kalithea’s health-giving springs and take in the view from Kalithea’s pretty Art Deco rotunda, which opens on to one of Rhodes' loveliest bays and has been the backdrop for countless films including 1961 war epic, The Guns of Navarone.

Don’t miss: Coffee and cake in Kalithea’s beachside cafe.

7. Explore the mountain villages on a jeep safari

Away from its glorious coastline, Rhodes is dotted with tiny mountain villages that are best discovered on a jeep safari.*

Surrounded by a sea of vines, Embonas, the centre of wine production on the island, is the perfect spot for a wine tasting lunch, while Archangelos is renowned for its shops selling ceramics, which have been made here for centuries.

Don’t miss: Lunch at Cookhouse Paraga, a taverna in the mountain village of Apollona that’s famed for its traditional dishes.

8. Splash about in Greece’s biggest waterpark

At the heart of one of the island’s liveliest seaside resorts, Faliraki Waterpark is a magnet for families. Spread over a vast plot of land just a short drive from Rhodes Town, this magical park is great for all ages: terrifying rides like the Free Fall are marked with red stickers, while less challenging attractions are indicated with orange or yellow signs.

With several restaurants on site there’s no need to go hungry here, either.

Don’t miss: A stroll along Faliraki’s lively seafront.

9. Lounge on lovely beaches

Whether you’re a serial sunbather or want to head beneath the waves, Rhodes’ beaches won’t disappoint. With its big resorts and excellent facilities, Faliraki’s lounger-lined stretch of sand is popular with families, while snorkellers love the fish-filled waters of Anthony Quinn Bay.

Would-be Robinson Crusoes seeking remote beaches will prefer Agathias with its silk soft sands and scattering of feet-in-the-water tavernas, or Stegna’s secluded coves backed by small cafes and framed by citrus groves.

Don’t miss: Hiking out to see Prasoni’s picturesque lighthouse.

10. Visit Turkey for the day

With four ferries running daily in the height of summer, it’s possible to spend the day sightseeing in the Turkish town of Fethiye with its Lycian tombs and bustling market, or visiting Marmaris’ medieval castle and lively marina before returning to Rhodes the same evening (remember to bring your passport).

Closer to home, the Greek islands of Symi and Halki are just over an hour’s ferry ride away from Rhodes, and ferries to Kos and Kastellorizo take around two hours.

Don’t miss: A private cruise to Lindos with a barbecue lunch included.

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