The island of Rhodes in the Dodecanese Islands is as historically important as it is beautiful. The site of one of the former 7 Wonders of the World, the Colossus of Rhodes, this beautiful island close to Turkey has been a place of great importance over the centuries.
Now, Rhodes is quite a popular town with tourists, but you can take advantage of the pleasant weather in the off-season — we visited at the end of April and found that it was a perfect time to visit to Greece.
Explore the ancient Old Town
The Old Town of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a living, breathing piece of history. Walking around the Old Town through the seven ancient gates of the walled city is a can’t-miss activity for history lovers.
Eat delicious Greek food
We think that Greek food is one of the most delicious of the Balkan cuisines, and the food on Rhodes was no exception! Whether it was pork gyros dripping with delicious tzatziki or a table full of beautiful dips and mezes, we ate to our heart’s content the entire time we were in Rhodes and loved every bite.
We ate this meal at Nikos in the Old Town one of our first days in Rhodes and thought it was delicious!
Admire the Fort St. Nicholas
The Fort of St. Nicholas was built to protect the Mandraki, the military harbor of Rhodes. It started as just a tower, built in the 1460s, but 20 years later a bastion was added to create a proper sea fortress.
It’s beautiful to walk all the way to, but we were partial to this beautiful view of it as seen from within the medieval walls of Rhodes, especially for the views of the windmills near the fort.
Hang out in Ippokratous Square
Now the touristic heart of Rhodes, heaving with tourists and mediocre restaurants, Ippokratous Square is still worth visiting for a quick visit – just don’t eat here or you’ll be paying twice the price for half the quality.
The fountain is a famous photo spot and sitting around the fountain is a popular respite from walking for tired families and snap-happy travelers.
Check out Suleiman’s Mosque
If you look at a map, you’ll likely notice that Rhodes is closer to mainland Turkey than mainland Greece; as a result, Rhodes has been a bit contested between the two major empires over the course of history.
The 1522 Siege of Rhodes, commanded by Çoban Mustafa Pasha, left a distinctly Ottoman mark on several parts of Rhodes, most notably in Suleiman’s Mosque in the heart of the Old Town of Rhodes which is still standing to this day.
Have delicious burgers and cocktails at The Union
While we undoubtedly love Greek food, we do tire of eating the same cuisine day in and day out. When we were in Rhodes, we had already been in Greece for about 10 days and our taste buds were trying for a respite from feta and souvlaki – luckily, Rhodes is a great place for people who want a bit of a change of pace from traditional Greek food.
We loved our meal at the Union, which has fantastic burgers (definitely splurge and get the truffle fries; they are swoon-worthy) and inventive, beautiful cocktails, all at surprisingly affordable prices. While we definitely advise you to eat plenty of Greek food during your stay in Rhodes, it can’t hurt to mix it up a little, especially with a place as tasty as the Union!
Take a day trip to the white-washed city of Lindos
The city of Lindos is about 1 hour away by sweaty, un-air-conditioned bus from the center of Rhodes Old Town, but it is well-worth visiting despite the distance! In a lot of ways it is the quintessential Greek white-washed city, so if you want those classic white wall photos – bonus points for those beautiful fuschia flowers that seem to be ubiquitous in Greece – this is the place to visit.
However, we advise that you do not ride the donkeys in Lindos, no matter how hot it may be (it’s worse for them!). The donkeys did not look to be well-treated at all – one I saw seemed to have sores from a poorly fitted saddle – and a lot of the donkeys seemed to be way over-burdened with the weight of tourists on their backs.
Enjoy the beautiful Lindos beach
The beaches in Rhodes City are a bit lackluster, to be totally honest – it’s not the kind of water that screams “get in!” But the beach at Lindos is a whole different story. The water is that typical turquoise shade of blue that only Greece seems to be able to get just right.
Lindos is located on a bay, which means no rough waves and it’s also quite shallow, making it easy to walk from one area of the beach to the other without having to swim. We preferred the quieter area away from the main beach area – you can walk there from the town but you can also wade through waist-deep water to the quieter beach area, which has a few umbrellas and chairs and just one or two restaurants.
Don’t Travel to Rhodes without Travel Insurance
Finally, make sure you always travel to Greece with a valid travel insurance policy. While the island is safe, any time you’re going to be somewhere with lots of tourists or enjoying outdoor activities, you want to make sure you are covered in case of theft or if you get hurt.
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.
Originally from California, Allison has been living in Bulgaria for the last two years and is obsessed with traveling around the Balkans. She has been published in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, Matador Network, and the Huffington Post. She loves befriending dogs, drinking coffee, geeking out about wine, and cooking food from around the world.