According to myth, Helios, the sun god, fell madly in love when Rhodes emerged from the sea, blessing her with the warm embrace of his rays from that moment onwards. Pleasant weather, great beaches and stunning natural beauty aside, this island is a cultural gem situated somewhere between East and West. The ruins from its ancient past and its eternally traditional culture sure provide enough (and more) to see during your 5 days in Rhodes.
Many travellers arriving to Rhodes will land at Diagoras International Airport. First thing is to grab a taxi and check into your hotel before heading out to see the island. When it comes to accommodations in Rhodes there is plenty to choose from: beach-side villas, fully-serviced apartments, modest guest houses and exclusive hotels. When hunger strikes, as it often does after a day of travelling, head to a Greek taverna in the old town to sample delicious meze and ouzo, before checking out the shops in the new town. Sunset is best enjoyed at the ancient harbour, where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood.
The entire old town of Rhodes town is considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Historically it was home to the Knights Hospitaller before falling under Turkish and later Italian rule. The first thing you notice is the Palace of the Grand Masters, also known simply as Castello. It’s worth a closer look and then take a stroll along the Street of the Knights towards the water. At the end of the street is a little restaurant, Alexis, where gentleman like Winston Churchill and Aristotle Onassis used to dine for seafood. Although pricey, it’s loaded with history.
The interior of the island is home to a vastly untouched landscape. Most famous is the Valley of the Butterflies which is a unique nature park complete with lakes, waterfalls and quaint little bridges. It’s only 27km from Rhodes town and makes for a perfect day-out. The area is filled with thousands of butterflies each summer from mid-June until the send of September, creating a really spectacular sight. Nearby is Kalopetra Monastery, just above the valley, which dates back to 1780 and is surrounded by impressive pine forests.
Every visit to Rhodes should include a quick trip to Lindos, a small little town on the south-eastern side of the island, just 55km from Rhodes town. Take a donkey up the hill to the Acropolis which features ancient ruins from the temple of Athena Lindias and offers great views of Lindos Bay. Not far is Prassonissi beach, famous among surfers. Rent a board and hit the waves or soak the sun’s gentle rays on the beach. The town is known for its traditional ceramic pottery and handmade leather sandals so don’t leave without a few souvenirs.
Every last day in Rhodes should be spent either enjoying the seaside or catching a few last sights and a good meal. The Temple of Aphrodite can be found on Plateia Symis and is one of the few ancient ruins that can still be found in the old town, dating to the 3rd century. Don’t get too lost in the labyrinth of the old town though and miss your last chance to sit down for a proper Greek meal before boarding your flight back home. If you’re already thinking about grabbing more cheap flights to Rhodes for your next holiday before you’ve even left, you won’t be the first!
Have you ever been to Rhodes? What must NOT be missed? How would you spend 5 days in Rhodes?
Img: momono / flickr cc