How many people do you know have been to Rhodes? I hit on this un-exotic sounding island purely by accident after first considering Crete. That decision was shelved once I looked into it; I deemed the massive size unmanageable since I didn’t want to be driving every minute and there were too many options. So I looked into something a bit smaller: Rhodes. I read about Rhodes’ phenomenal history, its walled fairy tale medieval old town and cobblestone streets. More importantly though, its round-the-clock sunshine 325 days a year, endless beaches and a reputation as an island for sun worshippers intrigued me. Learning that it is a well-known party scene more or less sealed the deal, as like many vacationers I was seeking some fun in the sun. What I did not realize and later learned was that Rhodes has been a destination for Europeans for years, especially the Brits and Italians. Its proximity to Turkey is a draw. But let’s get one thing straight: it’s not what I’d call a “magical” island, the kind everyone associates with the Greek islands in general. Also, its popularity as a cruise ship destination merits a mention in order to grasp the scope of its tourist trade.
I’m sure it’s the spectacular harbor that brings visitors to their knees. The imposing fortress-like battlements of Rhodes town are a windfall and the old town within is nothing short of breathtaking. I felt as if I had entered into something out of the Knights of the Round Table. Every time I visited, I found that there is so much to see, you can’t help but go back again and again. Sure, there are plenty of tacky tourist shops and snack bars — but for the most part it maintains a sense of serenity in spite of the crowds. The convenience of hitting the beach just after some major sightseeing is also something not to be found in many places. Rhodes town single-handedly stuns and delivers the goods for anyone who wants a little culture packed into their beach day. And for those want to gamble, the casino is first rate.
There is no shortage of wonderful curiosities on the island as well, as each village offers a different take on how to profit from your hard earned cash. While I hung close to the hub of activity in Ixia, I noticed that a bit further down the main road in Ialyssos there was a burgeoning restaurant scene just aching to be discovered by an American gourmand. This town could possibly go unnoticed while you drive through en route from the airport, but be sure to check back later when you get your island radar up and running. You’ll have a much different point of view.
And then of course there’s the beautifully scenic white vertical town of Lindos, every guidebook’s favorite and a pleasant hour plus drive from Rhodes town. A tourist Mecca by island standards, this jewel box of a village has all the elements ready and waiting for travel savvy visitors – a stunning Acropolis crowning the environs, several picture perfect beaches within minutes of the town square and a café society that comes alive at sunset. Don’t miss spending an evening here under the stars.
The country code for Greece is 30 and the city code for Rhodes is 22410
Where to Stay
Rodos Park Suites Hotel: Rhodes Park boasts a host of fine details in their everyday accommodations. Its warm and friendly, while delicate and sophisticated. 12, Riga Fereou str., Ixia; Tel: +30 22410 89700; www.rodospark.gr
K Boutique Hotel: The K Boutique is located by the sea, being recently renovated it is considered perfect for relaxation and serenity. The red color of the lobby with it bar invites the guests in. 16 suitess—4 with large Jacuzzi and 4 with plunge pools offer guest deluxe accommodations in Ixia just minutes from the old city. 28 Ialissos Ave Ixia, Ixia
Tel: Tel. +30 22410 96980 or 96990; www.Kboutiquehotel.com
Avalon Boutique Hotel: Avalon Boutique’s suites all over look Medieval City, the port of Rhodes or its medieval courtyard. Warm modern colors have been used throughout the hotel to reflect the Medieval City’s atmosphere. Haritos Str 9., Medieval Town Rhodes; Tel: +30 22410 31438; www.avalonrhodes.gr
Miramare Wonderland: The Miramare Wonderland is a unique waterfront resort, located on the beach with a host of Greek or international delicacies, and a spectacular swimming pool and recreational area. There are 175 luxurious suite-bungalows. Ixia GR – 85 101 Rhodes, Greece; Tel: +30 22410 96251; www.bluegr.com
Where to Eat
Alexis Taverna: The best of the Old Town, Alexis Taverna is a Mediterranean restaurant composed of the finest seafood dishes established by 50 years of tradition. A haunt of Jackie and Aristotle! Aristolelous 33, Rhodes Town, Tel: +30 22410 70522, http://www.alexis-restaurant.com/
Red Restaurant: Red Restaurant is a new addition to Rhodes town, they offer Mediterranean cuisine but also more classic dishes; they even home make their desserts. 25, G.Papanikolaou str. Rhodes Town; Tel: +30 22410 30377, www.redrestaurant.gr
Nikos Restaurant: Nikos Fish Taverna is located in the centre of Rhodes Town and is a traditional Greek taverna. The fish is fresh daily. 38, Dragoumi Str, Rhodes Town; Tel: +30 22410 39043
Rhodes Town: A medieval city which is breathtaking. The city has an incredible amout of history and was built in 408 BC. With its citadel, the city sits on the Port of Rhodes. There are restaurants and shops aligning the small streets.
Lindos: Worth a drive to the other side of the island is Lindos. This is the second largest city on the island of Rhodes and the most picturesque. White washed house line the hills of this town which is great for meandering, buying lace and having an Ouzo at sunset.