Rhodes Island

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The colossus of the Dodecanese: beach, sun and heritage

Rhodes in short

On the edge of eastern Greece and just a stone's throw from Asia Minor, the island of Rhodes, from where the Turkish coast can be seen on the northern tip, has always been the jewel of the Dodecanese archipelago - the etymological "twelve islands", which in reality are fourteen!

The port of Rhodes, where the Colossus once stood

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Rhodes enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate and surprisingly lush vegetation, alternating with almost desert-like areas. Depending on the season, you can admire wild mountain roses, conifers, eucalyptus, olive trees (in abundance!) and be intoxicated by the scents of thyme, oregano, broom or oleander. The complete tour of the island, which stretches 85km from north to south and around 35km in width, can easily be done in two days, by car, but don't dawdle on the way! Rhodes, Zeus' greatest gift to his son Helios, has accumulated a 4,500-year heritage of diverse civilisations. As well as the Greeks, the Romans, Ottomans and Italians have left their mark here.

Rhodes old town

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On the northern tip of the island, just a stone's throw from the Turkish coast, the medieval old town of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! The legend of the immense Colossus under which the ships of Mandraki passed, its ramparts and medieval architecture all bear witness to the city's great cultural influence from Antiquity through to the Middle Ages. But Rhodes is also a lively city, active all year round. When night falls, the bars, typical gourmet restaurants and discotheques housed in period Italian mansions and neo-Hellenic hotels take over. Colourful illuminations in the cobbled pedestrian streets, squares, hidden courtyards and vaults give the city a unique, timeless charm.

Elli beach in Rhodes

- © Timofeev Vladimir / Shutterstock

In summer, Rhodians and tourists alike flock to the coasts to enjoy the island's vast stretches of sand: Rhodes excels as a seaside destination, with its resorts, grand hotels, beaches and ever-present sunshine. Take Tsambika on the east coast, for example, where the breathtaking view from the chapel of Panagia Kyra looks down onto this wonderful beach of fine golden sand and the surrounding villages... In Rhodes, there are a thousand picturesque little churches and villages offering magnificent views! A few kilometres away, the resorts of Faliraki and Kolimbia, or the thermal baths of Kallithea, in the north-east of the island, are the perfect base for those wishing to enjoy the pleasures of the seaside. The golden sand stretching as far as the eye can see contrasts with the clear blue sea.


- © Serenity-H / Shutterstock

Further south, the village of Lindos, with its white houses perched on the hillside, is well worth a visit. The Acropolis and its fortress, as well as the ruins of the temple of Athena, await you. It's great to lose yourself in the maze of streets and immerse yourself in authentic Rhodian life... On the north-western tip, near the resort of Lalyssos, the hill of Philerimos rises up with the remains of the ancient acropolis and the monastery of Panagia, dominating the whole region. Panoramic views, hikes, spectacular sunsets and coastal entertainment are all part of the programme.


- © Oleg_P / Shutterstock

It is on the western side of the island that water sports enthusiasts, particularly windsurfers and kitesurfers, enjoy the meltem, a strong northerly wind that blows across all the Greek islands in summer, and to which Rhodes is particularly exposed. The island of Prassonissi, at the end of the almost deserted southern tip, is also a meeting place for windsurfers and surfers. To your boards!

© Greg - Les Apprentis Voyageurs

The sympathy of the Rhodians, who are proud of their island, benevolent and never stingy with advice, completes the picture. In fact, they like to say that Rhodes first belonged to Zeus Xenios, the Spirit of hospitality...

How to get there?

Two options: by plane or by boat.

✈️: by far the quickest solution! Several French cities (Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux and Nantes) have direct flights to Rhodes during the high season (April-October), on scheduled or low-cost airlines, taking an average of 3? hours. It is also possible to make a stopover in Athens, then take a domestic flight to Rhodes (1-hour flight).

⛴️: a solution for those with time on their hands. There are daily ferry links between Athens and Rhodes, and weekly links from Crete (Heraklion, Sitia).


✈️ Fly to Rhodes!

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Where to stay?

Rhodes is an island that's big on tourism, with a wide choice of accommodation. While large modern resorts with beachside swimming pools are a local speciality, there are also small family-run hotels and, as everywhere else in Greece, rooms for rent with local people.

In summer, book your accommodation in advance, as Rhodes is very busy.

Practical information

👉 When should you visit Rhodes?

  • Early spring (April-May) is a perfect time to discover Rhodes: the island is still calm, the weather is cool and sunny, and the vegetation is colourful and lush.
  • The off-season, in September-October, is also highly recommended, with milder temperatures, fewer people and a warm sea.
  • In summer, the atmosphere is at its best and the sun at its brightest. There are lots and lots of people on the beaches and in the hotels, and it can get very hot when the wind drops.
  • In winter, Rhodes becomes dormant and its visitors disappear. It's an opportunity to discover the island in its authentic, if very quiet, light.

👉 What are the formalities?

Rhodes is a Greek island: Greece is an integral part of the European Union, so all you need is your identity card or passport.

👉 How long can I stay?

You can easily stay 1 week, or even 2 weeks, exploring Rhodes: the island is large in scale and packed with sights. Thanks to its airport and numerous boat lines, Rhodes is also a logical starting point for a holiday in the Dodecanese: you can stay 2 or 3 days in Rhodes before embarking for Symi, Tilos, Nissiros, Halki, etc...

👉 Why go to Rhodes?

Rhodes will delight lovers of historical heritage and cultural visits, thanks to the old town of Rhodes and the archaeological sites scattered all over the island. But Rhodes is above all attractive for its vast sandy beaches, clear waters and generous sunshine! The large size of Rhodes is another advantage: more varied than the smaller Dodecanese islands, it also offers great opportunities for nature outings. At the same time, Rhodes is perfectly situated for getting to other Dodecanese islands.

🍴 What to eat and drink?

Located just a stone's throw from the Turkish coast, Rhodes' cuisine has an oriental flavour. A meal begins with mezzes, a variety of starters (tarama, tzatziki, aubergine caviar, etc.), which are also served as an aperitif snack. A Greek salad often accompanies the main course, which consists of meat, fish and vegetables. The tavernas of Rhodes offer the specialities for which Greek cuisine is famous: grilled squid and octopus, lamb chops, moussaka, stuffed aubergines, souvlaki, etc. Vegetarians will also find something to their liking. In busy areas such as the old town of Rhodes or Lindos, beware of touristy restaurants. Always choose a traditional taverna, where real Greek specialities are served. Bakeries (fournos) and their pitas, or the ubiquitous gyros are perfect for eating on the go and cheap.

🚌 Transport

Two local bus companies, KTEL and RODA, share the entire island, departing from Rhodes bus station in the new town. Efficient network, frequent connections in season to the northern seaside resorts and Lindos. Economical, but not always easy due to timetables. The south of Rhodes, on the other hand, has very few services. The most practical option is to hire a vehicle (car or scooter) if you're going to be criss-crossing Rhodes: the kilometres add up quickly. You can hire a car or scooter as soon as you arrive at the port or airport.

👉 What not to do

Lovers of authenticity and tranquillity should avoid the purely seaside resort of Faliraki, which is nonetheless lively and well-equipped with hotels and facilities, and frequented by an Anglo-Saxon clientele.

👉 What to bring back?

Stock up on olive oil and ouzo (the local anisette) and try your hand at natural sponges, particularly on the island of Symi with its fishermen, a 2-hour boat ride from the port of Rhodes. They can also be found on the ramparts of the old town.

lightbulb_outline Editor's tip

Make sure you have a good pair of shoes, both for walking and for taking it easy in the old town of Rhodes. The cobblestones on the ground, fortunately preserved in their original state, reveal some rather large gaps.

Useful links
Greece Tourist Office - Rhodes

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