Greece is one of my all-time favourite destinations, and within it the island of Rhodes may be my top choice!
Rhodes is large and populated enough that it has many attractions and good infrastructure, but it isn’t overcrowded like many other Greek islands. It has a long history, so there are many ancient and medieval sites, and the island is covered in scenic beaches.
Read on to learn about the best that Rhodes has to offer!
Walking through the monumental gates and along the walls into Rhodes’ Old Town feels like you’ve stepped about 700 years into the past. The Street of the Knights and the Palace of the Grandmaster are both very well preserved, so without the mopeds going by you really do feel like you’ve been transported back.
The archaeological museum was one of my favourite spots, and there’s a courtyard in the back with a garden, fountains, and mosaics. To save money you can get a ticket that covers multiple museums as long as you go within 3 days of purchase.
The east coast of Rhodes is covered with beautiful beaches and small towns! You can take a bus tour there but for just a few euro you can do the same trip on a public bus.
Lindos is a very cute town that’s only about 1.5 hours away on the bus. There you’ll find great beaches, ancient and medieval monuments, and lots of tourist shops and restaurants.
All along the coast there are great beaches, like Tsampikos and Faliraki, as well as the Kalithea beach and springs. We stopped at the smaller and more secluded Ladiko and Anthony Quinn beaches. If you venture inland slightly you can see the Epta Piges, or “seven springs,” which is a nice shady break in the woods with walking paths and a small waterfall.
The west coast of Rhodes is very rugged and much less populated than other parts of the island. Because there aren’t any buses there, your best option is renting a car.
The hills give you a great view of the Aegean, but they do mean that there aren’t as many accessible beaches. Instead, you can visit castles (for free!) at Kritinia and Monolithos. Monolithos is also a small town, where you can get lunch with a view.
Visit the Venetian harbour by the Old Town and you will see countless boats lined up offering day trips to nearby islands. We took a trip to Symi, where we had stops for swimming and going to the pastel-painted town for lunch. The boat went right past Turkey so we had great views, but you can also go to Turkey itself from Rhodes!
Where to Stay
Rodos, AKA Rhodes, is the main city on the island and it is where most people stay. This city is home to the Old Town, the ancient acropolis, the Ventian harbour, and the modern city itself. As well this is where you have the best access to transportation, so it’s your best option if you plan on taking the bus.
I recommend the STAY Hostel – it was voted the best hostel in Greece for 2 years in a row on hostelword.com for good reason! There’s a home theatre, a great kitchen and patio, and they leave you a little present on your pillow every morning (like rose loukoumi or a free shot at the bar).
If you’re looking for a smaller town Lindos, along the east coast, is best. You can easily get to the great beaches along this side by bus, but going across the island is difficult without a rental car.
What to Eat
Like most of Greece, food in Rhodes is very reasonably priced. The seafood is always a great choice because it comes in fresh to the harbour. A friend we made at the hostel was obsessed with the squid!
There are a lot of great bakeries too, make sure you try some baklava and spanakopita (the spiral shaped ones are best).
The proper restaurants in the Old Town can be expensive, but you can get a good lunch and a drink at a bakery or pita shop for about €5.
Getting Around the Island
If you do decide to stay in the main city, you have lots of transport options! There are buses that go up and down the east coast and to some central locations straight from the centre of town. There are online bus schedules but I always find it best to double check at the information booth downtown. Make sure you know how to get back and always have change, because outside of town most of the stops are just a little sign on the side of the road.
If you’re going to the west coast or you want to go around the whole island (doable in a long day) you’ll need to rent a car. Wherever you’re staying might have a deal with a local company, but we just walked around to find one with a good deal (and haggled a little when they tried to raise the price).
Getting To and From Rhodes
If you are coming from or going to another island there are lots of ferries offered. There are many Greek ferry companies and their websites can be pretty bad, so going to a travel agent is the easiest way to book tickets. Some companies offer student discounts so look out for those too!
The Dodecanese islands are easy to get to, and Kos is a good connector for islands further north. You can get to the Cyclades and Crete as well, but not always on a regular basis. Blue Star also goes overnight between Rhodes and Athens which is a great way to save time and money.
The airport is also a destination for Ryanair, so there are cheap flights available from around Europe. If you’re flying within Greece, there’s Olympic Airlines, so you can check out travel agents again for that.
Have you ever been to Rhodes or plan on going? Let me know what you think in the comments.