6 must-do things to do in Rhodes

Visiter Rhodes

Visiting Rhodes: what are the best things to do and see on this wonderful Aegean island this summer?

What to do on the island of Rhodes? Now that you’ve received your plane ticket by e-mail, it’s time to plan your idyllic stay. Located in the southeastern Aegean Sea, just 17.7 km from the Turkish coast, Rhodes is the largest island in the Dodecanese and is seven times smaller than Corsica. Inhabited since ancient times, this island paradise is now an open-air museum of antiquity.

But it’s also one of the most touristy of all the Greek islands. If you come to visit Rhodes in summer, it will be crowded, but you’ll still be able to find peaceful spots sheltered from mass tourism. Here’s our selection of the six best things to do to visit Rhodes and enjoy an unforgettable stay.

1. Rhodes old town

Vieille-ville de Rhodes

Photo credit: Flickr – Doga Ozyurekli

With 49,541 inhabitants (2011), Rhodes is the capital of the eponymous island, founded in 408 BC. Its medieval old town, enclosed by high ramparts built in the time of the Knights of Rhodes, has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.

It’s considered Europe’s largest and best-preserved fortified city. Built between 1309 and 1523, it is an old Byzantine city entirely pedestrianized, where you can contemplate a singular marriage of historical architectural styles: Gothic influences in the upper town and Ottoman style in the lower town. A must-see when visiting Rhodes.

Its state of preservation is astounding: travelling through time, you’d almost imagine you were back in the Middle Ages, as the cobbled streets and Gothic towers have retained their authenticity of yesteryear. Within its walls, the churches of Agia Triada – Holy Trinity – and Agia Aikaterini – Saint Catherine – are among the district’s must-sees.

An archaeological gem

Rhodes is also known as the home of the famous Colossus of Rhodes, the sixth of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, built around 292 BC. Don’t look for it, as no trace of it remains today, having been completely destroyed by an earthquake in the 6th century.

Stroll along the main street of the old town from the Palace of the Grand Masters to the incredibly well-preserved Rhodes Archaeological Museum. The Archaeological Museum contains most of the major ancient remains excavated from the soil and sea of the Dodecanese islands. The museum building – built in the 15th century as a hospice – houses priceless statues, pottery, urns, epitaphs, altars and sarcophagi. Finally, climb the stairs of the clock tower to get a bird’s eye view of the city from above, a fabulous panorama from the Acropolis and Mount Smith. More information on Rhodes tours.

2. Tsambika

Plage de Tsambika, Rhodes

Photo credit: Flickr – Vito Parlato

On the road between Rhodes town and Lindos, discover one of the jewels of the island’s eastern coast: Tsambika beach. What’s there to do in Rhodes if you don’t want to get wet in the warm, crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea? Tsambika beach has the considerable advantage of being covered in sand, which is quite rare on the island of Rhodes. Sunbathing, swimming, water sports and hiking in the Panagia Tsampika Psili Dimou Archagkelou park are just some of the activities you can enjoy at Tsambika Beach.

After climbing 350 steps up the hillside, you’ll come face to face with the Tsambika monastery. It’s a Byzantine church built on a rocky outcrop 300 meters above sea level. The site offers majestic views of the coastline, including Kolymbia, Tsambika beach and even Lindos. The beach below is sandwiched between two rocky promontories along a strip of fine sand, providing deckchairs and umbrellas for a relaxing swim!

3. The village of Lindos

Lindos, Rhodes

Photo credit: Flickr – Marcus Ward

Located 55 kilometers south of Rhodes city on the east coast, Lindos is a must-see if you’re wondering what to do on the island of Rhodes. Recognizable by its white houses, it’s considered the only village to have retained authentic Greek charm. As such, it is listed as a historic monument.

Lindos is said to have been founded in the 10th century BC by the Dorians. In other words, its 3,000-year-old basement has seen a lot! Perched on a hill, it offers a splendid view of the Bay of St. Paul, to the south of the village. What’s more, the town center is pedestrianized, but is also reserved for donkeys! Beware: prices here may be higher than elsewhere, as the village attracts Rhodes’ wealthy classes, most of whom are artists.

Visit the Acropolis overlooking the village, with its ancient ruins, and imagine daily life in ancient Greece. Archaeological excavations on the hillside attest to human occupation in the Neolithic period (4th millennium BC). In Lindos, visit the ruins of the Temple of Athena to round off your Rhodes tour. Find out more about an excursion to Lindos.

4. Pefkos and its beach

Pefkos, Rhodes

Photo credit: Wikimedia – Jorge Láscar

While Lindos is the second most popular attraction for visitors to Rhodes, a jewel on the island of Rhodes lies just a few kilometers south of Lindos: Pefkos beach. This beach is much quieter than the others. It’s a former fishing village, more relaxing but no less popular with tourists in search of peace and quiet. A must-see if you’re looking for something to do in Rhodes.

5. Kamiros

Kamiros

Photo credit: Flickr – Jorge Láscar

The ancient site of Kamiros lies to the north-west of the island of Rhodes. This archaeological site allows visitors to immerse themselves in the history of ancient Greece: the city was founded by the Dorians, occupied by the Persians, then by Athens – and the League of Delos – and warriors from Sparta. Kamiros was a prosperous city with a highly developed cultural life. The remains reveal a three-tiered structure, the highest being the Acropolis and the Stoa on a hilltop. Two earthquakes in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC reduced the city to ruins. The ancient site of Kamiros – or Camiros – is a must-see when visiting Rhodes.

6. A boat trip to discover Rhodes and the surrounding area

Symi

Visiting Rhodes also means taking advantage of its coastline. In fact, there are some very nice excursions to be made by boat, such as :

  • A day trip to theisland of Symi;
  • Sail along the east coast of Rhodes and enjoy kayaking and diving;
  • Tour the island of Rhodes.
  • Discover the Dodecanese, which lies opposite, and reach the Turkish border.

So it would be a shame not to rent a boat in Rhodes and take advantage of this enchanting setting. Private and organized excursions are also available.

Find a boat to rent in Rhodes

How to get to Rhodes

Rhodes – Diagoras International Airport is located 22 kilometers from Rhodes city center. Smartwings and easyJet offer direct flights to Rhodes from Paris Orly and Paris CDG. Flight times average 3 hours 40 minutes. Other airlines, such as British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa, offer flights with a stopover. Find a cheap flight on the website of our partner Ulysse.

Where to stay in Rhodes?

One of Europe’s oldest medieval towns, Rhodes will delight you with its impressive cobbled streets, gates and fortifications. But the old town can be a little too crowded in summer. So you’ll have to choose somewhere else to stay in Rhodes: Lindos, Faliraki, Ialyssos, Archangelos… To find a cheap hotel in Rhodes, use our hotel comparison service.

Getting around Rhodes

On the island of Rhodes, there are several ways to get around, mainly by road. First of all, you can use the local buses, which you’ll find in two places in Rhodes town:

  • The first is in Rimini, right next to the new market, which serves the east coast (KTEL);
  • And another Averof street, 50 m away, serves the entire west coast (RODA company).

Timetables are posted on a gatehouse at Mandraki harbor and at each stop, as well as at the tourist office.

At 85 km long and 35 km wide, the island of Rhodes is much more accessible by car or scooter. If you want to move freely between the beaches and coves and visit Rhodes at your leisure, it’s best to rent a car, bike or scooter. You can find a cheap rental car on Rentalcars.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Rhodes,gr