It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s the island of Rhodes, and you should make sure to not let even a minute of your stay on this Greek island go to waste. From the moment you wake up until your head touches the pillow late at night, here is an informative guide on how to spend a day in Rhodes that will allow you to appreciate it to its full potential. We are here to make your vacations in Rhodes one the eighth wonder of the world!
Start your day on the right foot
Delicious breakfast with Greek yogurt - credits: baibaz/Shutterstock.com
You’re on your holidays, so you have every right to opt for sleeping in; however, are you sure you want to sacrifice the unique beauty of a Greek island early in the morning only to catch some extra z’s? You know the answer is ‘no’ so make the best out of it and find the motivation you need to wake up by taking yourself for a cup of delicious coffee. Thankfully, the coffee culture in Greece is large and in charge, something that is reflected in the wide variety and the number of coffee shops all over the country, with the Greek islands being no exception. Drink a cup of traditional Greek coffee or one the favorite of Greece’s summer coffees, and start your day with the boost of energy you need. And because no one can have fun on an empty stomach, especially if a big day ahead full of adventures is on the cards, accompany your coffee with a delicious Greek breakfast. In the Old Town Corner Bakery Shop, you’ll have the opportunity to taste homemade cakes and ‘phyllo’ pastries with various different delicious fillings, both savory and sweet, alongside a cup of aromatic coffee; the most authentic Greek breakfast. The bakery is located in the old town without being touristy to the least, serving as the perfect spot to start your adventure! Representing the true aesthetic of the Greek islands with pride, Lov'eat is a cafe/restaurant that charms everyone that stumbles upon it. The whitewashed building and the cute back yard decorated with delicate flowers are only part of its allure, as most importantly, Lov’eat serves some of the best food on the island; from luscious breakfast and coffee to freshly-baked pizzas, if you get the chance to visit it, don’t hesitate! A little out of the ordinary, as its own name suggests, but equally exquisite, Dali Extraordinary Art Bistro overlooks the sparkling Aegean waters and offers from day to night a medley of unique yummy food, coffee, and even delicious cocktails. Here, the menu leans on the more trendy side of brunch with stacks of pancakes and poached eggs dominating the list. Both the striking view out to the sea and the creative, one-of-a-kind recipes Dali offers will blow your mind -the pistachio pancakes are my weak spot!
Outside the center of Rhodes, and in particular, at the picturesque Lindos, Village Cafe is one of the most traditional-looking offerings, giving off an old-time vibe that can’t be duplicated! Apart from good coffee, Village Cafe offers nutritious and delicious breakfast and snacks that will make your mouth water. And the best part? You can also find traditional ‘meze’ that you can accompany with a shot of traditional ‘ouzo’. I bet good money that a visit to this scenic cafe will make your mood for the rest of the day! Last but currently not least, once again at the village of Lindos, Melia Cafe is another great choice for your morning coffee and breakfast and especially if you’re looking for a roof terrace of unmatched beauty and breathtaking views as your setting. From decadent croissants and imaginative homemade cakes to deliciously healthy Greek yogurt bowls, Melia Cafe is a firm favorite for many as its ambiance and food make for a winning combination one cannot overlook.
Swim in glittering beaches of Rhodes
Lindos beach - credits: cge2010/Shutterstock.com
It wouldn’t be a Greek island if it wasn’t awash of gorgeous sandy beaches with inviting blue waters that wait for both travelers and locals to relieve them from the summer heat. Therefore, following your morning coffee, you should make a point to go swimming and sunbathing, and collect all that valuable vitamin d we all strive for. Now, let’s be honest: whichever beach you choose for your swimming ventures, it will be perfectly fine; it’s a Greek beach, you are bound to love it! Here, however, are my top recommendations from personal experience.
First and foremost, the beaches of Lindos are two of the most talked-about beaches of Rhodes and for good reason: they are some of the most beautiful beaches of the island that manage to avoid the overflow of tourists despite both being within walking distance from the town. Megali Paralia is the biggest and more popular of the two, while Lindos Pallas is smaller and more peaceful. relatively quieter than the main beach. While both beaches are organized, a lot of convenience points are deducted due to the steep descend to Lindos village and the laborious ascend that will follow on the trip back. Despite all that, the shallow waters of both beaches make them particularly kid-friendly, while the striking landscape surrounding the golden sand is to-die-for. Having its name from the emblematic Greek orthodox church perched on top of the mountain, Tsambika is a beautiful beach that loners and people look for some peace and quiet will favor due to its remote location. Notwithstanding its remoteness, the beach still gathers an enthusiastic crowd looking for offbeat experiences but is a lot tamer compared to the other beaches of the island. For that reason, Tsambika is another great place for families visiting the island, while it is also organized and on its premises you can delight in a number of fun watersports that will keep you occupied all day long!
Faliraki Beach, on the other hand, is anything but. Even though it is a beach favored by visitors and locals alike, with its beauty being unnegotiable, if you like tranquility and you’re objective for your Greek island vacations is relaxation, I’m afraid Faliraki is not for you. Around 14 kilometers from Rhodes’ town, Faliraki is heavily-visited, especially during the high-season summer months, and is therefore vibrant, cosmopolitan and noticeably loud while being fenced by extraordinary mountain landscapes. The long beach is occupied with umbrellas from the trendy beach bars that reside on the coast, while parts of the beach have been made private for the exclusive use of Faliraki’s hotel guests. If you’re an adventure seeker, you’ll be happy to know that Faliraki also provides its visitors with a variety of entertaining watersports they can enjoy. In the same spirit of loud, vibrant and noisy fun, the beach of Afandou is perfect for those ready to party! It is the longest beach on the island, with some part of it being organized and others not. Despite its vibrant character and popularity, due to its size, it never gets as tightly packed as the rest of the beaches on Rhodes. Its downside, however, is that the waters get deep rather abruptly, which makes the beach unsuitable for families with toddlers or young children. Once again, this beach offers beach and water sports centers, while on the coast you can find traditional taverns, some rental rooms, and handly canteens just above the beach.
Discover the vast history of Rhodes island
The Medieval Town of Rhodes - credits: Philippos Philippou/Shutterstock.com
With the salt still in your hear, it’s time to discover the historic side of Rhodes, a dominating aspect of the island that makes it stand out from other summer destinations around the world and excites history buffs to no end. It has been proved that Rhodes has been inhabited since the Stone Age -that’s pretty far back, right?- and therefore the thousands of years that have since have passed, have left their mark on the island, making it wonderfully diverse in terms of architecture and style, among others. At the beginning of the 4th century AD, following the division of the Roman State, Rhodes became a part of the Eastern Empire. An earthquake in 515 AD brought the city of Rhodes to the ground before emperor Anastasios came to the rescue and rebuilt it. However, in 653 AD, Arab invaders plundered the town and destroyed its many significant monuments; and the hardships were far from over. Another attack in 807 AD, this time from Seljuks of Haroun al Raschid, destroyed the island, with Rhodes taking around 2 centuries to find its old glory. Subsequently, in the 11th century, Rhodes regained its commercial power with the help of the Crusaders, which Rhodes furnished with ships and mercenaries. In 1261, the Crusaders were beaten by the Byzantine emperors, who took over Rhodes and in 1309 AD sold it to the Knights of St. John. The time period during which the Knight of St.John had Rhodes under their rule is probably the most significant time in the history of the island, with their mark still evident at every turn. Forts, impenetrable walls, castles, churches and the distinctive architectural style of this time can be found everywhere you turn your head. The Crusaders’ stay in Rhodes lasted until 1522 when the island came to Suleiman the Magnificent. The Turks remained on the island until 1912 when it was taken over by the Italians. After the end of the Second World War, Rhodes, along with the other islands of the Dodecanese, finally found its way back home and became part of Greece.
I know it sounds intimidating, but a visit to the most notable monuments of Rhodes will help you compose a much clearer picture of the island’s history and heritage and will reveal to you how the influences of the past civilization are easy to spot throughout the island. Start with the Acropolis of Rhodes, the most monumental site of the island that stands on the hill that the locals now call ‘Monte Smith’. There, in the middle of a luscious green park, you can find the Hellenistic stadium, built in the 3rd century BC, where the athletic contests of the Alioi Games took place during antiquity in honor of the god ‘Helios’ - the god of the sun. Right by the stadium lies the still active Roman Odeon where people enjoy high-class performances to this day. What’s more, the remains of the temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus can be found at the northernmost point of the hill, while perched on the very top the hill is dominated by the temple of Pythion Apollo, the patron deity of the city, making for the perfect spot for watching a magnificent sunset. After the ancient site, head to the Archaeological Museum in Rhodes Town. Located in the Medieval town of the island, the museum is housed in the monumental building that used to host the hospital of the Knights of Saint John. Of course, the wonderful setting only adds to the appeal of the museum that contains various collections of archaeological artifacts from all over Rhodes and the neighboring islands, including the Statue of the Crouching Aphrodite, the Pyxis of the Fikellura type and the Head of Helios.
If after conquering the two most historically significant spots, you’re still willing to invest even more time exploring the island's turbulent past, then ancient Ialysos, ancient Kamiros, Elaphos and the castles of Monolithos, Kritinia, and Feraklos are some of the most monumental archaeological sites of Rhodes that will connect the dots on the island’s that evolution between the time it was first inhabited and today. Alternatively, join a walking tour around the Medieval Town and the Jewish Quarter of Rhodes to have a licensed guide talk you through the most important points of its long-lasting history!
Try the local cuisine of Rhodes
Courgette flower fritters - credits: Fortunato Violi/Shutterstock.com
As by that point of your day, your brain will have probably overdosed on information, it’s time for your belly to overdose on delicious traditional Greek flavors as well. Rhodes has a delectable local cuisine full of unique dishes that the locals’ have come up having the fresh local products of the Rhodian land as their inspiration; one would expect nothing less from a Greek island!
During your stay, don’t stay shy of savoring the creative combinations you will find across the many local taverns the island is jam-packed with. Try appetizers such as ‘pitaroudia’, which are chickpea fritters with chopped mint, onions and tomato, zucchini fritters and stuffed ‘cyclamen’, meaning ‘courgette flowers’ that are usually stuffed with lentils. For your main dish opt for stuffed vegetables of any kind, ‘karavolous’, which is a dish consisting of snails cooked in tomato sauce with onions and cumin and taste way better than they sound, and ‘spetzofai’, which is a dish of baked sausages with peppers and onions. For dessert, apart from the traditional spoons sweets, you won’t be able to miss even if you wanted to, taste the traditional ‘melekouni’ which is has a jelly-like consistency, has strong notes of orange, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and is traditionally served on special events. Additionally, you can try ‘mantinades’, which is dough fried in olive and drenched in rose water and honey,’moschopougkia’, which are little pies filled with nuts and spices, and ‘tahinopita’, which is a cylindrical pie filled with tahini and a mixture of sesame, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. To wash all that brilliant food down, make sure to have a glass of one of the island’s local varieties; a glass of white Moschato, Athiri, Amorgiano, or Asyrtiko will lift your spirits and make your afternoon even better. A taste of the local drink of 'souma' is also mandatory, and as it is best consumed cold, it will be the refreshing boost you’ll need to continue your adventure.
But where will you try all that you wonder? Well, as I mentioned before, you’ll find a plethora of traditional taverns and restaurants everywhere you turn your head to. However, in the spirit of giving you a helping hand, my favorite establishments are listed below. 4 Rodies is the epitome of Greek homemade cooking. Thιs family-run tavern is housed in a gorgeous neoclassical with tables in the courtyard and offers a menu made with love and respect for the local raw materials resulting in traditional Greek flavors as well as modern versions of familiar recipes. On the plus side -not that I can find any cons anyway- are the great vegetarian options that are in no way shape or form inferior to the rest of the yummy recipes found on the menu. Koukos is another excellent choice for your gastronomic searches -and it might even be my favorite. This trademark eatery is a cult-favorite among locals for all hours of the day. Its premises combine a wonderful cafe with a traditional tavern and a welcoming, cared-for hostel. In the morning hours, you can delight in the smell of pastries freshly-baked in the wood oven, which you can enjoy seated in its tasteful alongside a cup Greek coffee in the company of the vocal parrot that serves as the establishment’s mascot. Later in the day, you enjoy a variety of traditionally-cooked recipes with a shot of ‘ouzo’ or the traditional ‘souma’ on the side. The addition of relaxing tunes and the impeccable aesthetic of the shop add a nice touch to the overall exquisite gastronomic experience. A little less contemporary but just as wonderful, Pizanias ‘the Sea Star’ is the place to be if you’re looking for fresh seafood and one of the top recommendations of the locals. Another family-run tavern, Pizanias is now run by the 3rd generation owners with the renowned seafood tavern having been established since 1970, counting 30 successful years of experience in the food industry. Here, you will get to enjoy fresh fish cooked on the charcoal grill and other seafood incorporated in delicious traditional recipes that require more complex cooking methods.
Of course, if you don’t feel like eating out, you can always try to make the delicious local treats for yourself by joining a cooking lesson in Rhodes that will give you insight into the culinary culture of the island and will provide you with all the skills you need to master its art at home!
Walk around nature
The Valley of the Butterflies in Rhodes - credits: T.R. Originals/Shutterstock.com
In order to feel better after the generous helpings of local food, rejoice in a long walk around Rhodes’ lush nature and striking landscapes. Due to its unique geographic position, climate and diverse landscape, there is no part of the island that won’t strike you with wonder. There are a lot of scenic villages in all parts of the island, as well as astonishing parts where you can walk around, lounge with a cup of coffee or even indulge in a picnic. Between so many of Rhodes’ beauties, such as the castles, the beautiful settlements, and the dazzling beaches, my suggestion for the day would be the very popular and praised ‘Valley of the Butterflies’, which stands out for its exceptional natural beauty and of course its winged ‘inhabitants’. Located near the village of Theologos, on the northwest side of Rhodes, the ‘Valley of the Butterflies’ is one of the rare natural habitats of Europe. The area is the summer refuge of the Rhodes butterfly called the ‘Quadripunctaria’ butterfly. This impressive valley sustains the ideal climatic conditions for the breeding of this butterfly species, with lush vegetation all throughout and abundant running water. The Pelican River, which flows through the valley, creates striking natural formations that highlight the beauty of the landscape: ponds, streams, small waterfalls. Additionally, within the valley grows a rare kind of tree that attracts butterflies, as a substance in its bark that acts as a magnet for them.
In the marvelously green premises of the ‘Valley of the Butterflies’ lies also the Natural History Museum and the Kalopetra Monastery that offers an astonishing panoramic view of the island. Make sure to pay a visit to both attractions as they are fascinating, each in their own way. The Natural History Museum of Rhodes is housed in an old Italian building that dates back to 1930 and has been recently renovated. You can enter the museum with no additional cost other than the ticket you paid to enter the valley. Inside the museum, you can find an exhibition regarding the enthralling life circle of butterflies, scientific information about the valley life, as well as live butterfly exhibits preserved in the garden conservatory. You can also find a small library where you can find volumes in regard to the flora and fauna of Rhodes. The Kalopetra Monastery, on the other hand, may have nothing to do with the natural history of the region, but it is important for its religious heritage.Τhe Kalopetra Monastery is dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary. Built on a pine-covered mountainous area on the hillside of Lefkopoda, it functioned as a cobblestone monastery, which was in great prosperity until the early 20th century. Its economic prosperity was based on the cultivation of the land, but also on the exploitation of oil from the olive trees that abounded in the area. At the same time, the watermill in the adjoining valley provided the required annual flour harvest, while beekeeping and sericulture appeared to be equally developed. The monastery had existed since 1489. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1779 and rebuilt by Alexandros Ypsilantis, ruler of Moldova in 1782, when he was exiled to the island with his two sons, Demetrius and Constantine. Legend has it that on their journey to the island, Alexandros Ypsilantis and his sons encountered a great storm and risked drowning. Ypsilantis prayed to Virgin Mary and promised her that if they were saved, he would build a monastery in her name. That’s when in the dark, they saw a light, followed it, and reached the beach safely. The image of Alexander Ypsilantis that since decorated the church is today kept for security reasons in the vestibule of the parish church of Agios Spyridon in the village of Theologos, as the Kalopetra Monastery was left inactive since the early 20th century. Within the monastery remain some ecclesiastical books printed in Venice in 1754, a Holy Gospel printed in 1745 and a silver Chalice in 1873.
If a walk is not of interest to you but exploring the natural beauty and the charming landscapes of the island is, then a Jeep Safari around Rhodes is the perfect solution as you can travel in comfort and style through the most noteworthy regions of the island! Not to mention the cool points you'll earn!
Rhodes nightlife: Party all night!
Candid shot of the Greek nightlife - credits: Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock.com
Rhodes has gained a reputation for its wild nightlife, and in this case, the rumors are trumors. Yes, the nightlife of Rhodes can get pretty wild and intense, however only if you want it to, as there a number of places you can go for a much more toned-down outing, such a relaxing drink along the coast. So, after a long walk in nature, what better way to put an end to this full and adventurous day than with a delicious cocktail in hand?
Located in Rhodes’ Medieval City, the atmospheric Auvergne is the best place for unwinding and enjoying a drink, while its gorgeous backyard is often the host of live gigs that entertain its guests and makes the Old Town come to life! Another location with a great courtyard is Sissitio, an alternative and diverse multiuse establishment that caters to all tastes and needs and is bound to please even the most demanding of guests. Grab one of its specially-made cocktails and your night is guaranteed to have a flying start. Departing from the old town, Union is one of the best cocktail bars of Rhodes with yummy and creative alcoholic concoctions that, along with the upbeat music the bar offers, will make your night a night to remember. If you plan on visiting Union, keep in mind that the owners like to spice things up by organizing special nights that will be a pity to miss if given the chance! If you’re a fan of rock, don’t worry, Rhodes will not disappoint you. Captain Hook serves a broad range of whiskey and bourbon that is accompanied by 70 's rock music, metal music, and other great classics, and an unmatched vibe that will make you fall in love in the place before having the first sip of your drink. And if you’re intimidated by the amount of choice you have in regard to picking a drink, don’t be, as the staff is always there to help you! Continuing with the theme of rock music, Legends Rock bar will make all your rock dreams come true with its out-of-this-world tunes, its knowledgeable Dj and its expert bartenders who promise to tease your senses with the drinks they serve. If you’re simultaneously a fan of rock-n-roll and party times, Sticky Fingers is a leading figure in Rhode’s disco-pubs, offering vibrant live concerts in a classic rock atmosphere than enchants all of the island’s visitors. Of course, one must not forget about The Last Butler, Rhodes' cult-classic cocktail bar that offers its guest a time travel to a past era with the help of jazz music. And the music is not its most impressive element, as the cellar is noble to say the list, with over 400 labels on its shelves!
If a relaxing drink is not your scene and you’ve come to Rhodes determined to let your hair down and party as hard as you can, then the region of Faliraki will be right up your street. Often referred to as the ‘Ibiza of Greece’ the image of Faliraki is probably what you have in mind when thinking of the wild nightlife scene of the island, as its crazy ways have made the front page on various papers around the world. A walk along the coast of Faliraki will give you plenty of choice for dancing and drinking, my top picks however include the Bedrock, which is a club inspired by the Flintstones, the beloved cartoon characters, with its interior decor resembling a prehistoric cave; a tacky yet funny touch you can’t help but appreciate. The club serves also as a karaoke bar and remains open until the early morning hours. If it sounds like it’s because it is! Last but not least, Liquid Club is in fact two clubs in one addressing a wide and assorted crowd. Its ground floor is dominated by the sound of House and Electronic music, whereas the first floor offers the ideal setting for you to dance in the sound of R’n'B and Garage music. In my opinion that is a great attribute especially for those who get bored easily or are indecisive in regard to how they want to spend their night. On the pros list, the discount on the drinks that is usually on offer is pretty high up. However, be careful as the deals make it very easy for you to get wasted in no time, so proceed with caution!
Here you go, after a day filled to the brim with exciting endeavors you can know to go to sleep a happy chap! We hope you enjoyed our one day itinerary in Rhodes!
By all means, the sheer size, diversity, and vast heritage of Rhodes make it possible to spend their days on in a multitude of ways. My suggestion is just an indicative day that covers anything I think is worth seeing and experiencing under the restriction of time. If that wasn’t enough to win you over, maybe reading about 5 reasons to visit Rhodes will do the trick!
In any case, book your tickets to Rhodes as soon as possible; you know what they say: success is for firstcomers!