Rhodes

Rhodes is an excellent choice of destination but I highly recommend that you either base yourself along the east coast anywhere from Rhodes Town down to Lindos, or arrange a hire car (there are plenty to choose from). Public Transport is available elsewhere, but not easy or cost effective if you want to see the opposite side of the island. Different bus co-operatives serve different parts of the island and the only thing they have in common is that all go to Rhodes Town.  I am not normally a fan of the hire car, but as we stayed on the north coast and were in a small group, on this occasion it was definitely the best option for both getting around and cost.

The island appeals to all ages. For the party goers there is Falaraki, but for those of us that tend to avoid the party scene, anywhere along the east coast is ideal. Sheltered bays offer lots of opportunity for sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling, with a broad mixture of bars, restaurants and tavernas to suit all tastes.

As Lindos is built on a headland you get a choice of two bays, both of which are pretty idyllic. The main beach being in the larger bay to the north of the town with smaller beaches in the sheltered St Paul’s Bay to the south of the town. The town is old with narrow streets and there is no access by car. You park or get off the bus just out of town and walk in. It is only a short distance, but parts of the town do get quite steep.

Rhodes Town really won me over with it’s blend of Venetian, Gothic and Arabic architecture, mixed with the modern. I liked the old town in particular, with it’s mishmash of medieval walls and old buildings housing a population of 6,000 people and shops selling an eclectic mixture of artisan goods with plenty of places to find food and refreshment to relax in whilst taking in the vibrant atmosphere. You will find that the main bus drop off / collection point and taxi ranks are ideally positioned between the old town and the new. A short walk around or through the small permanent market will take you to Mandraki Harbour where you can admire the architecture and envy the yachts sailing past the two bronze Rhodian deer that mark the harbour entrance.

As you walk around the harbour, you will find a host of agents at kiosks offering boat trips of all kinds. You can arrange ferry trips to other islands or Turkey here too, but the harbour for ferries is a little further along.

Away from the harbour is the new part of town with enough big name stores to keep most shoppers happy. As you head away from the old town at the tip of the headland you will find the aquarium. From this point you can see a marked difference between the blustery north beach and the thriving, sheltered east beach.

Where ever you are on the island, there is always a restaurant or taverna nearby offering typical Greek dishes and usually a good selection of seafood.

One of the things I love about travel is the variation in food and the way it is presented. Rhodes (and the Greek Islands in general) rarely fail to deliver and there can be no better way to end the day than with a good meal accompanied by a glass of Mythos beer.

If you are visiting in July or August, one thing that you should try to fit in is a trip to the Valley of the Butterflies. Located 24km to the west of Rhodes Town and about 6km from the coast, it can be reached by car, bus or the numerous excursions. Thousands of Panaxia Quadripunctaria butterflies swarm to the valley to reproduce, drawn by the humidity and the waterways.

They settle on the rocks and trees to preserve energy and are quite camouflaged until they give away their position with a flash of red as they open their wings. In most cases the tree trunk or rock is not visible under the sheer number of butterflies.

Your walk through the valley will be accompanied by the humming sound of cicadas, the gurgling of the stream and perhaps surprisingly (it certainly was for me) the sight of crabs walking in the stream and climbing up the waterfalls. At the top of the valley there are refreshments and the option to walk on up to the monastery before walking back down. All in all it is a very pleasant shaded walk in a lovely valley. If you have a car or are happy to walk a bit further, you could include visit the nearby ostrich farm and finish off with an ostrich burger.

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