Rhodes is the capital of the south eastern Dodecanese Islands and with close proximity to Turkey and historical links with Italy, the island has a fantastic mix of Greek, Ottoman and Italian heritage.
Most tourists head to Rhodes Town and the eastern coastline, but if you have your own private car Rhodes is easy to explore and you can escape to beautiful areas with clear turquoise waters, breath taking beaches and uncrowded archaeological sites.
Rhodes Town is a pleasure to explore with stone archways, chapels and cobblestoned alleyways. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, you can’t miss walking along the Street of the Knights to the 14th century Palace of the Grand Masters, seeing the Temple of Aphrodite, or stopping into the impressive Archaeological Museum with fine examples of Rhodian sculpture and art.
Close to Rhodes Town, Kalithea Springs is famous for its healing spring waters that are beneficial for skin ailments. The restored Italianate spa is a popular spot for wedding photos and it’s understandable with Roman columns draped in wisteria, pebble mosaics and a spectacular outlook. There is a beachside restaurant but try to avoid peak times as it gets very busy.
Be charmed by a Greek folk dancing troupe where you may even be encouraged to get up and dance! Next to the town hall in Rhodes Town, you can book a performance for a slice of one of the many traditional dances Greece has to offer.
Take a trip to Efta Piges (Seven Springs) near Archangelos, which is the only place on Rhodes where you can swim in natural fresh water. An area of scenic beauty you access the swimming lake by walking through a pitch black 150 metre long tunnel with calf-height water – so be prepared if you are claustrophobic! Afterwards, sit under the plane trees at the terrace restaurant and enjoy a cool drink.
Buy some honey and olive oil in Siana, a mountainous village located in the midst of pine-lined roads. The village is a lovely place to spend some time at the tavern on the church square where you can sip the local souma (grape liqueur) and eat mezedes (small bite-sized snacks).
Enjoy an once-in-a-lifetime experience by visiting Petaloudes (Butterfly Valley) where during summer months millions of butterflies anchor to trees, rocks or flutter through the forest here. We recommend afterwards that you make the effort to climb up to the Monastery of Kalopetra at the top of the valley and enjoy loukoumades (dumplings with sticky honey) home made by local women.
Drive 30 kilometres west of Rhodes Town, where you will come across Kamiros, one of the ancient Minoan cities. Damaged numerous times by earthquakes, the settlement is known as the ‘Greek Pompeii’ and has been excavated to reveal well-preserved templese, store rooms, bath houses, and staircases.
Pack some sturdy footwear and drive 69 kilometres from Rhodes Town to Monolithos, one of the most impressive locations in Rhodes where you can learn about why the castle is one of the best fortifications in Rhodes. Accessible only by a steep path, the 10-minute climb to the top is worth the effort for panoramic views.