An Expert Rhodes Travel Guide
Ancient ruins, tzatziki, and the azure Aegean - you’ll find it all in Rhodes
Dreaming of a trip to the Dodecanese? With beaches to die for, a rich heritage, and even a magical valley filled with butterflies, it’s not hard to see why Rhodes is a firm favourite with travellers - whether they’re looking for a relaxing seaside break, or to trace the island’s tumultuous history. Before setting off, you’ve got some decisions to make: When should you go? Where will you stay? Where can you find the best local cuisine? Here at Plum Guide, we’ve scoured the “Island of the Sun”(so nicknamed thanks to its patron sun God, Helios) to find the very best it has to offer - we are the travel experts, after all. Allow us to bring you our Rhodes travel guide, packed with advice to help you take your sojourn in Rhodes to the next level.
When to go
Rhodes has hot, dry summers (perfect for dips in the Aegean) and fairly mild winters - with around 300 days of sunshine per year, you’d have to be pretty unlucky to get bad weather on your trip here. The Meltemi, the northwesterly wind, cools the air temperature from mid-May, but is less intense than on other Aegean islands such as Mykonos or Naxos, meaning the very height of summer can feel rather muggy - bear this in mind if you’re planning to explore. We recommend booking your Rhodes getaway between June and September, when the weather and sea are warm - May and October are great options if you plan to do plenty of walking, though, or simply prefer to avoid the crowds.
Where to stay
To be fully immersed in the island’s culture and history, look no further than Rhodes Town and its well-preserved medieval Old City - home to the Gothic Palace of the Grand Master, Byzantine churches, and Ottoman-era mosques. Beyond its historical sites, Rhodes is famed for its beaches - as the largest of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, Rhodes has plenty of remarkable coastline to write home about. We couldn’t, however, write a Rhodes travel guide without mentioning the island’s most iconic beaches, which many visitors opt to stay near: Anthony Quinn Bay, and St Paul’s Bay. So named for the Mexican actor who fell in love with it (and even purchased land on its shores), Anthony Quinn Bay draws holidaymakers with its secluded position and emerald and lagoon-esque waters, backed by pine trees. While also a peaceful cove, St Paul’s Bay (Agios Pavlos) has the benefit of being on the edge of the village of Lindos. Tsambika Beach is perfect for anyone wanting to combine golden sands, clear waters, and a dramatic landscape with a wide selection of bars and tavernas.
Where to eat
What would a trip to Greece be without filling up on horiatiki (Greek salad)? For old-school dining with a distinctive local flair, Paraga in Apollona serves up familiar Greek dishes such as tzatziki, souvlaki slow-cooked stifado (alongside traditional Rhodian breads), and hortopita pie stuffed with island greens. Noble Gourmet Restaurant, set within the Elysium Resort, offers an elevated take on such local dishes as pitaroudia (chickpea fritters with tahini sauce), and lamb kapamas with aubergine and bulgur wheat. Other favourites include taverna classics at Masasoura in Maritsa, the freshest of fish (and nautical-inspired decor) at Stegna Kozas in Stegna, and Tuscan flavours at Marco Polo in Rhodes Old Town.
Where to drink
No Rhodes travel guide would be complete without some recommendations for where to sip on local wines, ouzo, or cocktails. Set in the more modern part of Rhodes Town, Orfanidou Street is a one stop shop when it comes to enjoying a drink or three - dozens of bars line this lively street, set close to the water’s edge, with Big Brother and Waka Waka among the favourites. The best cocktails in town can be found at the Last Butler, Obscura, or on the stylish terrace at Macao, but if you want to put your dancing shoes to use then make a beeline for Alter Ego Summer - a chic restaurant whose terrace later turns into a fully fledged nightclub.
Journey through Rhodian history
Even by Greek standards, Rhodes is rich in history - the island’s historical sites span the 16th-century BC Minoans to the 20th-century Italian occupation. Start your time travel back in the 10th century BC with a visit to Ancient Kamiros (so well preserved that it is often described as Rhodes’s very own Pompeii), before discovering the ancient Acropolis of Lindos. From 1309 to 1523, Rhodes was occupied by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, notable not least for fortifying the island’s capital, with their architectural legacy still evident today. Don’t miss the The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes (one of the few examples of Gothic architecture in Greece), or the clifftop 15th-century Monolithos Castle. As you walk through the old part of Rhodes Town you’ll notice mosques and hamams (public baths) dating from the Ottoman period. Elsewhere, the administrative buildings of the Foro Italico at the port of Mandraki combine Byzantine, Venetian, Renaissance, Ottoman, and Greek elements - all telling the story of Rhodes through the medium of architecture.
Be enchanted by butterflies
Fear not, you haven’t taken a wrong turn and ended up in a fairytale. Exploring the Valley of the Butterflies certainly feels like one, though - a network of shady cobblestone paths link waterfalls and ponds amidst the only natural Oriental Sweetgum forest in Europe. As if that wasn’t magical enough, from June - September the 600-acre nature park is home to millions of butterflies. The valley’s Oriental Sweetgum trees give off a distinctive scent which, coupled with the relatively high humidity and cool temperatures, make the valley an inviting breeding place for the black, yellow, and red butterfly Panaxia Quadripunctaria.