The nation of Greece is best known for it’s 1000’s of islands which are scattered about the Aegean Sea and Rhodes island is proud to be one of them. This is where travelers flock every year to take in the sunshine and clear waters. They are all rich in history, each having played their own part in the birthplace of Western civilization. Some were inhabited once and are now abandoned, others have had people living on since 1000 BC. Rhodes is also called Rhodos, sometimes Rodos, whereas in Spanish and Portuguese languages you can find as Rhodas.
Rhodes, in the Dodecanese island chain located just off the coast of Turkey, is an island that is rich in history, covered with large swathes of parkland, forest and beaches that cater to all different tastes. It is the fourth largest island in the Aegean with fantastic connections to all other islands and the mainland. In Rhodes there is a huge variety of accommodation to choose from, to suite everyone from backpackers doing the European trail, to luxury seekers wanting something a bit more decadent.
Even in the smallest towns of Rhodes you won’t have trouble finding a little local taverna. In fact, some of the best food on the island can be had in these little family run places. The vast majority of people that come to this gem of an island are looking for the sunny beaches with warm waters. Rhodes has many to choose from, and they all offer a different experience. Many of them are certified with the ‘Blue Flag” award, which means that they stand out from the rest. But just because a beach does not have this rating does not mean that it isn’t clean or safe to swim. The ratings are based on how well a beach is organized and maintained.
The East side of the island generally has beaches with calmer waters, less big waves and crystal clear seas. Along this coastline are resorts that cater to couples wanting to get away from it all, beaches that are notorious for their summertime party nightlife, hidden coves and caves you can explore with almost no one around and places that specialize in self catering holidays. You simply need to choose what you are after, do a little research and book a place to stay. Transportation anywhere on the island is inexpensive and hassle free. The West coast bears the brunt of the winds that come across the Mediterranean Sea, sometimes making the water less clear than the east coast. But for some people this is a dream come true.
Rhodes is very popular with windsurfers, as the breeze on that side of the island is constant, making it ideal for the sport. There are countless places where you can rent gear or even take lessons if it is your first time. The further south you go on the West coast, the more sparsely populated the beaches become, meaning you can find secret hideaways all to yourself. In southern Rhodes you will find sun drenched bays and beaches popular with kite surfers and windsurfers that are generally a bit more laid back and un-touristed. The small villages of this area were built in medieval times and most still maintain their traditional colors and the people still speak their local dialects. If you feel like exploring you can walk along old paths that have been used for centuries and discover the shady green woods, local fields full of produce and gentle rolling hills and valleys. This looks much the same as it did 1000 years ago.
But the island isn’t all beaches and nightlife. Rhodes had a massive influence in the region during the Bronze age, and the civilizations of the island left behind impressive structures that never fail to impress visitors. In fact one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World stand, some in ruins and others in fantastic condition. Rhodes town itself is surrounded by the old city walls and the fortress of the famous Knights of Rhodes is still standing. The city of Kámiros was one of the three most powerful cities of ancient Rhodes and the ruins are absolutely stunning. There are old Roman baths, Byzantine fortresses and old churches and monasteries. There is enough history on this island to keep you busy for days, that is if you can manage to pull yourself away from the beaches.
But it doesn’t end there. The natural beauty of this island should not be overlooked. The interior gets far fewer visitors and is worth exploring. There are many island treks that you can take, which wander through lush magical pine forests, mountain summits with unparalleled views and valleys with small towns that seem like the have not changed in 100 years. You will find the people that live off of the beaches friendly and welcoming, as they are proud of their island and heritage. You will also get to sample some of the best locally grown produce, olives and honey if you seek out the right places. If you plan a trip to Rhodes, be sure to leave some time to see what is off the beaten track. You will be glad that you did, because there is a wealth of culture and history here that can be found with just a little effort.