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Useful hints and travel information for a Rhodes holiday
The Greek island of Rhodes is the largest island in the Dodecanese archipelago and most certainly one of the most popular Greek islands. This comes as no surprise, as Rhodes has so much to offer.
The capital of the island of Rhodes is situated in the extreme north of the relatively large island and has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, and deservedly so. The town of Rhodes derives its fame not only from the legendary colossus, a statue of the sun god Apollo, that straddled the entrance to the harbour until it was struck down by an earthquake, but also for the part the island played in the crusades, still documented by its medieval castle of the Knights Templar and the Street of the Knights with the Knights’ Quarters.
Rhodes also offers beautiful and varied scenery. In a hire car you can explore the beautiful beaches of the island or drive up into the mountainous parts in the island’s interior with seemingly endless cork forests. The Dodecanese Island of Rhodes has something to offer for everybody’s taste, and in terms of history hardly any Greek island can equal it.
Unfortunately some parts of this exceptionally beautiful Dodecanese island have been ruined, one example being Faliraki in the Northeast of Rhodes. It is in the clutches of cheap mass tourism with numerous junk food places, water parks and similar tourist attractions. Those who manage to avoid these over-crowded resorts on the north-eastern coast can spend a fantastic holiday on Rhodes.
Pictures from Rhodes
Villages of Rhodes
One of the oldest and most picturesque villages of Rhodes lies on the eastern coast of the island. Afandou has not been affected by tourism, there are no typical tourist shops crammed with souvenirs where you struggle to find a pint of milk. The locals are friendly and like to chat with visitors, as many of them have worked abroad, in Germany, for instance. Interesting sights are the bell tower of the village church and some very old frescoes in the Panagia Church. The nearby beaches, some sandy, others pebble beaches, stretch for miles along the coast, ideal for those who appreciate space and privacy. As for food, Afandou’s taverns are famous for their delicious Greek cuisine.
Greek traditional life-style has not been dampened by mass tourism in Archangelos, a small town with 7500 inhabitants on the island of Rhodes. The locals still wear traditional dress and live mainly on agriculture and fishing. The surrounding countryside is beautiful and unspoilt by hideous hotels. There are some modern hotels further down along the beach at Stegna, but they seem to blend in quite nicely. The shallow sandy beach makes Archangelos the ideal place for a family holiday, but those who like long walks along the beach or snorkelling in the clear waters of the Aegean are going to be equally happy with this Greek holiday destination. As for food, visitors who like Greek specialties are always welcome at “Tis Kakomoiras”, the best restaurant in Archangelos.
Another small and sedate village on the east coast of Rhodes is Charaki, also called Haraki. In recent years, modern houses have been built along the crescent-shaped bay of Charaki, and the village has developed into a popular holiday resort with a modern promenade and numerous taverns and bars. As most things are kept on a small scale, though – small hotels, guesthouses and holiday apartments – the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed. On the eastern part of the pebble beach the water is deeper and ideal for swimming, while elsewhere it tends to be shallow and safe for family fun. Charaki is for people who like a quiet holiday in an idyllic environment – even the sea is calm on most days, and the scenery is stunning with the ruins of the old crusader fortress in the background. Tommie’s Bar caters for those in search of entertainment at the end of a relaxing day.
Faliraki has undergone a drastic transformation from fishing village to something like a mini Las Vegas, with numerous discos, bars and souvenir shops. This low-cost tourist centre attracts mainly young people who want to have fun and are less interested in Greek culture. Faliraki has one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Greece and is very busy during the peak season. For those who want a beach and party holiday in the Mediterranean, Faliraki is just right.
Ialyssos is a popular holiday destination on the west coast of the island of Rhodes. Many wealthy Greeks have villas here, and there are quite a few modern hotels in Ialyssos as well. There are two churches of historic interest in the town centre, while shops, restaurants, bars and clubs are situated along the coastal road. The beach of Trianta is very popular with surfers, and for those who want to learn how to do it, there are several surfing schools in Ialyssos as well.
In the north-east of Rhodes, not far from Faliraki, lies Kallithea. This holiday resort is particularly popular with holiday-makers who like scuba-diving and snorkelling, as the sheltered position of Kallithea’s beaches is perfect for that. The sandy beach is comparatively small and not especially busy, not even during the peak season. Kallithea is a thermal spa and has a large and luxurious thermal swimming-pool, a real tourist attraction. Shops, restaurants and taverns are to be found in the town centre.
Kamiros Skala is a little fishing village on the west coast of Rhodes. The area around Kamiros Skala is one of the most fertile regions of the island, and many fishing boats leave the harbour every day to return with fresh fish that is served at the best fish restaurants on the island of Rhodes – in Kamiros Skala. The village is not ideal for a beach holiday, but illustrates Greek culture and agriculture. The crusader fortress of Kamiros overlooks the village and the fertile countryside from a rocky elevation in the background.
The fishing village of Kiotari on the Greek Island of Rhodes was originally just the fishing harbour belonging to the nearby village of Asclipio, but has developed into one of the new tourist centres on the island. Recently a few 4 – 5 – star hotels have been built along the beach of Kiotari, all part of a holiday centre for visitors who just want a relaxing holiday. Those who want to go sight-seeing can visit the village of Asclipio with its beautiful church or the ruins of the crusaders’ castle. Kiotari has excellent taverns and whoever can be there for the annual village festival on the 5th and 6th of August, will be able to join in the celebrations with Greek music and traditional dances.
The holiday village of Kolymbia lies between Faliraki and Archangelos and is famous for its 2km long eucalyptus avenue that is lined with taverns, bars and restaurants. The small café-bar To Nasiki is especially pleasant, with a beautiful view of the sea. Kolymbia also has numerous souvenir shops, gold dealers, car hire and motorbike hire places and small supermarkets. The majority of the beaches have sand and pebbles and are shallow, and a water sports school on the beach makes sure that everybody is having a good time. Kolymbia is the ideal base for excursions to the Seven Springs as well as Mount Moni Tsambika (240m), from where the view is absolutely stunning.
On the east coast of the Greek Island of Rhodes lies the village of Lardos, called after the black granite stone that is commonly found in that region. The village has approximately 2000 inhabitants and is the right place for holiday-makers who want a quiet time in a rural environment, surrounded by fertile fields and olive and lemon groves. Lardos has small hotels, guesthouses and holiday apartments, shops for self-catering tourists and discos and bars for evening entertainment. Taverns and restaurants are mainly to be found at the ‘Platia’, the village square that has a well with fresh spring-water at the centre. Lardos Bay has two beautiful beaches with a number of watersport options, the best taverns for gourmets are ‘Valentina’ and ‘Gramata’.
After Rhodes Town, Lindos is the second main attraction on the island of Rhodes. Every day, thousands of visitors arrive to admire the famous Acropolis of Lindos, a cross between the sanctuary of Athena Lindia and a byzantine crusaders’ fortress. The cubic, whitewashed houses on the slopes around the acropolis on its high rock in the centre, the blue Aegean Sea and the sandy beach below make Lindos the perfect picture postcard village. The Platia Eleftherias with its spring-water well and 14th century church is equally picturesque. During the day, a constant flow of tourist coaches arrive and between 10 am and 4 pm, Lindos is very busy. For those who want to get to know the little town properly, the only way around the crowd problem is to actually stay at Lindos and go sight-seeing before 10 am or after 4 pm. It is definitely worth it, because Lindos is beautiful by night.
The little holiday resort of Pefki is situated on the east coast of Rhodes, between Lardos and Lindos. Due to the quality of its tourist infra-structure, Pefki is very busy during the summer. A lot of the modern hotels, guesthouses and apartments have recently been added to the holiday village built on densely wooded hills amongst pine trees. The beaches are separated by a natural rock division, and never seem to be overcrowded. Taverns, bars and shops are to be found along the main road. The Kyma Beach Restaurant is one of the best places for Greek food, but is is advisable to book a table in advance.
Situated on the northern tip of Rhodes lies the island’s capital of the same name, with approximately 57,000 inhabitants the biggest town on the island. Rhodes Town is a popular tourist destination, which is not surprising considering its historic sights. The old town is a UNESCO world cultural heritage site, where buildings from a wide range of historic periods can be found. Medieval and Ottoman architecture seem to coexist harmoniously side by side. There is the famous medieval city wall and the Street of the Knights, the Grandmaster’s Palace and Suleiman’s Mosque near the Turkish quarter, just to mention the most famous sites. The promenade along the harbour front affords interesting views of massive cruise ships that come to anchor here. The beaches near Rhodes Town are very busy, those who value peace and quiet are better off using the idyllic pebble beach west of Rhodes town, but only strong swimmers should consider it as the waves are much higher and the currents stronger.
Theologos is situated on the west coast of the island of Rhodes and is divided into two parts: the tourist resort with hotels built directly by the sea, and further inland the traditional village of Theologos. The picturesque mountain village used to be the island’s capital until the 19th century. The main sources of income in this region are tourism in the summer and fishing and olive growing in the winter. Theologos is the ideal place for a quiet and relaxing holiday.
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