Greece has thousands of Islands and while I’ve been to several (with plans to visit many more) I have to say that Rhodes is one of my favourites. The island is big enough to keep you busy for several days while maintaining the island charm. Known for its castles, beaches, wineries and incredible history, Rhodes has so much to offer any traveller. In this post I’m sharing what I think are the best things to do in Rhodes, Greece and my suggestions for a Rhodes itinerary.
How to Get to Rhodes, Greece
Getting to Rhodes is easy since the island is big enough to have its own airport. Many inter-island Greek airlines will fly to Rhodes as well as budget airlines from other countries, although these may be seasonal. From the airport, if you haven’t arranged to rent a car, you can take the public bus to Rhodes Town (about 1 hour and 3 Euro as of June 2022) and then change buses there for your final destination. Or, hire a taxi. Taxis have flat rates depending on your destination so look to the sign at the taxi stall outside the airport. In June of 2022 the airport to Rhodes Town was 25 euro.
You can also arrive to Rhodes by boat. There are a number of ferries that make their way here, however, there are also 3 different marinas where the boats come into the Old Town. They are all within walking distance from the walls of the Old City. But you can also choose to take the bus or hire a taxi.
Tip: If booking ferries in Greece, book in advance to ensure you get the sailing time you want, they can book up really quickly in busy season. I use Ferry Hopper.
How to Get Around Rhodes, Greece
Like with most Greek Islands, the easiest and fastest way to get around the island is to rent a car. You can also choose to rent a motorbike or quad but Rhodes is quite large so a car is your best bet. If you would prefer not to rent a car you can hire taxis, use the public bus network, or join day trips and group tours (this is what I did).
How Long to Stay in Rhodes, Greece
Some people come to Rhodes just for a day on cruises which is long enough to explore the old town area but not much more. I’ve also heard people suggest three days which will allow you a bit more time to explore the island. Based on my experience, however, I think you should spend at least 5 days in Rhodes. This will allow you to explore Old Town, tour the island by land, explore the coast and swimming bays by sea, have a beach day, and spend a day in Lindos. If you do plan on renting a car, there are tons more smaller towns to explore so you can easily stay a week or more. I also highly suggest adding at least 2 extra nights to your time here to take the ferry over to Symi island. Many people do it as a day trip but it’s incredible and worth spending a couple of nights.
The Best Time to Go to Rhodes
One of the most important thing to know about the Greek islands is that they are seasonal. The season in Rhodes typically lasts 7 months, April-October, with most businesses shutting down outside of those months. That’s not to say you can’t visit during off-season but you will likely be disappointed. In the summer, it gets incredibly busy and crowded. Prices also reflect peak season. In my opinion, the best time to go is May and September. The weather is still warmer but you have better prices and less people.
Where to Stay in Rhodes, Greece
When it comes to where to stay in Rhodes you have plenty of options. Most people I met stayed in one of the smaller resort towns. These types of places are often included in vacation packages and will have your beachfront access and probably even a pool. If you rent a car its easy to get around but many tours will also pick up resort guests as well.
Personally, I’m not a resort person so I chose to stay in the walls of Old Town which was magical. I felt like I was walking in and out of a castle every day. I had a huge variety of places to eat in both Old and New Town and its really nice to see earlier in the mornings and in the evening before/after the cruise ship guests and day trippers have come and gone. Plus, the hotels here are small boutique spots which I love, especially as I try to support small local businesses. That being said, Old Town is a pedestrian zone so you need to be comfortable carrying/wheeling your luggage over some cobblestone streets since the taxi can only drop you at the nearest gate (my walk was less than 5 minutes from the Sea Gate).
I stayed at Ancient Knights Luxury Suites right in Old Town. It was a beautiful property that almost felt like a castle within a castle. My room was very spacious with a view to the street below and inner courtyard but it was very quiet at night. It also had an incredible shower and was run by the kindest people. I highly recommend it and would go back in a second. You can book your stay here.
If you are looking for a hostel you can check out Rhodes Backpackers
Or, if you are more of a resort person I heard very good things about Kreston Royal Euphoria Resort
The Best Things to Do in Rhodes: A Suggested 5 Day Itinerary
So, what is there to do in Rhodes, Greece? Lots! As I said earlier, I recommend spending at least 5 days in Rhodes itself. Here’s how I suggest you spend that time.
Day 1: Uncover Old and New Town
Rhodes Old Town and New Town are right beside each other and will make for a full but fun day of exploring. Probably more than a day if you are big into museums.
If you love photography then get up in the morning to explore. The city doesn’t really start to come to life until 9am or later so you can easily get in a couple of hours to take photos without all the crowds.
Rhodes Old Town has tons of winding alleyways and cobblestone streets lined with shops, cafes, bars, and tavernas. The busiest ones will always be on the main area so don’t be afraid to get off the tourist trail and head down the smaller, narrow alleyways to see what you find. My top recommendations for things to see in Rhodes Old Town are:
- Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. It is a museum if you choose to go inside, or you can just admire the castle from the courtyard for free.
- The Street of Knights: In my opinion, best in the morning or evening
- The Suleman Mosque
- The Roloi Clock Tower: climb to the top for beautiful views. I went at sunset and it was stunning.
- Church of the Virgin Mary of the Burgh: Church ruins, great lighting early in the morning if you want to take photos
- Hippocrates Square; great for people watching
- The gates and walls of old town (note: You can walk the walls, it’s 3 euro. To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed. If you have lots of time sure but don’t rush to do it).
- The harbor front area including the Fort of St. Nicholas and the 3 windmills
If you like there are several museums you can visit as well. Personally, I preferred being outside and exploring the streets. There are a number of signs, especially around the Street of Knights, with information on what you are seeing and the history that you can read for free.
For the evening, head to New Town. It’s about a 20 minute walk. New Town also has number of modern shops and tavernas. It’s also home to Savvas Sandals. Savvas Sandals is a multi-generational family-run business that makes, you guessed it, sandals. The sandals are leather and come in dozens of styles and colours for men and women. The best part is that they will custom make you a pair in your size and colour if it’s not in stock. I had a pair made for me in 24 hours. Additionally, if you struggle to find the right fit they can fit the straps directly on your fit to ensure everything is right. There are lots of places that sell sandals in Rhodes but trust me, this is where you want to go. It’s one of the best thing to do in Rhodes.
For sunset, stay in New Town and head to the beach area across from the Statue of Diagoras. There is a big pier in the water here facing Turkey. The sunset views from here are fantastic, don’t miss it.
Day 2: Explore the Island on a Tour
Rhodes is a fairly big island with lots to see so I suggest renting a car or doing a day trip to explore the other end of the island, the interior villages, and some of the other castles. I did this day trip which took us to Kritinia Castle, a Venetian castle ruin with incredible views across the sea. We also did a wine and honey tasting just outside the town of Embonas. Rhodes is known for its dry white wine and sweet wines. They also have some really interesting flavoured honey like thyme, pine, and orange. One of the most interesting stops we did was at Elafos Hotel where we had the option to do a very short but steep hike up to Villa de Vecchi which was meant to be Mussolini’s retirement residence. He never saw it and today the villa is in crumbling decay but cool to see if you like urban exploring and the views are amazing.
I really enjoyed the day tour and our guide provided a lot of great tips and interesting information of the island. You can book the full day Rhodes island tour here.
Day 3: Swim the Bays of Rhodes with a Boat Trip
Exploring Rhodes by land is great but you should also explore it by water. If you walk along the Rhodes Marina you will see dozens of boat trips on offer. From speed boats to slow cruises. Sunset drinking tours and full day island tours- you can take your pick. I chose to do a full day cruise with swim spots and on board lunch (with plenty of included wine and beer!). It was a beautiful day cruising up and down the coast and stopping in some of the best bays to swim and relax. It was one of my favourite things to do in Rhodes. I booked and recommend this tour.
Day 4: Visit Lindos
Lindos is one of the most popular places to visit on the island of Rhodes, and for good reason. The white-washed walls of this town are reminiscent of the villages in the Cyclades. It’s also a very historical town, first mentioned in Homer’s The Illiad. History lovers today will appreciate the sprawling acropolis and temple ruins overlooking the town. Finally, Lindos has some great beaches as well.
Now, it’s important to note that Lindos is also one of the most popular places to visit on the island which means it can fill up and get very busy very quickly. After all, it’s quite small. I visited on a day trip between the hours of 11-3 and it was packed. It was also incredibly hot (it’s the hottest place on the island). However, I’m glad I went and recommend that you do to as it is one of the best things to do in Rhodes.
I suggest starting your visit in Lindos by heading up to the Acropolis. There are a number of stairs to climb to get there and you will purchase your ticket at the top. Wear shoes with good grips as the rocks and steps can be very slippery and bring drinking water.
After the acropolis, head down to explore the winding alleyways of Lindos town. Get off the main areas with all the shops and restaurants, these are the busiest. You will find some great photo spots in the smaller, quieter, alleyways behind.
It’s also worth bringing a swimsuit and hitting the beach before you go. Lindos beach is a sand beach and a great place to swim. There is also Pallas Beach right beside it, which was a bit busier with boats. You can also make your way to St. Paul’s Bay on the other side which is a bit further away but still walkable from Lindos Town.
Now, as I mentioned Lindos is a very popular day trip destination which means it’s quietest in the morning and evening. If you are renting a car, consider coming in the afternoon to escape the crowds. However, if you don’t rent a car I still think it’s worth visiting for a few hours. You can come by public bus (about 2 hours from Rhodes Town) or, you can book a shuttle-type transfer by bus or by boat.
Day 5: Beach Day at a Beach Club
For your last day in Rhodes I suggest a beach day. The island has plenty to choose from but if you are staying in Old Town as I suggested, then Elli Beach is the place to go. It is a public beach so you can just bring your own towel or chair if you have one and grab a spot but I would suggest going to one of the beach clubs that line the shore and spending your day there.
I went to Ronda Beach Club which I do recommend. It has a very cool, laid-back vibe. The interior area is decorated with lanterns and lots of greenery (great for Instagram pics!). The beach chairs have thick cushions and umbrellas with views over the blue and turquoise waters of Rhodes. Renting a lounge chair will cost you 10 euro (as of June 2022) and includes a towel and bottle of water. They also have a drinks and food menu with breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner dishes. Wait staff will serve you at your lounge chair. I suggest arriving before lunchtime to ensure you get a chair.
Where to Eat and Drink in Rhodes Town
Greek food is amazing and there is certainly no shortage of places to eat around Rhodes Town. My biggest suggest would be to stay away from the tavernas on the main stretch in Old Town. It’s not that they are bad, they just aren’t as good as others and are overpriced. Again, go down some of the smaller alleys away from the crowded areas and you will find smaller, quieter, places to eat with delicious food and better prices. Or, you can head to new town, there are plenty of spots that locals eat there.
For breakfast, or if you are craving something sweet go to Fournariko bakery. I went here pretty much daily and everything I ate was delicious. The spinach and feta pies are a classic, of course. They also recommended the bougatsa which is a vanilla cream pie dusted with icing sugar, also very delicious.
For dinner, my favourites are:
- Tamam (New Town) for Mediterranean dishes and a large wine selection
- Nireas for Seafood (the shrimp saganaki is amazing)
- Hermes Greek Grill House- delicious gyros and meat dishes
These recommendations came from locals who also suggested Pizanias (another seafood spot) and Koukos. I didn’t get to either of those but thought I should share because the other spots were so good.
Rhodes is an amazing island and quickly became one of my favoruites in Greece. The people are lovely, the scenery is beautiful, and there are plenty of things to do in Rhodes. As mentioned above I suggest you spend at least 5 days in Rhodes, more if you want to relax. And don’t forget to leave a couple of days to take the ferry over and explore Symi! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
A Note on Travel Insurance in Greece
Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine multiple times. While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance as they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found, plus, they are who I use and I have had great experiences with them. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.