The island of Rhodes, is shaped like a spearhead, with a total area of approximately 1,400 square kilometres and an impressive coastline of approximately 220 km. The city of Rhodes is located at the northern tip of the island, as well as the site of the ancient and modern commercial harbors. The main air gateway (Diagoras International Airport, is located 14 km to the southwest of the city in Paradisi. The island is well connected with other major Greek cities and islands as well as with major European capitals and cities via regular and charter flights. A good road network radiates from the city along the east and west coasts. The island is served by two operators of bus services connecting several villages and beaches and by 450 taxis.
Today Rhodes is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The economy is tourist-oriented elevating Rhodes economically, compared to the rest of Greece. The island is ideal not only for those who want to relax but also for those looking for action and culture. With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches. Rhodes is a blessed place. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. Outside of the city of Rhodes, the island is dotted with small villages and beach resorts, among them Faliraki, Lindos, Kremasti, Haraki, Pefkos, Archangelos, Afantou, Koskinou, Embona (Attavyros), Paradisi, and Trianta (Ialysos).
Lindos, with its medieval alleys, its ancient monuments and historic houses is considered by many as the most beautiful village of Rhodes. Spectacular cliffs give their place to picturesque sandy coves, while the views towards the small lagoon of St Paul are simply magnificent.
For food, local specialties include: Avranies, Koulouria, Pitaroudia, Pouggia, Tsirigia, Fanouropita, Katimeria, Melekouni, Pouggakia, Takakia and muchalebi.
The interior of the island is mountainous, sparsely inhabited and covered with forests of pine and cypress. While the shores are rocky, the island has arable strips of land where citrus fruit, wine grapes, vegetables, olives and other crops are grown. In the "Valley of the Butterflies” (petaloudes in Greek), large numbers of tiger moths gather during the summer months.
Historical sites on the island of Rhodes include the Acropolis of Lindos, the Acropolis of Rhodes with the Temple of Pythian Apollo and an ancient theatre and stadium, ancient Ialysos, ancient Kamiros, the Governor's Palace, Rhodes Old Town (walled medieval city which has been declared a World Heritage Site), the Palace of the Grand Masters, Kahal Shalom Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, the Archeological Museum, the ruins of the castle of Monolithos, the castle of Kritinia, St. Catherine Hospice and Rhodes Footbridge.
The island’s long history goes back to the Neolithic period, the Minoans and the Mycenaean Greeks. In the 8th century BC, the Dorians,built the three important cities of Lindos, Ialyssos and Kameiros. Rhodes saw on its territory, the Greeks, the Persians, Alexandre the Great and its successors, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Ottomans, the Arabs and the Genovese. Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World destroyed in the 226 BC earthquake.
In 1309 the island was occupied by forces of the Knights Hospitaller. Under the rule of the newly named "Knights of Rhodes", the city was rebuilt into a model of the European medieval ideal. Many of the city's famous monuments, including the Palace of the Grand Master, were built during this period. The strong walls which the knights had built withstood the attacks of the Sultan of Egypt in 1444, and a siege by the Ottomans under Mehmed II in 1480. Eventually, Rhodes fell to the large army of Suleiman the Magnificent in December 1522. The few surviving knights were permitted to retire to the Kingdom of Sicily, from where they would later move their base of operations to Malta. Rhodes was thereafter a possession of the Ottoman Empire for nearly four centuries.
In 1912, Italy seized Rhodes from the Turks during the Italo-Turkish War. Following the Italian Armistice of 8 September 1943, the British attempted to get the Italian garrison on Rhodes to change sides. This was anticipated by the German Army, which succeeded in occupying the island. On 8 May 1945 the Germans surrendered Rhodes to the British. In 1947, together with the other islands of the Dodecanese, Rhodes was united with Greece.
In ancient times there was a Roman saying: "Hic Rhodus, hic salta!"—"Rhodes is here, here perform your jump", an admonition to prove one's idle boasts by deed rather than talk.
Diagoras airport, with terminals old and new (most international flights arrive at the new one), is about 15km south-west of the main town on the west coast. From a stop between the two terminals, a bus into town (6.30am-midnight), otherwise, taxis will set you to your destination.
Rhodes is a major ferry destination from all the other Dodecanese islands, Crete and several Cyclades, as well as Piraeus. Almost all craft – except cruise ships and catamarans/hydrofoils – dock at remote Akandiá,the easternmost of Rhodes Town’s three ports, well outside the medieval walls.
A walk around the world's best preserved medieval city is essential. The old city, included in Unesco list of world heritage sites, is an impressive complex of palaces, towers and water fountains.
Also visit the archeological sites. See the remains of a Doric temple at the Ancient Acropolis of Lalysos. A monumental fountain dating to the 4th century BC is located on the southern slope of the hill. At Kamiros, the ancient settlement has survived almost in its entirely. Enjoy the view from the medieval castles at Monolithos and Kritinia.
Tour the winery and distillery areas. The road headed to Attavyros leads to the island's viticultural heartland.
Visit Piges in the Kalithea area, a health spa built in 1929, for a dip in its refreshing waters and a look around the small local museum.
Also visit the Panagia tis Tsabikas monastery, at the top of a hill with a breathtaking view between the areas of Kolympia and Achangelos.
Go windsurfing or kitesurfing at Prasonisi, a popular destination for watersports enthusiasts.
Go swimming at the island 's breathtaking beaches. In town Elli beach, widely known as Trampolino is ideal if you are looking for something close.
Anthony Quinn beach, named so because scenes featuring the celebrated actor for "The Guns of Navarone" where shot here, is also great for swimming.
The nearby coves of Ladiko and Tragano have turquoise waters. Apostolos Pavlos in Lindos is endowed with an impressive inlet blessed with wonderful waters.
Glystra, an exotic and windless spot, features oak trees and sand dunes. Lahania, an enormous beach covered with fine pebbles, has a Caribbean-style beach bar. On the West side of the island Fourni and Monolithos beaches are quiet and impressive. And also Aghati beach , tsambika beach , Kalithea and Prassonissi.
Restaurants and Bars
Try the island's traditional culinary delights, such as melekouni, a snack bar made with sesame seeds, thyme honey, almonds, orange peel, bergamot and a mix of spices, which can be found at the women's cooperative in Appollona, and at its store in the main town.
The food on the island of Rhodes is too good to miss:
Mavrikos restaurant situated in the main square offers dishes such as cuttlefish risotto as well as calamari sautéed with saffron.
Alexis fish restaurant one of Onassis' favourites.
Marco Polo restaurant where patrons dine in the magical garden of a 15th century medieval building.
Dinoris restaurant offers fish as fresh as can be, wonderful salads and shrimps from the local waters.
Avantis serving excellent fresh fish, pasta with lobster or langoustine.
Perigiali a taverna by the waves in the villa of Stegna for small rouzetia fish.
Bakis brothers restaurant for lambs chops, steaks, sausages.
Pigi Fasouli is a good taverna in a lovely mountain setting.
Dishes prepared with local meat, delicious staffed baked baby goat.
Mediterraneo restaurant has superb pasta dishes.
And also some more restaurants:
At Pefkos :
Corrali , Enigma , Artemis, Terpsis , Hellas, Philosophia, Spitaki tavern, and Kyma.
A Lardos :
El greco , Valantina , Roulas.