Just slightly smaller than Lesvos and 4th largest of all Greek islands, Rhodes is a hub for cruise ships pouring 1,000s of travelers into the city for short land-side excursions. Fortunately for us, our travels did not overlap with the hordes of cruises.
Only 20 mi/30 km from the Turkish coast, Rhodes Island is popular for its lively nightlife, excellent beaches, flowers, hills and historical sites. The island has a fairly active artists’ colony, and it’s not uncommon to come across a painter at work.
Rhodes island offers its visitors a history that goes back in time thousands of years, to the ages of mythology.
The beautiful myth of Rhodes says that after Zeus’s victory against the Giants, he decided to divide the earth among the Olympian gods; The only god who received nothing was Helios, the god of the Sun.
He, according to the myth, was absent and “No one remembered to include him in the draw”! When he came back he demanded his share, but Zeus told him that he was not able to make the cast again because the rest of the gods would not agree. Helios was disappointed but asked Zeus and the other gods to promise that the land that was to rise out of the sea could be his.
As he spoke, a beautiful island slowly emerged from the bottom of the blue sea, Rhodes. Helios bathed Rhodes with his own radiance and made it the most beautiful island in the Aegean Sea.
The visitor can find monuments and evidence of Rhode’s long history and myth to explore scattered all over the island. Some of the most important historical sights and monuments on the island are:
In Rodos City:
- The Acropolis of Rhodes
- The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
- The Medieval City of Rhodes and the Palace of the Grand Masters
Outside of Rodos City:
- The Acropolis of Lindos
- The castle of Monolithos
- The castle of Kritinia
- The castle of Feraklos in Haraki
- Ancient Lalysos
- Ancient Kamiros
Here is my 2 Day Itinerary to Rodes, Greece:
Spend Day 1 in Old Town
Much of its flavor and architecture arrived with the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who occupied it 1310-1522. In the capital, Rodos, see the medieval quarter of Old Town.
Old Town is surrounded by the most impressive, well-maintained pair of medieval walls which easily could take hours to see all the towers and former moats. A UNESCO site since 1988, the parallel walls are separated by a dry moat and is in outstanding condition. The 3.2 mi/5 km long and 12 meters wide walls distinguish Old Town from the rest of the city.
Inside the walls, each street and turn compelled us further into the maze of streets taking time to meander through the Greek, Turkish and Jewish neighborhood. Along the way, we stopped for lunch and shopping at little pockets of shops. (see below for a list of our favorite restaurants)
Your tour must include time at the 14th century Grand Master’s Palace, the most prominent historical and architectural landmark and once the residence of the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller. The Palace holds two permanent archaeological exhibitions: “Ancient Rhodes – 2400 years” celebrating 2400 years since the founding of the city of Rhodes (408/7 BC) and “Rhodes from the Early Christian period to the Turkish conquest (1522)” covers the city from the 4th century AD until the beginning of the Ottoman period.
For €10, a 3-day ticket includes entrances into the Grand Masters’ Palace, Archaeological Museum, the church of Our Lady of the Castle and the Decorative Arts Collection.
Spend Day 2 in New Town and outside the city.
New Town is north of Old Town. Mandilara Street is home to some of the best restaurants and shopping in New Town. The long-standing Koykos Restaurant serves traditional Rhodian recipes such as Koulouria, a hand-made local pasta topped with fresh crumbly cheese and spices is beloved by both locals and tourist.
The Agios Nikolas Tower (at the harbor entrance), marks where one of the legendary 7 Wonders of World, Colossus of Rhodes, once stood. The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek titan-god of the sun Helios, and once straddled the harbor which boats had to enter through. Now, unimpressive columns are set in place of the feet as a remembrance and are considered an island ‘must’ see.
How to get there: From the Old town’s East wall, you walk the jetty with the three, well-preserved Wiatraki Rhodes Windmills toward the Fort of St. Nicolas. The jetty makes a turn to close in the harbor, and at the end is the ancient Colossus. Now you can take the best picture of the two Colossus with Rodos in the background.
As you walk the outskirts of new town along the coast, take a quick look at the painted walls of the Eklisia Church to see the walls that are covered from floor to ceiling in paintings of scenes from the Bible and of the saints.
Lastly, even if you don’t get in the water, spend an hour resting your feet from the walking and enjoy another view of the Mediterranean Sea at the beaches before heading back to Turkey.
Most travelers are only staying in Rhodes 1 day. I would suggest spending most of the time in the Old Town, but make sure to walk along the outside of the Old Town by the water so you enjoy the sea as well!
During the high season, between April-October, a double-decker sightseeing bus waits for travelers and cruise passengers at the port. While the bus could use some work on the sound system, the 12 Euro day pass gives you access to 2 buses making an hour-long loop around the city of Rodes; a quick way to get your bearing of where you may want to spend your day.
The route also passes by the unimpressive Acropolis of Rhodes to see a theater, stadium and two temples. The buses pass by every hour which gives you chances to stop and look through the ruins before catching the next bus. If time permits in your busy schedule and the buses aren’t in season, you can hike or take a taxi.
How to travel from Turkey to Rhodes:
The 1-hour fast ferry takes passengers from the Marmaris port in Turkey to the entrance of the Old Town, Rodos of Greece. Rodos splits into ‘new town’ and ‘old town.’ If you have two days, spend one day exploring each. See my articles 8 Tips for Traveling to the Greek Islands from Turkey to explain the one-way and round-trip tickets from Turkey.
Where to eat:
In New Town, the long-standing Koykos Restaurant served traditional Rhodian recipes. “Koulouria” with fresh local pasta and crumbly cheese and spices is beloved by both locals and tourist. In Old Town, the Odyssey Restaurant offers up delicious traditional Greek dishes at a reasonable price for the touristy part of town. I suggest the mixed meze plate for 2 and a mug of the local Alpha beer.
Our nontraditional restaurant choice would be the George & Maria Art of Falafel, located near the Koykos Restaurant on Mandilara Street. For dessert, we enjoyed yummy, single serving lemon pies from PURE Sweets & More in New Town.
Where to stay:
For budget travelers, we recommend the Lydia Hotel in New Town (50 Euros per night) or the Medieval Rose Inn guesthouse in Old Town (25-30 Euros per night). In New Town, the fore-mentioned Koykos Restaurant is also a beloved 8-room guesthouse. If you like a little luxury, Rhodes Park, and Suites Hotel near Old Town (180 Euros per night). This island is so small that it would be easy to stay in the central city and take day trips to other areas of the island.
What to buy:
When your sandals break in Greece, buy another pair! I heard Chios was the place for leather shopping, but Rodos has way more options. Real soft leather sandals in the latest fashion cost around 35 to 45 Euros.
I hope you found my 2 Day Itinerary for Rodos, Greece helpful! We will definitely return for another weekend and explore other parts of the islands! There is so much more to see!
Watch our video about our travels to Rhodes Greek Island HERE.
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Read more information about other islands we have visited:
8 Tips for Traveling to the Greek Islands from Turkey
Chios (coming soon)
Lesvos (coming soon)