Rhodes: the island of the Templars
Greece is full of islands, each one with its unique character, style and color. Amongst the biggest and most popular islands in the Aegean is Rhodes, that is the island of the Templars, and certainly a lot different than most other Greek islands. This mainly has to do with the fact that it was occupied by Templar knights in the past, who brought their culture and architecture to the place. It’s evident today, especially at the port and the old city.
As I’ve written in my other posts, me and my wide have traveled a lot around Greece, but prefer small islands and places because we do not drive. Rhodes is a large island but we had the chance to go there for about a week. That was a couple of years ago, with some friends. Our friends Nikos and Soula from Kerassa have a son who at that time was serving as a soldier in Rhodes, so they paid a visit both for holidays and to be close to their son. My and my wife joined them and in fact had a wonderful time there.
The old town and the medieval constructions
Rhodes is a delightful place that is unfairly associated with drunken Europeans tourists. Like anywhere there are infamous places that you can easily avoid and need not spoil the charm of the rest of the island.
The broad tree-lined streets of the new town of Rhodes, the medieval walls and the medieval city are very well preserved and wonderful. Long walks in the old city are enjoyable. The best time to explore the old medieval town is very early in the morning before the innumerable tourist souvenir shops open.
So during our stay there we loved to get early in the morning and then have long walks over the cobblestone streets and really feel the place and its unique character. Most cafes open at 8.30. It’s wonderful to sit and eat your breakfast in the old town, rather than in the hotel, enjoying the morning sun and the peaceful environment. You should not visit the old town without exploring museums, historical streets and buildings.
Impressions about the new city
The new city is well organized. It quite modern, it has wide streets planted with large trees on the sides. It’s much “friendlier” than most large cities in Greece. You can find modern shops of all kinds, trendy cafes and bars, banks, and of course a well-organized public bus system that can take you around Rhodes Island.
One of the most important things that we noticed is that all taxis have fixed prices that are publicly available on the main taxi station in Mandraki. I suggest you
are careful with the prices since taxis are a bit expensive. As the main island of the Dodecanese complex of islands, Rhodes has a central Court and many administrative services, most of them located in wonderful Art Deco buildings in front of Mandraki sea.
There are also well equipped hospitals and clinics, where patients from the smaller islands of the Dodecanese go for more intensive treatment. So you should not worry if you happen to have an accident during your holidays there.
Having good time in Rhodes
There are many holiday resorts on Rhodes and most of the tourist packages are mainly for the North part of the island which is mostly developed. There’s really not many things to see in the South apart from the wonderful scenery and what nature has to offer, since the largest part is not inhabited.
Faliraki is one of the most famous and popular places in Rhodes. There’s a wonderful beach but it’s the most crowded one you can find around the island. Bars, clubs, and restaurants are all about the place. I think the place is better suited for younger people but it’s worth to visit the place, go shopping and eat or have a drink at night.
Apart from the wild nightlife of Faliraki, Rhodes town is the center of nightlife on the island. In the new town there are many bars and pubs, foreign restaurants (mainly Scandinavian and some Chinese) many internet cafes and of course the jewel of nightlife, that is the famous Rhodes Casino Rhodes. In some Greek and foreign restaurants, you will find live music.
Getting to know the beaches
As we found out, the best beaches are on the east coast. Most of them are suitable for families with children. Surfers prefer Prasonisi in the South. In Ladiko there is a small bay called “Anthony Quinn” which is really nice. This is the place where the movie “The Guns of Navarone” was filmed. There are also many beaches great beaches like Afandou and Kritika.
Last but not least, a really nice place to visit are the thermal baths of Kallithea, that are located on the east side of the island. On the west side of the island there are many picturesque villages.