If this island’s gorgeous coastline and bright blue waters doesn’t have you dying to visit, its’ somewhat undiscovered (yet phenomenal) culinary scene surely will
If you’re anything like me, the words “Greek Islands” probably brings to mind the dramatic scenery of Santorini or the romantic architecture of Mykonos…but there are so many other places to explore! One of the lesser-known (but just as gorgeous) Greek islands is Rhodes. The climate on Rhodes is milder than its smaller counterparts, which allows it to have a peak season stretching from April until the end of November. Unlike the other islands, Rhodes never shuts down during winter. Besides offering great Greek wine, rich food, and a fascinating history, it’s also an excellent place to relax beachside. To take in everything the island has to offer, intend on spending around four nights.
If you’re planning an adventure around the Greek islands, you’ll most likely fly into Athens and take boats or smaller planes out to the islands. To reach Rhodes, the easiest option is to fly via Aegean Airlines from Athens straight to the island. Rhodes does have an international airport and flying was the easiest option for us :)
While some towns on the island have walkable areas, if you want to get the full experience and see all the sights, you’ll want to rent a car as soon as you land. At over 500 square miles, it is Greece’s largest island; having a car makes seeing all of Rhodes’ gorgeous coastline and top-notch restaurants and absolute breeze. We organized our car rental through Rhodes Cars and it was one of the easiest processes! We were met at the airport and shown to our waiting car immediately. The car was nice, clean, came with a good car seat for Axel and was perfect for the 3 of us. When it came time to return the car, we just left it at the airport. Easy!
What to Do
Rhodes Medieval Town
Though parts of this area is admittedly overly touristy, we absolutely loved the Medieval Town. In the evening, we enjoyed wandering its winding cobblestone streets and taking in the area’s ancient architecture. This area is also home to many restaurants, one of which quickly became our favorite.
Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
When we arrived, I had no idea that Rhodes was bursting at the seams with history. So to explore a little of the island’s past, we hired a private guide for a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes. It included the Medieval Town and the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. If you’re a bit of a history buff, it’s an absolute must; if you’re not so interested in history, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. Either way, I highly recommend doing a tour!
While out exploring Rhodes we stumbled upon a long, sprawling stretch of beach called Afandou. This beach’s brilliant turquoise water and long, lapping waves were especially scenic. At a little over 4 kilometers, it’s perfect for a long, relaxing stroll or a quick dip. As one of the island’s most underdeveloped major beaches, it was an excellent place for a midday break.
As one of the most popular historic villages on the island, Lindos is a must for any Rhodes itinerary. Though famous for its clifftop acropolis, the area has a multitude of other attractions. The village itself is steeped in history and surrounded by the ruins of a Hellenistic stone wall, which was constructed by knights back in medieval times. The structure stands 116m above sea level and offers fascinating clues into the village’s rich past. Whether you’re interested in history or not, walking around Lindos’ narrow alleys and perusing its many unique restaurants is an excellent way to pass an afternoon.
Visit Valley of the Butterflies
Found inland on Rhodes, this nature park offers 600 acres of scenic trails which are home to countless butterflies. Unfortunately, we visited Rhodes in September, and found most of the Valley’s butterflies had already flitted off. However, if you happen to be traveling between May and September, Valley of the Butterflies is an absolute must for an unforgettable experience.
Triantafyllou, a small family-owned winery, is an authentic establishment that ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. During our visit, we had the opportunity not just to explore the vineyards, but also to learn a little more about the wine-making process. In addition to delicious reds and exquisite whites, they also craft olive oil. In fact, some of the only souvenirs we brought back from Greece was wine and olive oil from Triantafyllou. Just make sure to call or email the winery to organize a visit.
Where to Eat
Most of the restaurants on Rhodes don’t have well-cultivated websites with glam shots of their dishes or dining room…I’ll admit we weren’t very excited to go check them out, but wow I’m sure glad that we did anyway! It seems the restaurant owners in Rhodes have skipped the time needed to carefully curate impressive websites, and instead focused 100% of their efforts on crafting unforgettable dishes.
Overall, the island’s picturesque coastlines and island vibes were wonderful, but the food alone in Rhodes is reason enough to return. Because most hotels in the area are all-inclusive (so be sure you pick one with great food), it’s easy to stay in your comfort zone and neglect the island’s blooming culinary scene, but do yourself a favor and be sure to get out and visit a few restaurants!
Though Petaladika was located right in the heart of the Medieval Village, it still had all the charm and authenticity of a truly local Greek business. At around 7:30 or 8:00, the whole dining room quickly fills up with locals who all know the owner by name. It’s not easy to get a table, but the huge assortment of unheard-of Greek dishes is definitely worth it. Fair warning: it’s tempting to sit down and select a basic, go-to meal like souvlaki or a gyro, but Petaladika’s unique dishes are well worth stepping out of your comfort zone for. Enlist the help of your server and try a couple local favorites.
Mourella Restaurant at Kiotari village
We’ve eaten in a lot of gorgeous restaurants around the world, but I have to admit that Mourella, located in Kiotari village, is one of the most scenic. Out on the terrace, gorgeous trees create an ambiance almost as fresh and natural as the food itself. What makes all the difference at Mourella is that the ingredients are hand-picked and sourced directly from the owner’s garden, which makes for a fresh taste you won’t find anywhere else.
Where to Stay
During our island getaway on Rhodes, we chose to stay at Sentido Apollo Blue, a beach hotel that is somehow both classically Greek and modern. Open during the region’s peak season from November to March, it’s one of the areas many all-inclusive hotels. For dining, they offered an array of options from buffets to themed nights such as Moroccan and Greek. We also loved that they provided a comfortable crib for Axel, and a ton of other great amenities. For our stay, we were in one of their suites which included our own private pool…which I highly recommend! The room itself was astoundingly large, and even included a kitchenette for making some light meals.
The hotel is located just a few steps from the sea, so if one of the massive, turquoise pools gets boring, you can always head straight for the water. Whether you’re visiting Rhodes to bask on its beaches, or coming to explore its history, the Sentido Apollo Blue is an excellent option for a uniquely-Greek getaway, especially if you’re with family.