Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands, along the eastern edge of the Aegean and the closest island to Turkey. Nicknamed, the island of the Knights, named so because of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who once conquered the island, Rhodes has a rich history of all coming to experience its wonder.
With miles of beaches, a forested, mountainous interior, Crusader castles, frescoed churches, one of the finest medieval towns in the Mediterranean and eight sunny months a year, Rhodes can’t help but be a winner for holidaymakers. Once home to the Colossus at Rhodes, one the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, many have called Rhodes home throughout the centuries. Yet the island has never lost its beauty and history, with over two million people flocking to the island every summer.
A Wonderful History
The Colossus of Rhodes, one the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, was believed to be a representation of the Greek god Helios and stood watch over the port of ancient Rhodes. Designed by Chares of Lindos, the Colossus was erected to commemorate the islands victory against a siege by the Macedonians to take the island. Today the Greece is looking to bring some of that wonder back to the island by rebuilding the Colossus at Rhodes.
Unlike many of the islands in Greece, you can get to Rhodes by airplane from Athens, Thessaloniki, and many other islands in Greece. Of course for those looking to take a more scenic route there are ferries from the port city of Piraeus and a few of the islands, just make sure you do not mind the wait as it takes approximately 12 hours to get to Rhodes via ferry.
Rhodes highlights every culture that has ever inhabited the island. From the Mycenaean’s to the Byzantines, the Ottoman Turks and other cultures, Rhodes has influences from so many cultures that make up its most interesting sites. Mandraki Harbour, which is believed to be where the Colossus at Rhodes once stood, welcomes all with a beautiful fort, windmills and stunning views of the Aegean. For those who love the Medieval period explore Old Town, one of the largest Medieval towns of Europe. Through the Gate of Freedom explore 24 centuries of mosaics, architecture, Medieval fortresses, and the Palace of the Grand Master, once home to the Knights of the Order of Saint John.
Just outside Old Town is “new town” highlighting the Venetians and more present day lifestyles of the people of Rhodes. For those looking for a calming, serene sight be sure to visit Rodíni Park, a true paradise with many peacocks, streams and paths amidst oleander bushes, cypress, maple and pine trees. Rodini is said to be the site of the famous School of Rhetoric, where prominent Greeks and Romans, including Julius Caesar, Cato the Younger, Cicero, Pompey, Brutus, Cassius and Marc Anthony, studied. Finally one of the must sights most popular sights to see in Rhodes is the Valley of Butterflies, a habitat of unique value for the reproduction of the Panaxia Quadripunctaria butterfly.
For those looking for something a little more modern many of the beaches along the coast offer windsurfing, kite surfing and golden beaches for miles. There are plenty of cliffs for the risk takers, and resorts dot the coast for those looking for a more quite holiday.
Rhodes is famous for its nightlife, which has a variety available for all who visit the island. From tavernas bustling with people to Orfanidi Street there are many different things to experience. Most of the popular nightlife activities happen in Old Town, where you can also take a leisurely stroll down any of the intriguing cobblestone sidewalks and experience something new on each each street.