The largest of Greece‘s Dodecanese islands, the island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea attracts a range of tourists who flock year on year. Enticing them are the delicate Grecian delicacies that make this part of the world famous, and some serious sunbathing spots on the island’s turquoise-watered beaches. Most notably, budding historians are lured to this island with its incredible array of scattered ruins, including the acropolis and Temple Lindos. But for those who want a break from historical ruins, we’ve come up with some other Rhodes to take!
One of the most famous beaches on the island, Tsambika Beach is a long and broad bay with fine golden sand. The backdrop for this sweeping beach is what makes this spot most impressive, with a hill leading up to the Monastery of the Virgin of Tsambika. After (a rather strenuous) 300-step walk up the hill, visitors will discover the most holy place on the whole island. The Virgin of Tsampika is said to work miracles and young woman having difficulty in conceiving often pray for her aid. But whatever your reason for visiting, a trip the monastery and the staggering panoramic views from the top make the trek well worth it.
Windsurfing in Prasonisi
For those who fancy trying their hand at an extreme watersport, this is the best place on the island to learn windsailing. The geographical location of this beach, right on the island’s southern tip, makes it fantastic for a stable wind sure to sweep you off your feet. Whether you’re eager to learn or consider yourself a pro, the Prasonisi Centre is on hand to cater to your windsurfing needs. It’s also where the Mediterranean and the Aegean meet, so you can tell your friends you’ve windsailed across two seas!
Valley of Butterflies
The romantically named Valley of Butterflies is exactly what it suggests – a 600-acre valley in a cool and shady forest where you can marvel at the spectacular colours of the thousands of butterflies that congregate here. The insects can be found on leaves, tree branches and by the water so visitors are asked to keep quiet while exploring the park. There is also a little museum in the lower part of the valley where you can brush up on your butterfly knowledge. Walk up the hill to the Monastery of Virgin Mary of Kalopetra (they do like their monasteries here) and enjoy a breathtaking view.
Faliraki Water Park
Image © Baronb / Shutterstock.com
If you’re well and truly over the monuments and just looking for a fun-filled day in the sun, this is something we’re sure you’ll be able to get on board with – Faliraki Water Park. With a pirate ship, a monster wave pool and loads of thrilling slides of varying gradients, you’re guaranteed a fun-filled day out where you can wipe ruins from your mind. There are also plenty of food and drinks stands for when you need a break and some much-needed time to de-prune.
It may be surprising to learn that the island has a history of Jewish settlement dating back to the second century BC, and a Jewish Quarter in the Old Town. To this day, the small square that was once home to a bustling community of Jewish inhabitants still stands. At its centre is a monument to the Jewish community, and nearby is a fascinating Rhodes Jewish Museum detailing the heritage of Jewish residents. Make sure you pop into Kahal Shalom Synagogue – the oldest in the whole of Greece and with a particularly intricate interior.
One of the most enchanting points on the island, Seven Springs offers visitors an oasis of calm in a tranquil setting of Mediterranean forestry. Spend your day walking past shady pines until you get to the jewel-coloured pools. Water flows out of the springs all year round, which has formed a winding stream, rocky pools and a small damned lake. A trip here makes a nice break from the beaches that are constantly exposed to the hot Grecian sun.
Modern Greek Art Museum
Fancy yourself as a bit of a culture vulture? This splendid museum explores the history of 20th-century Greek art, with a series of beautiful paintings, sketches and sculptures from all over Greece that include a traditional style of artwork, to the downright surreal. The outside is also impressive in itself, with shady archways and a Roman-esque courtyard where you can enjoy a lunch. The museum is a great option for a rainy day (not that there are many on Rhodes!)
If you’re finding your island holiday is giving you a touch of cabin fever, why not do a spot of island hopping and head to the nearby Dodecanese island of Symi. Far smaller and less crowded than Rhodes, it’s ideal for a day trip. You can catch a ferry for a cheap price and the quick crossing lasts for an hour on average. The island has a picturesque harbour, great neo-classical buildings, and the beautiful Panormitis monastery. The climb up through the cobbled streets of charming Chorio is pretty amazing too.