Rhodes Itinerary: Best Things to Do in Rhodes Greece
January 31, 2019
What To Do For One Week in Rhodes, Greece
The island of Rhodes — the 4th largest in Greece and the historical capital of the Dodecanese — is steeped in history as there are traces of inhabitants dating back to the Neolithic period. Basically, Rhodes was inhabited a really, really long time ago…somewhere in the vicinity of 6500 B.C. The island was once home to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and is currently the most visited island of the Dodecanese largely due to the Medieval Old Town of Rhodes, a World Heritage Site. There is so much to do in Rhodes, Greece that it took seven jam-packed days to feel like we had really explored the island thoroughly. Even still, it was impossible to see and do everything in that period of time. That is why I created this Rhodes itinerary. The post will help you organize all the things to do in Rhodes based upon what worked and what didn’t during my visit to Rhodes this past summer.
Where to Stay in Rhodes
From all of the research I had done on the best hotels in Rhodes, it seemed like staying in Old Town was the obvious choice. But, by the time we booked, the inn didn’t have availability for the final two nights of our trip. So, we stayed four nights in the Old Town and two nights at a hotel in the New Town instead. I do understand why staying in Rhodes Town is recommended; but, to be completely truthful, staying in the Old Town began to feel a bit claustrophobic and that is coming from someone who went spelunking with no concern. I would strongly consider flipping the order and staying the majority of your nights in the New Town with just a couple of nights in Old Town.
Also, be sure to book your property as early as possible. Prices for upscale hotels can actually be quite reasonable if you book far out. However, once you get close to high season, prices steadily increase each week and you don’t get much bang for your buck. I always recommend using Booking.com because they have a great cancellation policy if you are still deciding on dates and various properties. You can either book directly through Booking.com or look on TripAdvisor which will show you a variety of booking engine sites and automatically compare price points.
Spirit of the Knights Boutique Hotel is a 6 room boutique hotel conveniently located in the Old Town of Rhodes. The welcoming staff will meet you at the entrance gate to deliver your bags to the hotel so you don’t have to carry the bags yourself down the cobblestone streets.You will find prices under $200 even during high season if you book far enough in advance; however, those costs will go up the closer you get to summer.
Rodos Park Suites & Spa is a hotel just outside the walls of Rhodes Old Town so you can easily make your way on foot to all of the best Rhodes attractions in both the medieval city and in New Town. The property has many amenities including a pool, rooftop bar, spa, and onsite restaurant.
Lindos Blu is arguably the nicest luxury hotel in all of Rhodes, so even though it is located in Lindos and not in Rhodes Town, I would be remiss not to mention it. My first encounter with this property was on our drive to the Acropolis at Lindos. We were struck by how spectacular this hotel was and later met a wonderful family who was also from Los Angeles and staying at the property. The views are second to none and the hotel boasts all of the amenities that you would expect at a luxury hotel including a indoor and outdoor pool, private beach, spa, etc.
Best Rhodes Town Hostel: Stay Hostel
Things to Do in Rhodes Town
Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
Walk the walls of the old city
Kahal Kadosh Shalom Synagogue/Rhodes Jewish Museum
Street of the Knights
Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
Roloi Clock Tower
Acropolis of Rhodes
Colossus of Rhodes
Things to Do on the Island of Rhodes
Acropolis of Lindos
Village of Lindos
Agios Pavlos Beach
Valley of the Butterflies
Day 1 of Rhodes Itinerary: Old Town
Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
Old Town Walls
Roloi Clock Tower
Let’s start off the first day of the trip in Rhodes exploring the famous sites in the Medieval Old Town, namely the Grand Master’s Palace and the Old Town walls. You will want to buy a combined ticket for 10 Euros which gets you into the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes and the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes along with a couple other attractions. The combined ticket also allows you to visit the attractions on consecutive days as long as you visit the Palace the first day that the ticket is purchased. We made the mistake of buying the combined ticket and trying to do the Palace the following day, but there is a small sign that says this is not allowed. The ticket office was nice enough to let us through, but it was a bit of a scene. You can also buy tickets to walk two kilometers along a section of the walls of the Old Town from the same ticket office in the south facade of the Palace. It costs just an extra 2 euros and was a great way to get acclimated to the city.
I am getting a bit ahead of myself here because before you do anything, you need to do a little background research on the timeline of periods in Rhodes starting from the Byzantine era. Why? Because Rhodes doesn’t do proper signage very well, if at all. Seriously, go on TripAdvisor for any of the major sights and you will see so many people complaining that the attractions have no information pertaining to the history of the place. You could very easily spend hours reading up on the history of Rhodes starting from the Neolithic period, but I recommend reading from a much more reasonable starting point…the Byzantine Era. If you’re a history buff, then by all means start from the beginning; if not, I have listed the important periods to keep note of.
Modern Day Greece
You’ll want to get to the Palace bright and early to beat the crowds. After picking up all your tickets, go inside the Palace and explore the exterior of the building as well as the upstairs interior. There will also most likely be an exhibition downstairs that you can visit free of charge. Once finished, head out of the palace and take a short walk to the entrance to the Old Town walls. If you are in Rhodes during the summer like I was, make sure you buy or bring a cold water bottle with you. While the goal is to get up to the walls before the middle of the day when it is scorching, if you are anything like me, you’ll make it to your destination right in the heat of the day. Hence, water is a necessity. Walk about two kilometers and take in the beautiful, unobstructed views of the Old Town and its surroundings until you reach the exit on the other side of the city. At this point, you will be probably be hungry for lunch; one thing the Old Town of Rhodes does quite well is dining. At every turn you’ll find another restaurant complete with a beautiful patio decked out in twinkle lights and greenery. Hermes Greek Grill House is an excellent and affordable choice for a lunchtime gyro and greek salad. For my vegetarian friends out there, haloumi, haloumi, haloumi, all day everyday. You can usually get the haloumi cheese on a plate or in a gyro. After a leisurely lunch, stroll around the Old Town making sure to hit up Sokratous Street, one of the busiest streets of the old town, as well as Hippocrates Square. If you are looking for a respite away from the crowds, the Public Library of Rhodes in the northeastern tip of the square is the perfect spot to rest your feet and enjoy some air conditioning. A more popular spot, the Hafiz Ahmed Agha Library across from the Suleman Mosque, also has some outdoor seating in the courtyard.
You will probably want to regroup–especially in the heat of the summer–before heading to the Roloi Clock Tower for sunset and 360 degree views of the city. I’m not quite sure why the reviews for the clock tower are so mediocre, but this was one of the highlights of our time in Old Town. For 5 euros, you get admission to the tower plus a free drink at the resident cocktail bar. The steps are a bit steep, so “my afraid of heights” peeps probably want to pass, but for the rest of you, climb up to the tower about 10 to 15 minutes before sunset and watch the sun go down from the tiny windows at the top. Afterward, head down for a free cocktail before dinner. Speaking of, some great dining options in Old Town include Alter Ego and Marco Polo Cafe. Cap off the night with a glass of wine at a rooftop bar before heading back for another packed day in the Medieval Old Town.
Day 2 of Rhodes Itinerary: Old Town
Synagogue and Museum
Street of the Knights
Every morning of the trip, we started our day at the Corner Bakery cafe in the Old Town. If you’re from the US, you might notice a slight resemblance to the popular chain restaurant…Corner Bakery. We quickly learned that the Cappuccino Fredo is the way to go. I ordered the caprese sandwich daily while my friend Caroline enjoyed the Greek yogurt with honey. As much as I loved the caprese sandwich, I did not have Greek yogurt until about a week later at a hotel breakfast in Crete and I honestly don’t know what the heck I was thinking. No, I am not generally a yogurt fan but they sell Greek yogurt around the world for a reason, and while it may not taste quite as good anywhere else in the world, Greek yogurt in Greece was the most scrumptious thing I tasted in a while.
Once properly caffeinated, I highly recommend stopping at the Kahal Kadosh Synagogue, the oldest functioning synagogue in Greece, and attached Rhodes Jewish Museum. Sam Modiano, a Holocaust survivor, volunteers at the synagogue to empower the next generation to keep his story alive. He and his wife live in Italy the rest of the year, but he comes back every summer and speaks to the visitors at the synagogue. There are memorials to the Jews of Rhodes and Kos who were deported to Auschwitz, few of which survived. The Rhodes Jewish Museum provides insight into the history of Jewish life on the island of Rhodes. From the mid-12th century onwards, each period is well documented with artifacts and a detailed history of life under the Ottoman Empire, Italian occupation, and the brutality of the Nazi regime.
So much of exploring the Old Town is wandering the streets and discovering narrow alleyways lined with bouganvillia and hidden archways. It’s especially magical if you can wander just off the beaten tourist track to slightly more residential areas of the Old Town. If you are looking for a cheap eat right in the heart of Hippocrates Square, I recommend Pita Fan. Sure, it looks like the equivalent of a crummy fast-food chain shop, but that didn’t stop me from coming back for that delicious halloumi cheese pita every single day.
The Archaeological Museum is located right in the heart of the Old Town and will be free to enter with the combination ticket you purchased the day prior. While the museum has a fascinating collection, the relics simply have a date and location detailing where they were found; I wish they would include a story about the excavation and how the pieces were discovered. The highlights for me were the mosaics on the wall and the gardens, a great spot to take an afternoon rest break. There’s WiFi there too! After you exit, the famous Street of the Knights is right around the corner. Golden hour is the perfect time to walk along the street and time travel back in history. With sunset fast approaching, now is probably a good time to get out beyond the walls and explore the harbor. We climbed up the Naillac Tower to get a new perspective from the outside looking in. The Walk Inn was an excellent spot for dinner if you’re craving something other than feta; the pizzas are delicious and affordable and the vibe very chilled out. Pizanias aka “The Sea Star” and Nireas Fish Restaurant are two other excellent options if you are looking for something a little more upscale and in the mood for seafood.
Day 3 of Rhodes Itinerary: Symi
While it has been fun rooting ourselves in the heart of the historical center of Rhodes for the past couple of days, we are on an island after all and should embrace that island lifestyle. That’s why you should absolutely take a day trip from Rhodes to Symi, a Greek island 40 kilometers northwest of Rhodes, and embrace the laid back life. I have a whole post detailing exactly how to get to Symi by ferry from Rhodes and what to do and where to eat once you are there. You can read that here. This day trip was really a highlight of our time in Rhodes, so I do absolutely recommend it. There are few locations these days where Instagrammers have not taken over, but in Symi, you can be surrounded by pastel colored buildings and a gorgeous harbor and not be in a place completely overrun by tourists. How rare is that?!
Rhodes accommodation change: At this point, if you are still staying in Old Town, I recommend switching accomodations tonight to the New Town. If you prefer to stay at a luxury resort near one of the beaches of Rhodes like Lindos Blu, you may want to change the order of this Rhodes itinerary slightly…Day 6 before Day 4 and you can move hotels on Day 4 which is really now Day 5.
Day 4 of Rhodes Itinerary: Road Trip
Lindos & Acropolis
Kalithea Springs/Valley of the Butterflies/
I’m not a huge car rental person on vacation, but I had read that it was smart to rent a car in Rhodes and I did feel like there was so much to see that could not possibly be done all in one day without one. However, when it came time to rent a car, there were not any good deals so last minute. I highly recommend booking a car in advance and if not, talk to your accommodation and see if they have a partnership with any local companies. We were able to drop our Inn owner’s name at her suggestion to a rental car shop, and we paid about 55 euros for an automatic vehicle for the day. Luckily, my friend Caroline took over the driving, and I got to be the navigator. If you decide against renting a car but still wish to visit the Acropolis in Lindos, you can book a Day Trip to Lindos from Rhodes Town.
Before leaving the center of Rhodes, we established our itinerary and what we wished to accomplish for the day, namely the Acropolis in Lindos. First on the agenda for us was Kalithea Springs because geographically, it is closest to Rhodes Town. We ended up just stopping here and looking around without going in because there was just so much to see and do on this road trip. Also, we knew we would be headed to the Seven Springs later which was free versus Kalithea Springs, a more spa-like attraction with thermal, therapeutic springs.
As hard as we tried to get ourselves in gear and make it to Lindos bright and early, we ended up getting there mid-day and the warnings we had read over and over again were spot on…it gets HOT at the top of the Acropolis in the summer. I still don’t have the perfect solution, but if you can get there very early, fantastic, and if not, consider leaving this until the end of your day. The Acropolis in Lindos really is the highlight of Rhodes. Make sure you stop at some of the lookout points before you reach the city of Lindos; you’ll know it when you see it. Free parking is in abundance but it is a bit of a hike from the free parking to the city of Lindos. Once you are there, you will see donkeys and their owners offering rides up to the top. I don’t recommend this for a whole host of reasons. Instead, the easiest way to get up to the top of the Acropolis is to walk through the myriad of narrow lanes in the old village. Perhaps grab a coffee or a crepe on your way through, but you will be surrounded by air conditioned shops and shade so almost half of your walk will be in those conditions. Once you make it up past the town, it is just a little ways further, but the walk is quite slippery on the well-polished stones. Make sure you are wearing proper shoes or taking slow steps! The entrance fee is expensive, but still worth the 12 euro fee. Be sure to get a shot of St. Paul’s Bay. It was my favorite view from the Acropolis and it is even walkable from the village of Lindos if you are looking to do some beaching.
From here, I recommend driving to the Seven Springs also known as Epta Piges. Prior to our arrival, we had absolutely no idea what this attraction was although we assumed it related to water in some way. We went to the springs because it was recommended by both our hotel owner and the rental car shop. We were a bit underwhelmed at first; there was a beautiful restaurant, but the springs were practically glorified puddles. However, this quickly became one of our favorite attractions of the day upon further exploration. There is a tunnel to walk through that is accessible for all ages. It’s only about 500 feet and the water remains shallow throughout, but you’ll still get a small adrenaline rush going through it! The tunnel leads to a beautiful waterfall which is a great photo spot. The cafe is reasonably priced, so I do recommend stopping for a glass of wine or lunch while you are at the springs.
At this point, we crossed the island of Rhodes from East to West stopping at the Elafos Hotel for an unexpected step back in time to the days of Mussolini. Needless to say, the whole experience was a bit eerie and one I wouldn’t recommend. I also didn’t necessarily agree with the idea that we should cross the island by car in one day as the roads through the Salakos area were a bit treacherous. Instead of going all the way to the west side where we only had time to stop at Ancient Kamiros before heading back to Rhodes town, I would continue back from the Seven Springs the way you came and stop at either the Valley of the Butterflies, Monastery Tsambika, or Kalithea Springs. If you are having serious fomo about missing the west side of the island, you can rent the car for two days and explore tomorrow instead.
Optional Day 5 of Rhodes Itinerary: Road Trip Part 2
Lunch at a oceanside taverna
Above are some of the highlight attractions on the western side of the island. These would make for a great second day road trip. If you aren’t feeling up for another intense day of sightseeing, you could always spend the day at one of the best beaches in Rhodes instead. Some great ones include Anthony Quinn Bay and Tsambika Beach. There is also a water park outside of Rhodes Town should you wish to let loose and water slide all day.
Day 6 of Rhodes Itinerary: New Town
Colossus of Rhodes
Start the final morning in the New Town at Mandraki Harbor visiting the modern remake of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that was destroyed in 226 B.C. On the opposite side of the harbor are three windmills and the Fort of St. Nicholas. There are boats of all types in the harbor and tour operators working it (heckling) to take you on one of their boat trips from Rhodes. If you are looking for a sit down lunch in the New Town, Koukos is a great local spot and came highly recommended. We also enjoyed our meal at Augoustinos, a sort of fast casual type of restaurant with the tables placed right on a bustling street. I’m sure at this point you will have a few last minute things in mind you would like to do, so I am leaving some free time in this Rhodes itinerary until early evening. To culminate a week in Rhodes, I think it is only fitting to visit the Acropolis in Rhodes and watch the sunset from the cliffs across the way. The Acropolis is a short distance away; we decided to walk it which took about 35 to 40 minutes and was not too strenuous. You could also take a short taxi ride to the area. The Acropolis itself is covered in scaffolding, so it kind of gets a bad rap but that also means fewer crowds. Plus, the way the light hits the stone during golden hour really is beautiful. There is also a reconstructed theater and stadium where you will see many locals jogging and working out. Cross the street and watch the sunset along the cliffs. It is a tad windy, to put it mildly, but the view is worthy enough to be your last Rhodes sunset.
Are you planning a trip to Rhodes? Which of these places to visit in Rhodes are highest on your to-do list? Let us know in the comments below!
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