If this is your first time visiting the island, or you’ve already seen it a couple of times, and you’re looking to discover or rediscover the island’s gems, look no further. I’ll cover everything from places to visit the best restaurants and affordable accommodations. After spending seven months on the island, I had plenty of time to see and experience firsthand everything. So stick around for the ultimate guide on everything you need to know for a perfect holiday on Rhodes Island.
General Facts and Personal Insights
Rhodes Island is the largest island from the group of Dodecanese islands in the South Aegean Sea, just one hour away by ferry from the Turkish border. Unfortunately, it gets boiling in southern Greece during July and August. It is so hot that it becomes impossible to sleep without the AC. The temperature reaches almost 40 °C/ 104 °F during these months. For many, this is too much to bear, and I recommend visiting in May, June, September, or October.
The island has been under Roman, Ottoman, Italian, and German occupation throughout the centuries. Each military occupation has left its imprint across the island which can be seen to this day.
The transportation system consists of buses connected to all major attraction points. The central station in Rhodes town has two main offices, each belonging to a different company. The tickets can be bought from the driver or the ticket office, so there is no need to buy them in advance. From one office you can get a ticket to the northern half part of the island and with the other company to the southern half part. The island is extensive, and to travel by bus from the north to the south takes approx. 2.5h. By car, it would take around 1.5h (90km). The island takes approximately one hour by car from one side to the other.
If you’re planning to visit many places in a short amount of time, the best idea is to rent a car. We had our car, so we did not have to rent one. To see as much as possible of the island and not spend a lot of time driving from one location to another is best to book accommodations in different places across the island. I recommend spending 2-3 days in Rhodes town, 2-3 days in Lindos, and renting in Lardos or Pefkos, where you can find cheaper studios. Lastly, you can book a stay on the other side of the island, like in Kameiros or Monolithos, where you can take some time off from crowded places. Even gorgeous glamping locations could be fun to rent for a night. The inland is stunning, and the drives through the forests are a dream (see pictures below).
In terms of living and holiday, Rhodes is pretty expensive. I would say that it’s as expensive as the famous Santorini and Mykonos or maybe close to it. I remember when we arrived, we went to the supermarket and bought everything we needed for a week. In Artemida, where we lived previously, we spent 60 EUR a week on groceries. In Rhodes, we paid double for a few days worth of food, not even a week. Rhodes is expensive for someone earning only the minimum wage in Greece, around 800 EUR/month. As a couple, we must have spent around 12k in 7 months, living modestly. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic experience, and I am happy to share everything you need to know for a perfect holiday on Rhodes Island, Greece. The locations are in no specific order.
PLACES TO VISIT across the WHOLE Island
1. Rhodes Town (⏰ 4 days)
As the island’s capital, this is one of the highlights, and you should not miss it. It has historical buildings, museums, shops, restaurants, and a good atmosphere. First, you can start discovering the old town, where you will come across Hippocrates Square humming with people daily. If you’re into museums, you can stop by the Archeological Museum, Path Of Gods – Greek History Museum, Rhodes Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, Throne of Helios: The History of Rhodes 9D Experience and the Modern Greek Art Museum of Rhodes. Also, you can go to the top of
Monte Smith for some excellent shoreline and Rhodes town views. While in the area, you can also stop by,
Acropolis of Rhodes which is just some ruins, but you can still take some great pictures at the
One place in particular that we’ve been enjoying eating at is the
Art Falafel George & Maria Restaurant. They have many vegan and vegetarian options and fresh and tasty food. The street is full of restaurants so you can find a place you like. If you miss sushi while in Rhodes, try Tokyo Yaki. It is located right in the center, and it will not disappoint. I’ve tried two other locations, but the sushi was not as good. If you’re a frequent sushi eater, you can tell how fresh the sushi is by looking at it. Also, we wanted to eat at Annie’s vegan food and bar, but it was closed due to the bad weather (we went in mid-October, and it happened to be stormy that day). We ended up eating at Soul Kitchen, which has various foods, from tacos, falafel, and chicken wraps to acai bowls. In the touristy area of the old town, you mainly find the traditional Greek foods moussaka, souvlaki, pita gyros, and Greek salad, to name a few. Being on the island for so long, we got tired of eating the same foods when going out, so we searched for different kinds of restaurants. If, during your holiday, you’re in the mood for cooking, you can visit the Public market on Saturdays to get fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, spices, herbs, fish, and seafood. To buy items that you cannot find in the supermarkets in the villages, you can go outside Rhodes town to
2. Lindos (⏰ 2 days)
As one of the significant travel destinations on Rhodes Island, Lindos attracts annually millions of tourists. It is always a busy spot throughout the summer and for a good reason. It has the most spectacular views and hosts the most magnificent Acropolis of Lindos, which you can visit for 24 EUR/person. It’s pretty pricy, but the panoramic views are worth it. Lindos is buzzing day and night. The scenic village has many restaurants, bars, clothing, and souvenir shops. The place is like a maze, so getting lost and walking in circles is easy until you get the hang of it. Lindos has two beaches that are always busy, but it’s a perfect way to cool down after walking in the scorching heat. Lindos is very photogenic, and one hiking spot that offers a superb view is the walk to the
Tomb of Cleobulus of Lindos.
3. Monolithos Castle (⏰ half day)
Monolithos village is home to the Monolithos Castle, which is just 2km by car from the village. Today there are just ruins at the top of a rock offering spectacular views of the lush pine forests, the coast, and neighboring islands. As you arrive at the castle there is a cafe shop from where you can buy water, refreshments, ice cream, and some snacks. The walk to the castle takes only 5-10 min, depending on your speed. The food in the villages is generally half the price compared to the touristy places. One restaurant that we’ve enjoyed in Monolithos is Old Monolithos Taverna. The food is fresh and flavorsome, and the portions are big enough. We’ve had Greek salad, hummus with pita bread, and fresh fish on the grill. Please read the list at the end of the post with all the villages and other restaurants we’ve visited. If you want to spend the whole day in the area, you can drive to explore Fourni Beach. It’s a breezy and sandy beach with almost nobody around.
4. Kamiros (⏰ half day)
It’s a unique archeological site of a Roman city built on a hillside. The entrance is 6 EUR/person, and I would say that it’s worth a visit. Some structures are still standing, which makes for quite an impressive sight. After visiting, you can have lunch in a taverna by the Kamiros beach. We enjoyed eating at the
Old Kamiros Taverna. The black sandy beach is not overly crowded, so it’s a great place to sit and relax.
5. Prasonisi (⏰ half day)
If you reach this place, you are at the island’s southernmost point, where the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea cross paths. Even though it’s not an official campsite, many people bring their caravans to spend the summer on the beach. You can easily enjoy this lifestyle if you’re a digital nomad working from anywhere. Since the area is not for camping, no toilets or showers exist. It’s a vast wild beach with two restaurants and a mini market. As isolated as it is from the rest of the island, it is buzzing with people and is the perfect location to kitesurf and windsurf. These sports are done all across the island’s west side since it is usually windier. Stop in Kattavia village to eat some delicious food when driving back. We had a great lunch at
6. Butterflies Valley (⏰ half day)
Contrary to what we might all think when we hear this name, the butterflies are not flying around in millions as soon as we enter the valley. The area is laid out on two levels. In the first one, there are some butterflies, but they are not easy to spot as they fly far from the walking path. As you walk higher to the second level, you will find an area filled with butterflies. A tree trunk and leaves are covered in butterflies (see video). It’s a gorgeous forest with tiny waterfalls along the way. The entrance is 5 EUR/person.
7. Gadoura Dam (⏰2 hours)
For a change of scenery, this artificial lake is a great option. Home to many birds, you can drive around it to admire its beauty. The reservoir was built to help with the water supply for Rhodes. The road is not paved all the way, but it’s an even surface, so all cars are safe to drive. Unfortunately, it is not allowed to swim.
8. Jacob’s Canyon (⏰ 30 min)
This is just a sample version of the canyons in the US, but it’s worth a visit as it’s a unique natural formation. Rhodes’s landscape is mountainous and hilly with evergreen coniferous trees and is wildlife-filled. Driving on the island, we spotted many deers, squirrels, and rabbits.
9. Faethon Miniature Horses Farm (⏰ 30min/1h)
The place is home to around 12 miniature horses taken care of by an older man. He enjoys having people visiting, so even if the gate is closed but not locked, you can get in. Leaving a small donation is up to you.
10. Campochiaro (former Italian Settlement) (⏰ 30min/1h)
If you’re in for some abandoned buildings that date from the Italian occupation in 1912, you can visit this area in the village of Eleousa. We discovered the place by coincidence while we went to Kamiros. There are three significant buildings, and you can go inside them.
11. Rhodes Toy Museum (⏰ 1/2h)
It’s an ideal place if you’re traveling with children. There are games inside and outside. Not a big building, but it can keep you entertained for a couple of hours. Perfect for social interactions.
12. Feraklos Castle (⏰ 1/2h)
As you arrive, there is a path to go up the hill where you will see the last few remains of the castle. The hike up takes just around 30 min at a slow pace. From the top, you can see Charaki Beach, boats sailing, and people going about their day. After you’ve taken all the necessary pictures, you can either go down to Charaki Beach or explore Agathi Beach, Red Sand Beach, or Three Cross Beach, which I’ll mention below.
13. Tsampika Monastery (⏰ half/full day)
Get a good night’s sleep and prepare for this one cause it might tire you. If you’re brave enough and enjoy walking, you can start the journey from the main road. Otherwise, you can go by car halfway and stop at the chapel or drive a bit more to reach the point where you must leave the car and start walking. From here on, you have to walk 300 stairs to reach the top of the mountain. Walking, you will meet some wild goats and see sneak peeks of the stunning view awaiting you at the summit. Once you’ve reached it, you have a magical view of the coastline, and it’s just incredible to witness. This tiny monastery is said to bring wishes to life so people buy metal plates that represent health, relationships, love, and family, which they tie to the religious paintings. You can buy them here, plus bracelets and many other religious items. The man who works there walks daily up and down the mountain carrying products needed for the monastery. Be careful on the way down as the stairs are slippery, and you need soles with a good grip, or you can walk barefoot.
14. Faliraki (⏰ half day)
This is the go-to place for wild nightlife. There is a street filled with bars at night and restaurants during the day. There is nothing else to do unless you visit the beach or the water park. In the area, there is Pavo Cafe which offers a lovely view. You can enjoy watching the peacocks that roam around and eat a delicious cake.
15. Kallithea Springs (⏰ half day)
Beautiful construction and architecture with an exhibition on the history of the place. Inside there is a restaurant where you can eat while overlooking the bay. There are some sunbeds which are always taken unless you come early morning. There are many rocks which makes it an excellent place for snorkeling. The entrance to the site is 4 EUR.
16. Italian Arch Bridge (⏰ 30 min)
It’s a random find in the middle of nowhere built by the Italian occupation. It has a beautiful design and elegance to it. While in the area, you can drive up to the Kamiri Monastery, where you will have a fantastic view of a river and the bridge. Slide to the following picture to see the view.
17. Temple Attaviros Zeus (⏰ half/full day)
A fantastic hiking trail where you can go by car or walk. If you choose to go by car, have a 4×4, as the road is rough, uneven, and dangerous if you’re not an experienced driver. This vast mountain hosts the Temple of Zeus right at the top. Even though nothing is left but some rocks, the view is worth it. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some deers.
18. Holy Monastery of Panagia Ipseni (⏰ 30 min)
I don’t know about you, but I enjoy visiting monasteries. I am not religious, but the quietness of these places is satisfying. This is a nun’s monastery, and as you enter the premises, you are welcomed with some refreshments and sweet bread. There’s a small store to buy souvenirs too. Next to the old monastery, the construction of a grandiose one was being finalized.
19. Seven Springs (⏰ half/full day)
We did not know what to expect when we visited, but we were surprised in a good way. The place seems like a big forest with paths leading to different areas, so getting lost initially is easy. As you enter, ducks and peacocks will welcome you. There is a small shop to get some refreshments. Don’t go down like we did cause there is nothing there but go the opposite side where you will see a stream of water and a tunnel that people go through. It was quite an adventurous day walking through these water tunnels. The name seven springs come from the seven natural springs that make up a large lake through the flowing water from the tunnels. Another fun thing is a waterfall where everyone stops for pictures. From there, please don’t follow the stream but return the same way not to get lost like us.
20. Asklipio Castle
This was a nice one to see. There is a part of the wall that you can walk on, and it makes for some pretty nice pictures. Also, the view over Asklipio village is so lovely. It is not a large site, and even in October, many people came to visit. The entrance is free.
21. Filerimos Cross (⏰ 1/2h)
Fantastic place that offers a view over the west side of the coast. You can see how the airplanes are landing and taking off. As you arrive, there are hundreds of peacocks roaming around. I believe they live there in the area all year round. A long walking road with tall trees on both sides will lead you to a gigantic cross from where you have an overview of the island.
22. Kritinia Castle (⏰ 1/2 h)
We had some difficulty finding the right location cause Google Maps was redirecting us toward the wrong road. After asking for directions from a local supermarket, we found it. Like all the other castles, it is built on a hilltop and offers a spectacular view over the Aegean Sea and Kritinia village. Everything left now is just some ruins and walls, but it is worth a visit. After, we stopped by Kopria Beach and ate at Johnny’s Grill Taverna, a fish and seafood restaurant right by the beach.
23. Traganou Caves (⏰ half/full day)
A perfect location for some snorkeling. There is a lot of underwater activity, and it’s just fun to observe the different colored fishes. The cave-shaped rocks make the location even more appealing. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
24. The Guns of Navarone (⏰ 1/2 h)
After thinking I saw all the places on the island, I came across this place that left me speechless. Seriously, you have to go here. I’ve seen this straight-shaped rock wall every time I passed through Lindos and was thinking about how to get up there. The way was via Pefkos, where I stayed for many months. You will have a view over Navarone Bay and Lindos from the top. The water is of stunning turquoise color, and the stationary boats make the view even better.
It’s not a very large beach, but the sand is the softest I encountered in my whole island exploration. It is known as the Gloden Sand Beach due to its delicate golden and perfect sand texture. The water also feels and looks divine. It’s spotless and clear and feels so good. There’s a beach bar where you can eat and get drinks. If you feel like you’re in for a walk, you can start walking on the rocks on the left side. Get a bag with you if you want some free sea salt.
When driving to this beach, you must leave the car at the top and walk to discover the beach. From the top, seeing what the beach looks like is impossible. It is not very big, but it’s a scenic location worth visiting. Next to this beach is Cross Beach, which is more or less the same length as the other one.
- Pefkos Beach (Pefki or Lee Beach)
It’s a sandy beach with crystal clear water that is very busy throughout the season. There is a water sports company on almost every beach where you can rent kayaks, boats, paddle boards, jet skis, etc. This village is entirely touristy, full of restaurants, villas, studios, and hotels.
Next to the above sign is a path to a church with a great view over Pefkos and Lindos. On this hill is a giant cross lit at night and seen from the beach.
Another photogenic location that is filled to the top all the season. On the beach, you barely have space to walk. Next to this bay is Ladiko Bay.
Located in the east-south of the island, this is not a significantly populated beach since the south is not as touristic. There will be some people, but not to the extent that you will have no space to breathe. It’s a vast and wild beach with soft and soothing sand. Nearby you can find the best restaurant in the area called Fish Restaurant Plimmiri. The food is delicious, and fresh fish can be cooked on the spot. On the way to Plimmiri, you can stop at Mea Terra in Lachania, a classy and stylish beach bar restaurant.
It’s a rocky beach, but the intense blue-colored water got my attention. For sweet lovers, visit the Cake box for some treats. The cakes melt in your mouth, and you won’t be able to stop yourself—the best cakes on the island.
When I first saw this beach, it reminded me of the endless unspoiled beaches in southern Portugal. It is windy sometimes with high waves, and the sunset is dazzling. You can easily do 10k steps walking around until you reach Apolakia Beach, which is part of the same beach.
Another must-see beach on the east coast. Even if I didn’t step foot on it, it looked amazing from the top of the Tsambika Monastery. See the pictures above.
- Kolymbia Beach
- Stegna Beach
- Agia Triada Beach – it’s a small rocky beach.
- Charaki Beach – see picture above.
- Glyfada Beach – rocky beach not suitable for swimming.
Villages to see
Rhodes has a few big and smaller villages with just a few hundred people.
- Agios Isidoros – went many times to eat at Aletro Taverna. They have the best dolmades, and the food is always fresh and tasty with way better prices than the touristy places.
- Siana – a cute-looking village with souvenir shops where you can get local honey and wine.
- Gennadi – a small town on the southeast coast of Rhodes.
- Lardos – an affordable place to eat is Savvas. They have tasty and fresh food. And another place outside the village but still within Lardos is Molos Restaurant.
Every village has at least 2 or 3 tavernas and places to rent.
If you’ve reached all the way here, congrats. Now you know everything about a perfect holiday on Rhodes Island.
I hope you’ve liked it and you’ll embark on your journey of discovering Rhodes Island. Also, check my other posts here at ADVENTURES.