The city of Rhodes is a pearl and one of the largest historical centers of Greece. The ancient port is located in the north of the island of the same name, on the coast of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, today it is home to almost 50 thousand people employed in the field of tourism, fishing and agriculture.
Rhodes was founded in the early 5th century BC. e. It was in this policy of Ancient Greece that the famous Kolos of Rhodes was located – one of the 7 wonders of the world. In 226 BC e. as a result of the earthquake, the city was almost completely destroyed, and the world famous landmark was wiped off the face of the earth. Finally, the city fell into decay 170 years after the death of Caesar.
The convenient geographical location attracted the attention of Byzantium to Rhodes. Between the 4th and the 14th centuries, the old city was a naval base and a strategically important port, the capital of the Theme of Kivirreota. Since 1309, the Knights Order began to rule Rhodes, in 1522 the Ottomans seized Greek land, and at the beginning of the 20th century, Italians ruled here. As a result, modern Greece has received a unique city, combining the features of antiquity, the Byzantine style, Barroco and Gothic, a cultural capital and a powerful military base.
Interesting fact! During its history, Rhodes has been subjected to severe shocks several times. So, in 515, he lost almost half of the territory, and after the disaster of 1481, almost no ancient temples remained in the city.
What to see in the Old Town of Rhodes? Where are the most beautiful sights and where are the best beaches? The answers to these and other questions of tourists in Greece are in this article.
Medieval Rhodes is a real open-air museum. It is a national landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Everything in this place, from walls and gates to churches and mosques, tells about the rich past of the city and Greece itself. If your time is limited, first visit the following attractions of the Old Town of Rhodes.
In the Middle Ages, 11 entrances were led to the Old Town, but until today only five of them remained in working condition – Eleftherias, Arsenalnye and Morskie Gates, the gates of d’Amboise and St. Anthony. All of them are real works of architectural art, decorated with battlements and lined with towers.
The walls of the Old Town can also be called a landmark of Rhodes. Almost 4 kilometers of brick fortifications guarded the ancient polis from enemies right up to the 17th century. In some sections of the walls, built-in galleries and passages for sentinels have been preserved; everyone can enter there for a nominal fee.
This 200-meter street was the main artery of the Old City back in ancient Greece – then it connected the Big Port and the Temple of Geolios. Today it is one of the most colorful and unusual sights of Rhodes, perhaps the only place where there is practically no trace of modernity in the form of shops or restaurants. During the day, you can see the ancient coats of arms painted on each house, and in the evening – enjoy the magical atmosphere created by illuminated old buildings.
The oldest synagogue in all of Greece was built at the end of the 16th century and has been perfectly preserved to our times. This small building, built in the center of the Jewish quarter, stands out for its unusual architecture and decoration.
The synagogue has a special gallery for women, a spacious hall where the ancient Torah scrolls are stored, and a small museum with a large exposition telling about the traditions and fate of the Jews. Religious ceremonies are held daily inside the synagogue; it works daily, except Saturdays, from 10 to 15.
Important! Entrance to the synagogue and museum is free. You can take pictures.
Another attraction from the times of the Knight’s Order, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fortress occupies most of the Old Town, and it may take a whole day to get around it. If your time is limited, first visit:
- The palace where the great masters of the Order lived. The entrance is free, but some rooms are closed to visitors.
- Kolachiumi is the only wall in the fortress that was erected by the Byzantines and is still preserved.
- Archaeological Museum, built on the site of the Knights Hospital of St. John. Here is a small exposition of household items of the Greeks from antiquity to the end of the 19th century, rare statues, a collection of ceramics. The museum has several courtyards, one of which has a garden with a pond. In the other two, temporary exhibitions and the home of the Turkish vizier. The museum is open from 8 to 20 daily. Ticket price – 8 euros for an adult, 4 € – for a child.
- Socrates Street is the shopping street of the Old Town. Most of the shops are open from 10 to 23. There are many cafes and restaurants.
- Be sure to walk along the ditch between the walls of the fortress or walk along their tops to feel like a real knight. From here you can take the most spectacular photos of the Old Town of Rhodes.
Advice! There are a few days a year, when in many attractions of Greece entrance is absolutely free for everyone. Most often, this is April 18 (International Day of Attractions) May 18 (International Museum Day) and the last Sunday of September (European Heritage Day).
On the outskirts of the Old Town, in the Christian village of Sianna, is one of the most famous churches in Greece. It was built in the 14th century and is very popular among locals and tourists, because here you can attach to the relics of the Great Martyr Panteleimon.
The building itself is beautiful and bright, decorated with lace decorative elements on the outside. The internal walls of the temple are frescoed and tell the story of the life of St. Panteleimon. Opposite the church is an 850-year-old chapel where ancient icons are kept. Nearby is a shopping street where they sell natural products at inflated prices.
The temple is open from 9 to 18 every day, admission is free. Services are carried out on order for a small fee.
In the city of Rhodes, during the reign of the Ottoman Empire, 14 mosques were built, the oldest of them erected in honor of Suleiman the Magnificent. Its foundation dates back to 1522, it bears the name of the first Turkish conqueror of the island of Rhodes.
Outside, the Mosque looks inconspicuous – it is a small building of light pink color with small windows and columns. Unfortunately, the minaret, which had a high historical value, was removed 25 years ago, because it was in disrepair. Today, the mosque is almost always closed to visitors, but soon the restoration will end and tourists will be able to enjoy its rich and colorful interior.
Separately, it is worth highlighting the following attractions.
Mandraki harbor in Rhodes is one of the largest on the whole island. For more than 2000 years, various ships have sailed here, to the eastern wall of the Old Town. Near the port there is a beautiful promenade with souvenir shops and other shops, here you can buy a ticket for a pleasure boat or book a one-day excursion. Around the harbor are many other attractions: the church, Freedom Square, the market and the Mandraki windmills.
The Colossus of Rhodes
Despite the fact that the statue of the ancient Greek god Helios was destroyed more than 2000 years ago, many tourists still come to Mandraki Harbor to look at least at the place where it was located. By the way, this entertainment is not productive – to our time, information has not been preserved either about the shape and appearance of the famous sculpture, or about its exact location.
Nearby you can admire the modern symbol of Rhodes – a statue of deer. Their shape and location are still known.
Antique Olympic Stadium
Outside the Old Town, there are also many interesting sights, one of them is the only fully preserved Olympic stadium in ancient Greece in the world. It was built almost 2500 years ago and was intended for running and martial arts competitions. Today, the 200-meter arena is open not only for curious tourists, but also for Greek athletes. At sunset, here, from the upper seats of the audience, you can make beautiful photos of the city of Rhodes.
The stadium is located on the territory of the Acropolis, admission is free.
Be careful! Some tourists saw scorpions while walking around the stadium. Always look under your feet so you don’t accidentally step on them.
The upper city of Rhodes is located just above the Olympic Stadium, on the hill of St. Stephen. Its construction was completed in the 3rd-2nd century BC, and excavations of this architectural complex have been carried out for more than 60 years. Unfortunately, all that remains of the Acropolis is the 3 high columns that were once part of the Apollo Pythian temple and the amphitheater. The most attention of tourists is attracted by an unusual restored staircase to the sky.
Entrance to the Acropolis costs 6 euros, for children under 18 years of age – free of charge. It offers beautiful views of the sea.
As a rule, people come to the city of Rhodes to explore ancient sights, but a beach holiday is also available here.
In the northern part of the city, on the Mediterranean coast, is one of the best beaches in Rhodes, Greece – Elli. There are always a lot of vacationers, half of them are local youth. On the beach, life boils round the clock: in the daytime, the main attention is paid to the calm and clean sea, at night – to the nearby cafe and discos that are held in it.
Ella has a well-developed infrastructure. There are sun loungers and umbrellas (10 euros per couple), a shower, changing cabins, a rental area, plenty of water activities and a free cherry on the cake – a jumping tower located 25 meters from the sandy-pebble coast.
Calling into the water on Ella is convenient, but here music plays around the clock, so this place is not the best option for relaxing with young children.
The exact opposite of the previous one, the beach near the village of Calavarda is an ideal place for a secluded vacation, especially if you are not the most picky tourist. There are no umbrellas or sun loungers, shops and entertainment areas, but all this is compensated by the clean sandy coast, calm water and beautiful nature.
This is a great place for children, as there is a shallow bay at Calavard with a comfortable entry and always calm water. There are several toilets and showers on the beach, and an excellent restaurant is a 10-minute walk away.
A pebbly and sandy beach located in the center of Rhodes will provide you with everything you need for a great holiday. It is equipped with several hundred sun loungers and umbrellas, there is a shower, toilets and other necessary amenities. Compared to the nearby Elli beach, there are far fewer people here. Akti Miauli is located on the coast of the Aegean Sea, the water here is warm and clear.
The beach is easily accessible by public transport, within walking distance of several cafes, a supermarket, famous attractions. From entertainment – a volleyball court, catamaran rental, diving from the pier.
Important! Locals call Akti Miauli Windy beach, because in the summertime it is constantly windy and waves rise. Be careful when traveling with children.
Features of rest in the city of Rhodes
Rhodes is one of the most expensive cities of the island of the same name in Greece, but even here you can relax with a small amount of money in your pocket. A double room in a three-star hotel costs an average of 50 euros, but you can find options for 35 € per day. Apartments for rent at about the same prices in Rhodes – two travelers can live in an apartment for 40 €, the average cost in the city is 70 €.
According to vacationers, the best three-star hotels in terms of price / quality ratio are:
- Aquamare Hotel . Located 100 meters from Elli Beach, the Old Town can be reached on foot in 10 minutes. Spacious rooms with a sea-view balcony, air conditioning and a TV. Buffet breakfast is included. The hotel has a swimming pool, sauna, gift shop, pizzeria, tennis courts and two bars. The cost of a double room is 88 €.
- Atlantis City Hotel . Located in the center of Rhodes and 4 minutes walk from Akti Miauli Beach. The rooms are simply decorated and each has a balcony, fridge, TV and air conditioning. There is a bar on site. Rest for two travelers will cost 71 €, the price includes an American breakfast.
- Hotel Angela Suites & Lobby . Elli Beach or the main attractions of Rhodes Old Town are a 10-minute walk away. The modern rooms have all the necessary amenities, guests can relax in the pool or bar. The cost of living is 130 €, the price includes a breakfast buffet. From November to May, the cost drops to 110 €, and only coffee with tasty buns is offered to tourists from food.
Note! All prices indicated in the article refer to the “high” season. Between mid-autumn and late spring, the cost of living in hotels in Rhodes can fall by 10-20%.
The most expensive restaurants are located in the Old Town of Rhodes, the cheapest – on the outskirts of the city, away from famous attractions. On average, a dinner for two without alcohol in a small cafe will cost 25 €, in a restaurant – from 45 €. Portions in all establishments of Greece are quite large.
Landmark on Musaka! Musaka is one of the dishes of Greek cuisine and it is at its price that experienced travelers advise evaluating the level of the establishment. On average, a portion costs 10 €, so if the price is higher in the entry menu, this restaurant can be considered expensive, lower – budget.
The city of Rhodes is an interesting and unusual place. Feel the atmosphere of Ancient Greece and enjoy a vacation on two seas at the same time. Have a nice trip!
An interesting and useful video about the city and the island of Rhodes.