The largest of the Dodecanese islands and the easternmost Greek island in the Aegean, Rhodes is an area of huge cultural and historical significance as well as a hugely popular tourist destination.

Although inhabited as early as the Neolithic period, the first written trace of the island is connected to mythology, with the arrival of the Minoans to Rhodes in the 16th century BC, supposedly meeting with the Telchine race. Continuing the mythological motif, the poet Pindar claims that the city itself was the result of a union between the sun god Helios and the nymph Rhode.

Rhodes reached its zenith after the death of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BC, as an alliance with Ptolemy in Alexandria brought about complete control of Mediterranean trade during the 3rd century. This period also saw the city establish itself as a true cultural centre, opening up schools of philosophy and science (culminating in the supposed creation of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world). However, after signing a treaty with Rome in 164 BC, the island gradually dwindled in significance, being dominated by the Byzantines for almost a millennia and liberated by the Knights of Rhodes in 1309 only to quickly fall under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire. The island as we know it today was only the result of Greek absorption in 1947.

Since that point, Rhodes has become a tourist centre, and it’s little wonder why. Offering on average 320 days a year of sunshine and thousands of years of history, Rhodes is a must-see for anyone attracted to Greece.


The cultural centre of Rhodes is the Old City within the eponymous capital, classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Surrounded by a high defensive wall, the architecture is both daunting and awe-inspiring, with the best example being the truly incredible Palace of the Prince Grand Master. Built at the end of the 7th century AD by the Byzantines, it was later converted by the Knights of Rhodes. Today it is used primarily as an exhibition centre, while also hosting the Municipality of Rhodes light and sound shows from April to October in the gardens, retelling the Knights’ story.

Within the city itself, the Knights’ Street contains the most important public and private buildings of the Knights’ rule. If you’re looking for an insight into the island’s religious history, seek out the Panaghia Bourgou, a 14th century gothic church, and the Suleiman Mosque, rebuilt in the 19th century (the previous one apparently being erected by Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire). Also look for the mid-19th century clock tower, which provides a marvellous panoramic of the Old Town.

The beaches of Rhodes are another highlight, with the island offering 250 km of coast. Despite being gravel-based, the beaches are still beautiful and perfect for water-sports, particularly at Lindos and Falaraki.

Rhodes has a number of museums and galleries, the majority being in the capital. The Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Byzantine Art (located in the 11th century Virgin of the Castle Church) can be found in Museum Square, while the Museum of Modern Greek Art and the Municipal Gallery (specialising in 20th century Greek paintings) are situated in G. Haritou Square and Symi Square respectively.

Among the many picturesque medieval villages outside the capital, Lindos is one of the most impressive. There you can also visit the ruins of the ancient Acropolis, the amphitheatre and Kleoboulous’ tomb. Be sure to look around the island though, as each village has its own charm.


Although each village has its fair share of local craftworks, the Old Town, and particularly Sokratous Street, is the main shopping district and boasts an enviable range of designer fashion, local jewellery, ceramics, pottery and embroidery.

Nightlife And Eating Out

Restaurants naturally provide the staples of Greek cuisine like moussaka, but also an array of local dishes like soupiorizo (squid risotto), pastichio (macaroni with béchamel and tomato sauce). Equally, you’ll find sumptuous desserts like talagoutes (pancakes with honey, walnuts, sesame and cinnamon). Of the many tavernas and fish tavernas, Dinoris and Melathron in the Old Town are highly recommended establishments.

Rhodes’ nightlife is famously lively, with a plethora of clubs, bars and pubs around Rhodes Town, Faliraki and Trianta. Orfanidi Street in Rhodes Town has a particularly wide choice of clubs.

If you’d prefer something different, the Melina Mercouri Theatre in the Old Town plays host to theatre and concerts, while you can find cinemas with films in English in the same location. The island even has a casino, found in the Rhodes Hotel.

Tourist Information

EOT Tourist Office5, Archbishop Makarios & Papagou Street85100RhodesTel: +30 22410 23 655


Rhodes is served by Rhodes International Airport, some 14 km away from Rhodes Town. There are frequent connecting flights to domestic locations, especially to Athens. International connecting flights are also available during the summer.

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