Rhodes has a special place in my heart as ti was the last destination of mine and David’s honeymoon. And it was the perfect destination for two history nerds. (CUTE)
We spent 4 days on the island exploring every ancient area of interest we could. Because we didn’t get enough of that in England…
Stay near the Old Town of Rhodes
Old Town of Rhodes is the hub of the island, so stay just outside the city walls or find a hotel in the town itself. (Apparently on airbnb there’s a castle you can stay in…) Being walking distance to restaurants, bars and (everyone’s favourite thing) museums, makes visiting the Old Town of Rhodes so much easier. Mainly because parking is EXTREMELY limited and taxis can be expensive.
Trust me, you’ll want to try some of the greek wine. And chances are, the more traditional restaurants will force-feed you the greek “delicacy” of Ouzo, a popular liquor in Cyprus and Greece. You won’t want to be driving back to the hotel after a shot of that.
Although now that I’m googling how to spell Ouzo, the internet is saying you should actually drink Ouzo slowly over 2 hours to enjoy it. It is NOT to be drunk quickly. Oops. Don’t be us guys. Although I’m not sure drinking it slowly would make it taste much better…
Find a little secluded restaurant and just eat olives and bread for your entire stay. It’s the food of the Gods. If it isn’t, it should be
Explore the Old Town of Rhodes
The Old Town of Rhodes is utterly fascinating. But it can also be quite touristy. Once you’ve located the historic sites away from the main streets which are full of expensive souvenirs and weak cocktails, you’ll be set.
There are endless things to do in the Old Town so take every chance to immerse you in the history of Rhodes. You’ll get a perfect insight into it’s role within ancient Greece and the influence from the Knights Templar and The Ottoman Empire. Make sure to visit the Grand Masters Palace and wander down The Street of The Knights. Then browse through the endless artifacts found in the Archeological Museum and discover the gardens of the ancient Ottoman Palace.
While in the Old Town, you HAVE to walk through the moats, accessed through small holes and doors in the city walls. I’d suggest doing this later in the evening once its cooler. This way you’ll catch the evening light dancing off the stone walls and brightly coloured plants that decorate the moat.
You should also take an early evening walk down to the harbour to watch the sky change to every colour against the deep blue water. Here you’ll find the impressive Fort of St Nicholas, built in the 1500s by the Knights of St John. (A leftover knightly order of the Knights Templar which originated during the Crusades). This is also the site where historians believe the Colossus of Rhodes stood in ancient times, towering over the town and the sea beyond.
Visit the Acropolis of Rhodes
If you have time and are looking for a bit of an adventure, take the 3k walk from the Old Town up to the Acropolis of Rhodes.
Acropoli are scattered across Greece, the most famous example being the Acropolis of Athens. An acropolis is an ancient Greek settlement, usually found on high ground for defensive purposes. As the settlements grew the acropolis would act as both a religious and governmental center for the ancient town or city.
Compared to the other Acropli found on the island, the Acropolis of Rhodes is not particularly impressive. However, if you like to tick boxes like David and me, you’ll need to visit it to see all 3 of the ancient cities on Rhodes. (Lindos, Kamerias to be covered below!)
While the Acropolis of Rhodes is not particularly well preserved, it’s worth the trip to see the small marble theatre and stadium where ancient athletic competitions took place. Although the theatre has been reconstructed, the stadium has retained some of its original stone steps, making one of the best examples of an ancient stadium I have ever seen.
(t’s also a great place to channel your inner Hercules and work out if you’re one of those crazy people who like to exercise on holiday.
Rent a car and visit the other historic towns
While the idea scared me to my soul, renting a car and driving around Rhodes was probably one of the best decisions of the trip. It allows you to explore the areas you want to without spending a fortune on taxis or relying on public transport.
However, we were lucky to have found an Airbnb in the outskirts of the Old Town of Rhodes so parking was easy. If you are staying within the Old Town’s walls, it may be a bit more difficult to rent a car due to limited parking.
The main roads on Rhodes are very easy to follow. Just keep your eye out for the unpredictable Greek drivers, particularly around the busier towns.
Wander around Lindos
If you’re looking for the traditional white buildings of Greece but don’t want to sink into the tourist trap of Santorini, Lindos is the place to go. The gorgeous white town spralls down the side of the steep hills into the bay below. Lindos is also one of the ancient cities of Rhodes. While you’re there be sure to wander up through the shaded streets until you reach the base of the acropolis.
The Acropolis of Lindos is unique as just below, you will see the 14th century medieval castle of the Knights of St John. The site of the acropolis seamlessly blends medieval and ancient greek architecture. And the views into the sea and St Pauls Bay below are stunning and well worth the steep climb through the town.
Walk the ancient streets of Kameiros
All the ancient cities found in Greece are unique, but the acropolis of Kameiros was by far my favourite. The main area of the Acropolis is well preserved, surrounded by the foundations of the village which are still visible today. We were utterly blown away by the site as it seemed to be just a smaller version of Pompei. We seemed to be stepping abck in time as we strolled down the ancient main street, working out who may have lived in each house and where the best olives were sold…
If you have a bit of spare time while visiting Kameiros, take a short 15 min drive along the beautiful coastline to Kritinia Castle, built in 1472 (once again) by the Knights of St. John. Go up at sunset and you will witness the most stunning views over the Aegean sea.
Honestly, my words and photos do not do it justice, so you’ll have to drag your fellow history lover up there and see it for yourselves.
Castle + sunset = The only way to end a history nerd honeymoon (or any romantic trip…)
So there you have it! My guide to Rhodes for all of the history nerds out there.
If you have any questions or can think of anything I’ve missed out let me know in the comments!