We had never been to Greece but I had always wanted to and this seemed like the perfect opportunity as we worked our way towards Turkey. Rhodes is one of the biggest Greek Islands and the closest to our next destination in Akyaka so we flew directly from Paris and booked 5 nights on our way to Turkey and 2 nights on our way back, before we head to…… Well we hadn’t yet looked beyond that.
Rhodes is an interesting Island offering some diversity from town to town. We stayed in Rhodes Town itself, which is at the southern tip of the Island and has an Old Town within the castle walls and a relatively large port.
Some of the hotels here, like ours, are huge, offering one stop destination holidays for people from all over Europe and the UK, ours was right on the beach and had 4 swimming pools, 2 bars, 3 restaurants and many tour desks for day trips. Most guests take an ‘all inclusive’ package which includes all meals and drinks, including all day poolside beers and cocktails, and so it is not uncommon to see the same people in the same poolside deck chairs from dawn to dusk slowly roasting their ever darkening skin. Our kids wouldn’t allow us to stay still that long and so we opted for Breakfast only, which was an amazing buffet, we hired a car, and we spent our days out and about, although still getting our fair share of sun, spending the majority of time on the many beaches and ending the days with a dip in the pools, which were astonishingly cold considering the heat of the days.
The Old Town of Rhodes is very pretty and quite charming although the streets are filled with shops which unfortunately mostly provide a never ending repetition of the same fake brand name goods or almost identical arrays of souvenirs and knick knacks. The buildings though are amazing and it’s easy to lose yourself in the streets. We found a lovely roof top restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean in one direction and the castle in the other, which did offer authentic Greek food from which Ari found a new favourite dish called Stiffado. We also enjoyed climbing the old Roloi Clock Tower which provides the highest view point in Rodes and for which the ticket includes a drink at the terrace bar afterwards. The highlight though of the Old Town visit for us was simply walking on, through and around the outside of the city walls, through the old moats and olive groves and along the marina.
On one of the car trips we saw a little sign for a Bee Museum, just a 5km detour, it was very small but well done and included live bees in clear hives so that the inner workings were visible, including the Queen, it was worth the visit too for the honey jellies and some honey rum.
Another nice beachside town in which we spent a day was Faliraki, which has a large sandy beach dotted with the typical umbrellas and thatched roof shades and lined with beachside restaurants overlooking the many water sports taking place in the bay. We also found a great gelateria which had a glass front to the kitchen so you can watch the ice cream being made from the dining area.
For me, the best of the places we visited on Rhodes was by far Lindos. It is a typical (well my image of typical) white washed old village sandwiched between a perfectly concave bay with sandy beaches on one side and an almost completely enclosed sheltered lagoon on the other, with an acropolis taking pride of place on the high peninsular in between and it’s walls running the entire length of the ridge line down to the remains of a 2500 year old amphitheater carved into the hillside. We spent the best part of a day here swimming in the bay, having lunch in the town, enjoying drinks at one of the terrace bars, getting a glimpse of a wedding in a 700 year old but tiny chapel and ending with a paddle on the edge of the lagoon. It would be a great place to stay a couple of nights.
From here it’s aboard a short catamaran ride of 50 minutes across to Marmaris in Turkey, which we have been watching the sun set over from our hotel room for the past 5 nights.