Rhodes, the largest of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, brims with eye-catching highlights. From the medieval Old Town and the castlelike Palace of the Grand Masters to Lindos’ acropolis and the Valley of Butterflies, there’s plenty to see.
Spring and fall are the best times to visit, as they’re cooler than the scorching summer.
1. Visit the Palace of the Grand Masters
Located on the highest point of the medieval city, the Palace of the Grand Masters (or Kastello) is one of the most important sights in Rhodes. It was originally a 7th century Byzantine citadel and then was converted by the Knights Hospitaller into their administrative headquarters and palace of the Grand Master.
The current version of the castle mainly reflects the Italian renovations and it is a rare example of Gothic architecture in Greece. It was later used as a holiday residence for King Vittorio Emmanuel III and also by the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
It is possible to visit the palace on a self-guided tour but we highly recommend booking a guided visit with one of the many options available in the city centre. Note that the tour is not suitable for guests with mobility issues or wheelchairs.
2. Take a stroll around the Old Town
The Island of Rhodes is bursting with things to do from ancient towns to pristine beaches. For a truly special experience head to Prasonisi Beach where the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas meet. The sand spit creates two beaches for the price of one and is a favorite spot for wind surfing and kite surfing. Nature lovers will appreciate a visit to the Valley of the Butterflies (Petaloudes Valley), an impressive reserve that is home to Jersey tiger moths, waterfalls and beautiful plants.
Take a guided walking tour of the Old Town and its cobbled streets to learn more about the medieval settlement’s history. Alternatively, explore the town on a Segway Tour that also takes in top attractions and provides some historical backstory.
3. Hike up to the Monastery of the Ascension
In a place whose history extends back thousands of years, Rhodes is a true crossroad of cultures. The island’s many Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries are a testament to this.
Located on the north-western edge of Mt Pangaio, the monastery houses a circular main church and panoramic views. Its nuns occupy themselves with hagiography and gold-threaded embroidery.
A legend tells that a mortally ill Byzantine princess was saved by the Archangel Michael and built this monastery in his honour. Centuries later, it was discovered that this icon could not be taken anywhere else. Whenever it was tried, it returned to Rhodes.
When workers were digging in the area, they uncovered a church devoted to this saint. It was restored and officiates to this day.
4. Visit the Byzantine Church of the Annunciation
Located on the western part of the medieval city, this church is an example of Byzantine monastery architecture. Its construction started in the 14th century and it is considered to be the work of a talented architect Dragonino Clavelli.
The church houses the relic of Virgin Mary, the Filerimos icon. It is a very important Christian relic and according to tradition it came from Jerusalem in 1310 A.D.
The cathedral’s listing can be improved by adding photos and providing details on services and history. In addition, you can create Holy Causes that empower your parishioners and followers to support your church’s Christian projects and endeavours in an easy and secure way. For more information click here. This is a free service for all churches and cathedrals.
5. Take a stroll down the Street of the Knights
The Street of the Knights is an enchanting cobblestone path that’s home to medieval structures once occupied by the Knights Hospitaller, or the Knights of St John. They started out as a religious order, but quickly became a military force, gaining control over Rhodes and eventually expanding their empire to other nearby islands and even Anatolia.
Their homes are decorated with their coats of arms, giving you a peek into a world that’s changed little since the 14th century. Walk the streets at night, and you might find yourself amongst a handful of people.
Stay at the Spirit of the Knights for an unforgettable experience in Rhodes’ Old Town, or at one of the other great hotels around town. Then take a day cruise around the island, visiting spots like Anthony Quinn Bay and the spectacular ruins at Feraklos Castle!