Is Rhodes Worth Visiting? Your 2024 Guide by a Local

Is Rhodes worth visiting? The Greek island of Rhodes sits in the country’s Dodecanese archipelago, not far off the coast of Turkey. It is one of the largest islands in the country, as well as one of the most popular tourist destinations. 

Rhodes can be crowded during the summer months and it is widely renowned for its resort areas. Its popularity can have you questioning whether Rhodes is a little too commercialised or a little too touristy to be enjoyable but it shouldn’t. 

Is Rhodes worth visiting? The answer is a resounding yes. 

In this article, written by a local, we will look at all the reasons to visit Rhodes in 2024 and beyond.

Is Rhodes Worth Visiting? 

Is Rhodes worth visiting?

The Greek island of Rhodes (Ρόδος/Ródos) is a worthy starting point for any Dodecanese itinerary, or it is deserving of an entire week-long trip in itself. The island has passed hands through various civilisations over the centuries and each has left its mark on the architecture, culture, and gastronomy of the island. 

Rhodes prospered as a rich and influential island state during the Bronze Age, Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods. The Venetians occupied the island during medieval times, building citadels and castles in their wake. 

The Knights of St John settled on the island in 1309 and the island flourished under their control. Their 200-year reign ended with the arrival of the Ottomans in 1522. 

Today, Rhodes is one of the most popular travel destinations in Southern Europe. 

Rhodes old town is a UNESCO-protected heritage site 

Is Rhodes worth visiting?

Rhodes’ old town is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is the oldest, as well as the best-preserved medieval town in Europe today. 

More than 6,000 people still live and work within the numerous historic shops, hotels, restaurants, and houses that are found within the city’s old defensive walls. A labyrinth-like network of more than 200 narrow cobbled streets and passageways make up the old town, and part of the fun of visiting is found in simply taking the time to get lost among them with no set plan. 

The old town is a photographer’s dream, with each building boasting a unique ornate design more beautiful than the last. The most unsuspecting passageways twist and turn and open out to reveal grand piazzas or sweeping vistas over the Aegean Sea. 

Orfeos and Sokratous are the main streets that connect it all, while the Street of the Knights is the grand cobbled promenade that leads up to the Palace of the Grand Master. There are also a couple of interesting mosques to look out for that still stand from the Ottoman occupation. 

For instance, the colourful Suleymaniye mosque was built on the order of Sultan Suleiman to commemorate the Ottoman conquest of Rhodes in 1522. There is also a nice scenic walkway that you can follow along the moat of the old town, past old bastions, rusting cannons, bridges, and medieval watchtowers. 

Rhodes makes a great jump-off point for exploring the wider Dodecanese 

Is Rhodes worth visiting?

While Rhodes is deserving of a two-week itinerary in itself, the island makes a great jumping-off point for exploring the wider Dodecanese archipelago. Several gorgeous, lesser-known Greek islands can be reached in just over an hour from Rhodes town or Kamiros Skala ports. 

One of the most popular day trips from Rhodes that people like to do, is to sail out to the little island of Symi. You can get from Rhodes to Symi in 90 minutes and then travel back again the same evening if your schedule doesn’t allow for an overnight stay.

Symi island is best known for its colourful port and its pastel-coloured houses that cascade down the hilltops of the natural bay – almost like a Greek version of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. You can spend a lovely day meandering around the little shops and cafes in the port, sampling Symiot cuisine like popcorn shrimp and akoumia (local doughnuts). 

Chalki (Χάλκη), Tilos (Τήλος), and Nisiros are all also charming in their own right and provide a wonderful opportunity to travel to quiet Greek islands that most international tourists overlook. 

The Acropolis of Lindos is one of the most fascinating sites in Greece 

The Acropolis of Lindos is the second most important preserved Acropolis in Greece today (after the majestic Acropolis of Athens). Thousands of years ago, most Greek cities had an Acropolis for defensive purposes. 

They were often built on hilltops so that the guards could see any potential enemies approaching from miles away. However, the Acropolis of Lindos, like the Acropolis of Athens, was largely built for spiritual purposes and the worship of the Goddess Athena. 

Online sources provide various different estimates for when the site was built. However, it was likely constructed in the fourth century BC on the ruins of an older temple that stood at the same site and was destroyed by a fire. 

The complex is larger than may initially meet the eye, and you should allow at least 3 hours for exploring all the buildings on site. Of particular importance is the Temple of Athena Lindia, the Propylaea (ceremonial archway), and the Byzantine Chapel of Saint John. 

You can easily take the bus to the village of Lindos from Rhodes’ old town, Faliraki, and various other points around the island. Alternatively, if you don’t want the hassle of navigating the local public transport networks, you can also participate in an organised tour where you are picked up and dropped off at your hotel. 

Recommended Lindos Acropolis tours 

It is easy to get around the island 

Is Rhodes worth visiting?

Rhodes is a popular tourist destination and as such, the island has an excellent tourism infrastructure in place. Buses are comfortable and affordable and run at regular intervals from Rhodes Airport and Rhodes old town to Faliraki, Lindos, and various towns, villages, and resorts around the island. 

A bus ticket from Rhodes old town to the airport (and vice versa) is just €2.50 in each direction. Tickets down to Faliraki and Lindos only cost a couple of euros, which is great if you are trying to explore Greece on a budget. 

Taxis are also relatively affordable. Taxi drivers are often a law unto themselves the world over but in Rhodes for the most part, they are pretty straight and will not try to scam you. You can even choose to drive yourself in Rhodes.

You can find taxis waiting in designated ranks at Diagoras Airport (RHO), close to the bus station in the old town, and at various points around the island. At each rank, there is usually a board that displays the fixed price bracket for getting from one point to another. 

(For instance, to get from Rhodes International Airport to the city and vice versa, it should cost no more than around €27-€29). Of course, various island hotels also have their own trusted taxi drivers they can also call for you if you need a transfer somewhere. 

Rhodes Greece is a budget-friendly travel destination 

Is Rhodes worth visiting?

Everywhere you look, it seems that one of the main topics when it comes to planning travel in 2024 in beyond is rising costs. Inflation is everywhere. 

Some hotels and resorts in popular Southern European cities like Rome, Prague, and Barcelona have become so expensive that international travel almost isn’t an option for some people anymore. They are almost pricing themselves out of the market. 

Not Rhodes. Despite the island’s popularity and the massive demand for rooms during the summer season, Rhodes continues to offer affordable summer sun and culture for holidaymakers. 

If you shop around and book in advance, you can easily secure double rooms in centrally-located hotels in Rhodes old town or other popular areas for as little as €50-€60 a night including breakfast. (Yes, even in the peak season of July and August!) 

If you travel during the shoulder season or the low season, you can enjoy even better deals. In May 2024, rooms were selling for just €40-€45 a night including breakfast. 

Some modest yet comfortable hotels to consider in the old town are Esperia City Hotel, STAY Rhodes, and the Hermes Hotel.  

There are fascinating museums on the island 

Is Rhodes worth visiting?

The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes should be considered a must-visit during your trip – even if you don’t really consider yourself a ¨museum person¨. You can purchase a combination ticket to the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes and the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes for €10. 

(Or individual admission is €6 for the palace and €6 for the museum). The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, also known as ¨Kastello¨ is one of the most impressive buildings in the centre of Rhodes’ old town. 

It dates back to the 14th century when it was built by the Knights Hospitaller for defensive purposes. It later became a residence for the Grand Master of the Order. 

Today, the palace operates as a sort of living museum. Impressive ancient mosaics and sculptures can be found throughout the various rooms and courtyards. 

Some of the rooms have been decorated with ornate furnishings so it is not difficult to envisage what life was like for the nobility that once lived here centuries ago. The Archeological Museum of Rhodes is just a couple of blocks’ walk away from the Palace of the Grand Master. 

Its exhibits display Ancient Greek sculptures, pottery, ceramics, weapons, jewelry, and other items that have been recovered from Rhodes and the wider region over the centuries. Look out for The Aphrodite of Rhodes sculpture. 

The sculpture, contained behind a glass cabinet shows the Greek Goddess of Love, Aphrodite washing her hair. It dates back to the 2nd century BC and is one of the most famous exhibits from the Hellenistic period in Greece. 

Rhodes is home to countless gorgeous beaches 

Is Rhodes worth visiting?: Elli beach, Rhodes
Elli beach, Rhodes

Being an island, it goes without saying that Rhodes is home to dozens of spectacular sandy beaches, pebbled shores, and hidden coves. Elli Beach is the most popular beach in Rhodes town and it is conveniently located right in the city centre, just a stone’s throw away from the old town and most bars, restaurants, and hotels. 

It can get crowded during the summer months, but only the eastern side of the beach is serviced with sunbed rentals and umbrellas. The western side usually sees a fraction of the tourists and is a nice place to lay down your towel and relax if you want to catch some sun without being elbow to elbow with tons of other tourists and without walking too far. 

A breathtaking coastal walk along Rhodes’ west coast from the capital takes you past a series of secluded rocky coves, Kato Petres Beach, Sirene Beach, and Ialysos Beach. This stretch of coastline is one of the best places to watch the sunset on the island. 

You will find that most people tend to stick to the most popular beaches. So it’s not hard to find a spot to yourself, even in the height of summer, if you know where to look – especially if you are renting a car in Greece and willing to head a little further out. 

With translucent azure waters that would rival those you see in the Caribbean, and soft powdery golden sands, Tsambika Beach on the island’s west coast is a favourite among locals and tourists alike. 

Prasonisi, on the island’s southern tip, and Glystra near Kiotari, Anthony Quinn Bay, and Pefkos are all stunning spots worth adding to your radar. 

Rhodes old town has an excellent Greek coffee culture 

Is Rhodes worth visiting?: Aktaion coffee shop Rhodes
Aktaion coffee shop Rhodes

Greek coffee culture is huge – to the extent that Greeks and expats often joke that going out for coffee is the national sport of Greece. There are lots of great spots in Rhodes’ old town and across the wider island where you can people-watch with a Freddo espresso, a Freddo cappuccino, or a traditional Greek coffee (Ellinikos kafes). 

In the capital, Aktaion is one of the most unique places to go for breakfast, coffee, or brunch. Housed in an elegant building, this cafe/bar was founded as an officers club by the Ottoman Turks centuries ago, before being taken over by the Italians and transformed into an upscale social club. 

Rhodes is great for shopping for clothing, gifts, and souvenirs

Is Rhodes worth visiting?
Suleymaniye mosque

Rhodes may not have the same concentration of shopping streets and malls as Athens, or the abundance of local designers as Mykonos, but the island is still a great place to go shopping. That is, whether you are searching for quintessentially Greek souvenirs or one-of-a-kind clothing items created by local designers. 

Several upscale boutiques can be found in the modern part of town – particularly along Nik. Plastira, Ethnarchou Makariou, Ethelonton Dodekanision and Gallias. You will also find branches of several beloved European high street stores here such as Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, and the United Colors of Benetton.

Meanwhile Hondos Center is a Greek department that houses several beauty, cosmetics, and fashion brands under one roof. 

If you are seeking souvenirs and gifts for the Grecophiles in your life, you can shop for natural sponges from Kalymnos island, handmade pasta from Halki, and jewelry and cosmetics in the stores in the old town, and close to Kolona Harbour. 

The nightlife here is some of the best in Greece

In recent years, Rhodes has become well known for its raucous nightlife. Sometimes this is something of a negative as some parts of the island have become overly gentrified and are synonymous with the image of drunken British tourists. 

But there is something for everyone and if you are looking for something a little more understated, you can find that here too. Orfanidi Co is the main ¨bar street¨ in central Rhodes, lined with trendy bars and clubs to suit every taste. 

The Last Butler (Amarantou 45) is a chic cocktail bar that attracts a well-heeled crowd and is home to some of the best mixologists on the island. Obscura Bar (Sofokleous 35), Mozaik Cocktail Bar (Arionos Square 14), and L’Eternel French Bar (18 Platonos Street) are other great spots for quiet evening drinks.

Rhodes is a walker’s paradise 

Is Rhodes worth visiting?

There is an abundance of great hiking and walking trails that weave throughout the scenery of Rhodes. The island is a walker’s paradise and there are paths of varying difficulties and lengths to suit all ages and abilities. 

You don’t have to venture far to find an interesting trail. Even from Rhodes’ old town, you can walk along the coast, past cavernous shrines, to the Acropolis of Rhodes, or to Sirene beach. 

From the old town, Faliraki and Lindos, you can take a bus to Butterfly Valley (Petaloudes Valley). This aptly named area of natural beauty is home to various species of exotic butterflies, woodland paths, and hidden waterfalls. 

Mount Profitis Ilias is the highest mountain on the island and a worthy opponent for anyone looking for a physical challenge. The trail starts from Embonas village and the trek to the summit takes about 3 hours. 

Fascinatingly, you can also see Mussolini’s abandoned summer home (Villa de Vecchi) on your ascent to the summit. The grandiose villa was constructed with the view of being Mussolini’s retirement home but the plan never materialised, he never actually spent any time here and the villa now lies in creepy ruins. 

Is Rhodes worth visiting? Final thoughts

Is Rhodes worth visiting?
Is Rhodes worth visiting?

Rhodes is well worth visiting, whatever you are looking for on your Greece itinerary. If you are someone who likes immersing themselves in Greek culture, sampling the local cuisine, and discovering off-the-beaten-path places, at first glimpse, Rhodes can seem a little too touristy and commercialised. 

But scratch beneath the surface and you will find that it boasts the same charm and filoxenia (Greek hospitality) that Greece is so well known for. Some places become ultra-popular for a reason and with a little effort, you can easily escape the crowds. 

Rhodes is still home to friendly people, incredible gastronomy, gorgeous beaches with clear waters, and breathtaking nature. It is also easy to get to – with direct flights servicing Diagoras airport from various cities around Europe.

If you have any further questions about planning a trip to Greece, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

You might also enjoy my Facebook group ¨All Greek to Me¨ which aims to help travellers and expats plan their Greece vacations. Safe travels! Geia sou! Xo 


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Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

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