Friday, June 06, 2008

Holidays in Rhodes

Rhodes Holidays

Rhodes is a delightful place that is unfairly associated with the package tourist trade of drunken British tourists. Like anywhere. these areas of Rhodes are easily avoided and do not intrude on the charm of the rest of the island. The wide tree-lined streets of the new town of Rhodes juxtapose interestingly with the medieval walled city. The best time to explore the old medieval town is very early in the morning before many of the gift and tourist shops are open and it is thronged with visitors. To walk around its cobbled streets and experience the tranquility of its antiquity can only be experienced at this early hour. By 8.30 a.m you will find that there are cafes open where you can sit and eat a leisurely breakfast whilst enjoying the early sun in a peaceful setting.

Rhodes Castle of the Knights Having said this, you should not visit the old town without exploring its museums, historical streets and buildings. Your first impression of this walled city is when you leave the boat at the Port of Rhodes. Facing you is one of the main entrances to the medieval town, the Marine (or Sea) Gate. This gate, like many of the entrances to the city, has beautiful old stone archways with castellated towers flanking it.

Thalassini Marine Gate of RhodesOnce passing under this arched gateway to the left you will soon come to Hippocrates Square with its beautiful fountain and many cafes and shops to explore. This square is the main square of the town but just a short walk further along you will come to another beautiful square, again with a charming fountain. This is the square of the Jewish Martyrs . Alternatively, if after entering through the gateway, you turn right you will quickly reach Evdimou Square which is noticeable for its huge leafy trees. Right of this square is Apellou Street which leads to the old Knights Hospital (now the Archeological museum) and the famous Street of the Knights. Walking up this wide cobbled street, flanked on both sides by the ancient inns of the St. John's The Knights AvenueKnights you will reach the Grand Master's Palace. A visit to this palace and the Archeological museum is highly recommended. From the Palace ramparts you can seen the Gate of St. Anthony. Going through this entrance will lead you to the Gate of Amboise-Grand Masters Gate, with an Arabic inscription carved into the lintel above the gate. Passing through this gate will take you over the moat, now charmingly landscaped with palm trees, grasses and flowers, and into the new town.

The new town is well organized and maintained. Modern and pedestrianised in many places, with wide streets, planted with large trees. Compared to the capital city of Athens, Rhodes town can show Athens a thing or two!!.. Modern shops of any kind, trendy cafes and bars, banks, a well organized public bus system that can take you all around Rhodes. One of the most important things, very helpful for the holiday maker is that all taxis have fixed prices that are on display on the main taxi station in Mandraki. As the main island of the Dodecanese prefecture Rhodes has a main court and other administrative services, most of them housed in the wonderful art deco buildings of the sea front of Mandraki. In Rhodes there are hospitals and clinics where patients from smaller islands of the Dodecanese go for more intensive treatment.

There are many holiday resorts in Rhodes and most of the package tourism is concentrated on the north west side of the island from the northern peak, following the coast line to Kritika and the bay of Trianta , the huge modern hotels of Rhodes can been seen miles away as you approaching the island with the ferry. From the north east most of the package holiday tourism is concentrated in the well known Faliraki and other resorts further south like the bay of Afandou.

rhodes old townApart from the wild nightlife of Faliraki, Rhodes town is the centre of the nightlife of the island. In the new town there are numerous of bars and pubs, Ethnic restaurants (mostly Scandinavian and some Chinese) a lot of internet cafes (seems to be a fashion in Rhodes) and of course the hot spot of the Rhodes nightlife the Casino of Rhodes. In some Greek and foreign restaurants you will find live music, one of the best though, is the music group that plays in the open area of the music bar and restaurant Neorio in Mandraki Marina, right before the entrance to the old city from Eleftherias gate. Tasos and Cristina the two singers with the Maestro Niko on the synthesizer and an excellent bouzouki player, offer every night a huge program that includes Greek and foreign music from the 60' and 70's up to the newest Greek modern songs. The place is ideal for the older generations 40s - 50s and upwards where they can learn to dance the Syrtaki and later on to smooch to the soft music from the rich repertoire of the group. The old disco fashion has now been replaced by the music clubs so if it happened that you last where in Rhodes back in the late 70s or 80s the famous discos of the island like Aquarius, Mitato, Space etc do not exist anymore.

Car rentals are relatively cheap in the early season and you will find many car hire agencies mostly in the new town. Many boats offer daily trips to Turkey, Symi and Tilos and others offer day trips to Lindos and Kalithea. There are also scuba diving boats that can take you for a daily diving trip to Kalithea and other places ideal for the sport. All of these boats are located at the seafront of the Mandraki Marina. Rhodes old town becomes very busy each time huge cruise ships dock at the island, with numerous groups of tourists that are taken by group leaders to explore the medieval walled city. If you want to learn the history of the city you could discretely tag onto the end of one of these - depending upon the language that it is given in. On the other hand, if you wish to avoid mass crowds with competing commentaries avoid the Old Town in the mornings.

Kalithea RhodesKalithea, the famous Spa and beach about 15 minutes drive from Rhodes is one of the most filmed location of Rhodes that has been used as a setting in many international films like Escape to Athena (Roger Moore, Telly Savalas, David Niven) , The Guns of Navarone (David Niven, Gregory Peck, Antony Queen, Irene Papas) , Agatha Christie's Poirot (Triangle in Rhodes with David Suchet).

Kalithea beachThe Spa Beach has an entrance 5 euros. There are no refreshments inside but there is a take away snack van just outside . The beach is beautifully organized. Lots of sun beds and umbrellas in the mall but safe sandy beach. Ideal for families with small children but probably gets crowded in peak season. The lass vegetation and the palm trees are completing this wonderful place of Rhodes.

Jordan's Beach next to Kalithea is bigger than the little spa beach and also has sun beds and umbrellas and a shower for bathers to use. Unlike the Spa Beach, you do not have to pay to enjoy its facilities. The beach itself is sandy but to reach the sea involves a clamber over rocks, hence for families with smaller children it possibly is not quite so convenient as the Spa beach. Jordan's Beach however also, and importantly, has an extremely good beach taverna, Jordan's Taverna which offers delightful meals and snacks as well as drinks and ices.
Among the most interesting places that one must visit in Rhodes is Lindos, Ialyssos, Kamyros and the butterfly valley check our map of Rhodes for the locations, for more information visit our site about Rhodes and view our pictures of Rhodes.


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