Ancient Greeks worshipped Rhodes, the largest island in the Dodecanese, as their Island of Sun. It has maintained its reputation as the sunniest destination in Greece, and with its delightful bays, flowers and forests, handsome towns and ancient sites, visitors are only too happy to continue the veneration. Rhodes holidays incorporate a perfect partnership of sun, sea, sand, age-old sites, find dining and modern amenities. For Greek holidays Rhodes is a fantastic island destination for all holiday-makers.
Greek mythology pronounces that when Zeus forgot to set aside any land for the Sun God, Helios, the latter asked for a sunny land that had recently emerged from the sea which suited his disposition admirably. That island was Rhodes. Enjoying one of the healthiest and most refreshing climates in the Mediterranean with strong sunlight and beautiful warm sea, the island is also crammed with sites. The old town of Rhodes, the capital city, is widely acknowledged as one of the finest walled cities in Europe, and the landscape is bedecked with as many Byzantine churches as it is flowers. Ancient archaeological settlements and a truly stunning Acropolis give way to fragrant pine forests, fabulous beaches and delightful sandy coves. With stunning beaches and fascinating historical sites, Rhodes holidays are a wonderful way to experience Greece.
Rhodes Town, the largest inhabited medieval town in Europe, is a fascinating combination of ancient and modern. The fortress walls of the old town rise out of lush sub-tropical gardens to protect a maze of arcaded loggia, Italianate squares and tiny cobbled backstreets. It’s a splendid medieval city, which together with its fortifications has attained status as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Palace of the Grand Masters is a majestic 14th century jewel lying in the architectural crown of the Knights’ Quarter where mellow stone coloured homes and flamboyant Gothic-styles co-exist harmoniously.
Elsewhere Rhodes’ Turkish heritage remains in the faded red stone and slender minaret of the 16th century Mosque of Suleiman: on a clear day it is just visible from the Turkish coastline just 18km to the north.
Beyond the ancient walls of Rhodes, the trinkets of the new town exercise considerable charm: there are designer shops, international restaurants, a casino housed in a summer palace, live-music, bars, clubs, laser shows and simple backstreet ouzeries where backgammon is the plat du jour. During summer, the city hosts various cultural events and the many theatres of the capital have daily performances and concerts of classical and modern music. This spectacular contrast between the gloriously old and the new is ideal for visiting the ancient sites, alongside modern comforts when on holidays to Rhodes.
When to go
Helios wasn’t wrong. Official records show that Rhodes is the sunniest of all the Greek islands. Consistently hot and dry from June until September, with only the odd short, sharp shower in October to disturb the sunbathers from the beaches. Early in the season, April and May bring a colourful carpet of blossoming wild flowers to the countryside, and al fresco dining, the best way to appreciate Greek cuisine, can be enjoyed throughout the summer evenings. It is therefore safe to say that holidays in Rhodes can be enjoyed all year-round, although naturally, despite having mild winters it is much warmer during the summer months.
‘Life’s fundamental principle is the satisfaction of the needs and wants of the stomach,’ according to the Greek philosopher Epicurus, and it’s a maxim that many Greeks seem happy to live by. Fresh bread and communally shared mezedes are just the start of it: tzatziki, tirosalata (feta cheese dip) and koponista (salted fish) lead onto moussaka, yemista (stuffed peppers) and the famed spicey beef stew, stifado. For those looking for fine dining, Rhodes holidays are ideal. Sea food is fresh and delicious, and Rhodes Town offers a cosmopolitan range of restaurants where cuisine as varied as Mexican, Swedish, Indian and French can be sampled. As an alternative to the many types of Ouzo, Rhodes boasts its own wines including Chevaliers de Rhodes, Ilios and Archontiko.