The “Sun Island” or “Island of Light” is a name rightfully given to Rhodes since there are hardly any days when the sun doesn’t shine.
Rhodes is the largest island of the Dodecanese and covers an area of 1,398 square kilometres, with approximately 220 km of coastline and a distance of 5 nautical miles off the coast of Turkey.
The legend says that when Zeus defeated the Giants, decided to share the land among the Olympian gods. Rhodes did not appear on the surface of the sea because it was submerged and while the God of Sun was absent in one of his usual trips the other Gods forgot to include him in the clergy. Jupiter, in order to avoid the injustice, wanted to repeat the deal, but The Sun did not let him because he saw emerging from the sea a new country and asked Zeus for that particular land. Rhodes then came out from the sea foam and when The Sun saw the immense beauty of the island bathed it with his light. Since then Rhodes is the island of Helios (sun); the most bright and shiny.
The capital is the city of Rhodes; a majestic, secular, modern and romantic town which is actually the result of a combination of the two cities; The Medieval Old Town which is a living piece of history of the island and New Town, which represents the modern face of Rhodes.
The New Town is characterised by Neoclassical and modern buildings where you can find many shops with famous brands and local products, relax in one of the cafes operating along the coastal road and relax enjoying the view over the historic port of the island where the entrance is dominated by two bronze deer, which according to tradition, have been set up to where there was the legendary Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Places you that have to be visited are definitely: The old town, The Castle of the Knights, the Grand Master’s Palace, the Valley of the Butterflies, Faliraki with its spectacular nightlife, Kallithea with wonderful spas, Ancient Kameiros and the endless list of amazing beaches on the island.
Lindos Castle & the Acropolis of Lindos!
Just above the modern town of Rhodes, the capital city of the island boasts proudly the Acropolis of Lindos.
Lindos was a natural citadel which was fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Knights of St John and the Ottomans. It was founded by the Dorians led by King Tlepolemus of Rhodes, in the 10th century BC wherein classical times the acropolis of Lindos was dominated by the massive temple of Athena Lindia, which attained its final form in around 300 BC. Unfortunately in the 14th century all the buildings and the temple were partly overlaid by a massive fortress built on the Acropolis by the Knights of St John in order to help and defend the island.
Reaching the Acropolis you will be offered with the unique opportunity to admire the ruins and photograph the spectacular views of the surrounding harbours, the endless blue of the Aegean Sea and the coastline.
The Valley of Butterflies!
Following the road west of the city of Rhodes and after about 25 km near the village of Theologos lies a beautiful valley that is full of streams, pine trees, fig trees and colourful flowers, has a special feature. The unique and beautiful Butterflies of Rhodes. Due to the low temperature in this particular area visitors do not feel the summer heatwaves and walking around is a comfortable and refreshing experience. The butterflies fill the valley from 15 June to 30 September. That is the time of their mating. But given the fact that most are nocturnal is therefore strictly prohibited to visitors who flock each summer in thousands to admire this beauty of nature to make any kind of noise.
Rhodes Old Town – The town of Knights, love and emotions!
Rhodes Old Town is the ultimate destination because in about 580 acres are crammed two thousand four hundred years of history. The one and only, the old town of Rhodes with its cobbled streets and amazing coats of arms that are seen almost everywhere. Streets with arches that many years ago passed beneath them the knights. Fortified buildings with blooming balconies, small squares, fountains and minarets. Rhodes Old Town is a living cell of Rhodes. And this is the part of Rhodes that you will fall in love with.
Walking through these wonderful cobbled streets you will end up on the Street of the Knights with the coats of arms of the Order of St. John. Admiration and unspeakable beauty. At the end of the road the Museum Square with the hospital of the Knights. Awe of another era. An era of strong emotions, pure intentions and unique love.
You must go on, up to the castle to enjoy the sunset. To feel, to be enchanted, to fall in love… to let your mind travel in the past… the very long past… in other times and eras…. to bathe in the glitter of emotions and let them conquer you for a little while… and even let them make you feel that you can too become a knight on a horse ready to face any challenge… to become another hero…
But in the Old Town of Rhodes, there is plenty more to see and admire just by turning your eyes to different directions. Amongst those special places and landmarks is the Grand Master’s Palace that stands proudly ever after.
And then moving on… walking towards the city centre you will be always accompanied by the magical atmosphere of the castle combined with a dose of touristy “air” rising from the bustling cafes and various shops open all day long.
And if you want to explore a little further afield while on Rhodes then visiting the Island of Chalki could be a very worthy experience!