Whether you are island hopping around the Greek Islands or looking to settle into a vacation in paradise, the island of Rhodes is about as close to perfect as you can get. Situated in the gorgeous Aegean Sea and the largest of the Dodecanese islands, it's closer to Turkey than it is to mainland Greece. The entire region is easily traversed by boat or plane, and there's an extensive ferry system.
As an island, Rhodes is surrounded by a perimeter of breathtaking beaches. Most of the action is at the northern end of the island, and many hotels and beaches are located on the northwestern side. Even if your hotel doesn't come with beach access, there is a great public beach near the very northern tip of the island, within walking distance to both the New and Old Town.
Bus and ferry excursions are available to other parts of the island with even more beautiful and secluded beaches. Check out Lindos, which besides a breathtaking beach is also home to a stunning ancient Acropolis as well as cute shops and restaurants.
History buffs and mythology fans will rejoice at the incredible sites on Rhodes. Although no longer standing, the island's Mandraki Harbor was home to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Visit ancient acropolises, Greek temples and a gorgeous and well-preserved amphitheater and adjacent hippodrome. Stroll through the medieval Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by the famous Knights Hospitaller. Visit the small Jewish Quarter for an interesting look at the history of the Island's Jewish population, which was tragically targeted during World War II.
Rhodes is home to many craftsmen and artisans who produce a variety of specialty items that are well-worth scouting out. The handmade lacework, often sold by old women who can be seen working, is worth seeking out. In addition Rhodes is known for its beautiful gold and silver jewelry, as well as colorful and unique ceramics. Find beautiful utensils carved from olive wood, plus of course extra virgin olive oil, freshly cured olives and even wine.
As in the rest of Greece, the food in Rhodes is light and fresh, with plentiful delicious seafood. Souvlaki and gyros are popular street food and well worth seeking out for a quick, inexpensive and tasty lunch. Many meals begin with an enticing selection of meze, or small dips and salads, like tzatziki, hummus, fava bean dip, fish roe and more. Be sure to have some freshly caught seafood, like stuffed squid and whole grilled fish. Check out Nireas restaurant (Sofokleous 22, Old Town) for a particularly wonderful selection of seafood dishes made by a local husband and wife team.
There is no shortage of hotels in Rhodes, and you will have no trouble finding one to fit your needs. For luxury at a reasonable rate, we liked the Amathus Beach Hotel, which has rooms available for under $100/night (as well as much more). With three outdoor pools, fitness center, tennis court, beach access, restaurants, a rooftop bar and good location (it's a 10 minute bus or cab ride to the New and Old Towns), it's pretty unbeatable.
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