Choosing which island to visit in Greece can be an overwhelming decision! My husband and I spend winters in Mexico and summers in Europe, and this was the first year we traveled to Europe with our baby since becoming parents! Our decision to visit Rhodes was primarily dictated by the fact that we were traveling from Southern Turkey, and the ferry from Marmaris to Rhodes is only 1.5 hours! My husband also wanted to learn how to wing foil, and Rhodes is one of the most renowned places for wind sports in Europe due to how windy the island gets. We spent an entire month on the island of Rhodes and absolutely loved our time. Rhodes is extremely family friendly, so if you’ll be traveling with a baby or kids, this is a great island for you. (If you’ll be traveling to Greece with your little one(s), check out my post on 18 Reasons You Should Travel To The Greek Islands With Your Baby.)
Rhodes (Rodos in Greek) is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands and the fourth largest Greek Island measuring 1,400 square kilometers. You can actually see Turkey from half of the island! Fun fact: Rhodes is almost exactly the size of Oahu, Hawaii (my home island)! You can easily drive around the island in just over three hours (without stopping). Rhodes is home to stunning beaches, protected coves, and most famously the medieval city of Rhodes Old Town, which is a UNESCO world heritage site and the world’s oldest continually inhabited medieval city!
In this post I’ll detail 22 of the very best things to do in Rhodes with bonus tips on traveling with a baby and family friendly activities! I’ll also dive into the best beaches, our favorite places to eat, and where to stay on Rhodes!
- Marvel at Lindos Acropolis
- Walk Up to The Chapel of Prophet Elias
- Monolithos Castle
- Kritinia Castle
- Rhodes Old Town & Palace of the Grand Master
- Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
- Walk along Mandraki Port
- Jump off the Trampoline at Elli Beach
- Cave of Archangel Michael Panormitis
- Seven Springs and Tunnel Lake
- Reach your Zen at Kalithea Springs
- Snorkel or Relax at Anthony Quinn Bay and Ladiko Bay
- Monastery of Tsambika
- Photograph the Picturesque View at Pure Blue
- Enjoy the Sunset from Filerimos Cross & Visit Filerimos Monastery
- See the Merging of Two Seas at Prasonisi Beach
- Unleash Your Inner Child at the Toy Museum in Archipoli
- Get Up Close and Personal With Animals at the Farma Petting Zoo
- Try your Hand at a Wind Sport (wing foil, kite board, kite surf, catamaran sail and more!)
- Visit the Valley of the Butterflies (June – August)
- Go for a Swim at Sunset
- Explore One of Rhodes’ 43 Quaint Villages
MARVEL AT LINDOS ACROPOLIS
Perched high on the hill 116 meters above sea level is the Acropolis of Lindos. While you will find the main archaeological site within the Acropolis, other parts of the ruins are scattered throughout the city and even outside of Lindos. Check out the in-tact amphitheater in the photo below!
CHAPEL OF PROPHET ELIAS
Just five minutes up the road from the bay on the left hand side by car, is a quaint chapel high on the hilltop overlooking the sea (as most of the castles and monasteries on Rhodes do – it seems that monks really enjoyed climbing long sets of stairs for good views!)
This impressive castle stands 236 meters above the sea, and was built to protect from pirates and enemies. Don’t miss the homemade lemonade at a stand across the street! It’s refreshing on a hot day.
Kritinia Castle is another beautiful castle smaller than Monolithos but with equally gorgeous views perched up high on the mountain.
Rhodes Old Town & Palace of the Grand Master
If there is only one thing you have time to do on Rhodes, let this be it! The old town is THE defining attraction on the island and is the first thing you’ll see if you’re coming into the island by ferry. The old town is not only a UNESCO world heritage site, it is the world’s oldest continually inhabited medieval city! The Palace of the Grand Master is located inside the city walls and requires an entry fee (the museum is closed on Mondays.)
If you’re a history or archaeology buff, you should also visit the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes. The old town is relatively small, so it’s easy to walk it within an hour or a few hours depending on how many stops you make. There are lovely shops selling local goods such as leather jackets, linen clothes, sandals, purses, olive oil soaps, etc.
Our favorite time to walk around old cities is at night. It’s a truly a magical and romantic place for an evening stroll.
Walk along Mandraki Port
The old town is situated along Mandraki Port, which is a lovely walk along the crystal clear blue water. Mandraki is the main port of Rhodes, and in ancient times the Colossus of Rhodes stood guard above the Old Town. This was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Jump off the Trampoline at Elli Beach
Located just a ten minute walk from the exit of the old town alongside Mandraki Harbor, is Elli Beach, famous for its giant concrete diving platform located in the middle of the sea. Even though it’s called a “trampoline”, it’s a bit misleading because it’s not a trampoline at all, as it doesn’t bounce. You’ll need to swim up if you want to jump off, and there are several different levels you can dive from depending on your comfort level!
Cave of Archangel Michael Panormitis
This cave is a bit of a hidden treasure on Rhodes. Located just a few minutes by car outside of the old town, this small cave is dedicated to Saint Michael. It is in a serene spot located right on the sea, so it’s great for a dip afterwards! There’s a small car park (free) and you simply walk down the stairs to reach the cave.
Seven Springs and Tunnel Lake
This was one of the highlights of our time on Rhodes! We just showed up one day not having done any research on what to expect, and we saw a sign for Tunnel Lake, which was very mysterious and enticing. It was a hot day (95 F), so what we discovered was a delightful surprise! Because we visited in July, the springs were relatively dry, so we headed towards the sign that promised a lake, having relatively low expectations. At the entrance is a long, narrow, pitch black tunnel that is 150 meters long (450 feet)!! The height clearance is only around 5’7″, so my poor 6’7″-tall husband had to duck the entire time whilst carrying our baby on his back. Fresh water runs through the tunnel, which you wade through, and it felt so cooling on our feet! I definitely do not recommend this tunnel for folks who are claustrophobic, and I recommend using the flashlight on your phone so you can see where you’re going. (Don’t worry, if long narrow dark tunnels aren’t your thing, you can simple walk over the hill to the lake), but the tunnel was the highlight and fun part!
When you finally reach the proverbial and literal light at the end of the tunnel, you arrive at a pristine turquoise lake that reminded us of Plitvice Lakes National Park on Croatia. Swimming is permitted, and there’s even a tree swing!
Reach your Zen at Kalithea Springs
Kallithea Springs was also a highlight of our trip! This area was restored in 1999 and reopened to the public. The grounds are absolutely stunning, and also serve as an events venue. It’s a beautiful mixture of architecture, nature and and history. The thermal springs were known in ancient times to have had healing powers from the water pouring from the rocks. I definitely felt rejuvenated after spending an afternoon here (and fresh water still flows from the rocks today!) There is a small entry fee to see the grounds (including the swimming area), and the sun beds are one of the most expensive out of any beach on the island (prices range from €15 – €60 and can get crowded.) There is a restaurant and cafe where you can enjoy food and cocktails. It’s a truly divine place.
Snorkel or Relax at Anthony Quinn Bay
This was the beach we frequented the most during our stay. The vibe is so chill and the water is absurdly gorgeous! There is a cafe / bar at the top with trendy swings for chairs. Sun beds are available for rent.
If you are traveling with a baby or small children, Ladiko Bay is more suitable for families. The two bays are right next to each other (separate car parks), but just one minute by car or ten minutes by foot. Ladiko Taverna is right on the water and serves delicious seafood.
Monastery of Tsambika
To reach this castle you must climb 300 steps (if you’re traveling with a baby, do not bring the pram!) but the view is SO worth it! Take a dip at one of the only sandy beaches on the island (Tsambika Beach, pictured above.)
Photograph the picturesque view at Pure Blue
If you want Santorini vibes without the crowds, this lovely and quiet cafe overlooks the sea with a cute chapel. Enjoy an espresso or sparkling water with views on the house.
Enjoy the Sunset from Filerimos Cross & Visit Filerimos Monastery
This was just up the road from the first villa we stayed in. Our son loved all the peacocks! (Free admission)
The Monastery is located just opposite the large cross. There is a small admission fee to enter the Monastery.
See the Merging of Two Oceans at Prasonisi Beach
Located at the Southernmost tip of Rhodes island, this beach is home to all the wind sport pros. This is where the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas meet, so there’s a long walkable sandy peninsula that splits the two seas. Avid wind sports athletes camp out here for the summer when the winds are good, so it’s really a sight to see!
Unleash Your Inner Child at the Toy Museum in Archipoli
Run by a woman from Holland and her Greek husband, this museum is an amalgamation of his collection of toys from 1940 through the present day. It’s a trip down memory lane for adults, and a paradise for kids! Admission is just €3 per person and you can roam the aisles of originals along with some interactive exhibits. It’s a small stone building with no AC, but a fun stop indeed! There’s a large play area for babies and smaller children, and a table with seats for the older kiddos (and BIG kiddos – i.e. my husband 😜) for problem solving games where you can time yourself.
Get Up Close and Personal With Animals at the Farma Petting Zoo
I highly recommend this activity even if you don’t have children, as it’s otherwise not possible to get this close to and even touch some of these amazing creatures. The volunteers at each animal station are friendly and very passionate about the animals. The ostriches were a highlight for us because they are normally very dangerous animals in the wild. However, this group of ostriches are trained and very friendly, even around babies. It’s hard to believe that ostriches roamed the Earth with dinosaurs!!! If you’re traveling Rhodes with children, they’ll enjoy the playground and swings by the restaurant.
Try your Hand at a Wind Sport
A big reason we chose to come to Rhodes was because my husband wanted to learn to wing foil. There are several schools that provide lessons and rentals for all kinds of wind sports.
Visit the Valley of the Butterflies (June – August)
This attraction was very underwhelming for us; we were expecting a beautiful oasis filled with colorful butterflies, but the variety here are just black and white, and it’s quite difficult to see them because of how small they are. It was a lovely walk nonetheless, but I would give this one a miss. I’m only including it here in the off chance you have a butterfly enthusiast traveling with you. The butterflies can be seen the most from June – August.
Go For a Swim at Sunset
The sunsets are beautiful on Rhodes, and watching a giant orange orb disappear into the sea right over Turkey, is a serene experience. During the summer, the water is still very warm to swim in, even after the sun goes down.
Explore a Quaint Village
According to locals (and I fact-checked this), there are 43 villages on the island of Rhodes, and some of them are abandoned! Walking through a local village is a night and day experience from walking through the old town. Many villages have mini markets where they sell local produce and locally made products such as olive oils and soaps, perfect for bringing home as gifts for your friends and family. Locals will greet you with a kalimera (good morning) or kalispera (good evening) and it feels like a step back in time when the whole world used to live like this. In Theologos, the second village we stayed in, I was delighted to find a group of children of all ages playing together and having a dance party with music. I wish that where we live in Seattle would have more of a communal feel like this, especially around raising children (but that’s a whole other topic!)
BEST BEACHES ON RHODES
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches on Rhodes; whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic spot or a family looking for a calm bay, Rhodes has it all! Our favorite bay that we frequented nearly every day, was Anthony Quinn Bay.
*Tip for families traveling with children: At Ta Filarakia Restaurant there is a huge well manicured grassy area with free sun beds (without cushions) or just next to it are more comfortable sun beds for 3 euro per bed (comes with a free bottle of water per person). On a non-windy day, the water is very calm and great for swimming with babies or kids. There is also a small playground, and the grassy area is great for little ones to roam around!
For more on the great beaches of Rhodes with a short description and photo, visit this local website.
BEST PLACES TO EAT ON RHODES:
Lately in my blog posts I haven’t been including top restaurants because they seem to come and go so frequently these days, and reviews, service, staff and ownership can change on a dime. However, Greece is a different story because most of these family-run tavernas are around for the long run, often being passed down generation to generation – even over 100 years! Here were our favorites:
Τα Φιλαράκια (Ta Filarakia) Restaurant (Kameiros) – one of the best views on the island with such a calm, peaceful and quiet ambiance, fresh seafood, and traditional Greek cuisine run by a local family and their daughters.
Kostas Village Tavern (Faliraki) – great food, friendly service, and a really fun and funky artistic decor
Perama Restaurant (Platania) – humble taverna in a mountain village with the most friendly owner – when our baby was fussy, the owner came up to me, took our baby right out of my hands, and proceeded to carry him around the restaurant whilst serving other tables and singing to our baby. It was such a beautiful memory I’ll never forget!
The main dishes you’ll find on Rhodes are stifado (stew – usually rabbit, lamb or beef), lamb in the oven, moussaka, souvlaki, dolmades (minced meat and rice wrapped in leaves), and the tavernas by the sea will serve seafood and fish (sea bream, sea bass and red snapper.) Most entrees are served with french fries, orzo pasta with grated cheese on top, or rice.
WHERE TO STAY ON RHODES IF YOU’RE TRAVELING WITH A FAMILY
Staying in villas is a new luxury for us! Now that we’re traveling with a baby, we’ve found that villas are the best fit for our family because they’re typically spacious, safe, quiet, and away from the hustle bustle of major towns. Villas in Greece are actually quite affordable, given how beautiful and luxurious they can be! We moved our home base twice in one month; our first stay was with my parents in law, so we had a larger four bedroom villa in Ialyssos called Steve’s Dream. The location was perfect! Just 20 minutes from the Old Town and Anthony Quinn Bay, and less then ten minutes from the closest town with restaurants. What we loved most about this villa was the spacious outdoor area, shaded by a 100-year-old olive tree, which was perfect for our newly walking baby to explore! Also just outside our backyard were some walking trails in the mountains, and just a five minute drive from Filerimos Cross to see the sunset and the land of peacocks!
Our second villa was in the village of Theologos called Villa Giota Luxury Living. This was a three-bedroom home, beautifully designed and just a ten-minute walk from the closest beach. We liked that the villa was all on one single level since our baby had just learned to walk, and stairs are a death trap at that age! The best part about this vila was the host family, who were so sweet and accommodating and met us in person several times, delivering fresh produce from their garden, and fresh olive oil that they made by hand.
In conclusion, we adored our month long stay in Rodos and would highly recommend it for all kinds of travelers!
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