//Rhodes: captivating travellers for centuries

Rhodes: captivating travellers for centuries

Once the island of choice for the international jetset, Rhodes now has much wider appeal

Whether it’s walking through the pretty town of Lindos, where movie stars and the international jet set used to summer, or diving off the Trampoline, a concrete platform built by the Italians in the 1930s, Rhodes is an island that has captivated and attracted travellers for centuries.

Most first-time visitors to the island flock to the Old Town, and for good reason. Enter through the Gate of Freedom and walk into 2,400 years of history. Rhodes has been the home of Ancient Greeks, Byzantines, Ottomans, Jews and Italians during its storied history – each have left their mark to create a truly unique place. There’s little wonder why Unesco designated Rhodes Old Town a World Heritage Site in 1988 and you only need to see The Palace of the Grand Master to see the island’s grandeur. You could spend all of your time on this beautiful island walking the Old Town’s cobbled streets – and finding out why this is known as one of the friendliest islands in Greece – but go beyond it and you will discover so much more.

The aforementioned town of Lindos – which the likes of Aristotle Onassis, Pink Floyd and Sofia Loren used to frequent – is as beautiful now as it was back then. Boasting three beaches with crystal clear water and an ancient acropolis it’s not hard to see why it’s survived the test of time. The owner of the Fiat car dynasty, Giovanni Agnelli, was known to have his own table at a local restaurant.

Time honoured recipes and local produce give Rhodes a unique take on classic Aegean food. Dishes like Rabbit with meatballs, loukoumi me pilafi (handmade pasta with pork) and kapamas (goat stuffed with rice) are known across the island – and are featured in Makria Myrodia (Enduring Aroma) a cookbook on the food you can get across Rhodes 42 villages – although it’s currently only available in Greek.

After all of that food, it’s time to hit the beach for a bit of downtime – and there are plenty to choose from. One of the biggest is by Rhodes Town, with beautiful sand stretching right across the entire northern tip of the peninsula. It’s great for families with children that get bored easily too, with the Aquarium not too far away. In the summer, the east of the island is more sheltered and attracts plenty of travellers. Faliraki Bay boasts three beaches and one of the best waterparks in the world, and is popular among Brits. Rhodes even has a beach named after Anthony Quinn, after the actor fell in love with it while filming the classic film The Guns of Navarone and tried to buy it.

For those who want to see even more, the island of Sými is just a short boat trip away. Perfect for daytrippers, it’s one of the most idyllic islands in the Dodecannese. You can reportedly find 120 wine presses there, too. If you need break from exploring.

Whether it’s walking around the ancient old town or visiting the incredible Valley of the Butterflies, where huge numbers of the moths rest during the final stage of their lives, this is an island that offers so much, for families, couples – and even the odd jet-setting Hollywood star.

See  www.visitgreece.gr for more information.

Sam Ballard is a director and co-founder of Waterfront Publishing, creator of ABTA Magazine, Cruise Adviser, Solus and more.