Green and rocky coastline with a natural inland lagoon and beach

So, what are the best things to do in Rhodes? Well, there’s lots to explore. After all, it’s the fourth largest Greek Island and the largest of the Dodecanese Islands. It takes 1.5 hours to travel from the northernmost point, Rhodes town, to the southern tip at Prasonisi. In between, there are so many unique things to see and do.

I lived in Rhodes for one summer. Nothing better than immersing oneself into the culture and local life to truly appreciate what this Greek island had to offer. To my delight I found it's a mixture of busy tourist beaches, quiet secluded rocky bays, medieval towns, ruins by the crusades, Roman and Ottoman influences, untouched typical Greek village life inland, boating activity and more. 

I supported my extended stay by working at Mandraki Harbour selling boat cruises. Plus, two nights a week I was an airport rep for Airtours, a UK package holiday tour operator. Unfortunately, they ceased trading in 2019). I basically greeted travellers at the airport and guided them onto the coach. Which I then gave them a welcome spiel while the bus driver drove to the respective hotels they had booked. So, I got to see a lot of the island and many hotels.   

I explore different areas of the island during my spare time too. Below, is my list of the 10 best things to do in Rhodes on your next holiday. 

Map created using Wanderlog, a trip planner app on iOS and Android

Rhodes Old Town 

Two towering gates in the middle of a fortified wall

This 14th century fortified old town is a UNESCO world heritage site. It's absolutely delightful. You must wander the cobble-stoned streets that entwine intricately around the medieval buildings. One really does feel like you’re walking back in time.  

It's not a ruined town as the locals still live within the walls. So you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well maintained it is. Explore the busy commercial streets, which alternate with the quiet alleys of the residential areas.   

Enjoy the hype of activity along the main thoroughfares of Ippoton (affectionately known as Knight St), Sokratous and Orfeos streets.  They are lined with many cafes and shops selling linen, tablecloths, jewellery, homewares, clothing. Leather, shoes, sarongs, art & craft and so on. Everything from high end jewellery to inexpensive trinkets. 

Add to your list to do the walk along the top of the fortified walls around the old town. It opens daily and starts from the Grand Master’s Palace where you buy the tickets. Explore from above the nice views of the old town, the port and the moat on the other side. Finish the day with a drink at one of the outdoor cafés in the main square – Hippocrates Square.  

TG Tip:  For a truly typical Greek seafood meal in a typical Greek taverna setting, you can't go past Nireas Restaurant or the neighbouring Pizanias ‘The Sea Star’ on Sofokleous street. PS. I also waitressed at Nireas for a short while, so I can highly recommend the food.

Recommended tours:
walking through an archway beside a town of a medieval town

Rhodes Old  Town Walking Tour (small group)

two towers and a gate of a fortified medieval town

Rhodes Old Town Highlights self guide scavenger hunt/tour

tourist group on sedways on the harbourfront

Segway Tours: Rhodes City and Old Town

Hotel recommendations in Old Town:
bedroom with stone walls and wooden ceilings

Feel like you are staying in medieval fortress/castle rooms. Right in the centre of old town. Some rooms have a balcony.

aerial view of small pool and wooden decking surrounded by lush vegetation

Ottoman influenced architecture, this eco friendly hotel oozes in unique luxury and hospitality. It even has a private pool area. Walking distance to the Grand Masters Palace and the shops and restaurants.

Monte Smith Hill 

one of the things to do in rhodes is view the town and seas from a hill top

View of Rhodes town from Monte Smith Hill

Not a Greek name as its named after Sir Sydney Smith, an English Admiral. He was stationed on the hill in 1802 during the war with the Turks.  

The hill offers breathtaking views over Rhodes town, the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea all at once. Beautiful views of the coastlines. Look for the scenic benches for your picture-perfect shots. 

Nearby is the ancient ruins of the acropolis and public buildings. But such a small fraction remains of its former glory, that you need quite an imagination to fully appreciate it. Plus the last three pillars that are still standing are now under scaffolding. So you’re not missing much if you have to skip this section. 

Getting there:

You can reach Monte Smith Hill by the following ways: 

  • By foot: There are several different ways to get to the base of the hill before you begin walking up. Just put into Google maps the name of your hotel as origin and Monte Smith Hill as destination. Or take a look the following map I’ve made for you from the popular tourist centre of Cyprus Square to Monte Smith. 
    Depending upon where you start from in Rhodes Town, the walk could be between 2-3km long and take about 35-40 minutes. 
    On the way down, look for the shortcut path. It’s a stone stairway that leads down to the beach next to Rhodes Horizon Blu Resort. Perfect to take a refreshing dip before continuing your trek back to town or hail a taxi. 
  • By local bus:  catch Bus 6 from Rhodes central bus station or any of Rhodes town beaches to the top of Monte Smith. Be aware that buses operate about once an hour. And the return trip follows a different route, where you will need to change buses at the hospital. Or, you can walk down the hill as per above instructions. 
  • By tour:  see many sights of Rhodes town in one day with the Rhodes Hop On Hop Off bus. It includes Monte Smith hill. 
  • By car: whether you rent one or by taxi 
red double decker bus travelling along the harbourfront

Rhodes Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus Tour

Visit 12 of Rhodes town most important sites, in the new town and around the old town.

Boat tours from Mandraki harbour 

Rhodes main Mandraki harbour is located in the new town of Rhodes. It's the home of the ancient wonder Colossus of Rhodes statue, if it was still standing!. Plus it contains commercial/private boats providing an array of boating tour options. 

You will find all sorts of boating tours: 

  • Boat tours to other parts of the island, for example Lindos or other smaller bays for snorkelling. 
  • Boat tours to the neighbouring islands, for example Symi or Tilos 
  • A couple of hydrofoils to Kos and Marmaris (Turkey) 
  • Fishing boats 
  • Private charter boats 
  • Scuba diving tours 

On the other side of the harbour road is lined with cafes, with tables and chairs dotting the pavement. 

Suggested boat tours:
two storey boat sailing out of rhodes harbour

Lindos Day Cruise from Rhodes, with swim stops

blue and white fishing boat in harbour

Skevos Fishing Trip Rhodes, with Captain Skevos

symi harbout with colour chairs in foreground and colourful building in background

Symi Island and Panormitis Monastery

Personal recommendation:

Here is my personal recommendation - based on my experience selling boat tours on Mandraki Harbour and going on several tours myself. For visiting Lindos, it is better to visit by bus so that you can have a full day in this captivating white coloured historic town. Then I would do a swimming tour on a smaller or sailing boat. You will experience a full hour of swimming in each place. Plus the smaller boats can get real close to shore.  Sometimes we were close enough to swim right up to the beach. The larger boats allocate less time for swimming stops and must anchor further out from shore.  

However, if you are short for time, then I still recommend the boat tours to Lindos. They will still include a couple of short swim stops. So you get the best of both in one day. 

Lindos 

view of white washed village with an ancient acropolis perched on hilltop.

View of Lindos, taken from Lindos Beach.

The technical details

Location:

47km from Rhodes Town, along the east coast.

About 55 minutes by car or 2 - 2.5 hours by boat.

As mentioned earlier, there are two ways to reach the impressive white village of Lindos. First is by boat. There are some boat tours that leave from Mandraki Harbour every day for the 2.5 hour boat ride to Lindos. It's quite a thrill to see the village sitting majestically on a hilltop as you approach by sea. Most tours allow for 3 hours to soak up the splendours of this town.   

The second way is by car/moped. As you drive down the eastern coast, the countryside is quite mountainous and picturesque. Very rocky too. But the approach to Lindos was still magic. 

There are four main activities to partake in, as you meander through the maze-like streets of the village.  

  • Feed up on fresh Greek cuisine at one of the many street or rooftop cafes.  
  • Explore the Lindos acropolis. An old ruin sitting on top of a rocky outcrop overlooking the white washed houses in the village below. Great views of the coastline from here. Allow about 1 hour all up as you will get lost trying to get there! 
  • Spend your money on unique Greek souvenirs at the many shops in the village. There’s quite a range of impressive art & crafts and ceramic shops. 
  • Or relax on a sunbed at either of the two town beaches - Lindos Beach or the impressive Ayios Beach (see blog photo).
Suggested tours to Lindos:
two storey boat sailing out of rhodes harbour

Lindos Day Cruise from Rhodes, with swim stops and hotel transfers

red bus in foreground with lindos town and ruins in background

Day Trip to Lindos with pick up from Rhodes and the west coast.

Recommended Lindos hotels:
balcony with white curtains overlooking village and hilltop ruins in background

The rooms are basic but clean and well maintained. However, the rooftop terrace has amazing views of the village below and acropolis ruins. Only 10 minute walk to the beach.

bedroom with white and clean decor

Self contained apartments with views over Lindos and the ancient acropolis ruins. Located right in the centre of the village.

Tsambika Beach 

view of long beach from rocky hilltop, things to do in rhodes

The technical details

Location:

27km from Rhodes Town, along the east coast.

About 35 minutes by car.

This is the place to go if you’re looking for an unspoilt beach with no hotels in sight. It's located about 25km south of Rhodes Town, along the east coast. A beautiful golden sandy beach and turquoise waters creates an idyllic place to relax and enjoy a swim. 

You can reach by road or some boat tours stop here for a swim. 
 

Anthony Quinn Bay 

Boat anchored in a rocky bay, one of the favourite things to do in rhodes

Anchored in Anthony Quinn Bay

The technical details

Location:

15km from Rhodes Town, along the east coast.

About 24 minutes by car.

Named after the actor but with controversary. Anthony Quinn fell in love with this island when he filmed The Guns of Navarone here.  

Now the story gets a little unclear here as to whether he bought this bay rightfully. Some stories say the land was given to him by the local authorities with the understanding he would involve the locals when he developed it.  

Well, the locals were shut out when he put up a fence and nothing was developed. Eventually the Greek government claimed the land back in 1984.  

Unfortunately, we will never know the real story. The variations depend upon the source - by the Greek government, locals, tour operators/guides and the actor himself.  I stopped at this bay on two different boat tours and received two different stories from the skippers. However, the name of the bay remained unchanged 

This beautiful, small rocky cove with a small beach and crystal-clear water still attracts the tourists. Some of the boat tours from Mandraki make a stop in this small bay for a quick swim or for movie enthusiasts to take photos. Alternatively, you can drive or a get a bus here too and relax on the small secluded rocky beach for a longer period. 

Suggested day cruises that includes a stop at Anthony Quinn Bay:
aerial photo of swimmer floating next to a sailing ship

Romantika All Inclusive Day Cruise

photo of boat in crystal clear waters

Rhodes Day Cruise (all inclusive) 6 hours

catamaran anchored near to rocky beach

Catamaran Cruises Rhodes - 6 hour All Inclusive


Prasonisi Beach 

narrow sand bar leading to a small rocky island

Prasonisi Beach (photo from GREtour)

The technical details

Location:

90km from Rhodes town. About a 1.5 hour drive, along the east coast.

This is probably the most impressive beach on the island. Mainly for its unusual natural occurrence at the southernmost point of the island. It’s where the two seas meet! 

Basically, it's a peninsula with a narrow sand spit leading out to a small rocky island. Prasonisi means ‘green island’. But what's unusual to see is that the waves come from opposite directions and meet in the middle on the sandbank. One side is the Mediterranean Sea and the other is the Aegean Sea.  

It is very windy, so there are lots of windsurfers and kite surfers about. If you plan to swim, just be aware of the strong currents. Especially if high tide is in and the sandbank has disappeared. 

There are many seafood taverna’s located here and all are excellent. 

I found it difficult to find a bus tour that went to Prasonisi, unless you paid for a private tour. So we hired a car for the day and explored along the way.

TG Tip:  If you have time, drive through the nearby town of Kattavia. This farming village consists of some unusual Greek holiday homes. Not in your typical Greek flare but in strange designs and bright colours. There are a couple of taverna’s here if you wish to make a snack stop.

Petaloudes/Butterfly Valley 

tourists walking down a wooden stairway down a cliff into the valley below

The technical details

Location:

26km from Rhodes town. About 6km inland from the coastal village of Theologos, on the western side of the island. 

Open:

Daily 8.00am - 6.00pm. 

Fee:  

5.00 - peak season
3.00 - low season
Free - children under 12 years.

Petaloudes means butterfly valley. You literally walk through thousands of butterflies in their natural habitat. Through a hilly forested area resembling a jungle type environment. 

The nature reserve is open daily to visitors all year round. After a small entrance fee, you can explore the valley by following the well-maintained dirt tracks and wooden walkways. Feeling the valleys coolness is a welcome relief to the Aegean sun. 

However, to improve you chance of seeing butterflies, it is recommended to visit from early June to early September. The best time to visit is during August, when thousands of butterflies swarm into the valley, getting ready to reproduce.  

You do tend to mainly see one or two varieties of butterflies fluttering around. And they camouflage themselves real well on tree trunks and against rock walls. 

Epta Piges/Seven Springs 

man made waterfall into a small lagoon below

The technical details

Location:

26km from Rhodes town. About 5 minute drive inland from coastal village of Kolymbia  (east side of island)

Open:

Daily 8.00am - 8.00pm. Times can vary slightly between summer and winter.

Fee:  

Free

Epta Piges means Seven Springs. This is a magical oasis of natural beauty that provides more welcome relief from the Mediterranean heat. 

It starts with a 186m walk through a dark tunnel, constructed in 1931, to reach the lake. Your feet will be in running fresh water. But if you’re not so adventurous or are claustrophobic, you can follow a walking path above the tunnel instead. 

Water flows out of the springs all year round, which forms the small lake that you arrive at. This fresh water lake is suitable for swimming but keep in mind the water is quite cold. 

Other activities include walking through the nearby forests. Or grab a traditional Rhodian or Greek meal at the historic 7 Springs Taverna.  All ingredients are sourced locally. 

Suggested tours that include visits to Butterfly Valley and Seven Springs:
entrance to Butterfly Rhodes

Butterfly Valley and Seven Springs Velley Self Guided Transfer

aqua coloured water flowing over a sandstone dam wall

1 Day Rhodes Island Tour with Wine Tasting & Lunch (includes Butterfly and 7 Springs valley)

TG Tip:  Be aware that some of the day bus tours around the island may also collect cruise passengers, therefore, itineraries and duration can change to suit the ships departure time. Also check how much time you will be given in each location.

Day trip to Symi 

colourful chairs on harbourfront with with colourful buildings in background

A day trip to the smaller island of Symi is a must. What a magical and colourful port town to sail into. Flanked by hills on both sides, the harbour is dotted with houses of varying colours. This means there are steep stairs to contend with if you want to explore beyond the harbourfront. Especially if you want to stroll up to the Venetian castle for panoramic views. Bring some comfortable walking shoes. 

The narrow U shaped harbour is lined with shops and restaurants. You are spoilt for choice. But I can recommend going to Hotel Nireus for a huge ice-cream sundae! 

Because the island and port area is so rocky, you really wont find a swimming beach. But do bring your swimwear, in case your trip includes a swim stop at the picturesque St George Bay. 

There are two different ways to reach the island: 

Ferries 

Ferries that travel from Rhodes to Symi all year round, with an average of 2 – 4 ferry crossings per day. Prices start from EUR8.00 each way. Travel time varies between 1 – 1.5 hours, depending upon boat type and weather. Perfect way to travel if you intend to stay a night or two on the island. 

The ferries typically leave from Kolona or Central Port, just south of the touristy Mandraki Harbour. They usually don’t do return trips, as they may continue to other destinations. So, if you are doing a day trip only, you will probably leave and return on two different companies. However, Sebeco Lines currently offer a same day return schedule. 

Symi Hotel recommendations:
luxury suites in soft pastel colours

For those who want to treat themselves to a luxurious stay, apartment style. Some units have a terrace or balcony attached, with great views over the harbour.

table and chair set up on balcony with narrow view of the sea

High standard of rooms and service without the high price. Only located 100m from port, so you are within walking distance to everywhere. Some rooms have a balcony with partial views!

Day Excursion 

For a day trip, the best and easiest way is to join on an organised full day excursion from Mandraki Harbour. The boat tours typically depart about 9am and return by 6pm. They include a quick stop at Panormitis Monastery and about three hours free time in Symi. Tour operators include: 

  • Sea Dreams – a full day cruise, including a stop at Panormitis Monastery. 
  • Rhodes Sea Lines – an express trip on a fast boat. Arrive in Symi by 12.00, just in time for lunch. Includes a 3 hour stop to explore. Plus a swim stop at St Georges Bay on the way back. 
  • Nikolaos X - a full day cruise that includes Panormitis Monastery AND St George Bay, as well as 3-hour free time in Symi town. 
Recommended day cruises:
catamaran docked by concrete pier

Symi Island & Panormiti, day cruise from Rhodes. High speed catamaran by Sea Dreams

U shaped harbout surrounded by colourful buildings

Symi Island & Panormitis Monastery. Operated by Kariba Travel.

speed boat

Day Cruise to Symi with Speedboat. Operated by Sebeco Lines.

 

What you can cross off your sightseeing list 

The Acropolis of Ancient Rhodes 

Nowhere near the magnificence of the acropolis in Athens. There’s only 3.5 pillars still standing on the Temple of Pythian Apollo. Nearby is a 200m long stadium overgrown with trees, requiring a little imagination to fully appreciate.  

Therefore, if you’re in Rhodes for a short time, you can safely put this attraction last on your list of things to do in Rhodes as you’re not missing much. 
 

Things to do in Rhodes summary 

Of course, visiting an island means there will be many beaches to choose from. So if you plan to rent a car, explore and you wont be disappointed. 

However, you can also explore by land or boat tours. I have separated the 10 best things to do in Rhodes into geographical areas: 

NORTH

East

West

South

Rhodes Old Town

Lindos

Butterfly Valley

Prasonisi

Monte Smith Hill

Tsambika Beach




Anthony Quinn Bay




Seven Springs



Neighbouring Attractions – Symi Island. Or venture further afield to Kos or Turkey.

What would you like to check off on your Rhodes holiday list? 

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About the author

Lisa is a travel gypsy by heart, having already been to over 70 countries and still counting. Founder of Travel Groove, to share travel tips, tricks and knowledge with other travellers.

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