Touring in the Dodecanese: Rhodes island

 

St George Beach, Rhodos island, Greece, photo by Sotiris Lambadaridis

St. George beach, Rhodes island – Photo by Sotiris Lambadaridis

2nd stop: The Villages of Rhodes island

In this second post about Rhodes we will be visiting most of the villages and sites presenting the greatest interest on the island. You’ll get a peak view of Halkis island (6 km west of Rhodes island), the smallest inhabited Dodecanese island as well. I will keep Lindos town for the post to come, as it deserves special attention with its beauty and historical importance.

 

The island of Rhodes is shaped like a spearhead, 79.7 km long and 38 km wide. The city of Rhodes is located at the northern tip of the island, as well as the site of the ancient and modern commercial harbours. Diagoras International Airport (IATA code: RHO) is located 14 km to the southwest of the city in Paradisi. The road network radiates from the city along the east and west coasts.

Afandou Beach, Rhodes island, GreeceRhodes Island, GreeceThe Kamiros Skala Dock, Rhodes island, GreeceView from the Monte Smith park over the west coast of Rhodes island, GreeceBeach in Rhodes town, GreecePhoto by Rrromina

 

Besides the city of Rhodes, the island is dotted with small villages and beach resorts, among them Faliraki, Lindos, Kremasti, Haraki, Pefkos, Archangelos, Afantou, Koskinou, Embona (Attavyros), Paradisi, and Trianta (Ialysos).

It is situated 363 km east-south-east from Greece mainland and 18 km from the southern shore of Turkey.

 

Petaloudes Valley

(valley of the butterflies)

Butterflies Euplagia quadripunctaria rhodosensis resting on an Oriental Sweetgum (Liquidambar orientalis) tree trunk in the valleyThe Petaloudes Valley is home to thousands of the Rhodes subspecies of the Jersey Tiger Moth (Euplagia quadripunctaria rhodosensis) that cover the entire landscape after the wet season (late May) due to the high humidity in the area. The Oriental Sweetgum trees in Petaloudes Valley give off a scent that attracts the moths and creates a unique biotope. Due to the increased amount of visitors, the Euplagia are facing population issues as they have no stomach and when disturbed tend to fly frequently and thus deplete their energy.

Church in Kremasti village, Panagia Katholiki (Virgin Mary), Rhodes island, GreeceThe beach of Kremasti village, Rhodes island, GreeceChurch of Agia Anna in Maritsa, Rhodes island, GreeceKremasti is a town located on the west coast of the island, 12 kilometers from the capital of Rhodes, on the road to the airport. It has a population of about 4,400 people (2001 census) and is the administrative center of the Municipality of Petaloudes.
On a hill near the center of town are the ruins of a medieval castle. The local church, Panagia Katholiki (Virgin Mary) is one of the largest and most beautiful on the island. The interior is decorated with murals and wood carvings. Next to the church is the municipal library, in an impressive building featuring classic Greek columns. The main road is lined with shops and restaurants. Kremasti has a beach on the Aegean Sea. It is not far from Petaloudes Valley.

Maritsa is a village situated on west coast of the island, about 17 km far from the capital, between Kremasti and Psinthos. This village is renowned for its traditional taverns and active nightlife all year round. Near the village at the old international airport, car and motorbike races are held as well as model airplane shows. Outside the village you’ll find two churches. The Agios Georgios church, built in the 15th century and the Agios Nikolaos church, with wall paintings from the 15th century.

 

Archangelos village

Ruins of the castle of St.John in Archangelos village, Rhodes island, GreeceThe bell tower of Archangel Michael's Orthodox church, the town's patron, Archangelos village, Rhodes island, GreeceArchangelos village, Rhodes island, GreeceArchangelos is located about 30 kilometers south of the town of Rhodes on the island’s east coast at an elevation of 160 meters. The town’s name derives from Archangel Michael who is also considered its patron. Several small settlements existed in the broader area of Archangelos during the Hellenistic era, others on the coast and others inland. After the 7th century AD the settlements near the coast were abandoned due to the frequent invasions of pirates and their inhabitants settled on existing inland settlements or founded new ones in more secure areas. Over time the various settlements of the area were merged in one forming the town of Archangelos.

Ancient Kameiros

Panoramic view of ancient Kameiros, Rhodes island, GreeceKameiros is an ancient city on the island of Rhodes. It lies on the northwest coast of the island. It was the heart of an agricultural region, and constituted one of three city states on Rhodes. Kameiros nowadays is a municipal unit stretching inland into the north-central part of Rhodes with its seat in Soroni.

The ancient city was built on three levels. At the top of the hill was the Acropolis, with the temple complex of Athena Kameiras and the Stoa, which consisted of two rows of Doric columns with rooms for shops or lodgings in the rear.

Kameiros, ancient city ruins, Rhodes islandRuins of Kameiros, Rhodes island, Greece

The main settlement was on the middle terrace, consisting of a grid of parallel streets and residential blocks. On the lower terrace are found a Doric Temple, probably to Apollo; the Fountain House, with the Agora in front of it; and Peribolos of the Altars, which contained dedications to various deities.

During the prehistoric period the area was inhabited by Mycenaean Greeks. The city itself was founded by the Dorians. The temple foundations were begun at least as early as the eighth century BC. The earthquake of 226 BC destroyed the city and the temple. The earthquake of 142 BC destroyed the city a second time.

Halki (Chalki) island

The port of Emporio, Chalki island, Dodecanese, GreeceCoordinates: 36°14′N 27°34′E
Kolofonas, Chalkis, Dodecanese islands, Greece

 

Halki is a Greek island in the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea, some 6 km west of Rhodes. With the area of 28 km2, it is the smallest inhabited island of Dodecanese. It is part of the Rhodes region. It has permanent population of 330 (increased during the summer months), concentrated in the only village Emborio. The community is divided in two parts, Chorio (also spelled Horio) and Emporio (the port). A ruined medieval castle of the Knights of St. John overlooks the old town of Chorio and the chapel contains some of the original frescoes.

You can reach Halki island by boat from the Kamiros Skala Dock, which is situated 30 km south-west of Rhodes city near the Ancient Kamiros ruins.

Ialysos

Panorama of Ialysos town, Rhodes island, GreeceIalysos (also known as Trianta), is the second-largest town on the island of Rhodes. It has a population of about 12,000, and is located eight kilometres west of the town of Rhodes  on the island’s northwestern coast. The town is situated near the site of the ancient Doric polis of Ialysos, homeland of the famous ancient boxer Diagoras of Rhodes. The municipal unit consists of the town Trianta/Ialysos and the surrounding areas.

Filerimos Monastery, Ialysos, Rhodes island, GreeceDiagoras of Rhodes carried in the stadium by his two sonsIalysos has become a tourist destination, with several hotels and resorts located on the coast, especially in the new settlement of Ixia, situated between the towns of Ialysos and Rhodes. Being on the usually windward north-western coast of the island, it is also a noted location for wind-surfing.

Attavyros

Aerial view of Attavyros mountain and municipality, Rhodes island, GreeceAttavyros is the westernmost municipality on the island, occupying the central portion of its western coast with a population of about 3,300 (2001). The seat of the municipality was in Empona. Emponas  is a mountainous village with 1,250 inhabitants, halfway up the Attavyros, a gray rocky mountain of 1,215 m height. On top is a temple of Zeus. The village is the centre of wine industry on Rhodes and attracts many tourist daytrips.

Monolithos

The castle of Monolithos, Rhodes island, GreeceMonolithos is a village located 10 km south-east of Apolakkia and 30 km from Prasonisi. Outside the village is the Venetian Castle, built on top of a 100m rock. This castle was built in 1480 by the Knights of Saint John to protect the island from attacks. In fact, this castle was never conquered. The Castle of Monolithos is widely ruined today but it offers great views of the sea and the two islets opposite to it. Inside the Castle, there are two chapels that are no longer used. Access to the castle is by a staircase cut into the rock.

Prasonisi

Prasonisi, Rhodes island, Greece

Prasonisi cape is a part of the island of Rhodes. It is located 92 km from Rhodes town; 40 km from Lindos, at the southern-west part of Rhodes.

Lighthouse of Prasonisi, Rhodes island, GreecePrasonisi is the Greek word for “green island”. During summer time, and when water levels are low enough, this island is a peninsula attached to Rhodes. During the winter time, and when water levels are high enough, Prasonisi becomes an island. The southern-most tip of Prasonisi contains a lighthouse. The closest Greek village is Kattavia; however, there is a purpose-built settlement on Prasonisi that contains motels, convenience stores, restaurants, and windsurf rentals which are open seasonally. Near Prasonisi is Vroulia, an ancient settlement that contains an old mosaic tiled floor.

windsurfingKitesurfingPrasonisi is noted to be a good place for windsurfing and kitesurfing due to the strong winds. From one side of the cape there is the Aegean Sea with good waves and views for advanced surfers. From the other side, there is the Mediterranean Sea with flat water which is better suited for beginners. The area has its high season for tourists in July and August.

Loggerhead sea turtleDue to the big number of tourists gathering there, Prasonisi has lost its pristine beauty and there is great evidence of environmental damage. Windsurfing and Kitesurfing tourists tend to drive all around the beach with scooters and cars. As such, the sand has a solid feeling now and it is almost like concrete at certain parts of the beach. The protected turtle “Kareta Kareta” used to hide its eggs at the specific region but this rarely happens anymore due to the lack of environmental management of the territory. The local authorities should act drastically and not allow vehicles at the specific destination.This should be the very first step for a sustainable ecosystem at Prasonisi.

Things to do

windsurfingKitesurfingWindsurfing and Kitesurfing: Strong winds and wavy water conditions makes this the perfect spot for freestylers, racers and kite-surfers. Both in Ialysos and in Ixia Bay you’ll find organized  windsurfing and kitesurfing centres. Take this opportunity to learn windsurfing in Rhodes, one of the best windsurfing locations in Europe – or improve your technique in perfect conditions. There are also good conditions for kitesurfing near Fane on the northwest coast of the island, between Ialysos and ancient Kameiros at ‘Meltemi at Delfini’.

Windsurfer’ World at Ixia Bay
Windsurfing Center Rhodos in Ialysos
Windsurfing at Prasonisi

diving in GreeceScuba diving in Rhodes: Here you’ll find information and booking opportunities for some Rhodes diving centers. Rhodes offers many great diving spots where species of flora and fauna of colour and beauty should be reason enough for you to experience scuba diving.

Scuba Diving School Med College S-17729
Lissavonas St. 33, Rhodes 85100, Greece
Tel: (+30) 22410 61115 Fax: (+30) 22410 66584

Waterhoppers Diving Schools S-3431
45 Kritika, Rhodes 85100, Greece
Tel: (+30) 241 38146, Fax: (+30) 241 38146

hikingClimb Mt Attavyros. A challenging 2-3 hr climb to the island’s highest point (1215 m). On leaving Embonas on the road towards Siana, drive up one of the agricultural roads on the left and find a place to park. On foot, you continue up through the wine growing area in the obvious direction. There is no explicit marked path but red paint on rocks towards the top marks the best route. It is a steep climb with many large loose rocks. The descent can be especially tricky. It is also possible to drive up the mountain: the approach road comes from the South.

Photo of the Water Park, Faliraki, Rhodes island, Greece
This photo of the Water Park at Faliraki is courtesy of TripAdvisor
 

Waterpark: Activities for older children
Coastal street, Faliraki, Rhodes island, Greece
tel: (+30) 22410 84403
Waterpark website

Thermes Kalithea Baths
At Kalithea Bay on the east coast of Rhodes island
The Baths of Kalithea is an obligatory stop if you visit the island of Rhodes. The entrance fee is only € 3. Visit the ancient thermal baths completely renovated and beautiful. There is a small cove where you can swim too.

 

Photos of Fish Spa, Rhodes Town
This photo of Fish Spa, Rhodes Town,
is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Fish Spa
Ialissos – Faliraki, Rhodes Town 85100, Greece
tel: (+30) 22410 56556
Fish Spa website

 

External links

Rhodes Map

Rhodes island official website

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