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RHODES GENERAL INFORMATION
Rhodes Island is the biggest of all the Greek Islands, with a spectacular landscape, comprising of beaches to medieval castles. Rhodes can be divided into two sections, the Old City and the New City.
The Old City is considered the heart of Rhodes Town; it is enclosed by strong walls. The Old Town is one of the biggest and best-preserved medieval settlements of Europe. This medieval city is full of buildings testifying the past and history of the island. With areas of antiquity, Byzantine times, the Middle Ages and the times of Turkish rule.
The Old City has many sights, including; The superb Palace of the Grand Masters, the building of the Collachium, the hospital of the Knights, stunning inns used by the Knights, and Gothic churches, along with narrow stone-paved alleyways, stone arches and apses, the Palace of the Castellan, various mosques, a plethora of Byzantine churches, traditional Rhodian houses and mansions influenced by Venetian and Arab architecture.
The New City of Rhodes was constructed after the siege of Suleiman the Magnificent (1522) when the inhabitants living inside the walls of the Old City built new settlements outside the walls. Most of the buildings date back from the Italian rule; therefore the buildings are decorated according to the neo-Gothic and Venetian architectural style. The New City was constructed using careful planning; this can be seen by a large number of parks, squares and wide streets. A highlight of the New City is the Governor’s Palace, combining Byzantine, medieval and Spanish architectural styles. A casino, a National Theatre and a traditional Dance Theatre, also add to the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Rhodes and to its fame as a city full of entertainment and life.
Rhodes has a multitude of beaches, combining both sand and pebbles, with crystalline water. Most beaches have a variety of amenities, including; rental sunbeds and umbrellas, watersports, beach bars and restaurants. There are several beaches in and around the Rhodes area, some of the most popular areas for relaxation and swimming are;
Most of the beaches of Rhodes Town have beautiful views of the mountains across the sea in Marmaris, crystal clear waters, steady winds; ideal for watersports like windsurfing, surfing and jet skiing, and are ideally located close to the main attractions, like the casino and aquarium.
Akti Miaouli and Elli Beach are located within the capital of Rhodes.
Ixia and Ialysos Beach are 7km from Rhodes.
Kalithea Area; approx 10kms from Rhodes Town
The beaches of Kalithea are known for their medicinal hot springs. Pine and palm trees line the sand and emerald water.
Faliraki Area; approx 14kms from RhodesTown
Faliraki Beach is probably the most popular beach in Rhodes, with its 4km of fine golden sand. An extensive list of watersports is offered at this location, including; paragliding, jet skiing, water skiing, windsurfing, bungee jumping and go-karting. The beach also has a water park.
This area also offers good nightlife, with many popular nightclubs and bars.
One kilometre from Faliraki Beach is Ladiko Anthony Quinn Beach, made famous by the filming of the Anthony Quinn movie ‘The Guns of Navarone.’ This beach is a small cove surrounded by hills and an ideal place for snorkelling.
Tranganou and Vagies Beaches are a further four kilometres from Faliraki. Tranganou beach is small and only parts are organised, with the remainder left in its natural state. There is a small fish tavern on the beach, serving fresh fish daily. Vagies Beach also offers a small craft market on the jetty, along with another fish tavern.
Afandou; approx 20 km south-east from Rhodes Town
The beaches of Afandou offer sand and pebbles, but have no facilities for rentals; therefore they are less crowded than other beaches. Ladiko Beach is also located in the area of Afandou, but closer to Rhodes. This beach is smaller and surrounded by hills.
RHODES IN THE HISTORY
According to Greek mythology, Rhodes was given to the god Helios as a present after Zeus divided the earth among the Olympian gods, forgetting Helios. Disappointed with this, Helios asked if the land that was to rise out of the sea could be his. As he spoke, a beautiful island slowly emerged from the bottom of the blue sea, Rhodes. As the legend goes Helios bathed Rhodes with his own radiance and made it the most beautiful island in the Aegean Sea.
The Carians were the first known inhabitants on Rhodes, a tribe which came from Asia Minor. Later the Phoenicians inhabited Rhodes, led by Cadmus, who was responsible for introducing the first alphabet.
The Minoans from Crete settled on Rhodes, living peacefully on the island for many centuries until another tribe arrived against them around 1400BC. The newcomers were the Greek Achaeans from the Greek mainland. The Achaeans founded a powerful state that very soon extended its influence. Centuries later, the bellicose Dorians came to Rhodes and developed Lindos, Ialysos and Kamiros. Those three cities finally grew immensely in power and wealth as Rhodes became more powerful. Rhodian ships sailed everywhere along the Mediterranean, bringing riches and glory back to the motherland.
After warfare in the 5th century, Rhodes fell under the influence of the Persians for a short time.
In the 7th Century, Rhodes became occupied by the Knights and resurfaced from the obscurity into which it had sunk, again acquiring considerable strategic and economic importance. It was transformed into a bastion of the West, and an important port of call in trade between Europe and the East. Caviar, textiles of wool and silk, oil, wine, sugar and perfumes, saffron, wax and pepper – Rhodes was the paradise for merchants! Wheat was brought to Rhodes from Cyprus, Asia Minor and, later, Sicily; wine was brought from Crete and Italy.