Rhodes Highlights - Exploring the Island
Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese (50 miles long by 24 miles
wide) and its many rivers help to ensure that it is also the greenest.
The island is steeped in history, the Colossus of Rhodes being one of
the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World for which it was most famous.
Take the time to visit some of my favourite Rhodes highlights...
Not far inland from Pefkos (on the road to Monolithos)
is the tree-surrounded, peaceful, pretty postcard-like village
of Apolakkia. Its name, said to come from the Greek lakos, meaning
ditch, belies its medieval houses with pantile roofs, silent monasteries
and old windmills. Take time to relax at one of the tavernas on
the village square, where the cultural centre is housed in an
ancient mansion built in the classical Italian architectural style.
Originally built by the Italians as a spa for the treatment of
many ailments, Kalithea has recently been restored and renovated
to its former glory and is well worth a visit. It sits above a
small bay with excellent swimming and scuba diving from the rocks.
There is a museum/gallery with before & after images of the
restoration and exhibitions by local artists. The beautifully
laid out gardens lead you to a bar/restaurant where you can relax
and undo all the good work of the healing springs!!!
Only 3 miles from Pefkos, the traditional and friendly village
of Lardos has a lovely main square with a natural spring water
fountain flanked by bars and tavernas. A great place to sit in
the shade and watch the bustling village life. And during high
season there are weekly Greek nights held in the square, great
entertainment for all the family.
With its ancient Acropolis, links to the Knights Templar and
the beautiful St Paul’s Bay, Lindos is probably the second
only to Rhodes town
itself in terms of world fame. Built on – and into –
the steep hillside, with its maze of narrow cobbled streets, with
tiny houses, churches and many shops and tavernas, this picturesque
village is only a short bus,
boat trip away from Pefkos. Take the glass-bottomed
boat (from the bottom of Boat Trip Road) and get a taxi back
to Pefkos from the bustling main square – or do the return
trip by sea.
(mono = one; lithos = stone)
A narrow winding road from the village takes you to a viewpoint
from where you can see the 15th-century castle, sitting precariously
atop the large rocky outcrop that is the soaring monolith, 774
feet above the sea. A truly spectacular view awaits you if you
have the energy to carry on down the road a short distance, join
the path and then climb the steps all the way up to the chapel
at the top.
At the southernmost tip of the island (about 20 miles from Pefkos),
Prassonisi is where the calm Mediterranean meets the stormy Aegean.
The view from the approach road is stunningly beautiful –
with the wide expanse of sandy beach and the multitude of windsurfers,
with their colourful sails. You can reach the tiny island at the
end of the beach by swimming or walking, but only if the weather
is right and the water not too high.
The most striking feature of the small olive farming village
of Pylona and which can be seen from the main road north from
Pefkos and Lardos,
is the Church of St Nicholas. It was built after an earthquake
in 1928 ruined the village churches and other local monuments.
The Church of Evangelism nearby has many Byzantine frescoes.
The capital of the island (just over 30 miles from Pefkos) is
really two towns – the Old and the New. Behind the stone
ramparts of the Old Town, which you can walk along, there is a
maze of narrow cobbled streets, open courtyards, ancient ruins,
covered markets, bazaars, churches, mosques and museums. The Grand
Master’s Palace in the Knights’ Quarter and the Turkish
Library in the Bourg are among the many ‘must see’
places when you visit Rhodes. But you should also take time to
sit and relax in the shade of the orange trees in the beautifully
laid-out gardens just below the ramparts. The New Town is where
you’ll find all the familiar international designer stores,
which are a magnet for tourists.
A day trip well worth making from Pefkos is to the island of
Symi, to the north-west of Rhodes. Once one of the richest of
the Greek islands, today it remains the place to go if you want
really good natural sponges. The island has several beautiful
churches, a museum and the approach to its mountain-flanked harbour
is stunning. There are regular boats to Symi from Mandraki Harbour
in Rhodes town.