Greek Islands Guide

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Rhodes, known locally as Rodos, is the largest and best known island in the Dodecanese, It has the reputation for being the sunniest island in the whole of Greece with over 300 days of sunshine every year. Rhodes is also easy to get to, with a good though often crowded airport, and regular ferry links to Piraeus, Crete, and many other islands. Once you add the presence of some good beaches and historic buildings, it is not difficult to see why Rhodes is such a popular holiday destination.

One of the most imposing buildings in Rhodes old town, is the Palace of the Grand Master. Originally constructed during the 14th century, in 1851 it was damaged by an earthquake, and later in 1856 more damage was caused when gunpowder that was being stored in the building exploded. The Palace underwent some restorations in 1939 with the intension of using it as a summer palace for Mussolini.

Mandraki harbour was the military port of ancient Rhodes, the mouth of which could be shut off with the use of chains. Now in more peaceful times, the mouth of this picturesque harbour is guarded by statues of Elafos and Elafina, which are male and female deer’s that have become one of the symbols of the island. On the eastern side of the harbour, is located three, now restored, windmills. These are all that remain from an original total of thirteen. A little further along the harbour standing on a promontory is the fortress of Agios Nikolaos. This was built in 1460, and is now used as a lighthouse, Although the fortress itself is very old, in some places carved blocks robbed from even older buildings have been used in its construction.

Rhodes medieval  old town should not be missed, for despite the crowds, it is a pleasure to visit. The main streets are packed with shops, tavernas and bars, but if you turn off the main streets, and venture down some of the quiet alleyways, you will find another world of quiet narrow cobbled streets joined by arches.

By following the coast road to the south of Rhodes town you will eventually come to the ancient town of Lindos, which is now considered by many as being the best resort on the island. With two very good sandy beaches towered over by the remains of an ancient citadel, it is not difficult to see why it attracts many thousands of visitors every year. Despite the heat and crowds, a visit to the citadel is well worth while. The paths up to the top are steep and in some places quite rough, and in other places quite slippery. If you wish to go but don't fancy the climb, there is the option of taking a donkey ride to the top.

On the opposite side of Lindos in the bay of St Paul's, can be found a third beach which is much smaller and quieter than the two on the other side of town. In the height of the season it can become difficult to find a sun bed so come reasonably early. The beach also boasts a small, but good, daytime beach taverna. A little further around the bay, where the above photograph was taken, is a small church, the grounds of which has become a popular venue where visitors to the island can get married.


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