The beautiful Greek Islands are perhaps equally known for their intriguing historical sites as well as their incredible natural beauty. If you are visiting Rhodes, you certainly don’t need to choose between them as the island offers the best of both worlds, with so many things to do in Rhodes for everyone.
In addition to the stunning landscapes and intriguing archaeological attractions, Rhodes also enjoys a lively cultural scene with lots of great cafes and restaurants, as well as plenty of nightlife. It’s no wonder it’s been a popular tourist destination since Roman times!
To help you find the best things to do in Rhodes, here is our guide to the best attractions on the island. Don’t forget to also check out our Rhodes accommodation guide.
PLANNING A TRIP TO GREECE?
Whether you’ve been before or it’s your first time it can be hard to process all the information out there. Be sure to check out our complete Planning Guide as well as our FREE 13-page downloadable itinerary.
And come join our private Facebook Group where you can ask questions and get advice from real travelers!
Things to do in Rhodes – Beaches
Rhodes has more than its fair share of beautiful beaches and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Whether you’re looking for a bustling hub or an unspoiled gem, you’re sure to find it on Rhodes.
Elli Beach is the closest beach to Rhodes Town, so if you are looking for a convenient place to enjoy a dip in the Aegean Sea, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Its convenient location, however, does mean that it can get very busy, especially in the high season.
The beach has been awarded ‘Blue Flag’ status thanks to its high-quality water, and there’s some great snorkelling just off the sand.
Just seven kilometres from Rhodes Town, Kallithea Springs Beach is extremely popular with both locals and visitors thanks to its stunning white sand and crystal clear water.
It does cost three euros to get in, but that is well worth it as you get the use of a comfy daybed and, of course, to enjoy the beautiful views. If you can draw yourself away from lazing in the sun, there’s great snorkelling where you can spot some interesting marine life!
It’s worth noting that part of this beach is clothing-optional, although it’s contained to a small area to the right of the beach. The rest of the beach can be enjoyed by everyone, and has a reputation as one of the best beaches in Rhodes.
This beautiful beach is lively without being completely overrun, with a number of restaurants and bars nearby, as well as a great selection of watersports such as canoeing and stand up paddleboarding.
It’s about 26 kilometres from Rhodes Town, but there are buses or taxis if you don’t have your own transport.
It may not claim to have the softest sand in all of Rhodes (it’s a little more pebbly than powder-soft), but one huge selling point of Kolymbia Beach is that it is well protected from the wind.
This means this beach in north-east Rhodes is one of the best for young families, as the water is ideal for children and nervous swimmers.
The beach is about a kilometre long in total, so there is a lot of space for everyone!
Located on the east coast about 19 kilometres from Rhodes Town, Afandou Beach is a long and sandy strip of sand that’s one of the best beaches in Rhodes.
It gets a tad pebbly in parks, but overall its got soft sand and the beautiful clear water that’s so famous on the Greek Islands.
There are plenty of sun lounges for just relaxing and enjoying the summer sun, or you can enjoy some of the many cafes nearby, or try some watersports.
While many people prefer to try to escape the wind and head for some more sheltered beaches, there is another option. After all, if you enjoy any type of surfing, then the wind is absolutely perfect. Just ask the many surfers (of the regular, and kite-surfing variety) who head for Prasonisi Beach, about 90 kilometres south of Rhodes Town.
While this beach is most recommended for watersports, the eastern side is calmer for swimming.
Keep in mind that it is only exposed at low tide, so make sure to check the tides before you go!
Top Historical Sites in Rhodes
Historically, Rhodes is one of the most significant of the Greek Islands. Perhaps most famously, it is believed to have been the site of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. If you are a history lover or keen to explore ancient sites about Greek mythology then Rhodes is the perfect choice.
Rhodes Old Town
The capital and main city of the Greek island of Rhodes is Rhodes Town. It sits on the island’s northernmost tip and has a population of roughly 50,000. The town is renowned for its fascinating history, attractive architecture, and beaches.
The medieval walled Old Town of Rhodes Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the city’s top attractions. It is full of winding cobblestone lanes, historic structures, and spectacular fortifications.
The Old Town is home to a number of fascinating historical sites including:
- The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes – see more below
- The Street of the Knights – built in the fourteenth century it leads to the Palace of the Grand Master and is bordered by buildings from the Middle Ages.
- The Hospital of the Knights – this houses the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, which is home to a variety of ancient Rhodes relics.
- The Clock Tower – this is one of Rhodes Old Town’s most identifiable monuments. It was constructed by the Byzantines in the 7th century.
- Suleiman Mosque – built by the Ottomans in the 16th century and is still one of the most impressive buildings in the area.
- The Byzantine Church of Agios Fanourios – this church was built in the 14th century and features stunning frescoes and a beautiful bell tower.
- The Panagia tou Kastrou Church – this church was built in the 11th century and is located inside the walls of the Old Town. It is a popular spot for weddings and other events.
Palace of the Grand Master
For an insight into a very different period of Rhodes history, exploring the Palace of the Grand Master is definitely one of the best things to do in Rhodes.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating things about this site is not what stands there now, but what may have in the past: many historians believe it was most likely the site of the Colossus of Rhodes. Nonetheless, the Palace itself is also very impressive, having been built in part by the Byzantine Empire in the 7th Century and in part by the Knights Hospitaller, a Medieval Catholic Order, in around 1309. It’s conveniently located in Rhodes Old Town.
The Palace of the Grand Master and the Knights of Rhodes costs €6 for an adult (€3 for children) and is open:
Opening Hours: November to March – 8:30am – 3pm (closed Mondays) April to October – Monday 9 am – 4pm, Tuesday – Friday 8am – 10pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 4pm.
Acropolis of Lindos
ot far from the town of Lindos (about an hour from Rhodes Town by car) is the Acropolis of Lindos, an incredibly significant historical site and one of the most interesting things to do in Rhodes.
Parts of the site date back from 300 BC, but successive groups including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans have all left a mark on it. It’s very well preserved, and you really get a feel for how lavish it must have been when it was built.
There are 116 steps to climb it, but the view from the top is well worth the sore legs!
Opening Hours: The Acropolis of Lindos is open from 8am – 8pm between April and October, and 8am – 3pm between November and March.
Entry is €12 for an adult.
Lindos is also the name of the charming town that wraps around the ancient citadel and adjoins several excellent beaches.
It is a much gentrified old town and its cobblestones, windy streets, and alleys are lined with excellent restaurants, bars, shops, and galleries so it’s a great place to spend a few days.
In fact, if you have a week or more in Rhodes we suggest dividing your time between Rhodes Town or one of the popular beach resorts like Faliraki, and Lindos for a diverse experience and deep insight into the many layers of Rhodes.
Further reading: Top Things to do in Lindos
At the southern end of Lindos is a beautiful bay called St. Pauls Bay which is one of the highlights of the Dodecanese.
With magical clear water, great amenities, and stunning topography this is a place to while away a day soaking up the warmth and the top-shelf Greek hospitality.
The bay is a circular shape and is almost completely surrounded by cliffs and rocky outcrops. It was probably once a solid part of Rhodes but a sinkhole of sorts has developed after an earthquake or major weather event.
It is believed that the Apostle Paul sailed into this bay in 43AD when he was traveling across the lands bringing the new religion of Christianity with him, and the locals named the Bay after him soon after.
It is very hard to find from the sea and for that reason, it has served as a haven for pirates and plunderers as well as innocent people trying to hide from invaders.
The bay is made up of two beaches, Paralia(Beach) Agios(Saint) Pavlos on the southern side of the bay, and a small beach on the north which is closest to the town of Lindos by foot.
Both of these beaches have a good taverna/beach bar that rents sunbeds and umbrellas, as well as provides meals and drinks, and toilets. There are also two tavernas that service the bay.
Further reading: A Complete Guide to St.Pauls Bay
One of the best things about Rhodes is the way that it blends natural beauty with manmade treasures – and nowhere is this more clear than at Monolithos Castle.
Located about 70 kilometres from Rhodes Town, near the town of Monolithos, the castle was built on top of a 100m hill by the Knights of St John during a turbulent time in Rhodes’ history. Despite numerous invasions, the Castle never fell – although the Knights of St John were eventually defeated in the Siege of Rhodes in 1522.
It’s a fascinating place to visit, and the views are absolutely stunning. A trip to the castle is easily combined with a visit to Prasonisi Beach, another of our top things to do in Rhodes.
We also love that it is free to enter!
Things to do in Rhodes for families
Rhodes is a great place for visitors of all ages, and there are plenty of attractions for kids, and the kids-at-heart. Here are some of our favourite family-friendly things to do in Rhodes.
The Valley of the Butterflies
Although kids, in particular, will love the beautiful butterflies that congregate from June to August every year, everyone can enjoy the sight of the pretty winged creatures.
Plus, the surrounding area (600 acres in total) is absolutely beautiful as well, with lush overgrown foliage and waterfalls.
Although the butterflies are really only seen in the summer months, you can definitely visit all year-round to enjoy the natural beauty.
The nearby village of Psinthos is also very quaint and is home to a number of great tavernas.
The Valley of the Butterflies is open from 8am – 4:30pm daily. Entry is €5 for adults and children are free.
This is a great place to visit with kids if they are tired of all the history, or if it is raining and the beaches are off-limits. It’s a fairly quaint museum, which features interesting toys from 1930 to 1990.
Many of the exhibitions are interactive, so kids can actually play with the toys, while the grownups are sure to feel a pang of nostalgia looking at some childhood classics.
Plus, the building itself is very cute and the nearby village of Archipoli is an authentic local village that’s well worth a stop. Best of all? Entry is free.
The Rhodes Toy Museum is open from April – November, from 10am – 5pm. Free entry.
The Aquarium is located in the basement of the Hydro-Biological Station which is interesting enough in itself!
Here families can get a close-up view of life under the sea in the Mediterranean and particularly the animals and habitats in the Dodecanese. Displays and exhibits include fish, octopus, giant clams, reefs, turtles and various sea flora and there are qualified staff on hand to explain it all to you.
The Rhodes Aquarium is open daily, except on New Year’s Day, Greek Easter Sunday and Christmas Day. April 1st – October 31st: 09.00 – 20.30 November 1st -March 31st: 09.00-16.30. Entry is 5.50 Euro or 3.50 with a concession.
Other activities and tours on Rhodes
There really is a lot to see and do on Rhodes. One of our very favourite activities is a day trip to a neighbouring island – Symi or Chalki in particular. You can even get the ferry over to Turkey for the day!
Here are some of the best tours to activities to do on Rhodes :