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Family excursions in Rhodes

With all of Rhodes' prime tourist attractions set close to its east coast, you don't have far to travel on family excursions.

The main resorts of Rhodes Town and Faliraki couldn't be more different, with the former providing oodles of history and the latter specialising in modern fun parks.

Step away from the coast for a while too, to experience a bit of natural Greece and get interactive with animals.

Hours of old-world exploration in Rhodes Town

There are few children who could resist scaling castle walls, walking the path of knights and acting out Greek mythology in ancient surroundings.

As the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe, and a remarkably well-preserved one at that, Rhodes Town's old town is a must for history buffs.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by huge walls that you can walk on a partial circuit on weekdays for €2. Or take the original cobbled street between two excellent museums, known simply as the Road of the Knights.

It joins the Palace of the Grand Masters, which houses a well-labelled museum of Rhodes history, to the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes in the 15th-century Hospital of the Knights.

Up close with butterflies and ostriches

Have a day full of animal magic when you head to Butterfly Valley and the nearby Farma of Rhodes. Right between Fanes and Faliraki, in the middle of northeast Rhodes, Butterfly Valley is named after the orange-winged Jersey Tiger moths that swarm here in summer, attracted by the resin of the oriental sweetgum trees.

As well as seeing the fluttering creatures, the valley itself is very attractive, with waterfalls and bridges to traverse over the small river.

Just north, Farma of Rhodes keeps 120 ostriches in a natural environment, as well as camels, kangaroos, porcupine and other more common farmyard animals that you can pet. Both places have a cafe, refreshment kiosk, and a gift shop, and a family of four will pay around €25 for the two.

Get wet in Faliraki

If you're not staying in Faliraki, it's worth a special visit to make use of the huge range of watersports and the large waterpark here. Down at the five-kilometre-long beach, get older kids involved in anything from being towed in 'ringos' to a banana boat safari to a nearby cave.

If you have kids of different ages, Faliraki Water Park will please them all, plus it has plenty for us adults too. One of the biggest in Europe, there are kamikaze and tamer slides, a lazy river, a massive wave pool and even an aqua gym, as well as an area just for little ones, with a pirate ship and water playground.

Springs, waterfalls, tunnels and rare species

For a more laid-back afternoon surrounded by water, take a trip to Seven Springs, or Epta Piges, just inland from Stegna.

You can wade through a 150-metre-long tunnel that connects the seven natural springs and the River Loutanis to a lake. The dam at the end of the lake also creates a gushing waterfall that leads to a shallow pool for paddling below.

Also in the shade of the pine trees is a large grill restaurant to have a lazy lunch at with the trickling of water for a soundtrack, or just stop for an ice cream and a drink. You can watch the wild ducks, peacocks and animals as you eat, then take a look in the lake to see if you can spot any of the native tortoises, crabs or rare gizani fish that only live in Rhodes creeks.

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