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6 places you have to visit in Rhodes

From natural butterfly gardens to ancient Greek wonders, we cover the places you simply must visit on your next holiday to Rhodes. Many of this Greek island's archaeological marvels are concentrated in Rhodes Town, but you'll find places of interest all along the east coast.


Rhodes Old Town

The oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe, Rhodes' UNESCO-listed old town is a maze of squares behind huge medieval walls with 11 towering gates.

Even 200 of the streets and lanes don't have a name, so you can have a scenic time getting lost.

Visit the ruins of the 3rd-century BCE Temple of Venus in Simi Square, or walk the nearby Road of the Knights – a 200-metre cobbled road that's one of the best preserved medieval streets in Europe. It links the two Rhodes Town favourites below, the Palace of the Grand Masters and Hospital of the Knights.

Palace of the Grand Masters

Close to Rhodes Town harbour, the Palace of the Grand Masters looks more like a castle, complete with turrets and flag poles. Founded as a 7th-century fortress, it's been a palace of the Knights of St John and a holiday home for Mussolini in the early 1900s.

You can visit the large Hall of the Council, the Knights' dining hall and the private chambers of the Grand Master on the first floor. There are ancient Roman and Byzantine mosaics paving the floors, Greek and Roman statues in the courtyard, plus two permanent archaeological exhibitions on the ground floor.


Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

Another Rhodes Town must-see is the 15th-century Hospital of the Knights, which is used to house 7,000 years of archaeological finds from across the island.

The standout exhibit is the marble statuette of the Aphrodite of Rhodes, dating from the 2nd century BCE. Among the pretty gardens lies a pavilion displaying wall-mounted mosaics and a reconstructed burial site of a 1700 BCE helmeted warrior and his faithful horse.

The history of the ancient building is also fascinating, as those wounded when fighting against the Ottomans were brought here to be cared for by the Knights of St John, who were renowned for their high standards in medicine and hygiene.

Petaloudes – Butterfly Valley

A beautiful valley crisscrossed with streams, forest paths and pools, Petaloudes is nice to visit any time of the year. But it's when the butterflies flock here in summer that the visitors follow. The creatures that have earned Butterfly Valley its name are actually orange-winged Jersey Tiger moths, which take to flight to find mates between June and September.

If you're not travelling to see this spectacle in summer, you might instead prefer the solitude of a visit out of season to wander across little wooden bridges over the trickling waterways. You'll find Petaloudes in northwest Greece, inland between Fanes and Faliraki.


The Acropolis of Lindos

Standing proud above the pretty whitewashed village of Lindos, is an ancient acropolis that holds some of Rhodes' most important archaeological monuments. Its woven history includes 6th-century BCE walls, battlements built by the Knights of St John and fortifications constructed by the Crusaders in the early 14th century.

You'll have to walk to get to the top of the 116-metre high rock, but when up there you'll be met with Medieval walls, huge 4th-century gates and towers. The views from up here are spectacular, taking in nearly 60 kilometres of coast, including Lindos Bay, which houses a stunning beach also worth a visit while you're here.

Tsambika Monastery

Another hilltop monument worth the climb is the small Byzantine church known as Tsambika Monastery. At 300-metres high, you can take a car most of the way and park it at the nearby taverna before climbing the remaining part up around 300 steps.

The views across Rhodes' east coast take in Kolymbia to the north and Lindos to the south, but the reason many ladies make the climb is to be blessed with fertility. It's said they're likely to fall pregnant if they walk up to the church barefoot to pray.

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