The absolute best of beach holidays in Europe and beyond – we review the reviews so you know exactly where to go and what to do on your holiday to Rhodes.
Rhodes is big enough that even in peak season you can find a secluded cove, or section of a larger beach, to yourself. Local beaches and sites don’t get much of a look-in on travel sites, but there seems to be agreement that the southeast (Mediterranean) facing coast is a better bet for flat water and abundant sand than the northwest-facing one. There’s also little curiosity or initiative in getting beyond the beaten track in terms of attractions, but Rhodes has so much more to offer than the standard double-act of the old town and Líndos.
The best beaches
If you are researching a holiday in Rhodes, you’ll probably find that it is quite hard to find reliable recommendations online for the best beaches in Rhodes. Here is a summary from our Rhodes expert writer based on his real experience of this beautiful island.
Kálathos, just before Líndos, is amazingly undeveloped apart from the usual showers and scattered sunbeds. There are just a couple of set-back hotels – and you can drive right up. Like many east-coast beaches, it’s a mix of coarse sand and tiny gravel bits, and there’s a fairly rapid-drop off into deep water.
Another favourite is Traganoú, which is the north end of Afándou beach. It has chunky pebbles with no sand, but unbelievably clear, cool water and caves just behind to explore. This also gets the thumbs-up from a Fodor’s community user: “a sweet, sheltered bay favoured by locals”. And like Kálathos, Traganoú is a drive-up beach.
- Craving fine-sandy bottom, more facilities on land and a gentler drop-off? Then try Tsambíka (also recommended by The Telegraph) or Agía Agathí: “one of the finest I’ve ever been on”, says one enthusiastic Trip Advisor user, near the resort of Haráki. Both have easy road access, and low-key watersports.
- For something completely different, head for Pigés Kallithéa, near Faliráki: essentially sculpted rock-shelf lidos with ladders into the water and a bit of artificial sand behind, each named for the nearest taverna. Best is Oasis, with snorkelling off the rocks here. Another easy drive-up.
- There are several inspiring beaches at Foúrni on the west coast, 6km below Monólithos village. Flanking the 400-metre main cove which also has a seasonal kantína and sunbeds, are smaller, clothing-optional coves to the left and right, reachable only by stiff walks or a jeep.
Best sights in Rhodes
There are lots of must see sights in Rhodes. Avoid climbs at midday, wear a hat and proper footwear, and carry your own water. Many of the most scenic spots have no refreshments stalls, and summer temperatures get near to 100°F.
- Top of any list has to be Rhodes Old Town overall, one of the most perfectly preserved medieval walled cities anywhere. Specific attractions that get general approval on Trip Advisor include the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Kal Kadosh Shalom Synagogue with its excellent museum of the vanished Jewish community, the Panagía tou Kástrou Byzantine collection, and the Archaeological Museum, “a lot more than it seems at first glance”, in an old Crusader hospital.
- In the New Town, don’t miss the Museum of Modern Greek Art, the fullest collection of 20th-century Greek painting in the country, and the brilliant frescoes by neo-Byzantine artist Fotis Kondoglou in the Evangelismós cathedral at Mandráki.
- Líndos acropolis typically has the biggest ‘wow’ factor, more for the views than the well-restored buildings up top – but “get there early or go later to avoid queues and people from tour buses” is sound advice from one TripAdvisor user. A mule transfer is available for those not up to the steep climb.
- Lovers of Art Nouveau and Art Deco shouldn’t miss the “nostalgiac elegance” of the restored spa at Kallithéa, once a location for The Guns of Navarone and now a posh events venue. There is a small museum and good swimming from the lido below the small rotonda.
- Not on any forum but still vastly rewarding are Thárri monastery, with superb 14th-century frescoes in its church, and the nearby village church of Asklipió, with even more vivid, if slightly later, ‘cartoon strips’ of biblical episodes.
- Rhodes has half a dozen castles remaining from when the Knights of St John held the island. All are crumbled; best for views across half the Dodecanese is the one at Kritinía, in the west. Take in the unspoilt Hellenistic town of Kameiros, which TripAdvisor users say has “exceptional ruins” and is “better than Lindos”, nearby while you’re at it.