When the words ‘Greek island’ spring to mind, often the three S’s aren’t far behind. Yep, sun, sea and sand are pretty much a given in this part of the world. However, the island of Rhodes is so much more.
The largest of Greece’s Dodecanese islands offers an enthralling mix of ancient ruins, stunning natural beauty, cosmopolitan culture, and trendy nightlife. Here, you can transport yourself to medieval times by day and dance to the latest chart toppers by night. And having the reputation of being the sunniest Greek island, with 300 days of sunshine, you can be fairly sure you’ll have some rays beating down on you as you explore.
So, with plenty to see and do, how do you even narrow it down? Well, let us help. We’ve put together the ultimate 7-day itinerary to be sure you’re hitting up those all-important Rhodes sights. And we’ve also thrown in a few tips on where to get the best Mediterranean cuisine on offer. So, sit back, relax, and let us be your guide.
Day One: Explore the Old Town
First up on the Rhodes 7 day itinerary simply has to be the Old Town. With a history dating back thousands of years and incorporating several periods of occupation, including Byzantine, Ottoman, and German, almost every street has something to offer. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, this is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe.
Housed within these walls, you will find many areas of interest, however, we recommend starting the day with The Palace of the Grand Master (located at the end of the famous Street of the Knights, this 14th-century castle is one of the few examples of Gothic architecture in Greece). From here, make your way to the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes. Housed in what was once a hospital, you will find many relics from the island’s history, including headstones from ancient burials.
By this point, perhaps a few stomach grumbles will be felt. Well, that’s not a problem, as there are plenty of tavernas to satisfy your hunger pangs. Romios Restaurant serves some of the best stifado (beef stew) in town. But, if you’re after something a little lighter, there are plenty of cafes offering an assortment of Greek salads and fresh seafood to choose from.
Once you’ve recharged those batteries, the Acropolis of Rhodes awaits. Around a 30-minute walk from the Old Town, this historical landmark is well worth a visit. And you will also find a stunning ancient Greek stadium and amphitheater nearby too, so be sure to have your camera at hand.
Day Two: Take in the Acropolis of Lindos
From the Acropolis of Rhodes to the Acropolis of Lindos. Set in the small fishing village of Lindos, this clifftop marvel is one of the top archaeological sights of the island. This majestic collection of ruins overlooking the sea dates back over two thousand years and is easily a day trip in itself, however, be sure to wear sturdy walking shoes as it’s a bit of a trek to the top.
Start by taking in the Temple of Athena Lindia, working your way to the Pillars of Hellenistic Stoa and the Byzantine Chapel of Saint John. Also, be sure to check out the many other fourth century BC temples. Get swept up in the wealth of information that can be found on information boards spread throughout or simply stand and admire the breathtaking views out to sea.
However, if you do find yourself with a bit more time to spare, the village of Lindos has a few more treasures up its sleeve. Admire the town’s whitewashed buildings and pebbled mosaics or take a dip in the stunning turquoise waters of the heart-shaped St Paul’s Bay.
Day Three: Beach Day
Of course, no trip to Rhodes could be complete without a good portion of lounging on the beach time and we think the mid-week mark is the perfect opportunity for it. So, pop on the suntan lotion, grab your beach bag and head for the stunning shores.
For your beach day, there are many options to choose from. One of the most famous is the Anthony Quinn Beach. Emerald waters surrounded by lush vegetation is what greets you here and it is the ultimate place for relaxation. However, if you can pull yourself away from your cozy sunspot, it is also considered a great area for a bit of snorkeling.
But if you’re looking for more of a lively atmosphere, Faliraki Beach is calling. Located 16km south of Rhodes town, this seaside escape is surrounded by hotels, cafes, restaurants, beach bars and even a watersports park. Cue the holiday vibes here.
However, if the past two days have tired you out and the thought of a quick stroll to the beach takes your fancy, Elli Beach is your go to. Located in Rhodes Town, this beach retains a lot of its 70s cosmopolitan vibes and is a favorite with photographers snapping those epic panoramic shots.
Day Four: Day Trip to Symi Island
So, for day four in your ultimate Rhodes 7 day itinerary, we recommend a trip to Symi Island. After roughly an hour’s ferry ride from Rhodes, you will embark at the pretty harbor setting, where pastel-colored buildings are dotted all the way up the majestic hilly landscape. From here, head to the center of Yialos, where you can choose to take advantage of a tourist train which winds around to the west of the town, incorporating some stunning views on route or simply explore this relatively small island on foot.
Starting where Yialos ends, Chorio is the upper village of the island and takes around 500 steps to reach. However, several cafes are waiting at the top to serve you their finest cold beverages as a reward. And once refreshed, head to the nearby Symi Folklore Museum to learn of the island’s history.
After soaking in a bit of history, many more sights await you on the island, including the Monastery of the Archangel Michael, Church Agios Emilianos and the Maritime Museum. Or if you want to take in the beaches of Symi, Nanou Beach and St Nicholas Beach are popular choices.
But we definitely recommend hiking up to Symi Castle for sweeping sunset views of the island. And while there, why not grab some dinner at one of the local tavernas. Taverna Zoe offers a range of Greek delights, including moussaka (mincemeat with potato or eggplant), saganaki (fried cheese) and Symi shrimp (traditionally eaten whole).
Day Five: Visit Tsambika Monastery
A trip to Tsambika Monastery should definitely be added to any Rhodes itinerary. Around 40 minutes from Rhodes Town, this hilltop Byzantine-era landmark offers stunning views of the sea and surrounding area. Although taking around 300 steps to reach (make sure to opt for the comfy shoes that day), it is well worth the effort. Inside the whitewashed monastery you will find several religious works of art, as well as an 11th-century icon of the Virgin Mary. According to local folklore, women who had trouble conceiving would be gifted with pregnancy after coming here to pray.
And why not combine your visit with another relaxing beach break at the nearby Tsambika Beach. Combining rocky surroundings, crystalline waters, and golden sands, it is the perfect spot to unwind when your legs are about to give way from all that walking.
Day Six: The Valley of the Butterflies and Seven Springs
As well as being blessed with remarkable archaeological sites and sandy havens galore, Rhodes also boasts some spectacular nature spots. And we think two of these should make up your sixth day on the island. Located on the western side of the island, the first stop should be The Valley of the Butterflies. This glorious mix of walking trails, waterfalls and lakes is the summer home for thousands of colorful fluttering butterflies, attracted to the high humidity here to reproduce.
From here, a 35-minute drive will bring you to another highlight of Rhodes’s natural beauty – Seven Springs (Epta Piges). This magical landscape, swamped in lush greenery, is a little piece of paradise. A popular entry way is through the long dark tunnel, constructed in 1931, which leads the water of the seven springs to the lake. However, for those claustrophobic travelers, you may just want to take the simple walking path instead. Once at the lake, keep your eyes peeled for the rare fish species, gizani, which live here.
And why not end your day at the nearby taverna for a bite to eat.
Day Seven: Wine tasting at Embonas
Well, after all that exploring, what better way to end your Rhodes 7 day itinerary than to sample some of the best wines of the region. For this, you will want to head to the village of Embonas. Located on the west coast, this is the highest village in Rhodes and is the center of wine production on the island. The area is home to various vineyards and many of the wineries offer tastings and tours.
So, if you love sampling different wines, you will be in heaven around these parts. And while sipping on various local red and white wines, many places even offer a few traditional snacks to wash it down with.
Then, after sipping on the best wines on offer, you can spend the rest of the day wandering around the charming stores offering local products, including wine, olive oil and honey, as well as stopping off at the Embonas Folklore Museum, where traditional tools and household items are on display.