Book worm book count: 17 down – into 18
So it was never going to be easy to be the Port that followed Mykonos, but to be fair Rhodes kind of delivered. It is completely different so it cannot be compared in many ways – it reminded me in some ways of Malta crossed with a much more rustic Dubrovnik.
With 300 sunny days a year, it should come of no surprise Helios is the chosen god for this, the largest island in the Dodecanese Islands’s. Known for its beach resorts, ancient ruins and the remnants of its occupation by the Knights of St John during the Crusades, Rhodes is full of history and interesting things to see and do.
As we cruised in at about 6.45am, the whole town was laid out in front of us. Of course the Colossus of Rhodes (statue of the Greek titan Helios) was destroyed in an earthquake soon after it was finished but the narrow harbour remains and it is easy to see how it might have been. There are apparently plans afoot to rebuild it ( it would have stood 33 metres high and the new plans would make the replacement 150 metres) but there is some dispute as to where exactly it should be located. If they manage to pull it off – it would be worth coming back just to see it.
Cruise ships dock right alongside this ancient town and it is very easy to access.
Once again – getting out and about early has huge benefits in terms of managing the heat and the crowds. We wandered off the dock and then 150 metres later we were in the narrow streets of the walled old town almost alone, except for the locals setting up for the day.
The Old Town is not too large and is easy enough to navigate around. Go too far one way and you just hit a wall. There are 12 gates that allow access to the Old Town but the main one is the Freedom Gate and it is pretty impressive. You get stunning vistas of the sea peeking through at every turn.
The Palace of the Grand Masters stands high on the gentle hill so it is easy to head to. Find the long narrow paved street, aptly named the Street of the Knights and you’ll find the castle at the top. Now a museum it is easy to gain access and for 8 Euros you can explore that and another 3 museums scattered around the town.
But it is not all about the castle – Rhodes is one of the largest medieval towns in Europe and within its walls are over 24 centuries of history. From temple ruins to medieval knights, to Turkish mosques and Jewish quarters, there is something for everyone. You could spend hours lost in museums and history if you wanted to, but we chose to meander and take it all in from the outside.
The streets are littered with little shops peddling Ouzo and jewellery to the masses, which is again why heading in early before they all set up shop for the day, feels more authentic to me at least.
Having said that, I did discover a neat little gallery at the top of the town and collected a tiny little sculpture by a local Greek artist to take home and treasure. Small, but perfectly formed – it just couldn’t be left behind. Especially after I was told the artist was a young skate boarder from Athens – seemed like he’d appreciate the scene back home.
The Port itself offers plenty to see and do. It is a busy place with super yachts and fishing boats, mored side by side. We grabbed a drink at a cafe and were spoilt by authentic old Greek gentlemen playing cards with Ouzo and coffee. It was clearly a daily ritual.
So after nearly 4 hours meandering and exploring, the crowds and the heat saw us retreating back on board to relax and recover.
Of course there is plenty more to see and do in Rhodes, but we decided against a trip to Lindos to see the ruins given how close we are to Athens and all that that will deliver up. There are only so many ruins a small person is interested in – best not to push it!
I’d come back – if only to see the undiscovered beaches and spend more time playing cards under leaf covered terraces, drinking Ouzo with the old buggers.
Highlights from small heights
It may not surprise Mum, but it surprises me, Helios is the patron titan (not god, Mum that was incorrect) of Rhodes as it was named after the goddess Rhode, the daughter of Poseidon. I mean sure its sunny but so is Dubai. Chose a more accurate patron god (or goddess or titan whatever) next time folks!
As for Rhodes itself well its a shame the Colossus thingy is broken because it was one of the seven Wonders of the World but at least it means less sightseeing. The medieval parts of Rhodes make it hard to believe its a Greek Island but are interesting nonetheless. Rhodes has plenty of history though and I’m sure with the Colossus it would have made it more Greeky.
I personally thought its impossible the place had only three-hundred days of sun. I mean really I would have thought it had three-hundred and sixty four!
Rhodes fun rating: 8 out of ten.
Improvement tip: Build back the Colossus and for banana’s sake research who your city’s named after before you chose a patron god|goddess|titan.
Charlotte’s two top tips:
Go when the colossus is finished and make sure its set in your mind that Rhodes has three-hundred and sixty-four days of sun not three-hundred, no matter what the delusional internet says or your even more delusional Mother.