Seen as the crossroads between Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Greek island of Rhodes has experienced many different identities, cultures and languages in its over its rich 4,000 year history. The island’s capital, the city of Rhodes, is a vibrant and popular destination on many a Greek Island cruise for its plentiful sunshine, historical architecture and delicious local food.
Things to do in Rhodes, Greece
One of the most beautiful places to explore during your holiday in Rhodes is the charming Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most extensive and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Entering the Old Town through one of the seven gates in its defensive walls, you’d half expect to see a knight on horseback galloping past or a minstrel strumming tunes on a lute. Traffic is restricted in the Old Town, adding to the authentic feeling of this popular Rhodes attraction.
The crowning glory of Rhodes’ Old Town is the imposing Grand Masters Palace, built by the Knights of St John in the 14th century. Take a walk through its many rooms and halls for an insight into centuries of Rhodes history through ancient sculptures, first century mosaics and medieval relics.
Most of the Old Town you see now on your Rhodes vacation may have been constructed in the Middle Ages, but there are still a few reminders of the more ancient classical civilisations that lived here, such as the ruins of a temple to Aphrodite in Simis Square. You can also gain insights into the changing cultures and ancient history of this dynamic city at the nearby Archaeological Museum of Rhodes. The extensive collection includes artefacts from prehistoric times all the way through Hellenistic and Roman Rhodes.
Once completing a tour of Rhodes’ medieval heart, why not take it all in from the top of the Old Town Walls. Forming a 4 kilometre (2.8 mile) promenade around the city, you’ll be able to see the dry moat, massive defensive towers and street layout from this vantage point.
Ironically, the most well-known and celebrated Rhodes attraction has not existed for over 2,000 years. While you may not be able to see it on your Rhodes visit, the city is still renowned as the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes. The giant bronze statue representing the sun god Helios is said to have straddled the harbour entrance and was over 30 metres (98.4 feet) tall. The Colossus was constructed over a period of 12 years but unfortunately only stood for 56 years after that, because an earthquake in 226 BC caused widespread destruction to the city and bought down the colossal statue. Legends and artistic interpretations continue to keep the memory of the Colossus alive and many wander Rhodes’ harbour every year to reflect on its mysterious magnificence.