Were you ever curious about the ancient past and the wonders of the people who lived in those times? I find history to be a beautiful story with fascinating heroes and one of the many places you can learn about the antiquity is Rhodes Island in Greece.
I just returned from holiday 2 days ago and it was amazing. My husband and I spent a great week on the Island and it was beautiful. We stayed in a hotel by the sea, the weather was warm and pleasant and we got to visit a small part of the island. I promised myself I will visit this island again to discover more of its beauty and history.
The accommodation was lovely. We had a room with forest view and due to the fact they didn’t have the standard forest view we booked, they gave us a family suite. We had 2 bathrooms, plenty of storage space for our personal belongings and a huge window to gaze upon the mountain. It was a quiet room and we also had the chance to enjoy the scenery of the interior garden, which has lush plants, a pond and a man-made waterfall which starts its calming tunes at 9 in the morning and is turned off at 10 in the night.
The food was very tasty too. There was quite a variety of dishes, appetizers, soups, main courses and delicious cakes. Not to mention you could eat ice cream all day long.
As we spent 4 of our 6 and half days visiting the island, we didn’t get the chance to enjoy all the facilities Amathus has to offer. There are 4 pools outside and one inside. But my husband and I went there for the sea so we spent two days in the salty and wavy Aegean.
None the less, I recommend this hotel for couples or families as it has everything you need.
The Aegean Sea
As we stayed at a hotel in the Ixia Bay, the Aegean Sea is what we had across the street. Although it is beautiful, the beach is rocky, the Aegean is mostly wavy and it’s a better place for sports such as wind surf and kite surf rather than for swimming and relaxing. But, we did spend two days in this whirling water and had fun. After all, it’s not so bad to let yourself sway with the waves.
Rhodes Old Town
As I wanted to explore the island and its overwhelming history, we took a bus from the hotel to Rhodes town. There is a 10 minutes’ walk from the bus stop to Mardraki harbor, but when you get there it’s fabulous. You can see Saint Nicholas’s Fort and Lighthouse and the two statues guarding the entrance in the harbor, depicting a stag and a doe which are placed on two columns, facing the sea. Although mythology says they are placed where the Colossus of Rhodes used to be, facts indicate the colossus could not have been placed in the harbor.
You can walk to the two statues, gaze upon Saint Nicholas Fortress, the three old windmills and then head on to the ancient city. If you have the chance to visit this beauty with a guide do so, as I believe it is far better and much more insightful.
We entered Old Town Rhodes and saw the Avenue of the Knights, the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Archaeological Museum and the Art Gallery. But, with proper guidance you can find out every piece of history inside this ancient citadel. This is the first reason I want to visit the island again.
Another attraction that we missed, this time, is the Acropolis of Rhodes, so don’t miss it if you go to the island.
As we only spent 5 hours in Old Town Rhodes, we did not get the chance to unravel its entire story. But this is a great pretext to visit the island again.
Trip to Lindos Acropolis and the Butterflies Valley
This was a great trip and we had a travel guide with us who was funny and smart. Our first stop was Lindos. We entered the fortress built by Saint John’s knights in the 14th century. You can admire the resilience of the thick walls which were created to defend the medieval city and the island from the Ottomans. As we headed to the stairs to the Acropolis we saw a sculpture of a Hellenic ship crafted in the wall.
Once you enter the temple you can see the remains of a staircase as old as times. And then, you see it, the stoa and the temple of Athena, surrounded by a breathtaking view. There are 18 columns still standing, a statement of the craftsmanship of those who built it. After climbing a few stairs, the temple stood right in front of our eyes. No one can enter the temple today, as no one did 3000 years ago. Only a few could enter the temple back in its time of glory. The temple served as the treasury of the city.
If you get to Rhodes Island you should definitely visit this astonishing archaic citadel. It makes you feel so little in the face of time. Another reason you should visit the Lindos Acropolis is that historic figures such as Alexander the Great and Caesar have been there too. If this doesn’t make your heart tremble, I don’t know what would.
After enjoying the architectural mastery and the incredible views we got back on the bus and headed to the Butterflies Valley and the 7 Springs.
The place is so soothing. It is privately owned and was set out by Italians. The water flowing in the river there is reused in order to maintain a safe habitat for the butterfly species. In case you are wondering why, it is because it doesn’t on the island from May to November and rivers run dry.
As we were there on the 2nd week of September, we only had the chance to see one of the butterfly species, but they were everywhere.
For me, this valley was a place of tranquility and serenity. People are asked to keep a low tone of their voice, you are not allowed to use your cellphone or do anything which might disturb the beautiful creatures. This is why the place is quiet. It’s like a little corner of heaven.
We ended our day tasting wine at a local winery and I was delighted by one white brand which had honey. I am sorry I didn’t take a bottle home or a picture of it. But, if you go to Greece you should definitely try their local brands. If you are a wine lover, unlike me, I believe you know more on this matter than I do. And, it is said that wine with honey was the drink of the Gods.
Another day, another trip. As we were staying at a hotel on the Aegean shores, we decided to go and swim in the Mediterranean too. And let me tell you, it was a great decision. The beach in Faliraki is the most renown and appreciated on Rhodes Island. It spreads across 5 km and it is solely made of soft sand. It was a pleasure to walk there barefoot.
The sand was as soft on the beach as it was in the water, so we didn’t have to wear special shoes there. The entrance in the sea is smooth and it takes you a while to get to deeper water. This is a fantastic spot for families with small children and also great for those who love to swim in clear, calm waters as my husband and I do. It feels like you are in a swimming pool, with water so transparent you could see the bottom of the sea even though you couldn’t reach it with your feet.
It was a relaxing experience.
For us to get to Faliraki we took a bus from the hotel to Centre Rhodes Town (last stop) and from the same station, only a few steps further, we took a bus to Faliraki Beach (last stop again). It was a half an hour trip which was more than worth it. And, there is also a gigantic aqua park in Faliraki so if you are into such things you should definitely try that too.
Our last trip was a boat trip to Symi Island. It took us an hour and a half to get to an old monastery on the Island and another hour from there to Symi Harbour.
The small town is built on rooks and it’s very picturesque. The water was the best in our entire holiday. It is crystal clear with multiple shades of blue and turquoise. But, make sure to put on some beach shoes as there is no sand here, only tiny stones and as you enter the water big rocks. We were much uninspired and did not have our slippers with us so getting in and out of the water was dreadful.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the shore is abrupt. After only a few steps, the water is suddenly deep so make sure you know how to swim if you go there.
Even though the shore is rocky the water is amazing. Yet another natural swimming pool provided by nature in a small bay.
We spent our last day and a half swimming in the Aegean in front of the hotel, walking on the beach, enjoying the warm, pleasant weather and playing chess in the hotel’s yard with chess pieces which got to my knees. No matter what, Rhodes Island is amazing and I will go back there soon to discover other beautiful places and learn more about the civilization who was there thousands of years ago.