Rhodes Holidays Greece – Rhodes Holiday Packages
Rhodes (Rodos) is the most easterly and the largest of the Greek islands, a hilly, green island with a coastline full of wonderful beaches and towns rich in history. It is one of the most visited islands in the Greek nation. Tourists are welcome with open arms on Rhodes and there are many areas designated to package tourism. This should not put off independent travellers, as there are plenty of activities and sites for all types of tourists to enjoy, from the sun seekers and water sports fanatics to the history buffs.
Being so close to the Turkish mainland, one would expect a great deal of its influence on the island, but the history of Rhodes, with the numerous invasions over the centuries gives the island an eclectic feel, from the old town of Rhodes, with its medieval splendour, to the villages which have universal charm.
Mythologically, Rhodes was where Helios the Sun God and his wife chose as a home and the three of the major towns have been named after their sons. The Minoans and Mycenaeans lived on the island before the Dorians took over in 1100BC, where these settled in Lindos, Ialyssos and Camiros, three of Rhodes major towns, making each their own city state. After these times, the island was subject to many invading forces, most notably the Knights of St John, who’s influence can still be seen with clarity in the old town. The Ottoman Empire overthrew the Knights in 1522, and in 1947 Rhodes finally became a part of the Greek Nation.
Rhodes has another special place in history, being home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodesonce stood straddling Rhodes harbour. The 33-metre high statue was built in 305BC, only to be toppled in an earthquake 65 years later. The statue remained abandoned until the 7th Century when statue was sold off to a Jewish merchant. The story goes that it took over 1000 camels to transport the statue away.
Rhodes Town is found in two parts, the Old Town, a walled city within the city, and the New Town. The city also has three harbours, being the two commercial ports, where most of the large ferries dock, as well as Mandraki Harbour, from where smaller excursion boats and yachts arrive and depart. When travelling by boat from Rhodes it’s important to check from which port you are leaving. The two statues of deer sit at the mouth of Mandraki Harbour are icons for the island.
The new town is a thriving area, with many places set up for the modern tourist. At the top of the hill behind the city is the Acropolis of Rhodes as well as an ancient amphitheatre, the sunsets from which are spectacular. In the town proper, there is the Mosque of Murad Reis, which is worth visiting, as is Rodini Park and the aquarium.
It is the Old Town to which most of the tourists to Rhodes flock, the walled medieval city an enchanting sight, and well worth a day to wander around the narrow, labyrinthine streets taking in the atmosphere. Twelve-metre thick walls surround the Old Town, and tours can me made of the ramparts on various days in the week, guides starting tours in the Palace of the Grand Masters. There are seven gates into the Old Town, which for the most part is pedestrianised and tourists are free to wander this fascinating area.
There are two distinct sections to the Old Town, the Knights Quarter, and the Hora. As the name suggests, the Knights Quarter is where the Knights of St John took up residence after being expelled from the Holy Land after the Crusades. The Avenue of the Knights is the most grandiose of the streets, where the Knights once lived along the cobbled streets, with its huge houses with ornate doors and gates. The Palace of the Grand Masters was destroyed in a gunpowder explosion of 1856, and the Italians rebuilt the site in an extravagant manner.
The palace is now a museum housing many fascinating antiquities. Maps and tours of the area are readily available in the town, and these tours provide extensive information on the area and the knights. There are many other attractions and sites to visit in the Knights Quarter, and it takes a good day to visit all of these and to soak up all that this amazint place has to offer.
The Hora, until the middle of last century, had a large Jewish population, but also has many legacies from the Ottoman era. Far less imposing, but still enchanting, the Mosque of Suleiman, the Turkish Library and the baths are there to visit, indeed this is one of the few places in Greece that one can partake in a Turkish bath.
Rhodes Town has plenty of places to eat, and not only traditional Greek fare. As with all of the Greek Islands it is worth getting away from the more touristy areas to sample the food from the cafes and tavernas in the back streets, where the best of the cuisine is found. There are also a large number of restaurants with various other international cuisines. The shopping in Rhodes is also amazing and best known for its leather goods, ceramics and silver – and haggling is allowed, even encouraged in some places.
Around the rest of the island, there is plenty to do. The best beaches are located on the Eastern side on the coast down towards Lindos, where water sports are abundant. Lindos is a quiet, Mediterranean town, which away from the bustling waterfront is a wonder of white houses and narrow, maze-like streets. Donkey is the best way to make your way up the Acropolis at the top of the hill, and the town even boasts a donkey terminus.
The West of Rhodes is greener, but more rugged, with the beaches more pebbly than their eastern counterparts. There are a number of resorts on this part of the coast, but being far less populated, there is more free space to enjoy. The towns of Ialyssos and Kamiros have some of the best Doric ruins to explore and evidence of the ancient civilisations. This part of the island is best visited by car when you can take your time taking in the rugged beauty of the area.
One of the main attractions of Rhodes outside of the cities is “Petaloudes” or the Valley of the Butterflies. The butterfly numbers are decreasing rapidy due to the noise produced by man, and a silent visit is the best way to appreciate this amazing place.
Rhodes has plenty for all the family, as well as those looking for adventure, or just a holiday on the beach. Whether you want to get away from the crowds, take in some history, or just sit on a beach, this large, green island is a wonderful place to start any Greek holiday.
Tourlos, New Port, 84600, Mykonos Town, Cyclades Islands, Greece
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