Rhodes Island is the largest of Greece’s Dodecanese island chain located in southeastern Aegean Sea where its beautiful blue green waters reflect a tropical paradise. The island features 35 beaches and many cultural and historical attractions. The island is 12 miles off Turkey’s Anatolian coast. The island straddles the sea-lanes linking Egypt, Southern Europe and the Holy Land. Rhodes Town bears witness to that long history. The ancient city features a classical stadium and the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. The “old” city is a walled town with medieval buildings and streets harking back to the days of the Crusades.
The island is most famous as the site of Colossus of Rhodes; one of the ancient world’s Seven Wonders. The huge statue once straddled the city harbor, but was destroyed many years ago by an earthquake. Within the capital’s massive citadel walls the preserved medieval Old Town presents a beehive of narrow cobbled streets, dominated by historic Avenue of the Knights and Palace of the Grand Masters.
The view from the sea is spectacular as you sail into the port of Rhodes. The island instantly greets you with serene white-sand beaches and wide-open blue skies. Rhodes one of the best preserved medieval towns in the world. Once docked, head to the Old Town, surrounded by medieval walls and seven ancient gates. Between the city’s sturdy walls, magnificent palaces, fascinating museums and ornate mosques line the narrow, atmospheric passageways and carefully planned squares. Souvenir shops, restaurants and boutiques are plentiful in Old Town.
The main attraction here is the Palace of the Grand Masters, built in the 14th century by the Knights of St. John. The structure survived an earthquake but was destroyed by an explosion in 1856; it was later restored by the Italians in the 1930’s. Now a museum, the palace contains priceless mosaics, sculptures and exhibitions of medieval and ancient Rhodes civilizations.
But it is not just Old Town that attracts visitors to this beautiful island. The New Town, located across Mandraki Harbor from Old Town, contains a large marketplace, the Nea Agora, which contains a food court, gift shops, cafes and bars. New Town also offers many luxury hotels and beautiful beaches that attract vacationers who enjoy paragliding, windsurfing, swimming and sunbathing. A casino also is available for those who want to try their luck at games of chance. The disabled cruiser visiting Rhodes will find the terrain to have mostly uneven pavements and cobblestones. The Old Town is a maze of cobblestone streets. Due to the terrain of the Old city, which includes many steep hills, narrow streets and cobblestones, it is not recommend to engage in long walking tours for disabled visitors.
Greek law requires that all taxis in Greece, not just on Rhodes Island, be 5-passenger sedan vehicles that allow one driver to carry four passengers. This normally accommodates travelers who use manual wheelchairs. The taxis have a curb height which makes it possible to easily transfer most passengers from their wheelchairs to the cars. Cruise ship passengers who use motorized scooters are encouraged to rent manual wheelchairs for use on the island, so that they may enjoy exploring all that the island has to offer. Advance notification of passengers needing wheelchair assistance is requested, as drivers must request permission to drive onto the dock and certain sites around the island.
If you plan on visiting the Temple of Apollo, and make a stop at the stadium, it is a short walk from the parking lot to the stadium and the Odeon (theater) along a stone pathway. The pathway is a little rough in areas, but not bad overall. Inside the Palace of the Grand Master, which was built by the Knights of Rhodes in the 14th century. There is an admission cost, but they normally waive the fee for disabled individuals because a lot of the palace is not accessible.
Where You’re Docked
Ships dock at the port located on the north tip of the island and disembarks its passengers just outside of Old Town, a maze of cobblestone streets, flanked by historic buildings dating from the 14th century.
The port offers easy access to ATM’s, Internet cafes and shops in town, but there’s not much at the port itself. It is about a 10-minute walk to town. Taxis stop at the port for passengers who want to explore the New Town or other areas.
Good to Know
Uneven pavements and cobblestones. Also beware of the heat, which can catch you unaware as you’re browsing. Wear a hat, sunscreen and carry bottled water to avoid dehydration. When dining out, a service charge is included in the price of meals on the menu, but you can add an additional tip if you feel the service was exceptional. When visiting mosques, it is advisable to wear respectful attire: long pants or long skirts and head coverings. Also, taking photographs inside churches is considered disrespectful.
Rhodes’ Old Town is easily explored on foot, but wear comfortable shoes. Taxis are also plentiful.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The currency is the euro. This island is the top tourist destination in the Dodecanese, and the proprietors certainly don’t want you to run out of cash, so you’ll find plenty of banks, currency exchanges and ATM machines.
The official language in Rhodes is Greek, but English is widely spoken.
Great choices include handmade lace, excellent leather goods, olive oil, jewelry, colorful pottery from Lindos and bowls carved from olive wood. Locally produced honey is also an excellent souvenir. The most scenic spots to shop in Rhodes are the many boats parked along the sides of the port, where you can pick up colorful sea shells to bring back home. Once you’re done here, visit Labryinthos Arts and Crafts to browse creations by local artists.
Rhodes is filled with charming Greek taverns, both in the Old Town and New Town. You can sit at outside tables and enjoy the extraordinary cuisine of the region. Bread, olives and olive oil, dishes made with cereals, vegetables, dried fruit, fish, chicken and seafood are staples of the area. Try pourgouri, small balls made of veal, onions, tomatoes and olive oil. Small plates with appetizers such as olives, hummus and grape leaves are often served at restaurants in the area.
Make sure you check menus before ordering and know exactly what you want. Sometimes water will come with a charge, or waiters may misinterpret your request for a small beverage and substitute a higher-priced item.
Points of Interest
- The Palace of the Grand Masters – is the main tourist attraction in Old Town. Once a fortress, then home to a number of Grand Masters who oversaw the Knights of Rhodes, it’s now a museum, containing mosaics and artifacts from medieval and ancient Rhodes.
- The Jewish Museum of Rhodes – is located in the Kahal Shalom synagogue; both it and Rhodes’ Jewish Quarter date to the first century A.D. The museum contains an interesting history of the Jewish population of Rhodes and artifacts of its prior civilization.
- The Byzantine Museum – originally a church in the 11th century, showcases frescos and art work dating from the 12th century.
- Mandraki Harbor – is the meeting place of locals, and the link between Old and New Towns. Check out the yachts and excursion boats in the harbor. The Nea Agora (New Market) features gift shops, bars and cafes.
- Elli Beach – at the northern tip of Rhodes town, is a beautiful beach with clean, crystal blue waters. It is often crowded but worth the trip for beach lovers. You’ll find beach umbrellas, canteens and beach lounges.
- Shopping – opportunities abound, for the best deals; and the most fun; head for Sokratous, which runs parallel to the Street of the Knights in Old Town. Shops there sell rugs, ceramics, jewelry and leather goods. For more shopping, head to the Nea Agora (New Market), which features gift shops galore.
- The Acropolis of Lindos – once the most important town on the island, the acropolis sits some 116 meters above sea level on a cliff overlooking the sea. Below is a sandy (albeit crowded) crescent-shaped beach that’s bordered by alfresco restaurants, and beautiful 17th-century whitewashed houses are scattered haphazardly up the hillside. While there, it’s worth taking a look at the lovely 18th-century frescoes in the Agia Panagia church, which dates from the 15th century. You can also walk up the steep steps to the acropolis; you can hire a donkey to take you part of the way, and it’s worth the effort for one of the best views in Greece and the chance to explore the tiny Temple of Athena, which dates from the fourth century B.C.
- Kallithea Springs – situated in the district of Kallithea, nine kilometers from the city of Rhodes, is one of the most romantic and charming spots on the island. The springs at Kallithea were known in Ancient Greece for their curative properties. After years of neglect, Kallithea Springs was restored in 2007. The remarkable architecture, magnificent mosaics, picturesque bay with crystal clear waters for swimming and a lively restaurant make for a memorable visit.
- Ialysos – was one of three famous ancient cities in Rhodes. It is home of the ruins of the ancient Greek temple of Athena. During the Byzantine era, the hill was used as a natural fortress. A monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built there in the 13th century. The view from the hill of Philerimo in Ialysos overlooking Rhodes is worth the visit. Visitors will see the ruins of the ancient acropolis and the restored monastery.
Rhodes Accessible Excursions
This Greek island offers a perfect blend of traditional ancient Greek lifestyle, modern amenities, several archaeological sites and countless fascinating sightseeing options. Visit the beautiful Old Town of Rhodes, soak in the stunning views and atmosphere of the picture-perfect village of Lindos and enjoy some relaxing time on one of the island’s accessible beaches.
Due to the terrain of the Old city, which includes many steep hills, narrow streets and cobblestones, it is not recommend to undertake long walking tours for disabled visitors. Using accessible driving tours means that your private tour guide will get out of the accessible vehicle with you and lead you around using wheelchair accessible, step-free routes.
Essentials of Rhodes Half-Day Accessible Driving Tour
Experience the most beautiful views of Rhodes on this scenic Rhodes driving tour. Your driver and professionally licensed guide will pick you up for this 4-hour accessible cruise excursion from the cruise terminal utilizing convenient accessible vans for transportation with a wheelchair ramp. Your accessible cruise excursion will start at the Old City of Rhodes where you will admire the ancient structures of the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe. You’ll have the option to get out of the vehicle and do a short walking tour led by your knowledgeable guide. While the age of the city makes accessibility challenging, your guide will lead you through the Old Town using wheelchair accessible, step-free routes.
Make a stop at the hill of Monte Smith which is the site of the Acropolis of ancient Rhodes. This green, beautifully laid out archaeological park provides a beautiful setting for your vacation photos.
Finally, this accessible driving tour also leaves time to do some local souvenir shopping or have a delicious lunch at a local Greek restaurant. At the end of your accessible Rhodes shore excursion, your guide and driver will take you back to your ship at the cruise terminal.
The Rhodes Half-Day Accessible Driving Tour uses a wheelchair accessible van and has a step-free tour route. However, the tour guide is not able to push the wheelchair.
Highlights of Rhodes Half-day Accessible Island Shore Excursion
Combine Rhodes sightseeing and an accessible beach visit in one tour on this Highlights of Rhodes Half-day Accessible Island Shore Excursion. Your driver and professionally licensed guide will pick you up for this 4-hour accessible cruise excursion from the cruise terminal utilizing convenient accessible vans for transportation with a wheelchair ramp. Your accessible cruise excursion will start at the hill of Monte Smith which is the site of the Acropolis of ancient Rhodes. This green, beautifully laid out archaeological park provides a beautiful setting for your vacation photos.
You will then be taken to the wheelchair accessible beach and visit the Elli Accessible Beach. You’ll also have the option of enjoying a delicious lunch by the beach in an accessible restaurant.
At the end of your accessible Rhodes shore excursion, your guide and driver will take you back to your ship at the cruise terminal.
The Highlights of Rhodes Half-day Accessible Island Shore Excursion uses a wheelchair accessible van and has a step-free tour route. However, the tour guide is not able to push the wheelchair.
Rhodes Full-Day Accessible Shore Excursion
This Rhodes Full-Day Accessible Shore Excursion gives you the entire day to relax, enjoy and experience Rhodes, including a visit to the village of Lindos, beautiful photo opportunities of the Acropolis and a replenishing stop at Tsambika accessible beach. Your driver and professionally licensed guide will pick you up for this 8-hour accessible cruise excursion from the cruise terminal utilizing convenient accessible vans for transportation with a wheelchair ramp.
Your accessible cruise excursion will start with the quaint village of Lindos; a picturesque little town with traditional Greek white buildings and the beautiful crystal blue waters of the bay as a backsplash. The city is an archaeological site. It’s located on the East Coast of Rhodes Island, approximately 50 km from Rhodes Old Town. You’ll experience a beautiful scenic drive as you make your way to Lindos and your driver will make a stop at the top of the city for some spectacular views of the Acropolis and the village.
Make a stop at the beautiful accessible beach of Tsambika Beach. Enjoy a relaxing time by the beautiful water. There will also be time to enjoy a delicious lunch at a local Greek restaurant.
At the end of your accessible Rhodes shore excursion, your guide and driver will take you back to your ship at the cruise terminal.
The Rhodes Full-Day Accessible Shore Excursion uses a wheelchair accessible van and has a step-free tour route. However, the tour guide is not able to push the wheelchair.