Why you should visit Rhodes, the Greek island that’s craving British tourists

The people of Rhodes have worked tirelessly to rebuild the island after 2023's fires
The people of Rhodes have worked tirelessly to rebuild the island after 2023's fires - Getty

Rhodes, the sun-drenched jewel of the Dodecanese, boasts around 300 days of sunshine a year and from the magnificent architecture of the Old Town to the harbour where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood, the island captivates the senses as soon as you step off the plane. After the devastating fires of 2023, this Greek giant has risen like a phoenix from the ashes – more vibrant and welcoming than ever before.

Since the birth of the package holiday in the 1960s, Britons have flocked to this corner of the Aegean to enjoy its golden beaches, crystalline waters and a history dating back to the 1300s – when the Knights of St John started their 200-year rule. As you wander through the ancient streets of the Unesco Rhodes Old Town, you’re transported back to medieval times – surrounded by the grandeur of the Palace of the Grand Master and the labyrinthine, cobbled, bougainvillaea-clad alleyways.

The Acropolis of Lindos boasts panoramic views of St Paul's Bay
The Acropolis of Lindos boasts panoramic views of St Paul's Bay - Getty

It’s easy to see why Rhodes has always held a special place in British hearts, and now there’s further incentive to visit. The Greek tourism ministry has launched a programme that promises to cover the cost of six nights on the island this spring or autumn, for those who had to curtail their holidays due to the 2023 fires. New and returning visitors are encouraged to explore the island’s rich tapestry of history, culture and nature in a celebration of resilience and renewal – members of the local community have worked tirelessly to rejuvenate their beloved island in the past 10 months.

Wonders such as the Valley of Butterflies, where thousands of butterflies rest on the oriental sweetgum trees during their southern migration; the Acropolis of Lindos, with its panoramic views of St Paul’s Bay; and Kallithea Springs, a once chic seaside spa, merge the island’s storied past with its natural beauty.

Rhodes has maintained its architectural character
Rhodes has maintained its architectural character - Getty

American novelist Henry Miller once said: “It takes a lifetime to discover Greece, but it only takes an instant to fall in love with her.” As you explore Rhodes, these words will ring true at every turn. Follow our guide to discover the highlights, from where to eat to the best pockets of sand.

Where to stay

Rhodes Old Town

Enclosed within medieval walls, the Unesco Old Town – right by the port – is a paradise for history lovers. Wander through cobblestone streets, and explore the Palace of the Grand Master, ancient mosques, and bustling squares. This World Heritage site offers visitors a vibrant blend of historical intrigue with modern amenities, appealing to culture enthusiasts and those keen on experiencing the traditional Rhodes.

The Old Town of Rhodes is surrounded by medieval walls
The Old Town of Rhodes is surrounded by medieval walls - Shutterstock


Once a traditional fishing village, Lindos, on the island’s east coast – roughly 25 miles from the Old Town – is renowned for its stunning Acropolis perched high on a cliff. The village combines historical exploration with seaside relaxation thanks to its whitewashed houses, narrow alleys and panoramic views. The nearby beaches, including St Paul’s Bay, are perfect for those looking to unwind by the azure waters – those seeking a hint of romance will be delighted.

The beaches of Lindos are some of the best on Rhodes
The beaches of Lindos are some of the best on Rhodes - Reinhard Schmid/4Corners Images


Known for its lively nightlife and extensive sandy beach, Faliraki on Rhodes’s north-east coast caters to the younger crowd and raucous partygoers. An all-inclusive destination, by day enjoy water sports and sunbathing, then at night, dive into the vibrant nightclub scene. Families also appreciate the Faliraki Water Park, one of the largest in Europe.

Ialyssos and Ixia

If it’s adventure you’re after, head west to these coastal areas – ideal for windsurfing and kitesurfing enthusiasts thanks to the region’s breezy conditions. The mix of luxury resorts and traditional tavernas appeals to both adventurous tourists and those seeking a relaxing beach holiday.

Ixia is one of the best areas for kite surfing
Ixia is one of the best areas for kite surfing - Alamy


Just south of the Old Town of Rhodes, on the north of the island, Kallithea is famous for its thermal springs. The beautifully restored Kallithea Springs complex attracts wellness seekers and those searching for architectural beauty. The beaches here are perfect for snorkelling and diving too.

When to go

Thanks to its southerly location, Rhodes enjoys one of the longest tourist seasons in Greece. Hotels along the coast generally open from April through to October, while those in the capital tend to operate year-round.

The island is busiest in the summer months, when the weather is hot and dry, whereas May, September and October suit those who prefer quieter beaches, restaurants and bars, though the odd shower is possible in spring, particularly inland. Cruise ships continue to call in during shoulder months, therefore historical sites do remain busy.

Tourists head to Kallithea to soak in its thermal springs
Tourists head to Kallithea to soak in its thermal springs - Alamy

Autumn and winter, when flight fares and hotel rates drop considerably, are ideal seasons to arrange a stay in the medieval capital. Lose yourself in its labyrinthine backstreets, visiting museums and monuments and chatting with locals who have adjusted to their usual day-to-day rhythms.

How to get to Rhodes

From the UK, Aegean Airways, British Airways, easyJet, Tui, Ryanair and Jet2 all fly direct to Rhodes from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Newcastle.

What to book

Kokkini Porta Rossa (0030 22410 75114; kokkiniporta.com) has double suites from £362 per night, including a magnificent four-course breakfast, in the Old Town of Rhodes.

Lindos Comfy Suites (0030 22440 33162; comfysuitesrhodes.com), in the village of Lindos by the coast, has double rooms from £118 per night, including breakfast.

Grecotel LuxMe Dama Dama (0030 22410 85412; grecotel.com) is the perfect package holiday choice in the popular beach resort of Kallithea. Double rooms start from £400 per night, including breakfast.

Where to eat

Marco Polo Mansion (0030 22410 25562; marcopolomansion.gr) in Rhodes Old Town dates back to the 15th century when the Ottoman Empire was in full swing, the decor showcasing some of its imperial splendour. Expect a twist on everyday Greek cuisine with dishes such as crab with pear, prawns, and black rice dolmades.

Mavrikos Restaurant (0030 22440 31232),  in Lindos Square, is one of the oldest restaurants in the area, handed down through the Mavrikos family for generations. Sit in the shaded courtyard and try their simple dishes of Greek or French cuisine. Baby shrimp, calamari and stuffed pork belly are a favourite.

Tambakio is one of the most popular restaurants in Rhodes
Tambakio is one of the most popular restaurants in Rhodes

Tambakio (0030 22440 33000; tambakio.com), in the tranquillity of St Paul’s Bay, boasts menu mainstays including linguine with mussels and lobster pasta. The strawberry salad with caramelised walnuts, parmesan flakes, poppy seeds and citrus dressing is a refreshing beachside summer dish in a serene setting.

Find more of the best restaurants in Rhodes with our expert guide.

What to do

The Acropolis of Lindos (lindos-rhodes.gr), an hour south along the coast from Rhodes Town, guards the village from its cliff-top location, giving breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and coastal scenery. Explore history and natural beauty as you wander through the ruins of the Temple of Athena Lindia.

The Valley of Butterflies (valleyofbutterflies.com), inland, is where thousands of butterflies congregate each summer to rest in the coolness on their migration route. The lush sanctuary, filled with streams and fragrant gum trees, offers a serene escape into nature.

Kallithea Springs (kallitheasprings.com), roughly 15 minutes by taxi from Rhodes Old Town, is a historic thermal spa known for its stunning architecture and serene ambience. Restored to its former glory, the site features intricate mosaics and lush gardens. Although the pools aren’t open to the public, visitors can enjoy the architecture and take a dip along its beachfront.

Find more of the best things to do in Rhodes with our expert guide.

The best beaches

Elli Beach is right by the Casino. Its proximity to the Old Town means it’s one of the most popular in Rhodes. It’s a mixture of sand and gravel, so bringing water shoes is a good idea. Dive off the water platform or relax on the sunbeds.

St Paul’s Bay at Lindos, nestled in a sheltered cove, is a tranquil escape perfect for a swim and snorkel. The backdrop of whitewashed buildings and rocky cliffs adds to its unique charm and beauty and the view of the Lindos Acropolis and St Paul’s Church make it even more picturesque.

Faliraki Beach in the resort of the same name with its stretch of golden sand is known for its lively atmosphere. Ideal for sunbathing and water sports, it offers a vibrant nightlife with numerous bars and clubs. The shallow waters mean that families and thrill-seekers alike enjoy its extensive amenities.

Find more of the best beaches in Rhodes with our expert guide.

How to add Rhodes to an island-hopping holiday

Combining Rhodes with other nearby Greek islands makes for a diverse summer break. Consider hopping to traditional Symi, known for its charming harbour and neo-classical architecture – just a 90-minute ferry ride away. Kos offers beautiful beaches and a rich history, reachable in roughly two hours by ferry. For a more tranquil escape, Tilos, with its unspoiled nature and serene atmosphere, is accessible via a two-hour ferry ride. Karpathos offers a rugged landscape and traditional villages, the perfect blend of adventure and culture, reachable by a short flight or a longer ferry ride. Ferries from Rhodes are frequent in the summer months, making island hopping convenient and enjoyable.

Olympic Holidays (020 8492 6869; olympicholidays.com) offers bespoke island-hopping holidays with three or more islands such as the nine-night itinerary to Rhodes, Symi then Kos from £940 per person for summer 2024.  Includes all ferries, transfers between the airport and port and hotel accommodation.

How the Rodos Week free-holiday scheme works and how to apply

Tourists affected by the wildfires on Rhodes in July 2023 can apply for the Rodos Week free stay on the website vouchers.gov.gr/rodos-week. Dates for redeeming were in spring 2024 and from October 1 to November 15 2024.

For further inspiration on how to spend the perfect holiday in Rhodes read our expert destination guide.