The IDEAL Day Out In Rhodes Old Town

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The Medieval City of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a microcosm of the island’s rich history, with its well-preserved historic architecture and cobbled streets. It’s not just a tourist attraction but also a living community, with around 6,000 residents maintaining their daily routines amidst the historical surroundings. It’s a match made in heaven for a day of exploration and imbibing, of education and (gentle) adventure. 

The island of Rhodes is known for its abundant sunshine, which is fitting given the myth that it was blessed by the sun god Helios. While many are familiar with its historical significance, some may not know that it was once the site of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Although the statue no longer exists, its memory adds to the island’s allure, something that is palpable as you stroll the old town’s streets.

Back in Rhodes Old Town, and that unique blend of history and modern life is waiting to be explored. With that in mind, here’s our IDEAL day out in the Rhodes Old Town. Care to join us?

Early Morning: A Historical Awakening

Your day – and likely your holiday to Rhodes – starts here, early to beat the crowds and the heat. Start with a visit to the Acropolis of Rhodes. Just a 2km, half hour walk from the Old Town, this ancient site offers a serene morning stroll. Despite ongoing restoration efforts, the Temple of Apollo and the surrounding ruins provide a majestic view of Rhodes’ historical grandeur. The scaffolding around the temple is a testament to the dedication to preserving this piece of history, allowing you to appreciate the scale and significance of the site (a generous way of looking at things, we concede).

Mid-Morning: Cultural Immersion

As the day warms up, head to the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, housed in the Hospital of the Knights. Here, you’ll find artefacts that tell the story of the island’s past, from ancient Greece to mediaeval times. Don’t miss the charming garden, a hidden oasis perfect for a moment of reflection.

As the morning progresses, make your way to the Roloi Clock Tower. For a small entrance fee of just €5, you can climb the stairs of this 7th-century tower to enjoy panoramic views of the harbour, the Acropolis, and beyond. The viewing platform is less crowded during mid-morning, offering a peaceful moment to take in the sights. After descending, the clock tower’s bar invites you for a complimentary beer, wine or soft drink (included in that entrance fee), a refreshing pause before continuing your exploration. Alternatively, you could visit in the evening to enjoy splendid sunset views.

After soaking up some views and some history, wander through the Street of the Knights, one of the best-preserved mediaeval streets in Europe. This iconic street, with its mediaeval architecture, represents the diverse cultures and periods under which Rhodes has fallen. Each section of the street showcases inns that once housed knights from different countries, with facades and inscriptions reflecting their origins.

Lunch On Socrates Street

For lunch, choose one of the traditional tavernas that dot Sokratous Street, or duck just off the main thoroughfare and head for Socratous Garden, which boasts a beautiful walled garden dining area and plenty of traditional, affordable plates. Opt for a meze platter, which offers a variety of small dishes such as dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), tzatziki, and fresh seafood. Pair it with a glass of Athiri white wine, produced locally and boasting subtle dryness and citrus notes, and you’ll be dining as the Rhodians do.

Of course, the island’s access to incredible Greek produce means it’s easy to get a good meal more or less anywhere. So if the tables are full here, head around the corner to Auvergne Cafe Bar Restaurant set in a medieval courtyard with an ancient tree in the middle. Specialities include succulent lamb cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven and a local cheese plate. They also offer a wine tasting here which is a great way to sample some locally produced wines.

Early Afternoon: Shop & Stroll

Post-lunch, take a stroll down Sokratous Street, which is the main shopping thoroughfare. Here, you can browse through shops selling everything from local crafts to luxury goods. Look out for the local ceramics and leather goods – they make for great souvenirs or gifts.

If shopping isn’t your cup of tea, take a detour to the Rhodes Jewish Museum, a poignant reminder of the once-thriving Jewish community on the island.

Either way, your next stop should be the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. The entrance fee grants access to the palace courtyard and museum rooms, where you can marvel at the blend of 14th-century exteriors and 20th-century Italian interiors. Be sure to explore the ancient Rhodes exhibitions on the lower floor for a deeper dive into the island’s rich history.

© Urbazon via Canva.com

Late Afternoon: Relax & Refresh

As the afternoon heat peaks, seek refuge in one of the Old Town’s tranquil gardens. The Municipal Art Gallery of Rhodes offers not only a collection of modern Greek art but also a shaded courtyard where you can sit and relax.

Alternatively, find a café with a rooftop terrace and enjoy an iced coffee (the Freddo Cappuccino is a beloved drink in these parts) or a refreshing ‘soumada’, an almond-flavoured drink, as you take in the views of the town and beyond.

Evening: Sunset & Dinner

If you didn’t make time for it in the morning, then as the sun begins to set, make your way to the Roloi Clock Tower. Climbing to the top rewards you with panoramic views of the town bathed in the golden light of sunset – a sight not to be missed.

For dinner, check out our guide to the best restaurants on the island of Rhodes, several of which are in the Old Town. For a traditional taverna experience, we’re big fans of To Steno, which celebrates Greek comfort food with style. Alternatively, both Marco Polo Café and Hatzikelis Restaurant offer some of the most upscale dining options in the town. Decisions, decisions!

By Visual Space from Getty Images

Nighttime: A Stroll Under The Stars

After dinner, take a final stroll around the Old Town. The streets are beautifully lit at night, and the cooler air invites leisurely exploration. The buzz of nightlife is beginning to pick up, with locals and tourists alike enjoying the vibrant atmosphere.

Before you call it a night, stop by a local ouzeri for a glass of ouzo or tsipouro, traditional Greek spirits, to toast to your ideal day out in Rhodes Old Town. Ouzeri Ta Petaladika (Τα Πεταλάδικα Ta Petaladika) in Menekleous Square is one of our favourite places to do just that.

By saiko3p via Canva

The Bottom Line

Rhodes Old Town offers the perfect blend of history, culture, and relaxation. From the moment the sun rises over the ancient stones to the last sip of ouzo under the starlit sky, your day here promises to be nothing short of magical. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply in search of beauty, Rhodes Old Town will not disappoint. 

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