Rhodes cruises are one of the most rewarding ways to explore the Greek Isles and the vast majority of voyages around the Dodecanese islands include the largest of them, Rhodes, on their itineraries. Rhodes cruises are always popular because of the perfect blend of culture, history and of course, beautiful beaches that they offer.
If you’re looking to visit a place with a long and distinguished history, then you need look no further than Rhodes. It’s been inhabited since Neolithic times and the tales told about its cities by the Greek poet Homer made it famous before many other ancient capitals where even built. Its three cities would later merge to form a new capital – Rhodes city, which would long loom large in both Greek and Roman histories. Rhodes flourished as a port, bringing in much trade and became one of Greece’s most culturally influential cities, too. During this period, in 280BC, the famous Colossus of Rhodes was constructed to celebrate the city’s successful defence against Cypriot invasion. At almost a hundred feet tall, it was one of the tallest statues on Earth at the time and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 226BC. Rhodes lost much of its influence during both the days of the Roman Empire and when it fell to the Byzantine Empire, though grew in influence once more after being taken over by the Knights of Saint John. In 1523 it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, which would have control of the city for the best part of 400 years and united with Greece in 1947.
Culture on Rhodes cruises
With so much history on offer, it should come as no surprise that Rhodes cruises offer cultural afficionados plenty of things to do. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Old Town is an attraction in itself and the medieval walled city plays host to many historical sites. One of the key sites here is the Palace of the Grand Master of Knights, a fascinating slice of history from the time when the city was occupied by the Knights of Saint John. Interestingly, it was restored to its former glory by Mussolini, who had designs to turn it into a holiday home. The Roloi Clock Tower is popular old city attraction and one which offers great views of the city if you climb to the top. The 11th century Lady of the Castle Cathedral is also worth a visit if you find yourself in the historical centre and offers some great photo opportunities.
Lindos was one of the three ancient cities which combined to form Rhodes and today, visitors on Rhodes cruises frequently make a visit to its Acropolis, an ancient ruin which dates back to these long-past times and which can be reached by travelling to the present day village of Lindos. The remains of the temple built to honour Athena are a must-see and the views from atop the hill where the Acropolis stands are truly stunning. Though beware, it’s quite a climb. Kamiros is another one of the ancient cities and a visit to its ruins is another popular excursion for those on Rhodes cruises. Here, it’s possible to see a great deal of remains and ancient foundations and imagine how the city must have looked 3,000 years ago. It’s staggering to think how old many of the structures are and truly humbling to be in their presence.
Getting outdoors on Rhodes cruises
Of course with over 300 days of sun a year, Rhodes is just as popular for its sandy escapes as it is form its ancient ruins and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding where to relax. St Paul’s Bay is one of Rhodes’ most popular attractions in its own right and certainly one of its finest beaches. To be found in nearby Lindos, it’s a beautiful corner of the island and relatively secluded, so a great place for a quiet swim. If you’re a little short on time and would prefer a beach that’s a little closer to Rhodes Town itself, then Elli Beach is good choice. Bear in mind though, that owing to its convenient location, it does get crowded, however that said, it offers a great choice of bars and restaurants and a bustling atmosphere. If you want to get outdoors on Rhodes but beaches are not really your thing, then a stroll around Socratous Garden may be just the thing. A leafy oasis of calm, it’s a quant walled garden right in the centre of town and the perfect place to enjoy a snack, a glass of wine or just a little shade.
Shopping and food on Rhodes cruises
Hand-crafted jewellery is big business on Rhodes and if you’re looking to pick up an authentic souvenir, it’s a great place to shop and you’ll have no trouble finding a store or two, wherever you are in Rhodes city. Ceramics are popular too and indeed, there are a number of roadside outlets as well as town stores selling various wares. Rather ironically considering how much sun the island enjoys every year, one of Rhodes’ main industries is umbrellas and there is a good choice of shops stocking them. If you are in need of an umbrella to cope with the rather less clement weather back home, Rhodes offers a good opportunity to buy one and have fun telling your friends where you bought it.
If you enjoy a drop of wine, you’ll find Rhodes’ famous home-grown vintages particularly agreeable, while the olive oil is of good quality too. Mythos is a popular brand of local beer and of course, Ouzo is available pretty much anywhere. Whatever your budget, there’s a great choice of restaurants in Rhodes city, offering such classic Greek dishes as salad with hot pitta and stuffed roasted eggplant. Of course, seafood is very popular too and most restaurants offer a good choice of fish dishes, too.
By Simon Brotherton