by Ciaran Brooks
As with most of Greece, Rhodes marries beautiful weather and scenery with rich history and culture. This island is an irresistible place to relax and it is easy to get lost between the ancient civilisations and incredible ruins. Popular holiday towns like Lindos, Faliraki, and Rhodes City may hoover up most of the tourists, but look further afield and you’ll find plenty of hidden gems to discover that will make your holiday all the more rewarding.
Image by AtrBirkett, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY SA 2.0)
Only 10km long, the small island of Halki is a beautiful and slow-paced destination just off the west coast of Rhodes. Offering as undeveloped a slice of Greek island life as you can find, Halki is tranquillity personified. Just over an hour from Rhodes, Halki has only a few hundred residents, one hotel and three beaches, meaning that you have little option other than to relax! The picture-perfect main village on the island is called Emporio and there are several delightful tavernas found around the harbour.
Image by andyreid1, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)
For a more spectacular slice of Rhodes, take a trip to the coastal village of Monolithos. The village is known for its castle which is perched on a hundred-metre high rock face and has amazing views across the surrounding green hills and blue seas. As well as the views, the castle is an intriguing place to visit for its historical importance as it was built to protect the island by the Knights of Saint John in the 1400s.
One of the most scenic settlements on the interior of the island, Asklipiio is worth visiting. Close to the popular resort town of Kiotari, Asklipiio is well known for its 13th century fort. The village also has a folklore museum housed in an even older 11th century church, replete with remarkable Byzantine wall paintings. A stroll around the village offers a pleasant change of pace from the lively beachfronts close by.
Embona is the highest village on Rhodes and it can feel a world away from the island’s busier towns. It is also right in the middle of the island’s most verdant grape producing region. This means it is the unofficial wine capital of the island as it is home to several vineyards. Wine lovers should visit in the spring when the village celebrates its wine making prowess with a local festival. Embona is also celebrated for its first-rate food thanks to the quality of local olive groves and orchards. As well as wine, it’s also the best place to sample Rhodes’ local spirit, suoma.
A former history graduate, Ciaran Brooks’ love for old stories has led him around the world. A self-confessed adventurer, he fell into travel writing after his blog chronicling his year in Thailand was picked up by a national paper.