Rhodes

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Getting to Rhodes

Dodekanese map

Where is Rhodes? This is one of the southernmost islands of the Dodecanese group that lies off the west coast of Turkey. Crete is to the west and Kos to the north.

Holidays to Rhodes present few problems for travellers. This is one of the major holiday destinations in the Mediterranean and there are daily flights and ferries from all over the world.

Daily domestic flights from Athens and Thessaloniki on the mainland add to the daily arrival of flights from most European countries. Ferries to Athens (Piraeus) and many other Greek islands leave daily.

The most popular months to visit Rhodes are April to September and the busiest months are in July and August.

Roads are good on the north coast bewteen the capital and the airport and on the east coast to the main beach resorts. Roads are less well maintained inland and on the rugged west coast.

Updated for 2016

Rhodes flights: travel by air

Diagoras International Airport Rhodes is 16 kilometres west of Rhodes City, near the resort of Kremasti. The airport has expanded in recent years and now handles more than three million visitors annually.

In addition to regular domestic flights are charters to many countries. Ryanair has cheap flights from Liverpool and easyJet flies from Gatwick.

There are regular dometic flights to Athens and also to Thessaloniki by Sky Express which has up to four flights a week.

The airport has a single terminal with 13 check-in desks with eight gates and opens 24 hours a day. Despite recent improvements be prepared for long queues at peak times.

The airport has ATMs and a VIP lounge. There are various shops and a cafe, restaurant and bar.

Passengers report that gates are hard to find and baggage handling can be seriously slow.

Short term and long term parking is outside and there are 30 buses daily to Rhodes City, a journey time of 40 minutes. The bus station is about 300 metres from the terminal.

There are usually plenty of taxis around and car hire companies have offices. The airport is located on a dual carriageway and it's clearly signposted.

There is no airport hotel at Diagoras, the nearest are the Doreta Beach Resort, the Emerald Hotel and the Esmeralda Hotel.

Rhodes ferries: travel by sea

Rhodes is a major port for ferry services and boat trips and there is no shortage of route to other islands, to the Greek mainland and to Turkey.

Rhodes Ferry Port is found at the north-eastern end of the old town. Blue Star Ferries run daily services from Piraeus (Athens) but journey times are long - about 16 hours. Some travel direct to Rhodes, others call in at Leros, Patmos, Kalymnos and Kos.

Hellenic Seaways calls at Paros and Kos; ANEK Lines has a car ferry to Milos, Santorini, Crete and Karpathos, another that goes via Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos and Symi and yet another that calls at Santorini, Anafi, Kassos, Karpathos, Diafni and Chalki.

Many islands in the Dodecanese chain are connected by the Dodekanese Seaways catamaran service from Rhodes to Kos, Kalymnos, Leros and Patmos and Lipsi.

Daily catamaran and car ferry sailings to Mamaris, Turkey, are very popular. Marmaris Ferry takes cars and motorbikes and sails on Tuesday and Wednesday while Alaturka Ferries has daily sailing by catamaran and hydrofoil to Marmaris and to Fethiye and Yesil Marmaris Lines runs routes to Marmaris and Bodrum.

The Bodrum Express runs daily excursions to Bodrum, via Symi, while E-Ferry has started fast passenger services to Bodrum, Marmaris and Symi for individual passengers or small groups

Details of these and other services can be found here.

Daily boat trips and excursion are on offer from Mandraki harbour. There are also daily boats to Symi, calling in at Panormitis Monastery.

Rhodes map: getting around

Rhodes is the largest island in the Dodecanese and lies about 18 kilometres off the Turkish coast. The island is 'spear' shaped, about 90 by 40 kilometres with a coastline of around 220 kilometres.

Rhodes was long occupied by the Knights Hospitaller during the Crusades and has been rebuilt as a model European medieval city.

The main beach resorts lie on the north and east coasts. The north has the luxury hotels and the north-east is noted for its package holiday accommodation. East coast beaches thin out south of Lindos while the west coast is rocky and rugged.

The interior is mountainous and covered in forests of pine and cypress. To the north of Rhodes are the smaller Dodecanese islands of Symi, Tilos and Halki and to the east lies Karpathos.

Spring arrives early, although March can be wet and April unpredictable. Rhodes is awash with spring flowers until May when the sun shines in an ever-blue sky until September. Temperatures soar to 30°C and higher still in sheltered spots like Lindos.

October can be troubled by fierce but brief storms but it can be pleasantly mild with the sea at its warmest. December to March are cold and wet with the odd warm interlude. December and January are wettest but frost and snow are rare this far south.

Rhodes transport: travel on land

Car rental

Road links are good but tend to deteriorate in the south. Buses serve the east and west coast cheaply and regularly but services peter out south of Lindos and a car or moped is essential here.

A main road that runs south from Rhodes down the holiday coastal strip to Faliraki, Afandou and Lindos. Roads get rougher in the deep south and petrol stations are few.

Rhodes buses

Buses in Rhodes City, the suburbs and the west coast are operated by RODA (026300/024129) while the rest of the island is covered by KTEL. The tourist office in the capital publishes a schedule of routes and times each year. You can usually view it here.

Buses heading east, as far as Faliraki, leave from the East Side Bus Station on Plateia Rimini, while buses heading west, mainly to the north coast resorts and the airport, leave from the nearby West Side Bus Station on Averof.

Bus stops are marked by a sign, but drivers will stop pretty much anywhere on demand. Bus services south of Lindos are far fewer and car hire is preferred here. Car rental outfits can be found in most resorts. For the best deals it is probably best to book ahead online.

Rhodes taxis

Rhodes City has plenty of taxis for hire. The biggest of many taxi stands is just outside the old town, on the harbour front at Plateia Rimini (22410 27666) or you can call a taxi (22410 69800) but there is a standard surcharge. Taxis on Rhodes are coloured dark blue with white roofs and you can get a list of taxi charges from any tourist information office.

Rhodes rooms: places to stay

Rooms

Rhodes offers a vast choice of holiday accommodation. Rhodes City has the best of the modern hotels. Many hotels in the medieval Rhodes Old Town are full of character while the suburbs provides a good supply of cheap rooms.

Faliraki has thousands of rooms but many hotels are block-booked by tour companies and it's difficult to find a spare bed in the high season. The rest of Rhodes is dotted with small hotels and self-catering apartments.

The most luxurious hotels are found at Ixia. The Rodos Palace is the biggest five-star hotel in Greece and set in 30 acres of gardens.

There are many restored and converted Turkish and medieval buildings in the old town's 14th century citadel. Those on a budget aim for the area between Sokratous and Omirou for cheap rooms and a youth hostel.

There is no camping site on Rhodes. Ad hoc camping is illegal although you may get away with it on a remote beach for a night or two.

Lindos is the other big tourist draw and, thanks to a curb on hotel building, there are plenty of houses offering accommodation. In other resorts there are hotels, studios and rooms just about everywhere.