While travelling in Turkey we decided it would be too easy to visit Rhodes for a few nights. Two flights, a bus, a taxi, a night in a hostel, a ferry and a hire car later we had reached our Air BNB home for three nights. Sounds like a lot of work right? Every minute it took to get to Rhodes was worth while (even the motion sickness I got while in the bus…), it’s a fantastic place and from the minute we walked out of customs I couldn’t stop staring at the Old City walls, the Rhodian Deer or the sparkling blue Mediterranean.
This is the first part of two posts dedicated to the time we spent in Rhodes; it details the first two days spend mainly on the western coast of the Island.
Our accommodation was great; small, cheap, clean, exactly what we needed, and right by a semi private beach on the western side of the island. We had got in quite early so we headed off in our hire car, which by chance was almost a replica of our Cappadocia hire car Happy but because it was older and in worse condition we ingeniously named it Crappy. Poor Crappy, he doesn’t deserve the name as he may have been well loved but when required to stop in a hurry (goats roaming on the road) he worked hard for us! I must note here how amazing Tom was with the two hire cars, it couldn’t have been easy adjusting to driving on the other side of the road, in foreign countries, with foreign road rules, with goats on the road AND with three chatty females in the car (who were in charge of the directions…).
The afternoon of the day we arrived we set off with two missions: 1. find a supermarket and 2. find a sheltered beach to swim at. Both of which were easily accomplished, we had passed a Carrefour on our way to Theologos which is where we were staying so it was just a matter of retracing our steps to stock up on supplies. The second we were a little more picky about and followed our sketchy tourist maps towards some little inlets on the eastern coast which looked like they would meet our criteria. Success! We made it to Ladiko Bay, a tiny secluded bay which probably would have been overrun by other tourists if it hadn’t of been the start of the off-season. This bay was my favourite to swim in; crystal clear with rocky shelves to stand on and no waves, so you could just float around and relax.
After our swim we were hungry (starving, ravenous etc.) and drove off in pursuit of some food. We soon discovered that this was a little trickier than we imagined, we had reached the eastern coast and all the beach side places where one could normally buy food were shut up for the winter/economic downturn (as I said earlier – “off-season”). So we checked our map for the nearest large town and headed in that direction. First we thought it was more of the same; boarded up shop fronts, closed signs and no people to be seen, but luck was with us and we passed a place which sold gyros. As we sat to await our food, feeling a little awkward being the only non-Greek, slightly damp and salty people in this little establishment we noticed a 5 star Tripadvisor sign on the wall, now we were really anticipating our food! And we were not let down! The pork was crispy from being on the spit all afternoon and the hot chips they seem to always put in it….food bliss! It still makes me salivate even a year on, I’ll be heading back to Greece in the future to experience more of the food for sure.
After relaxing for the remainder of the afternoon and drinking some ouzo we had purchased at the Carrefour we decided to eat dinner at the next door restaurant. This was owned by the family of our little Greek “Yaya” who owned our accommodation. We were the only people at the restaurant except the owner Stavros’s mates who were there to watch some football game on the TV (again – “off-season”). But he gave us his undivided attention and we were served the most mouth-watering local Greek food along-side impeccable service. We all agreed, we would be returning for another meal before we left.
The day dawned bright and sunny as per usual in Rhodes, our adventure plans for the day being to explore the eastern coast. As we worked our way down the Island we stopped at places we had researched before leaving for our holiday, places we had been recommended and places discovered on the map. The first place we reached was Ancient Kamiros, this was our first chance to visit some actual old ruins and boy were we excited and interested, all those old fallen pillars were intriguing but this was just the start of many, many more we would see on our travels.
Next stop: Kritinia’s Castle, a cool old fortress that had been semi-rebuilt to display an impressive façade. We ate our lunch here (sandwiches we had made that morning and a mini chocolate bar or two) overlooking the crumbling inner castle while playing spot the lizard. After feeling relaxed and refreshed after our lunch we drove inland towards a village called Emponas which is renown for it’s wine, honey and spirits. After a few tastings and a purchase of a grape spirit mixed with honey called souma we headed back to the car.
Perched high above the coastline we arrived at Monolithos, located about two thirds of the way down the island. This is the crumbling ruins of an amazing castle built in 1480 by the Knights of St John. Access is via stone steps which we clambered up to reach the castle, on top we found a working chapel and amazing views. Down the coastline a short distance is Fourni Beach where we swum for the remainder of the afternoon. It was much windier and more exposed than the bay we swum in the previous day but we had fun splashing around anyway.
Nothing I say will do these places justice so all I can recommend is check out my photos, or better yet! Pay Rhodes a visit yourself you won’t regret it.
Still to come in Part Two: Seven Springs, Lindos and Rhodes Old Town, as well as more swimming…