The city of Rhodes was not even a blip on my Greek bucket list before this trip. However, it turned out to be the best part of a two week trip that included Athens and the island of Crete. (See Athens in a Day.)
Getting to the City of Rhodes (Rodos)
Rhodes is located on the northern tip of the island of Rhodes about 30 minutes from the airport. (Sadly, there is no Uber like in Athens.) We took a taxi from the Rhodes Sheraton which was about ten minutes away for ~$10. Buses are another option as they seem to stop right outside all the hotels and drop you off right at the Old Town entrances.
Looking for Colossus
The Colossus of Rhodes was a hundred foot statue of Helios, the Greek titan-god of the Sun, that allowed ships to sail in to port through his spread legs. I thought the Colossus would be a much bigger deal. Unfortunately, much like the Liberty Bell in Philly, it underwhelms. Possibly because it is believed to be mythical… Regardless, you have to see it. The two monuments that mark where the Colossus supposedly stood are most easily located by walking north along the waterway outside Old Town. Don’t worry, it’s a picturesque 10-15 minute stroll. (Tip: Walk on the water side of the street or you will be heavily harassed to eat in one of the restaurants on the other side.)
Old Town is the Surprising Delight
I had no idea what to expect when heading to the city of Rhodes. I knew it was where the Colossus supposedly stood and that it had an Old Town. But that was it. The shaded, cobbled streets inside the fortress walls were a delight of friendly people and beautifully hand crafted ceramics.
It’s a toss up whether the winding shop-lined streets or the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes was the best part of old-town. The first was a wonderful experience while the second made for some fab photos like the below.
For souvenirs, we found some amazing hand painted bowls just to the left of the Archaeological Museum. I hand carried it on five flights by the time we made it home. It was that awesome. For some truly unique Greek ceramics, head to Lo Ploumi by the Clock Tower. I got a quirky coffee mug that will make me think of Greece whenever I use it.
For food and to rest your weary feet, hit up Socrates Garden in the middle of old-town. It was a shaded paradise with twinkling fountains. The food was nothing to write home about but the atmosphere more than made it for it.
Finally, Rhodes Old Town includes the Temple of Aphrodite. Do NOT go out of your way to find it. We spent 30-45 minutes circling around while trying to find it only to be heavily disappointed. This is a ruined ruin. If you happen to be near the Municipal Museum of Greek Modern Art, it is across the street.
Oh and beside Old Town is also where you can find ferries that for to the other Greek islands and Turkey: See Travel Tips for a Day in Marmaris, Turkey.