After departing Mykonos we cruised overnight to the island of Rhodes. This island holds fond memories. In fact the first holiday abroad I had with my husband many years ago was to Lindos, a town on the eastern side of Rhodes Island. It’s just under 50 miles from Rhodes Town, which is where our ship docked early morning.
It hadn’t occurred to me the previous day that we’d been on the wrong side of the ship for a view of Mykonos. But when I opened the curtains of our cabin that morning to a panoramic view of Rhodes Town I discovered just what a difference it made to be on the right side of the ship.
It was at that moment I first felt the wonder of waking up each morning to a different view. Never having been on a cruise before it was a new experience. Definitely a tick in the pro column of cruising. The stunning view made me eager to get breakfast out of the way and disembark for another day in the Greek sunshine.
One of the more popular excursions on Rhodes is, in fact, to spend the day at Lindos. We chose not to as we had been to Lindos twice previously. But if you’ve never been to this town before then it’s definitely the excursion you want.
My husband and I were last there in 2010 and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. Lindos is the epitome of a Greek Island town – whitewashed buildings perched on the hillside, narrow and winding cobbled streets free of traffic, shops, markets, rooftop restaurants. I’ve always thought there is something very authentic about Lindos – you feel that you’re actually in Greece, which isn’t always the case when staying at a large and sprawling resort.
There is a lot going for this town. I’ll start, as always, with food because Lindos has some great restaurants. If you’re staying a few days make sure you have dinner at least one night on a rooftop. Delicious food plus spectacular views equals a memorable evening. Then there is the long sandy beach offering loungers and umbrellas where you can while away a few hours under the Mediterranean sun (for a fee, of course).
One thing not to be missed is climbing the Acropolis. The Lindos Acropolis is an archaeological site, parts of which (one being the Doric Temple of Athena Lindia) date back to fourth century BC. It is well worth the walk to reach it and once again, the views are spectacular. If you can book a boat trip and get out on the water you’ll catch a view of the entire village with the Acropolis soaring high above it.
Above are just a few of the photos we took during our 2010 trip. My advice – don’t miss out on Lindos!
So after telling you about where we didn’t go on the one day we had on Rhodes Island, let me tell you about Rhodes Town itself because it’s also not to be missed. The architecture is steeped in so many layers of history, in particular the medieval part of the town or the “Old Town” as it is known.
When we were on Rhodes in 2010 we did make a brief trip to the main town but missed seeing The Palace of the Grand Masters. This time it was where we headed directly for.
It’s the most famous landmark in Rhodes sitting atop its highest point. It has a fascinating story. Originally built as a fortress in the late seventh century, it was converted into a palace by the Knights of St John during the fourteenth century. During the Siege of Rhodes in 1522 the Ottoman Empire took control of the island, a rule that lasted almost 400 years. In 1856 the palace was badly damaged by an ammunition explosion caused by a lightning bolt. Jump forward to 1937 and the island was by then under the control of the Italians. A sizeable reconstruction of the palace began, which was completed in 1939. What a history!
The rooms of the palace are situated around a vast and impressive courtyard, as impressive as the rooms themselves – it is so beautifully kept. Look out in particular for the stunning floor mosaics. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Separately you can also do a tour of the ramparts.
After leaving the palace we strolled down the Street of the Knights. This stretch is famous for its historical inns that were once occupied by the Crusaders. I do love moments when you find yourself walking the same steps as those who lived centuries before you. To stand amid such history and imagine what the buildings and cobbles must have witnessed. I’ve always said that if ever I had the opportunity to travel through time it would be the past I would choose.
We spent the rest of the morning exploring the streets of Rhodes Town under another clear blue sky. The town was busy and lively and colourful – lots of shops and markets and people eating al fresco.
Indeed, as we explored I kept out a keen eye for a restaurant that would be up to the job for lunch. I’m always thinking ahead to my next meal and I was not missing out on the local cuisine a second time.
The restaurant I picked out was a good choice. Securing a table in the shade – very important – followed by a drinks order made for a good start. As usual I went with a glass of the local white. And actually my husband is always up for trying local beers wherever he goes. That’s what travelling is all about – seeing and experiencing new things.
Now down to the business end of lunch. I ordered Spanakopita, a classic Greek dish that involves baking a spinach and feta mix in filo pastry. It tastes as delicious as it sounds and did not disappoint. Washed down with a glass of wine as we lingered at our table I remember feeling completely relaxed and so privileged to be enjoying yet another perfect day.
After finally dragging ourselves away from the table we left the Old Town and took a stroll along the waterfront. The sky was cloudless and the sun was hot. We decided another refreshment stop was in order for coffee. The cafes and bars along this stretch have a more modern look and vibe about them but they certainly offer a great outlook across the harbour.
Not a bad way to end the day. We returned to the ship happy – and ready for a little siesta.
As for that fabulous Spanakopita, I couldn't wait to make my own version when I got home. Click the link below for my delicious recipe.
Published by Tracey O'Brien