So I had just returned from my Israel and Jordan adventure, was heading out to Cyprus in a few weeks for work and had a one night trip to Cardiff booked for the Rugby world cup, when work offered an educational fam trip to Rhodes in the middle of it. I had my passport on me (as I always like to be prepared for these kind spontaneous ventures), and although it meant a few tiring days at work the day before and on arrival back I was NOT going to miss a free trip to the med. It was turning out to be the best September everrrrr.
Although we lacked the usual ‘freedom’ you have on your own holiday (not that I can complain as it was all expenses paid) the purpose of these trips is to ‘educate’, so I got a really good feel for the island and the different resorts it has to offer. On the Saturday myself (my sister Ali, who also happens to work for the same company, and also bagged a place on the trip) and about 12 of our colleagues and travel agents who sell us headed on the night flight out of Gatwick to Rhodes. We arrived early morning (4am) and headed straight to our hotel, the 5 star Rodos Palladium located in Kalithea (heading down the east coast of the island, about 20 minutes from the airport).
This hotel was stunning! We were greeted warmly by the staff, the rooms were spacious (and the view was fantastic). We ate several times at the hotel buffet restaurant as we were given half board basis and there was more than enough variety to satisfy my taste buds! The beach at the hotel wasn’t the kind of beach I was used to (shingle and pebble) the pool areas made up for it. I found in general the further down you went on Rhodes, the better the beaches got.
After a few hours sleep we headed out in the afternoon to a few of the other hotels close by for a tour of the properties and lunch, before heading to Rhodes Town for a short walking tour of the old city walls and gates, and to learn of the medieval legends that once wandered (very enjoyable). After this we had some free time for shopping and lunch. In the evening we headed out to the Atrium Palace for a weddings presentation (our company also offers weddings in Greece).
Monday brought our only full day of hotel visits (the rest of the trip was very relaxed). We started in Faliraki and ended all the way down in Pefki, get in contact for hotel recommendations in each of the areas, but in a nut shell here is summery of the resorts we visited:
Faliraki – more infamously known as a party destination, it is still one of the lively resort but it isn’t quite the raving spot it was once pegged to be. On the evening of the Monday we came back here for a night out, and although we went towards the end of season (it by no mean was over) and the majority of the bars/clubs were quite empty.
Kolymbia – a rustic resort, with just a few facilities but a relaxing beach and a good base to explore the island.
Stegna – a quieter resort with a lovely beach (although still not quite sandy), the perfect spot for sun bathing. In the evening there are a few good choices for dinner in one of the local tavernas lining the sea front.
Haraki – a small picturesque fishing village, a good medium being located between the airport and one of the most famous towns of Rhodes, Lindos.
Pefki – this was as far down as we went (at this point you’re about an hour from the airport). It’s a relaxed village on a secluded cove, and the beach here has been awarded with a blue flag.
Lindos – if you’ve seen a ‘typical Greek village’ there’s a good chance it was a picture of Lindos. White washed buildings set on the side of a hill overlooking the bay of clear blue waters, complete with it’s own Acropolis on top of the hill. As cars can’t get inside the town your transfer will actually drop you off at the top of Lindos and you walk down to your accommodation (if you are staying in the centre, your luggage will get brought separately). It is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways, lined with shops and restaurants. There is even a ‘donkey’ taxi station. The beach here is sandy (woo hoo!), and is located just a short walk down from the main town. On the other side of Lindos is St Pauls Bay, a very popular spot for weddings. We didn’t go on any sight seeing tours on the Monday, but ended the day at the Lindos Gardens for their Greek Night and BBQ dinner.
On Tuesday we were picked up around 10am and headed out for an island tour, two of the main sights including the Valley of Butterflies, although the time of year we went it had already rained so most of the butterflies were dead, but a very enjoyable scenic place for a walk.
The second main sight was Mt Filerimos, a hill 267m high overlooking the town of Ialyssos and the bay of Ixia and Trianda. At the top is the Monastery of Filerimos, an important archaeological site where the Acropolis of Ialyssos once stood. The paths are lined with pine trees and is also a very pleasant place to walk around, you can also enjoy the view of the Aegean by the big concrete cross, and on a clear day see towards the coast of Turkey. In the evening we headed to the five star Kresten Royal Villas and Spa for a fancy dinner in their Italian restaurant.
Wednesday was a completely free day as far as the educational was concerned, we had a few hours together in the morning before most of the group headed back to London on the day flight. We decided to go to the water sports hut on the beach of our hotel, where we booked a banana boat ride, for €20 we got an hour on the banana. The driver took us along the coast into 3 separate bays, stopping as we went and throwing snorkel’s to us, it was a fab way to end the trip! We even saw the Kalithea springs from the water side. In the afternoon after the morning flight group had left, we got the bus down the road back to Faliraki to the water park. Again a great afternoon, with plenty of fun slides! We headed back to the hotels for a few hours sleep before the flight home.
Where would I stay?
Although I loved the Rodos Palladium and thought it was great and well deserves its 5 stars, if I had to pay I probably wouldn’t fork out for such an expensive hotel (although I did love the location). In general the 4 and 5 star hotels are located in Kalithea or Ixia (I didn’t like Ixia as a location, after the hotel there’s nothing else to see along that side of the coast, and it was really windy). If I was to return (and I plan to) I would probably pick Stegna. It was a good in-between resort, still close to Rhodes Town and the airport but also closer to exploring Lindos. A lot of the smaller resorts offer 2 or 3 star self catering properties, own and ran by the locals. A stay in one of these often means making friends for a life time. My favourite pick of all was the Stegna Mare Studios, a great standard of accommodation right on the beach, and had a tavern next door. The owners were lovely! I’ve already sent one friend here on my recommendation and they loved it!
I will definitely make time for a day trip to the island of Symi. It’s also possible to do island hopping by combining a few nights on a smaller island, and a few on a main island.
This was my fourth Greek island I visited and they all are different in their own way! Rhodes though was the perfect mix of having the beaches to relax on, while still have enough sites around the island to explore if you’re looking for a bit of adventure.
For a run down on the other islands I’ve been to click here: Santorini, Mykonos & Corfu.