Rhodes Old Town Map & Rhodes City Guide: 25+ things to do in Rhodes. Discover top Rhodes city attractions, restaurants & food (inc. seafood), bars and nightlife as well as some of our top picks for day trips and boat trips out of the city. Also, our favourite Rhodes old town accommodation.
As well as our 25+ picks for Rhodes Old Town, you’ll also find our Rhodes Old Town Map (interactive, for tourists) listing yet more options. It’s easy to use on any device so you can navigate to all the most important points of interest while you are walking in Rhodes Town.
Rhodes Old Town is regarded as one of the best preserved walled cities in the world. It really does live up to its reputation. As you walk around you can breathe in the Rhodes medieval town atmosphere of the Street of the Knights and the Palace of the Grand Master. Or enjoy the vibrant and lively Greek style dining that fills every side street of Rhodes City.
All this and more in our Rhodes City Guide…
Rhodes Old Town Map & Rhodes City Guide – Table Of Contents
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Thanks to Discover Greece for helping us organise our time in Rhodes Old Town Greece #discovergreece
Brief History of Rhodes Old Town Greece (City)
As you might guess, Rhodes Old Town has seen a serious amount of history. The island of Rhodes has been inhabited since around 4,000 BC, and rapidly became an important trading centre for the Mediterranean. In a nutshell, here are some of the most important events that have led us to the Rhodes old town, busy with tourists, which we have today.
- Rhodes Town was established in 408 BC.
- The colossus of Rhodes, which straddled the main harbour (Mandraki), was completed in 282 BC, after 12 years of construction, and became an ancient wonder of the world. It toppled due to an earthquake in 226 BC.
- In 164 BC, Rhodes was absorbed into the Roman Empire. It remained largely autonomous and actually gave back to the empire by contributing the tenants of Rhodian Maritime Law, helping control naval and merchant practices.
- In the Byzantine era, Rhodes held an important trading position as a mid-point between the new capital, Constantinople (Istanbul), and Alexandria in Egypt.
- In 1204, local Byzantine nobles on Rhodes took charge of the Island.
- In 1307 The Knights Hospitallers (Knights of Saint John) took control of Rhodes. Over the next two centuries, the knights fortified the medieval city to be one of the most secure in the whole Christian world. After the fall of Constantinople (Istanbul), the Ottomans began invading many other parts of the region. Attacking Rhodes in 1480, the Ottomans suffered a massive defeat.
- In 1522 the Ottomans returned, under the leadership of Suleiman The Magnificent. After a long siege, the knights eventually agreed to leave Rhodes so long as they could take their gold with them, and that the local inhabitants would be spared and be allowed to continue practicing Christianity. The knights left on Jan 1st, 1523.
- Some 400 years of Ottoman rule saw Greeks cast out of the old city, to the suburbs. Mosques and hammams (bathhouses) replaced churches. Facades were updated to incorporate Islamic architecture.
- In 1912, as the Ottoman Empire declined, the Italians seized ownership of Rhodes and the rest of the Dodecanese islands. The Italians removed much of the Ottoman architecture and reconstructed many of the medieval buildings of the knights to their former glory.
- After the second world war, ownership of Rhodes was returned to Greece and Rhodes town rapidly grew into a popular tourist destination through the 1960s tourist boom.
Rhodes Old Town Attractions (Top 10)
These are the best historic, cultural and natural attractions in and around Rhodes Old Town. Find every single item listed in this article easily, using our free interactive Rhodes Old Town Map.
Palace Of The Grand Master Of The Knights Of St. John
The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights was adapted and improved in the 14th century, upon an earlier Byzantine citadel from the 7th century. The new palace was the primary administrative centre for the Knight’s trade operation around the Mediterranean, and of course, the home of the Grand Master.
During Ottoman rule, it was also used as a fortress. In 1856 a large munitions explosion caused extensive damage to the lower floors. Repairs to this and other renovations were carried out in the 1930s by Italian architect Vittorio Mesturino. Today it’s one of the most important Rhodes Old Town Attractions, you can walk the old stone halls of the knights, mosaic floors, as well as explore the updated rooms and furnishings from the Italian era.
OPEN: Mon (9:00 AM – 3:45 PM), Tue – Fri (8:00 AM – 3:00 PM), Sat (9:00 AM – 3:45 PM)
I recommend buying the multi-attraction pass that gets you into some of the other essential attractions. If you plan to visit the palace and the archeological museum, you are already saving money.
Street Of The Knights Rhodes Old Town
The beautifully maintained Street Of The Knights runs from the Archeological museum, up to the Palace of the Knights. Here you can feel the history, away from modern street vendors and restaurants.
Rhodes Old Town Archeological Museum (Hospital of the Knights)
Rhodes Old Town Archeological Museum is housed in the former Hospital of The Knights, which was completed in the late 15th century. You’ll find thousands of years of artifacts displayed around the building and the gardens behind. All your favourite statues with missing arms or heads and plenty of ancient Greek nudity are all on show.
Access is included in the Rhodes Old Town Multi-access ticket. OPEN: 8 am to 8 pm, Daily.
Climb Roloi Clock Tower
Roloi Clock Tower sits at the highest point in Rhodes Old Town. Originally a 7th century tower, it was also damaged in the 1856 munitions explosion and was repaired and was later re-constructed with a more baroque feel. Pay to climb the 53 wooden steps within the tower and you’ll find panoramic views of Rhodes old town at the top.
Mandraki Harbor (Colossus Of Rhodes, Fort of St. Nicholas & Windmills)
Mandraki Harbour – the ancient harbour of Rhodes. Once, the Colossus of Rhodes stood over the entrance of the harbour. For a time, a chain was pulled in the water to block entrance to ships until they had paid the chain tax, allowing them to dock. Maritime trade through Rhodes was big business for thousands of years. It made the Knights of Saint John very rich indeed.
Today, you can explore the many icons of Mandraki harbour, just to the east of Rhodes old town:
- The Windmills
- The Fort Of Saint Nicholas, which guards the harbour entrance.
- The deer & doe statues (‘’Elefos’’ and ‘’Elafina’’) that stand where the Colossus once did
- The Nea Agora (New Market)
- Evangelismos Church – a gothic style church built by the Italians in 1925
Acropolis Of Rhodes (Temple of Apollo, Stadium, Odeon)
To discover some truly ancient Greek history, head to the west side of Rhodes City. Outside of Rhodes Old Town lies even older ruins – The Acropolis of Rhodes. When Rhodes City was originally founded in 408 BC, it was here, at the highest point of the area, that the locals decided to build their Acropolis.
Here you’ll find all the classic Greek buildings that would have made up a part of everyday life for the inhabitants – temples, the odeon (theatre) and the stadium for sporting events.
Walk The Rhodes Old Town Moat (Old Walls)
Exercise and history combine in this scenic walk through the moat of Rhodes old town. It’s possible to walk almost the entire circumference of the city walls from down in the moat. Access points to reach the moat are limited, so please check our Rhodes Old Town Map below to find the start and finish points for the route.
Rhodes Old Town: Suleiman Mosque
The Suleiman Mosque was built in honour of Suleiman the Magnificent, who conquered Rhodes in 1522. The original mosque was the first to be completed in Rhodes Old Town, in the early 16th century. The current mosque is a re-construction, built in 1808. It’s one of only a few Islamic buildings that survived the great Italian reconstruction of the early 20th century.
Explore The Backstreets Of Rhodes Old Town
Small boutiques & hidden cafes populate the tiny backstreet alleys of the Rhodes Old Town. Turn off any of the main tourist packed arteries, down side streets, and just explore. You’ll find peaceful, cute streets with old stone walls and colourful flower arrangements.
Rhodes City: Elli Beach
Once you’ve had your fill of history and architecture, take a short walk along the coast north of Rhodes old town and relax at the beach. Elli beach is a long strip that winds its way all the way around the top point of Rhodes island.
Bonus: Throne Of Helios (9D Show)
Rhode’s first and only “9D” movie experience is a spectacular 3D picture, sound, motion, rain, snow, wind, fire, and smell. Which actually adds up to 10! The various movie presentations take you on a full engaging journey through the history and mythology of Rhodes. Ancient gods, the colossus of Rhodes collapsing in the earthquake of 226 BC, and the knights of Saint John, come to life in this family friendly activity.
Rhodes Old Town Restaurants, Bars & Nightlife Highlights
From May to October Rhodes Town Nightlife is bustling. Whether you prefer lively, and very Greek dining, drinking in one of the squares, or just a little rock n roll, Rhodes old town is a fantastic destination to enjoy those warm summer nights.
Ta Petaladika – Rhodes Town Seafood Restaurant
Lively outdoor dining at it’s best. Ta Petaladika is a busy seafood restaurant that is super popular with the locals and tourists alike. In fact, it has such a great reputation with the locals that they are one of the few Rhodes old town restaurants that stays open out of season.
Ta Petaladika focuses on the best local seafood with a few little twists and an extensive menu of Greek classics. Chef George Likopantis and his kitchen team work hard and fast all night long to keep every customer’s belly happy. Their taramasalata (fish roe dip) is almost certainly the best I’ve ever had in Greece, or anywhere. Also, the scallops with sea urchin, and the Black Orzo (Greek rice) with cuttlefish are a must.
Reservations recommended. Learn More On The Ta Petaladika Website.
Rodion Geyseis – Rhodes Traditional Cuisine
If you travel to discover new cuisine, so local that it has never been exported out of the country, then Rodion Geyseis is an essential stop in Rhodes City. Unlike many other restaurants in town (none on this list, of course!) who send out reheated Greek standards to customers, Rodion Geyseis pride themselves on only using fresh and locally produced ingredients. in fact, the majority of their produce is supplied by people from their home village of Salakos, in the hills south of Rhodes Old Town.
From manouri cheese (pictured), made from the milk of young goats (around 1 year old) to the local oyster mushrooms, and the bread that is baked just around the corner by an old lady in her 80’s. Everything has a local connection.
Chef Manolis was taught to cook by his grandmother and the goal of Rodion Geyseis restaurant is to preserve and share those same local recipes he learned as a boy. The front of house is managed by Manolis’ uncle, Ilyas. But, with all this good food around, we asked Ilyas how he managed to stay so thin? His response, “It’s because of all the sex in the night”. Sex may not be on the menu, but a truly authentic taste of Rhodes certainly is.
Find Out More about Rodion Geyseis. Just a short walk south of Rhodes Old Town, and definitely worth venturing outside the walls for. Don’t miss the veal cheek slow cooked for 5 to 6 hours with a truffle oil orzo risotto.
Nireas – Rhodes Old Town Seafood Restaurant
Get ready for a seafood meze (small plates) extravaganza – though most portions are somewhere in between meze and main course size. Extremely high quality fresh seafood, with plenty of classics like grilled octopus and soft, not chewy, calamari. But also some local specialties, like Symi shrimp (Crispy baby shrimp with a hint of chili). And more unusual options like fouskes, sometimes called Rhodian oysters, these sea squirts are only found in the Mediterranean and have a unique taste of the sea.
Theodore and/or his wife (who makes incredible desserts!) welcome every guest personally making you feel like you are a part of their foodie family.
This out of the way, side-street restaurant/cafe has a charmingly home-run ambiance. The lady of the house will welcome you with a wide and genuine smile. The tiny outdoor space fits just a few tables, surrounded by family knick-knacks. Angela’s castle is a real oasis from the bustle of the main tourist streets. Find your inner calm along with great homemade food.
What to eat in Rhodes? Our traditional Rodion food guide & podcast is coming November 2019 – Just scroll down.
Bars & Nightlife
Dinner in Rhodes old town is an essential and atmospheric part of the experience of visiting Rhodes. But if you are just looking for drinks or a really late night, where should you go? We have some suggestions to meet every taste.
The Cellar Of The Knights
The Cellar of the Knights is a wine shop built right into the old walls, close to Hippocrates square. Buy a glass of wine and drink it sitting on the steps above the shop. Or stock up on some unique local Greek wines to take home for a nightcap. Wine by-the-glass service stops around 10.30pm (flexible hours though) and the shop normally closes around 11pm.
Minos Pension & Roof Garden Lounge – One of the best rooftop views in town. Views of the palace to the north and the sea to the east. Until 11pm.
Mozaic Bar – A late night bar (from 9pm to 6am) with a massive seating area in a tree covered square. Mozaic and a few other late night bars in the square make this the perfect place for after dinner drinks.
Legends Rock Bar – Rhodes Old Town’s main alternative rock n roll nightspot. Enjoy live music and the best rock music selection until 6am.
Auvergne Cafe Bar Restaurant – A casual garden/courtyard bar-restaurant that often has some local Greek live music and is open until 2am.
Find all these bars, restaurants and many more recommendations on our Free Rhodes Old Town Map.
Trips From Rhodes Old Town
The medieval city of Rhodes is certainly one of the highlights of any visit to Rhodes island, but once you have explored within the walls, taking advantage of the amazing sunshine of the Aegean is essential! The best way to enjoy this is to take to the water on a boat trip.
Of course, there are also a lot of other attractions to explore on land, but we’ll cover them in Our Rhodes Destinations Guide – Coming Nov 2019
Boat Day trip To Symi Island
Symi island is a short boat ride (1hr 45) from Rhodes. The skyline was largely re-modeled during the Italian Dodecanese occupation of the early 20th century. This makes it one of the most uniquely picturesque places to visit in the whole of the Aegean – as it doesn’t feature the otherwise typical white buildings and blue roofs you’ll see elsewhere in Greece.
As well as sailing into the harbour, and around the west of the island to the bay of St. George, you’ll also have 3.5 hours to explore the boutiques and restaurants of the main village of Symi. Plus, you get to visit the Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis.
Swim And Snorkel Adventure
Ready for a day of boat life and enjoying those perfect Aegean waters? On this Swim And Snorkel Adventure aboard Romantika, a 22 meter yacht, you’ll be stopping at Kalithea and Anthony Quinn Bay to swim, and even taking a mini snorkeling adventure to explore the rock formations inside the Caves of Traganou at Afandou Beach.
Alcoholic Drinks and food (vegetarian options available) are provided onboard.
Day Trip By Boat To Lindos
The white, flat-roofed buildings of Lindos sit below its ancient acropolis above the stunning natural harbour and beach. Why drive to Lindos from Rhodes when you can take a boat trip down the coast instead?
As well as free time in Lindos to explore and eat at the old town or the beach, you also get to stop off and swim at the stunning Anthony Quinn Bay. Relax and enjoy the sea breeze while you motor up and back from Rhodes Old Town Mandraki Harbour.
Sunset Dinner & Swim Boat Cruise
If you don’t want to spend the whole day on the water, what about a beautiful sunset dinner cruise. Sail down the coast towards Kalithea springs and back. You’ll have time to jump off the side of the boat for a swim before drying off for buffet dinner and wine onboard and an amazing sunset.
Take A Multi Day Greek Island Hopping Adventure!
Our number 1 vacation experience ever (we’ve done it twice now!) is taking a full 7 day island hopping trip with SunFunYou. Visit small coves and harbours, dive off the side of the boat right into azure waters. Enjoy home style meals, cooked by the Captain, who trained to be a chef in Vienna.
As well as eating seafood that is caught by the crew… You’ll find an onboard yoga/fitness instructor, and a focus on balance – with great food, hiking, swimming, and yoga as well as fun activities, all inclusive beer and wine and a great family spirit with the new guests you’ll meet on every voyage.
And my description still doesn’t do it justice. Check out my full article and podcast to get a stronger feel for why you should take this transformative adventure.
Looking for More to do around Rhodes? See Our Full Rhodes Destinations Guide For More Info – Coming Nov 2019
What To Eat In Rhodes – Food Podcast
Podcast Episode Coming November 2019. Until then, listen to our Dodecanese Greek Island Hopping Podcast Here.
Rhodes Old Town Accommodation
Staying within the walls of the medieval city of Rhodes is one of the best places you can stay on the whole island!
Zacosta Villa Hotel – Top Pick
We stayed at Zacosta Villa Hotel, just a couple of minutes’ walk from Roloi Clock Tower in the heart of Rhodes Old Town.
We slept right underneath historic masonry. Beautifully maintained rooms inside an old villa with a delightful enclosed courtyard where breakfast is served. There are even personalised wine tastings available.
I loved the traditionally made breakfast pastries (Spanakopita and tyropita). But, the ambiance and the service were the most outstanding parts of the experience. For a small, personally run accommodation, it seemed like the staff were always available, even though they were working hard. They even have a golf buggy for pick-ups and drop-offs to the old city gates (as taxis can’t drive inside the old town). No dragging your suitcase wheels across cobbles!
Zacosta Villa Hotel offers excellent, yet reasonably priced luxury boutique hotel accommodation.
Learn More About Zacosta Villa Hotel On Their Website.
Or, Search All Rhodes Old Town Accommodation Options:
Complete Rhodes Old Town Map (Interactive)
Our Rhodes Old Town Map features every location and business mentioned in the article above, as well as additional recommendations for food, transport locations and some other important landmarks (like locations of the old city gates – the only places you can get in and out of the city walls). We also make some suggestions for places in the newer part of Rhodes City where you might like to visit.
Bookmark this article on your phone so you can access this map as you travel around the Rhodes old Town.
That’s it for our Rhodes Old Town Map & Travel Guide!
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