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Island-Hopping Around Rhodes

Chalki ● Karpathos ● Kastellorizo ● Rhodes ● Symi ● Tilos ● 18 December 2017

If you’ve ever heard anything about island hopping through the gorgeous Mediterranean Greek Islands, you might have heard about Rhodes, one of the most popular islands in that chain. While pretty much all of the Greek islands are famous across the world for their beaches, with crystal clear waters, fine white sand, and long shorelines lined with impressive, natural cliffs, Rhodes, also sometimes called Rodos or Rodi, is known for its tourist-friendly atmosphere. Whether you want to relax at a beach all day or set out to hike through every inch of the natural landscapes, Rhodes has something to offer everyone.

Rhodes is famous for its golden-sand beaches and green, lush, hilly landscape. Its main attraction is the Old Town of Rhodes, a melting pot of the various different cultures that had some influence on the development of the island throughout its rich history. One of the best-preserved medieval-era settlements in Europe, the Old Town of Rhodes still has old stone houses, fortresses, castles, bastions, authentic narrow alleys and backstreets, fountains, and even busy marketplaces and town squares that will have you feeling like you’ve stepped into the pages of a history book. The Palace of the Grand Master was a towering Byzantine fortress originally built in the 7th century, but now it has been turned into one of the most popular museums in Greece.

Rhodes also has plenty of hiking and walking trails for you to take advantage of, such as a two-hour trail through Filerimos down the forested coast, and the three-hour walking trail through the breathtaking Valley of the Butterflies. But since island-hopping is such a popular pastime for visitors to Greece, you’re probably interested in hearing more about the islands surrounding Rhodes. If you’re ready to learn more about these lesser-known treasures, keep reading!

One of the smallest islands you’ll find near Rhodes is called Megisti, or sometimes called Kastellorizo. The easternmost island in Greek territory, Megisti is home to only 300 people, a vast change from the tens of thousands that live on larger, more populated island such as Rhodes or Crete. The island used to be extremely prosperous, and has a unique neo-classical architecture style that sets it apart from its more tourist-friendly counterparts. Megisti is definitely a day trip worth taking if you’re particularly interested in history or even just exploring little-known islands.


Next on your list should be Symi, a little island that is about an hour away by ferry or boat. Symi has a tumultuous history. Before World War II, Symi had over 30,000 inhabitants and was one of the most prosperous islands of Greece despite its small size and humble economy based off of diving, fishing, and seaport. Today, the little island attracts hundreds if not thousands of visitors annually due to its lovely natural landscaping, well-preserved classical architecture and buildings, and especially the impressive monastery of the Archangel Michael at Panormitis. Symi also offers a number of picturesque beaches and coves, not to mention several miles of walking and hiking paths if you’re inclined to get some exercise instead of lounging at the beach. Despite the small size of the island, it has plenty of tourist attractions and hotel and lodging accommodations to keep you comfortable if you chose to stay overnight.


Another small island off the coast of Rhodes is called Halki, which is known to be famous for its former Theological School where people would study religious traditions. Emborio is the only inhabited village (technically a hamlet) only the island of Halki, and it features a beautiful waterfront, fresh fish and seafood, and plenty of photo opportunities of the grand architecture - whitewashed churches, stone houses, a famous Clock Tower stationed next to the Town Hall, and more. There is also a castle area that is definitely worth visiting if you’re into history or even just photography.


To the northwest area of Rhodes is Tilos, a gorgeous island known for its mountains, rocky coasts, cliff-lined shores, and caves to explore. Tilos also features the classic sites of Greece that you’re probably used to: preserved medieval castles, fine-sand beaches with bright blue, crystal-clear water, and classic Grecian villages. One of the best-known villages in Tilos is called Micro Horio, which literally is translated to “Small Village” and has been deserted since the mid twentieth century. However, at Meyalo Horio, which is translated to - take a guess - “Big Village,” you can visit the world-famous Paleontology Museum to see their impressive fossil collection. There is also an impressive monastery called Agios Pandeleimonas, a beautiful sight to behold.


Last on the list is Karpathos, one of the more mainstream islands around Rhodes. Here you can expect a busier atmosphere and a few more crowds. Karpathos offers you dozen soft beaches to choose from, some lined with chaise lounges and sun umbrellas, others left more remote, and still others having snorkeling and scuba diving accommodations! There are also plenty of wine bars and wine tasting events, not to mention bustling downtown areas for you to go shopping, exploring art museums, hotels and more.


As you can see, the smaller islands that surround Rhodes may have a lesser-known reputation compared to the larger islands such as Crete. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have something exciting for visitors to experience. Good luck planning your island-hopping journey!

Where to Stay

Hotel in Rhodes, Greece Congo Hotel
Congo Hotel
Tiliakou 145, Rhodes Town, 85100 Rhodes, Greece

Congo Hotel is located in Rhodes town, only a 5-minute walk from Zephyros beach. Rhodes Port is an 8-minute drive away. Rhodes International Airport is 15.7 km away.

Hotel in Rhodes, Greece Rhodian Rose Hotel
Rhodian Rose Hotel
Athinodorou str., Faliraki, 85100 Rhodes, Greece

Rhodian Rose Hotel is located in the popular resort of Faliraki, just a 7-minute walk from the beach. Rhodes town and Rhodes Port are approximately a 20-minute drive away. Rhodes international Airport is 16.3 km away. #

Hotel in Rhodes, Greece Star Hotel
Star Hotel
129, Lazarou Tiliakou Str., 85100 Rhodes, Greece

The family-run Star Hotel is located on the outskirts of Rhodes Town, just 10 minutes walk from Zefyros Beach and 15 minutes walk from the centre of the scenic Old Town of Rhodes. The main port of the island is at 1.8 km. Rhodes International Airport "Diagoras" is 16 km away.