A crowning jewel in the aquamarine Aegean, and the largest of the Dodecanese islands, Rhodes is a quintessentially Greek destination with a storied past. Popular with holidaymakers thanks to its southern climes and peaceful beaches, this unassuming isle also offers a fascinating medieval history to uncover.
Many regard the island as your typical fly-and-flop destination, spending seven sun-soaked days here on a package deal or simply bypassing it altogether. Despite this, Rhodes makes an incredible addition to any island hopping tour of Greece, or as a standalone destination in its own right. From ancient relics and temples to historic thermal springs and an incredible natural phenomenon that draws clouds of butterflies, there’s something for every type of traveler.
With so much to see and do, it’s worth spending more than a couple of days discovering Rhodes. We’ve put together this detailed 5-day itinerary to help you see the highlights, and still have time for the beach.
What is the best location to stay in Rhodes?
Before we dive right in, it’s worth highlighting the best location to stay in Rhodes to get the most out of this 5-day itinerary. At 1,401km2, Rhodes is the fourth largest island in Greece – and many sorely underestimate its size and scale. This means the location of your accommodation is paramount.
Ideally, you will spend your first three days in Rhodes Town, followed by the final two nights at one of the resorts further south. In the city, you have the option of staying in the historic Old Town, where you will find a selection of boutique hotels and accommodation. The newer area of the city offers lower prices and more choices, from sprawling hotels to self-catering apartment lets.
Check out the highly rated Spirit of the Nights Boutique Hotel, famed for its refreshing plunge pool offering a welcome oasis from the bustling streets of the Old Town. Alternatively, Aquamare City & Beach hotel is ideally placed right by the sea and offers modern rooms and free parking at a reasonable price point.
For the second half of this itinerary, there are several options. Lindos is a bustling town attracting visitors of all ages thanks to its mind-boggling Acropolis. It has a range of nightlife, amenities, and accommodation of all levels. Lindos Blue Sky is a charming aparthotel with a communal pool, mere moments from the incredible Acropolis. Meanwhile, Haraki (or Charaki) is a more laid-back locale featuring authentic tavernas and a wonderful sweep of golden sand. Haraki Endless Blue Luxury Apartments have a gorgeous island-inspired interior design and are very reasonably priced.
Staying at either resort will place you within easy access to the attractions featured on days four and five of this itinerary. As with many Greek islands, public transport is patchy, so we recommend hiring a car to best experience this itinerary. If you do hire a car, be sure to double-check that any accommodation you book provides parking.
Day One: Hit the Beach
Relax after a long plane or ferry ride by spending your first day or afternoon at the beach. There’s nothing quite like soaking up those first few rays of Grecian sun to the sound of the sea lapping the shore, and snapping a few pictures to make those at home feel jealous!
You can either make use of Elli Beach, which is right in Rhodes Town and offers plentiful loungers, bars, and crystal clear water, or you can travel further afield. Anthony Quinn Bay is a 20-minute drive from the city but is renowned for being the most beautiful cove on the island, with turquoise waters surrounded by lush emerald greenery.
If you’re looking for a little luxury after a long journey, Kallithea Springs is just 7km from the center of town and features stunning Italian architecture thanks to its history as a thermal bath. There is a small entrance fee of around €5, which is worth it for the chic sunbeds, bar, and café, as well as the unique beauty of the bay and surrounding buildings. There is a bus every 30 minutes to take you to the springs from the center of Rhodes if you have chosen not to hire a car.
Day Two: Explore Rhodes Town
It’s time to slap on a hat and some comfortable walking shoes and dig into the fascinating history of Rhodes. The island is thought to have been inhabited since prehistoric times, with occupation from the Byzantines, Ottomans, and later, Italians, leading to a colorful blend of culture and design.
As the oldest Medieval Old Town in Europe, Rhodes’ historic walled center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attraction in its own right. Start your day by wandering its cobbled streets and stopping off for a traditional Ellinikos Kafes (Greek coffee) along the way. You’ll be able to enjoy a mosaic of fascinating architecture, from Byzantine churches and Turkish mosques to traditional medieval fountains and beautiful oriental frescoes.
The Street of the Knights connects the port to the Acropolis of Rhodes and is well worth a wander for its emblems and inscriptions. After this, head to the Palace of the Grand Master, a fairy-tale castle dating back to the 14th century, to learn a little more about the city’s fascinating history. The entrance is just €6. If your feet aren’t too tired, be sure to pop into the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes for priceless artifacts and exhibits.
Day Three: Experience Symi Island
Located a short ferry ride from Rhodes is the alluring Symi Island, which makes for an unmissable day trip. On arrival, you’ll be greeted by a tumble of sorbet-colored neoclassical mansions in shades of lemon, peach, raspberry, and mango. You can either take a ferry or catamaran from Rhodes Town or sign up for an organized tour. The ferry takes 1hr and 30 minutes, while the catamaran takes just 50 minutes.
You’ll alight your boat at the harbor, Yialos, where you can rent a scooter if you are interested in exploring the further reaches of the island. Alternatively, start your day by climbing the 500 steps up to the hilltop village of Chlorio, for panoramic views. The best vistas can be found a further 10 minutes up from the main square, where you’ll also find a charming white-washed church.
You can then choose to spend the remainder of your day relaxing at idyllic beaches such as Nanou or Agia Marina, which has its own small island with a monastery. Agia Marina can be reached on foot from Yialos, although sturdy hiking shoes are required, and Nanou can be reached by waterbus. Alternatively, make a pilgrimage to Panormitis Monastery on the south side of the island, which was renovated in the 18th century and features breathtaking frescoes.
Day Four: Visit Tsambika Monastery
On day four you can leave your accommodation in Rhodes town to head for the south of the island. If you have a car, you can easily visit Tsambika Monastery en route to your new accommodation. If not, you can either take a public bus from Rhodes to Lindos (1hr 45 mins) or Charaki (1hr 20mins) and then take a taxi back to the monastery. It is a 30-minute drive from Lindos and just 15 minutes from Haraki.
The monastery is built on a beautiful hill overlooking the bay with views extending all the way to Lindos. As the legend goes, women struggling to conceive should walk barefoot up the hill to pray to the Virgin of fertility at the church. However, we recommended sturdy walking shoes, as it is some 350 steps to the top!
If your legs aren’t too tired from the climb, the afternoon could be spent checking out the nearby Valley of the Butterflies, which is a unique nature reserve packed with enchanting waterfalls, ponds, bridges, and of course, a kaleidoscope of butterflies. A natural forest of zitia (sweetgum) trees release a special substance that attracts migrating moths and other species. Go at the end of the wet season (May) to see these colorful creatures at their most abundant.
Day Five: Admire the Acropolis of Lindos
For many, the Acropolis of Lindos is the most extraordinary archaeological wonder of Rhodes, which is why we like to save it for the final day. This monumental temple complex rises from a steep cliff and features reliefs from around 280 BC. It is walkable from most accommodation in Lindos and a short 15-minute drive from Haraki.
Check out the Byzantine Chapel of John, explore the incredible Hellenistic Stoa, and find out about the deity Athena, as well as the various cults who worshipped her. Meanwhile, the site’s lower level provides medieval interest with the 14th-century Castle of the Knights of St. John.
There is so much to discover here you may want to spend all day, but in case you get too hot or tired, the cool, clear waters of St. Paul’s Bay are close at hand. This stunning beach resembles a heart when viewed from the Acropolis, and is therefore very popular for weddings. It is a 10-15 minute walk downhill from the center of Lindos.
How much money do I need for 5 days in Rhodes?
The average daily cost of expenses in Rhodes is €100, not including accommodation. This means you will need at least €500 spending money for a 5-day itinerary. This should cover food at local restaurants, travel expenses, tips, and admission to sights and activities. You might spend more if you want to visit more upscale restaurants or go out to a few bars in the evenings.
The average cost of accommodation is around €100 a night for a double room, bringing the total cost of a holiday to about €750 per person if you are traveling in a couple and more if you are traveling solo. There are not too many hostels on the island although it’s not impossible to find a bed in a dormitory in order to keep costs down. There is plenty of choices when it comes to apartment rentals in Rhodes, which can also help you save on dining.
What is the best time to visit Rhodes Greece?
Rhodes has a typical Mediterranean climate, meaning the best time to visit is during summer when the weather is hot and dry. May, June, and September are the ideal months to see the island without throngs of other tourists, with weather that’s warm enough to sunbathe but not too hot to see the sights.
Meanwhile, winters are mild and bring more showers, but might be an option if you plan to spend more time exploring the cultural side of Rhodes and aren’t too bothered about visiting the beach. The hottest month is July, while the wettest and coldest month is January. August is the most expensive and crowded time, so may be best avoided if you can.
How many days are enough for Rhodes?
Five days is the perfect amount of time to see all the cultural highlights of Rhodes and still have a little time to hit the beach. Remember that the island is quite large and it would take you around five hours to drive around the whole thing. Five days offers enough time for a relaxing experience, where traveling to each new attraction is not overly rushed.