Here’s my Insider Guide to the UNESCO Old Town of Rhodes and the beautiful village of Lindos – following my recent visit, using with tips from locals…
Kókkini Porta Rossa
A former Knight’s property, this historic house found within the walls of Rhodes Old Town, has been painstakingly restored by owners Nikos and Angela, creating homey, welcoming yet most certainly upscale accommodation.
Opened in spring 2015, this intimate, 5 suite hotel has already redefined luxury and personal service in the Old Town.
Quick to reach by taxi from the port or airport, the hotel is found close to the ancient gate of St John, (the ‘red gate’ – hence the hotel’s name) in a quiet residential area. The nearby Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, The Museum of Modern Greek Art and the ‘must-visit’ Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights are about 10 – 15 minutes’ walk away.
Nikos and Angela will be your Insiders, guiding you to the best beaches, the most authentic bars and local restaurants. Yet to eat well, you don’t need to go far, since guests can enjoy meals in the shaded courtyard, carefully prepared by Onella, the hotel’s resident cook, using local or Greek ingredients and paired with Rhodian or Greek wines.
The same level of attention to detail extends to the beautifully appointed guest rooms and public spaces, decorated with Rhodian antiques and artefacts from the family’s private collection.
Lindos is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque villages on the island of Rhodes, and therefore understandably busy in high season. Yet to enjoy authentic Rhodian hospitality, in tranquil and elegant surroundings, then the boutique hotel Melenos-Lindos is the place. This one-of-a-kind property, created by Michalis Melenos, is built on Lindos’ distinctive rocky outcrop below the town’s stunning acropolis. The style is of a period Rhodian village, with the public spaces, terraces and guests suites found in a mix of white washed and sandstone buildings. It is a privileged setting, away from the holiday crowds.
There is beautiful detailing everywhere by interior designer Donald Green who was inspired by the early 17th century Lindian Mansions found in the town. Expect charming black and white ‘kochlaki’ pebble stone mosaics, hand-painted ceramics, fresco ceilings, carved woodwork; and an eclectic collection of Greek and international antiques.
The terraces of the property offer views out over the Aegean and are styled with vintage tiled fountains, and terracotta pots filled with bougainvillea.
Rooms have a creative, almost bohemian feel, full of individual styling.
In addition to informal snacks and lunches available on the patios and terraces there is a fine-dining restaurant with large roof terrace that is creatively lit with lanterns and candles in the evenings.
SEE & DO:
Museums & Galleries
Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the finest medieval towns in the Mediterranean. Its history has encompassed the Romans, Byzantines, the medieval Knights of St John and the Ottomans, leaving a rich cultural heritage, reflected in the island’s museums. A visit to The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights is a must, with its fine collections and impressive location. There are also contemporary and classic art galleries within the museum quarter. Check the city’s web site for up-to-date opening times.
Walk Rhodes Old Town
Rhodes Old Town is a unique place within the Mediterranean. A romantic mix of mosques and minarets; byzantine churches and mediaeval fortresses; historic mansions and humble homes – reflecting over two thousand years of history. To avoid the throngs of day trippers and cruise line visitors, enjoy this special place early in the morning as the shop keepers are opening up, or at the end of the day, as the sun is setting. Sometimes the city walls are open for walking; if not the former moats make for an equally interesting perspective of the old town.
Acropolis – Lindos
Car rental is relatively inexpensive so it’s worth heading south to the truly stunning coastal town of Lindos. Built atop the town’s iconic rock outcrop is the second most visited archaeological site in Greece, the Lindos Acropolis. On a hot day it may not seem an appealing option to climb up to the top, but the views out over Lindos to the Aegean will remain a lasting memory.
Of course a visit to Rhodes is about sun and sea, and the island has no shortage of beaches. The nearest to Rhodes Town is Kallithea Beach, popular with locals. With a car the options are numerous and a drive down to Lindos offers a few stunning panoramas and beaches. In Lindos head to St Paul’s Bay – rent a sunbed, order a sharing meze plate of Greek snacks, a glass of wine or an Alfa beer and just relax.
Marco Polo Café Restaurant – Old Town
The Marco Polo is an established guest house in Rhodes Old Town. It also makes for an excellent dining option. The garden restaurant has become a social hub in the town, attracting a friendly crowd. Good choice of light Greek and Mediterranean dishes, with Italian influences, such a spinach, orange, pomegranate and feta salad, or a seafood salad with calamari and fresh tuna.
Griniaris – New Town
If you want a real flavour of Greece, away from the myriad of generic tourist bars and restaurants, then this traditional ‘Kafenio’ should top your list. Family-run, led by charismatic owner Yiannis (from the island of Kalymnos) this uncontrived bar offers tasty, simple island cuisine accompanied by local and Greek wines. Try the strong ‘mastika’ ouzo, and the home made candied quince and almond and fig cakes. The bar has no website, but your hotel will help you find it. It’s at 176 Agiou Ioanni Square
(+30 22410 34005)
Olive Street – Lindos
The Olive Street offers a fresh take on rustic charm. This converted olive oil mill has a clean, simple, elegant design and offers fresh local snacks. It’s a stylish alternative to the touristy bars.
The story goes that Michalis Melenos was asked so many times by guests if they could buy the Greek and international antiques and artefacts in his hotel that he eventually opened a boutique. Now visitors can take home a little of the Greek Melenos Lindos style.