Cruising into Rhodes, the largest of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, is a delight. Medieval ramparts form a picturesque backdrop to the harbor of Rhodes Town, its fortified walls with seven gates surrounded by a deep moat. Teeming with turbulent history, Old Town takes you back to the Crusades — and even earlier at the ruins of the third-century B.C. Temple of Aphrodite. To the south, Lindos is home to a world-renowned acropolis, and the entire island is dotted with beautiful beaches.
What We Love
Street of the Knights: Narrow and steep, this long cobblestone passage — where the Knights of St. John lived and ruled from the early 14th century to the early 16th century — leads from the Archeological Museum to the Palace of the Grand Master.
Lindos: With a full day in port, visitors can head across the island to this traditional whitewashed city, best known for a spectacular hilltop acropolis with its 2,300-year-old Temple of Athena.
Windmills: Those on Mykonos may be better known, but the trio of medieval windmills that face Mandraki Harbor just outside the walls of Old Town, are equally photogenic and perched over aquamarine water.
Best Known For
Knights of St. John: Around practically every corner there's a reminder that Rhodes was ruled for two centuries by the famed religious military order. They were defeated in 1522 by Suleyman the Magnificent and later decamped to Malta.
The Colossus of Rhodes: A bit of imagination is required to picture this hulking second-century B.C. statue of the Greek sun god Helios, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Long destroyed, it's said to have towered 110 feet above the harbor, but you can still see the inlet historians claim it straddled.
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Who It's Best For
History buffs: Scenic, historically strategic Rhodes packs a lot of well-preserved ancient architecture and lore into its 541 square miles.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
You Can't See Everything in One Day: Rhodes has many calm, sandy beaches, but with so many fascinating sights to tour, it’s hard to find time to sunbathe.
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.