Beautiful view over Lindos Bay in Rhodes, Greece

5 days in Rhodes: an itinerary for first-time visitors

If you're spending a few days in Rhodes there are some sights you can’t miss. The capital of the Dodecanese is known for its abundance of cultural, archaeological, and natural attractions. Rhodes Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest medieval towns in Europe, and there are many spectacular beaches just out of town.

Of course, Rhodes has delicious Greek cuisine and the previously-mentioned beaches to relax on, but there are also canyons, off-the-beaten-path villages and mountain trails for those seeking a more action-packed adventure. This five-day itinerary divides your time between two bases - Rhodes Town and Lindos - allowing you to see some of the best-known (and loved) parts of the island.

People swimming in a cove in Rhodes, Greece.

Rhodes International Airport makes the island easily accessible from most European destinations. However, many flights only operate during the summer season from April to October, so make sure to do your research if visiting outside of these times.

Alternatively, the ferry to Rhodes from Fethiye in Turkey takes about two hours. From Rhodes, you can use the central port to go island hopping in the Dodecanese Islands, so it’s a great place to start a longer adventure. You can also get a ferry to Rhodes from Santorini, Crete, or Athens, however these take between 12 and 16 hours, so getting a cabin is advisable.

Many of the sites listed below are accessible with a combination of public bus, taxi and organised tours, but if you really want to see the best of Rhodes in five days it will be worth renting a car.

How long should I spend in Rhodes?

There are 42 villages in Rhodes to explore and beautiful beaches hidden around almost every headland. While you can see the main sights of Rhodes in five days, there are plenty of options to keep you busy if you want to stay for longer.

If you have more time, head to the village of Archangelos and visit the Seven Springs waterfall, explore medieval ruins and walking trails on the quiet island of Halki, or tackle the three-hour hike through Jacob’s Canyon. Rhodes is also a great jumping-off point to other Dodecanese Islands, so the more time you have, the better.

The old town of Rhodes from the harbour

Day 1: Rhodes Town (3 nights)

Rhodes Old Town is bursting with history and makes a great base for the first part of your stay. Inhabited since prehistoric times, it’s been home to the Byzantines, Ottomans, and Italians. Each has left its mark on the culture and architecture of the town with Crusader strongholds, Turkish mosques, and Byzantine churches like the beautifully frescoed Our Lady of the Castle.

The Palace of the Grandmaster was the seat of power in medieval Rhodes when the Knights of St John ruled in the 14th century. Partially ruined, it was rebuilt by the Italians in the 1930’s and is now thought to be one of the best examples of medieval architecture in Greece

A day could be lost just wandering the alleyways and dipping into local shops. But no trip is complete without a stop at the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, where you can wrap your head around the 2000 years of history that permeates through the town.

In the evening head to Mandraki Harbour, once famous for one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - the Colossus of Rhodes. It’s now a thriving hub with tavernas and restaurants, sailboats bobbing up and down in the dock, and the ever-so-pleasing Greek windmills by the sea.

Looking down at the Old Town of Rhodes, Greece.

Is Rhodes Town walkable?

It’s best to explore Rhodes Old Town on foot, the medieval cobblestone streets within the city walls are all part of the charm – and not easy to drive around. One of the most well-known, the Street of the Knights, contains seven inns, each representing the Knights of St. John's original countries of origin.

To get some respite from the crowds, head just outside the medieval walls to the park that now lines the old moat. Walking under the shade of trees as you pass the imposing old town walls gives a completely different perspective to this once heavily-protected fortress.

Where to stay in Rhodes Old Town

With architectural stylings of the Crusaders and the Ottomans, Spirit Of The Knights Boutique Hotel is conveniently located within the old town walls. Naturally sourced materials add to the eco-friendly credentials of this beautifully designed hotel, and there’s a pool surrounded by greenery for cooling off on hot days.


For authentic local shopping, head to Savvas Sandals, the last traditional sandal-maker in Rhodes. The comfort of hand-measured and crafted footwear made in ethically sourced leather is unparalleled, and it’s a souvenir that helps to keep this tradition alive.

Boats and colourful houses at Symi Island, Greece.

Day 2: Symi Island (day trip)

Spend one of your days in Rhodes Town on a day trip to Symi Island. Take an organised tour, a 1.5-hour ferry, or the fast 50-minute catamaran to make the most of your time on the island. Upon arrival you will be greeted by the crystal clear waters of Ano Symi, the main town of the island, also known as Horio or Chorio.

The sunset-coloured houses of the town mean you could spend hours taking photos, enjoying the fresh seafood on offer, and hiking the 500 steps up to the viewpoint. You could also choose to spend the day relaxing at the beach at Nanou or Agia Marina, or hire a scooter to fully explore the island.

Day 3: Kalithea Springs (day trip)

Another easy day trip from Rhodes Town is the seaside spa and beach at Kalithea Springs. It’s another picture-perfect, pine-backed beach with clear waters and plenty of sea life amongst the rocks. It's a short drive from Rhodes Town or you can visit as part of a day cruise.

There is also Art Deco architecture to be found at the thermal baths built here during the Italian occupation. There is a small entrance fee to the beach, as well as a bar and café - sunbeds and snorkels are available to rent.

The white, sandy Tsambika Beach in Rhodes, Greece.

Day 4 detour: Tsambika Monastery and Beach

On the way to Lindos, stop at Tsambika Beach, a stretch of golden sand and clear blue water sheltered between rocky headlands. Tsambika is often considered one of the best beaches in Rhodes. Hire an umbrella and sun bed, get involved in one of the organised water sports, or simply relax with a drink or two at one of the beachside restaurants.

For views alone, Tsambika Monastery is worth a visit. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the bay below, you can see all the way to Lindos from this lofty elevation. Though the monastery isn’t big it remains popular as a pilgrimage for women who are trying to conceive – they make the journey barefoot to pray to the Virgin Mary.

Another spot not to miss nearby is the Valley of the Butterflies, a 600-acre nature park with trails that meander through gum trees and skirt past waterfalls. It’s best visited at the end of the wet season, around the month of May, to spot mating butterflies in their thousands.

Panoramic view of Lindos bay, village and Acropolis in Rhodes, Greece.

Day 4: Lindos (2 nights)

The white sugar cube houses of Lindos have been a draw for visitors throughout the centuries. Thought to be one of the oldest villages in Greece, Lindos was first documented in Homer’s ‘The Iliad’. It’s an idyllic place, with long evenings spent enjoying mezze in local tavernas.

But the peace and tranquillity can be shattered by the cruise ship crowds that arrive around midday. Instead, head to the heart-shaped St Paul's Bay to take in the stunning views of the area, go for a dip, and maybe even catch a Greek wedding - the spot is a popular place to get hitched among Greek tourists and locals. It is a little pricier than other beaches in Rhodes, but that often means it is quieter too.

Where to stay in Lindos

Located just below the Temple of Athena is the stunning Melenos Art Boutique Hotel. Highlights of this unique hotel are panoramic sea views from the terrace and air-conditioned rooms decorated with personal touches that are sympathetic to the local architecture. If you prefer to rent a holiday home in Lindos, Lindos Serenity Suites offers a sustainable option with stunning mountain views and a central location.

The Acropolis overlooking the sea in Lindos, Greece.

Day 5: The Acropolis of Lindos

On your last day in Rhodes, head to the ancient Greek ruins of the Acropolis of Lindos. Easily reached by foot from Lindos, the Acropolis sits on a steep cliff with far-reaching views out over the Aegean Sea.

Visit the Byzantine Chapel of John, explore the Hellenistic Stoa, and learn about the cult followings of the deity Athena. There are also the fortifications of the 14th-century Castle of the Knights of St. John on the lower level.

It can get extremely hot here in summer and there is little shade. Arrive early before the cruise ship queues, make sure to bring lots of water and cover up accordingly.

Planning a trip to Greece? Read our Greece travel guide

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Jo Williams

Author - Jo Williams

Jo Williams is a freelance writer with 10 years' experience working in travel and tourism. A Brit who got fed up with the 9 to 5 corporate life, she sold everything to become a full-time wanderer.

Jo has travelled to over 70 countries and worked throughout Europe for a major tour operator. She hopes to inspire you to work less and travel more.

Last Updated 4 September 2023

Chora village and the old harbour of Astypalea island in Greece


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