The island of Rhodes has always been a memorable place. It combines everything that you need in a holiday island, beautiful beaches, idyllic scenery, exciting nightlife and large green spaces. Rhodes really does have something for everyone, even if you’re not captivated instantly by the World Heritage-listed old town with its medieval charm and winding cobbled streets then there’s always the spectacular mountain roads and almost untouched beauty of its rocky interiors.
Historically it is famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and is now becoming a popular destination for family holidays.
Here is a selection of some of the things on offer for everyone in the family including insider tips to help you get the most out of this fabulous Greek island.
Aqua Park, Faliraki
Kids will love this water park in Faliraki on the East coast of the island. It’s Europe’s largest water park and contains a big selection of exciting slides and rides for all ages. It’s built into a natural amphitheatre so has some fantastic views of nearby Faliraki Bay which can be enjoyed best on The Lazy River, a ride that all the family can enjoy. With spacious parking and a free bus transfer from the city centre and South side of the island it’s an absolute must day out on a family holiday to Rhodes.
Insider tip: If you want to avoid the crowds then Wednesday is one of its quietest days
Rhodes has some fantastic watersports on offer including sailing, waterskiing and windsurfing. You could get some sailing lessons for the entire family which will not only help to build confidence in and on the water but encourages team work and helps each member of the family stay active and healthy.
Insider tip: Head down to Mandraki marina, the old town port which used to be guarded by the Colossus of Rhodes and still retains that ancient mystique
For budding historians
Rhodes Old Town
One of the best preserved and most extensive medieval towns in Europe, Rhodes Old Town has been declared a World Heritage Site. It has many monuments and several museums which are well worth a visit. Try the Palace of the Grand Master, a palace built in the 14th century by the Knights of Rhodes or close by is The Street of Knights. This is a truly charming street where the knights had their lodges or inns. There are seven inns which represent the seven countries that the knights came from.
Insider tip: If you want to see everything the Old Town has to offer then plan for at least a day, maybe two and get yourself a good map
The Archaeological Museum
No trip to Rhodes is complete without visiting this excellent museum. First built as a hospital by the Knights of St. John (you can still see the wards upstairs) the building was finished in 1484 and is probably the most important monument in the city. The museum contains a vast array of Classical, Hellenistic and Roman sculpture including fascinating collections of tombs, vases, figurines and jewellery.
Insider tip: One of the most beautiful pieces in the museum is a marble statue ‘Aphrodite of Rhodes’ which is more than 2,000 years old, dating back to 100 BC
For nature lovers
Valley of Butterflies
On the Western side of the island is Petaloudes, otherwise known as the Valley of Butterflies. During August, thousands of butterflies flock to the valley in order to reproduce creating a spectacular array of colour. Even if you come out of the butterfly season the valley is still well worth a visit for a day out. It’s a lush green area with stunning waterfalls and an abundance of flora and fauna perfect for some great family photos.
Insider tip: It is prohibited to disturb the butterflies in any way e.g. hand clapping, whistling etc so if you’re taking small children be wary of them making too much noise
Lovingly sculpted by the locals before roman times, Rodini Park is a green and tranquil place ideal for getting away from it all. You can take a family rowing boat ride around the large stream that runs through the park or simply wander around enjoying the variety of flora and fauna such as peacocks, turtles, terrapins, ducks and swans. The Romans loved this park so much that they spent a lot of time and effort looking after it building a series of aqueducts that can still be seen today.
Insider tip: Adventurous, athletic types may want to take the short 10 minute walk from the centre of the park to the tomb of Ptolemies. Dug into the rock centuries ago this tomb dates back to the Hellenistic period.
Mark Warner has just announced a new Rhodes beach resort for 2012. Open from 19th May 2012, Levante Beach, Rhodes is a luxurious resort perfect for family holidays featuring all of the fantastic Mark Warner facilities, watersports, tennis and childcare to name a few.