The lovely Rhodes

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        Rhodes was the first Greek island I visited, and I can say it occupies a special place in my heart. We had originally planned to rent a car for a day, but at the end of that day we realized that this island has so much to offer that we need to continue the next day.

          The largest island in the Dodecanese group, Rhodes island lies between 350 and 360 lat. N and that’s why in July and August the air temperature is 26/27°C and the sea water is about 25°C. The west side of the island is at the Aegean Sea where, due to strong currents, the waves sweep daily the beaches with pebbles of all colors. I have noticed that on the west coast there are the most four-star hotels from the island, probably to compensate for this shortcoming. The eastern part of the island has very diverse beaches: some of them with golden or black sand, others with rocky cliffs. There are also long and wide beaches or small bays ideal for snorkeling or scuba diving.

         The beaches I liked the most are: Tsambika, Anthony Quinn, Lindos, Kalithea and Faliraki, all located on the east coast. At Ixia Beach, on the north-west, we admire a stunning sunset.

           I love Tsambika for the fine, gold sand, the incredibly clear water and the surrounding landscape, and Anthony Quinn beach for the wildness of the place. Anthony Quinn, the actor loved this island while he was acting in `The Guns of Navarone` movie. He unsuccessfully tried, according to `The Guardian` newspaper, to buy this cove (isolated at that time) to build a center for actors, producers and directors from the movie world.

       Kalithea beach has two parts: one used mostly for the locals and another one that is below the Baths used mostly by tourists. Kalithea Springs have been known since antiquity for their therapeutic properties. In Greek, Kali means „beautiful view” so it is worthwhile a visit. Both Anthony Quinn beach and Kalithea beach are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. We do scuba diving in Kalithea, the experience being amazing.

       Lindos is a bidder with fine sand, clear waters, taverns as well as the beautiful views of Lindos Acropolis (Athena Lindia Temple, St. John’s Knights Castle, etc.) whose visit is not to be missed. From here, a magnificent panorama opens to the idyllic St. Paul ‘s Bay.

       Faliraki is a cosmopolitan resort with a long and wide beach with golden, black and reddish sand. Here is also WaterPark. http://www.water-park.gr/

       The southern extremity of the island offers a spectacular geographic phenomenon. The Cape Prasonisi, due to the tide, becomes an island because the Agean and the Mediteranean seas cover a sand spit. We arrived at around 5 pm when the sea water covered a large part of the land that made access to the southern extremity of the island. However, we could see how parts of the land are swallowed by the sea. Here is the surfer`s paradise due to the strong winds. There are no facilities for sunbathing but it is an amazing spot to admire. Unfortunately, I saw people who were driving their cars or motorcycle on the sand, although there was a parking lot nearby.

       The island of Rhodes became known, in the ancient times, thanks to the trade activity. The city of Rhodes preserves the traces left by all of those who have conquered it along the time. The fortified walls built in the fourteenth century, during the time of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, the Turkish bath, the buildings from the Venetian domination and the narrow alleys give to this city its uniqueness. In 1988, the medieval city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In the north of the city you can see the difference between the western and eastern parts of the island: in the west the waves are omnipresent, while in the east the sea is tranquil. There is also a tiny and interesting aquarium near the beach of Rhodes.

     If you like history you can visit the archaeological sites from Ialysos, Kamiros and Lindos.

     The Butterfly Valley (Petaloúdes) is a natural reservation that protects a species of unique trees in Europe, called Liquidambar orientalis. It is also the natural habitat for millions of butterflies that can be admired from June until the end of August. We visited the island in September so we didn’t visit it.

     One afternoon we visited the Byzantine church of Tsambika, dedicated to the Virgin. To get to it, we have to climb 350 steps, the effort being rewarded by the stunning view over Tsambika Beach in the south and Kolymbia in the north. Every year, on the 7th and 8th of September there is a pilgrimage to Tsambika monastery. At the base of the stairs, where you can park your car, there is the ‘Panorama’ restaurant. Here we ate some of the best shells, whose recipe I experienced at home.

         The seven days spent in Rhodes were not enough to see everything this island can offer, so I’m gonna come back here.

 

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