Arriving in Rhodes, we hopped off the ship and made our way immediately into the medieval old-town, marked out by tall castle walls. You can see the main entrance from the boat, so it’s a very short walk. Plus, you barely need to step beyond the entrance to feel entrenched in the beauty of the ancient city, so if you’re not up for too much up-hill walking, you can pick a cafe just within the entrance and soak up the sights and sounds around you.
As is becoming a bit of a trend, this was another city we decided to tour on foot.
We began inside the old town walls, stepping over cobbled paving, through darkened archways and past hidden delights, including rare glimpses of vibrant, lush greenery that almost looked out of place against the dry, pale stone city.
Frustratingly, whenever we found ourselves in any of the large courtyards we could barely move between the crowds; but fortunately we found that stepping into the back roads and side streets we were able to find cooler spots with a little calm. Here, we slowed down our pace and soaked up the beauty around us.
Tour guide Clem then took us to the Roloi Clock Tower, where if you pay to enter you’ll enjoy sights over much of the town, and they’ll throw in a free drink for the price too. After this we continued to the heavily restored, castle-like Palace of the Grand Master. We were offered a tour inside; but the place was (as we noticed was becoming a theme…) absolutely heaving with tourists, so we decided to pass, just enjoying the beautiful views from the courtyard.
One thing Clem and I have discovered during this trip is how much we intensely dislike the combination of crowds and being hassled. The longer we spent in Rhodes Old Town, the more the hoards of tourists grew and the more we were cat-called and shouted out to. In the heat of the midday sun it all got a little much so despite some great restaurant recommendations near the centre, we took ourselves a little further back from the masses to another fantastic recommendation; Kathopoulis Family Restaurant. I found myself in quite a pickle when I spotted most of my favourite cheeses; and went absolutely overboard on my order which included baked feta, grilled halloumi and an oven-baked local cheese wrapped in pastry. All the major food groups: check.
Having indulged way too much in the good stuff, it was time to get moving again. We made our way beyond the city walls to head to the harbour area; treating ourselves to trinkets and local speciality items (sponges, jewellery etc) along our way.
The harbour sits just outside the main city and although our ship once again dominated much of the horizon, this was probably the most peaceful area with the clearest water beneath the gently rocking boats.
As we rounded the bend to the other side of the harbour (towards Elli beach) we got bombarded once again with offers for boat trips, snorkelling tours etc. We found this, again, a little manic, but thinking back, had we started our day here we would definitely had time to choose one and head off on a boat day-trip or fit in some snorkelling before returning to Rhodes in time for the cruise.
On this occasion, without the benefit of hindsight, we instead found gaps in the crowd to glimpse out to sea at where we’d like to have been!
Overall we found Rhodes incredibly hectic and busy, but have been told that the best way to enjoy it is to stay further afield (Lindos etc) and visit Rhodes just for an afternoon or evening. Celebrity Cruises offer excursions to Lindos which I think would be a quieter way to enjoy the island.
There were also snorkelling trips and beach breaks as options, which, in hindsight would have been great options because the town is SO close to the disembarkation point that I’m certain you could fit in a quick walk of the city afterwards when it would have quietened down a little bit.