Located in the Aegean Sea, just 18km from the coast of Turkey, the Greek island of Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands. Most of the island’s population lives in the town of Rhodes which is where most ferries and cruise ships arrive.
As your cruise ship approaches its berth in the port of Rhodes you will unknowingly pass by the spot which was once home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The enormous bronze statue known as the ‘Colossus of Rhodes’ was completed in 280 BC and stood at the entrance to the harbour. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 224 BC leaving no evidence of its existence to modern-day visitors.
But fear not, there’s still such a wealth of historic and cultural interest in the medieval city of Rhodes that it has long been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Your time in port will most likely be spent wandering the cobbled streets within the walls of the Old Town where you’ll find many historic buildings interspersed with cafés, restaurants and tourist shops. Time permitting you might even head out of town on a shore excursion to visit the Lindos Acropolis or to one of the beautiful beaches along the coast.
Port of Rhodes
Cruise ships dock at the commercial port in the north of the island which is ideally located within a short walk of the Old Town of Rhodes. Look out for the tourist information desk in the harbour where you can pick up a useful map detailing the town’s main attractions. Plenty taxis are on hand if you’d prefer to get a lift into the centre.
Rhodes Diagoras Airport
If you’re meeting your cruise ship in Rhodes or ending your itinerary here you’ll need transport to or from Diagoras International Airport which lies some 17km south-west of the cruise terminal following the main road along the west coast. The journey time by car is approximately 30 minutes or a little longer if you take one of the city buses via the town centre. Private transport to and from Rhodes Airport is available from Shuttledirect who can provide vehicles for all group sizes and cater for transfers to destinations all over the island.
Main Tourist Attractions
Palace of the Grand Masters: Dating back to the 7th century, this fortress became the Palace of the Grand Masters in the 14th century when the Knights Hospitaller occupied Rhodes. Today this formidable Gothic structure is the highlight of the city’s Old Town.
Museums: There are a number of excellent museums which you may well run into when wandering around the Old Town. Outstanding amongst them are the Archaeological Museum which is housed within the impressive Hospital of the Knights Hospitaller and the city’s Jewish Museum which is inside the beautiful Kahal Shalom synagogue. Another venue worth a visit is the Byzantine Museum which displays artwork from the 12th century within a former church.
Elli Beach: If you can’t bear the summer heat of the Old Town then you can take a short taxi ride from where your ship is docked to Elli Beach to the north. This is a popular spot with locals and visitors alike which often gets crowded during peak holiday times. Nevertheless it’s a great place to go for a dip and enjoy lunch at one of the nearby tavernas. On the way to the beach you’ll pass Mandraki Harbour which is a popular tourist area where it is believed that the Colossus of Rhodes once stood.
Insider Tip: Just across the street from Mandraki Harbour marks the beginning of the New Town where you’ll find a market area known as the ‘Nea Agora’. This is a good spot for lunch with plenty Greek specialities on offer. There’s also a selection of souvenir shops where you can pick up a memento of your visit to Rhodes. Favourite purchases include leather goods, lace items, jewellery and local food produce such as honey and olive oil.
Kallithea Springs: For something completely different jump in a taxi and head out to the therapeutic springs at Kallithea which lie just 10km south of the cruise terminal. Whilst there are references to these springs from the chronicles of Ancient Greece it is only in recent times that a major renovation has helped convert them into one of the area’s top attractions.
One Night in Rhodes
If your cruise itinerary doesn’t limit you to just a few hours in port you may be interested in heading out of Rhodes Town for a few hours. Popular excursions include the following:
Agathi Beach: Located some 38km south-east of Rhodes town, this secluded beach is a far cry from the busy Elli Beach. The 45 minute drive is well worth it just to discover one of the island’s most attractive beaches with its golden sand and crystal-clear waters. A small selection of typical Greek beach bars are options for a lunch break.
Lindos: Located 15km beyond Agathi Beach is the pretty town of Lindos which is the island’s most popular destination for short excursions. It is best known for its 4th century Acropolis which lies above the town overlooking the sea. Access on foot is very tiring so many visitors choose to climb the hill on one of the many donkeys which are available for hire. The views down to Saint Paul’s Bay below make the effort worthwhile. If you don’t get there early you’re likely to find the place mobbed by coach parties.
Back in the Old Town for your night in port you’ll find some lovely places to enjoy an evening meal featuring local cuisine. Recommendations include Tamam (1 Georgiou Leontos) which is a cosy venue which is popular with couples and Kathopoulis Family Restaurant (5-7 Themistokleous) which serves typical dishes on its outdoor terrace. Meat lovers should head for Stavlos (Tarps Springs 40) for superb (and enormous) steaks. For seafood you should head for Pizanias Kyriakos The Sea Star (24 Sofokleous) which is a family-run restaurant renowned amongst locals for its high-quality fish dishes.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the most established and respected airport transfer provider in Europe and northern Africa. Our friendly local drivers will ensure your safe, economical, and convenient passage to and from the cruise terminal, airport, or major train station of your choice with a minimum of fuss. Book your transfer with our easy to use online booking system and leave the rest up to us!