RHODES ISLAND TOUR
The Ancient City of Ialyssos
Ialysos (also known as Trianda), the birthplace of many Olympic Champions, featuring magical sunsets and an incredible tourist infrastructure, a cradle of civilization, a place of worship, sports and entertainment, was one of the three famous ancient cities of Rhodes. The first people having settled here were the Kares (a pre-Hellenic race), followed by the Phoenicians. This was the birthplace of Diagoras, the greatest Olympic champion of antiquity as well as of Timokreon, the celebrated poet. The area of the verdant hill Filerimos hosts the ruins of Ancient Ialysos – amongst them, what remains of the ancient Greek temple of Athena Polias. During the Byzantine Era, the hill was used as a natural fortress. A monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built here in the 13th century. During the rule of the Knights, the monastery passed into the hands of Catholic monks who expanded its facilities and lent the area great prestige. Today’s visitors may see the ruins of the ancient acropolis and monastery, in their restored version of the interwar period, upon an initiative by the Italian government and at a time when the island was under Italian Rule. The visitor’s steps follow the path of the Passion, with stations along the cypress-clad trail to bring to mind the Passion of Christ during his ascent to the Calvary.
The Ancient City of Kamiros
Kamiros was one of the three great ancient cities of Rhodes that reached its heyday in the 6th and 5th Century BC, thanks to its developed agricultural economy. The ruins of the city and neighbouring necropolis were uncovered in 1859 in what had over the centuries, become a wooded area. Its grand public buildings, the Agora, temples, private residences and the Acropolis at the hilltop, witness the glamour and wealth of ancient Kamiros. In the aftermath of the foundation of the City of Rhodes in 408 BC, Kamiros started to decline, although it remained inhabited until the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Kamiros was the home of the great poets Peisandros and Anaxandrides. It is a very important archaeological site, as the ancient village is preserved in excellent condition. The remains of the enclosure and the pavilion of a temple of the goddess Athena Kamirada were found in the acropolis of Kamiros. The city’s sewer system and a large water cistern have been preserved. Kamiros was built in tiers. Its houses belong to the Late Hellenistic and Roman times. Important findings from the area now adorn the collections of the British Museum and the Louvre, while only a few, such as the famous headstone of Krito and Timarista, from the end of the 5th century BC, are found in the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes.
Castles of Rhodes
Throughout the island of Rhodes, forts and castles designed to protect the inhabitants from enemy attacks are raised on sites considered strategic since antiquity. Above the bay of Haraki – today a small resort – the view is dominated by the ruins of the impregnable medieval castle of Faraklos, at the foot of which the remains of an ancient sugar mill, which operated until the era of the Knights’ Rule, was discovered. Near the village of Monolithos, the namesake castle is perched at the top of a huge steep rock, rising within short distance from the coast, offering stunning views. It was built by the Knights of the Order of St. John in the 14th century to control the sea passage and protect the residents from pirate raids. The sunset here is enchanting. The road from the castle leads to beautiful secluded beaches. The castle of Kritinia – also known as Kastellos – is a mixture of Byzantine and Medieval styles, its fortifications enclosing the ruins of the Christian church of St. Paul. During the Venetian rule, it was used as a dockyard. The castle of Asclepeion was built by the Grand Master Pierre d’Aubusson in 1479 at the site of the ancient beacon tower. The castle was used by the Knights and earlier by the Byzantines to protect the residents of the nearby villages with rectangular bastions and two strong towers.
Seven Springs (Epta Piges)
Seven Springs (Eptà Pigès) is a great place to escape from the heat of the summer and enjoy a magnificent natural scenery. It is a romantic destination surrounded by woodland and greenery. The distance from Rhodes is about 30 km. The seven bubbling springs generate water all year long, culminating in a small man-made lake that provides a natural habitat to tortoises, eels, crabs and a rare fish species called gizani that lives exclusively in the creeks of Rhodes.
The access to the lake is really popular with visitors and a tremendous experience. The combination of crystal-clear waters with pine and plate trees creates a peaceful scenery, offering the visitor relaxing moments. To get to the lake you have to walk through a very narrow dark tunnel 186 m long. The tunnel, constructed back in 1931, leads the water of the seven springs and river Loutanis to the lake. Almost at the middle of its length, there is a well, used as an air-shaft. Walking through the dark tunnel with your feet in the running water, is an eerie yet exciting and unforgettable experience that can be particularly refreshing. If you don’t fancy the trip through the tunnel, then you can simply follow a walking path to the lake.
The lake itself is about 200 m in length, 10 to 50 m wide and from 1 to 8 m deep and has a small cascade at its narrow end. It is used as a depository for the irrigation of Kolymbia region. It is the only place in Rhodes where visitors can enjoy a swim in fresh water. Surrounding the springs are beautiful cool pine trees and rich vegetation. There are many little rustic bridges and rivers, numerous footpaths and the area is known for the geese, ducks and peacocks wandering through the woods.
The Valley of the Butterflies is a natural park located at a distance of 23km from Rhodes Town. It belongs to a Natura 2000 protected zone and is the place where tiger moths gather in the summer.
A small river named Pelecanos flows down to a narrow valley ending with a waterfall that tumbles into a green pool. During the summer, visitors can observe a unique phenomenon that made the valley famous. Millions of moths gathered on the trees, in some cases covering entire tree trunks, resting for the night. Besides the butterflies, the valley is full of lush vegetation and rich fauna. Surrounded by huge rocks, century-old trees and the flowing crystalline water, a narrow pebbly pathway with wooden bridges will guide you through a scenery of rate beauty until you reach the top of the creek.
At the entrance to the valley, there is a small but interesting Natural History Museum where visitors can learn more about the valley and its unique ecosystem.
Kalithea Springs is at a distance of 8km from Rhodes town along the eastern coast of the island. Since the distant past, Kalithea was known for its thermal, therapeutic springs.
Today Kalithea Springs is considered as one of the most distinctive landmarks on the island of Rhodes. Although the spa is no longer in operation, this fabulous building and unique architectural monument, surrounded by palms and pine trees has been recently restored. The exotic vegetation combined with emerald waters of Kallithea’s cove match perfectly with this idyllic scenery of the surroundings and creates a stunning picturesque of beauty belonging to the past times.
Prassonisi’s sandy beach is a surfer’s paradise, it’s the place where everything is about the wind and the waves. Depending on the season, Prassonisi can transform from a peninsula to an island.
Only 92kms from Rhodes Town and just 40km from Lindos, Prassonisi is an impressive beach made of two sandy coves ending in an island that can be reached by walking or swimming, depending on the weather conditions and the sea level. However, Prassonisi is not an island all year, during summer, when the sea level drops, it turns into a peninsula attached to Rhodes, whilst in winter, with higher water levels Prassonisi becomes an island once again.
Waves on the right and calm sea to the left and an excellent location give Prassonisi a continuous strong and stable Meltimi wind that combines with a unique coastline.