Final Stop: Back to the Home Roots
*All Photos taken with my iPhone12*
Prior to Covid, there was a direct flight to Rhodes from Santorini, but Greece was not running one this year so we had an early flight to make a layover in the mainland before heading back to Rhodes. Both sides of my mom and dad’s families are from this island, just different villages! Rhodes is one of the furthest and largest east located islands in Greece. Turkey is even within sight at the airport. It was going to be a quick two days in Rhodes, but I was excited to be back since I have not gotten back to either family houses since 1999.
The family scooped us up and we were off to Stegna for a pit stop on the way to Gennadi where the family houses were. Stegna is a cute, small beach town on the east side of the island - great for shops, food and soaking up the sun. As you head further south, you will hit other big villages such as Lindos and then Gennadi, our final destination. Once we got home we opened up the house, put on our swim suits and headed down the hill to the local beach. Unlike most of the beaches we had been to in Greece this beach was made up of all different color stones/pebbles which gets extremely hot in the sun mid-day and would recommend sandals.
The next morning we stopped at the local bakery called, South Bakery for a morning Greek coffee and pastries to hit the road.
We were planning to drive over to St. Paul’s Bay in Lindos, a neighboring town, to soak in the sun and enjoy the views of the acropolis of Rhodes where the Temple of Athena is located. Once parked in Lindos you can walk up the hill to the Acropolis or down the ramp into St. Paul’s Bay, where there is a café, chairs and umbrellas to relax, small fishing boats, scuba charters and a small church even! Since our trip was winding down, we decided to opt for relaxing here most of the late afternoon. We enjoyed lunch, dipped in the water and had our afternoon Frappe (I know such a shocker at this point).
Following St. Paul's Bay, we decided to check out another beach on the far south side of the island called Prasonisi. This is known as the beach where the two seas (the windy rough Aegean and the calm Mediterranean) meet. Depending on the time of year, the sand creates a flat strip of land connecting the uninhabited island across from it (which wasn’t quite walkable when we were there). This beach can be quite windy and was very advantageous for those who like to kiteboard or surf and other water activities - as there was tons of places in which you could rent gear from.
Another cool thing to do (that doesn't involve a beach) is to check out Butterfly world up in the town of Petaloudes on the north east side of the island. We ended our night in the town of Apolakkia which is where my grandfather’s relatives are from. We had dinner and watched soccer since we had an early morning, heading back to my Aunt and Uncle’s in Old Town Rhodes (on the very north side of the island). Prior to that, we had one last stop at our other grandparents house to admire my Pappou's (Grandpa's) garden!
The main town in Rhodes is actually split in two and known as new town and old town. We arrived at the port and began to walk around to check out the architecture which a majority was built by the Italians in the World War and still remains in use to this day.
We met up with my cousin who took us to his sneaky local gyro place - which was another amazing gyro under 5 euros! Side note, authentic Greek gyros do not have lettuce in them and actually have French fries in them. One thing learned on this trip is we found that the cheaper gyros are almost always the better tasting ones. Following this, Danielle and I walked the stores and did some shopping of our own and finished getting our last souvenirs for the day. To finish up our last night in Greece we decided to grab a dinner with my aunt at Pane & Vino. A great wine bar and Italian spot located on the border of new and old town in Rhodes. The bruschetta pesto flat bread was to die for and the pasta was fresh! To end the night, we walked the old town as my aunt showed us around the castle, also known as the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. There is actually a whole village within the walls that still live here. The architecture was incredible - definitely something you could walk around for hours and soak in the history dating back to the medieval times. During the day this is a great spot where you can take a tour of the castle itself and learn all of the history. Along the cobble stone streets you can also find vendors playing music and selling small handmade goodies from the locals. As you come out the gates of old town on the other side, you can walk along the Marina where there are multiple windmills along with the famous deer that mark the entrance to the harbor on the east side. If you have time I would recommend spending a few days exploring the old town and seeing all it has to offer! With this, we ended our trip on an amazing night before we were back to Athens in the morning to head home to the states!
Biggest Rhodes Takeaway
If visiting Rhodes, definitely take the time to explore the old town and the city during the day. Also for those shoppers out there, Rhodes Town (near the port) has so much to offer!
Until Next Summer Greece!