Here at Travefy, we thrive off our user’s trip stories and this story is nonetheless amazing. Meet Joanna, who traveled to Greece and Italy on a three-week exploration through the world’s wonders. The first part of her trip diary is her travels through Greece. Stay tuned for her Italy diary next week.
When you think of Greece and Italy, you can’t help but think of turquoise beaches, an abundance of history and authentic incredible food. We planned our trip searching for just that!
Our planning journey began when my partner and I realized that this would be our biggest trip ever so we were set on making it exciting and memorable. With so many places to see, lots of family to visit and only three weeks to fit it all in, we knew we needed some help in keeping us organized. We did a bit of research and found that Travefy fit the bill. To make the trip that much more fun, we invited two of our very good friends to join!
Our journey began in Greece on the beautiful island of Rhodes. The island is located at the south eastern part of Greece in the Augean Sea. As soon as we landed and gathered our baggage, my amazing uncle was at the airport waiting to greet us. After a short visit with family and settling into our home for the next 11 days, we were off to explore Rhodes!
Our first stop was the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights located by our main harbor of Rhodes. There, we were spoiled with amazing view of the harbor and immediately found a place to grab a much needed bite to eat after our long journey from Toronto. In true Greek fashion, we ordered plates of small dishes to be shared between all of us. In Greece, they call this style of eating “mezethakia” (me-ze-da-kia).
What better way to start out trip than with a shot of ouzo of course! Ouzo is a traditional Greek liquor that can be found all over Greece and is usually consumed before, during with some water and ice, or after a meal for the taste to aid in digestion, or so they say!
And in true Greek tradition we always wish good health to our company when consuming liquor by saying “Stin egia mas!” (steen-ee-yah-mahs) which translates to “to our health!”. With our full Travefy itinerary to look forward to in the coming days, we called it an early night and made our way back to my family’s home.
During my childhood years, my father would take us to Rhodes for the entire summer break. We would alternate summers between staying home in New Jersey, where I am originally from, and going to Greece for the summer. Each year we went my father would take us all over the island and teach us what he knew. He would give us a better understanding of how he grew up and show us why he loved the island so much!
All of those years have paid off, as I have been able to remember the roads and where to go on the island quite well. With a few small reminders from my father and a road map to navigate the smaller roads, we were ready to visit the top 3 tourist spots in Rhodes!
Located on the southwest side in the middle of the island is the beautiful town of Lindos. Many people have coined this part of Rhodes as the most beautiful and must-see places of Rhodes. Situated at the top of a mountain sits the Acropolis of Lindos. The Acropolis of Lindos has been dated back as far as the Geometric times (9th c. BC). Some have said it existed during the Mycenaean times. The top of the Acropolis boasts breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and Lindos bay.
With lots of history to take in and beautiful views of crystal blue waters, this spot should be at the top of your list of things to do in Rhodes. Many parts of the Acropolis have been rebuilt to show what the Acropolis may have looked like before it had been destroyed from elements and war.
Tip: Bring swimwear and a towel so you can go to the bay after visiting the Acropolis. You will want to cool off after walking up all the stairs to get there.
After exploring the Acropolis and taking in the views, we began to make our way down to the beautiful white painted buildings in the city of Lindos. We found a great spot to eat called Ceasars Mediterranean Cuisine. The restaurant is placed under the top ten places to eat in Lindos on TripAdvisor. It’s truly a unique spot and my second time going with my husband. There is a rooftop terrace where guests can be seated that includes a pool where you can cool off as you wait for your dish to be served.
Monolinthos Castle and Kastelos Castle
These two castles are to be seen together as they are located on the east side of the island and can be seen in a day or less. Most tourists stay on the north and west side of the island, but these two castles are gems that are not to be missed! If you’re looking for an amazing place to take photos your friends and family will be drooling over when you get back, this is the spot to take them.
Monolinthos castle can be found on the east side of the island adjacent to the town of Lindos. Monolinthos castle was built as a lookout point in 1480 to protect the island from attacks. The views from this point of the island will simply take your breath away.
As you make your way down the castle towards a small area for parking you will find a sign that says “Fourni Beach”. Follow that sign all the way down the mountain until you reach a parking lot that is literally a dead end. Use caution driving up and down these roads. They are narrow and winding roads. There you will find a beautiful sandy beach where you can relax and cool off a bit from the sun and your small hike up and down Monolinthos castle.
All the way to the left side of this beach you will also find a sign that says “caves”. Carefully make your way up the mountain where you will find just that, caves!
At this point we were ready to make our way back to the road and go to the second and last castle of the day, Kritinia Castle. Kastellos Castle was built in 1471 and for the same reason Monolinthos castle was built, to protect the island and Kameiros Skala, a small village on the east side of the island, from invaders. It is located above the town of Kritinia. This castle became our very favourite part of the trip because we got there at just the right time to enjoy an absolutely stunning sunset!
After watching the sunset we decided it was time to make our way back to where we were staying. On the way there we decided to stop at a restaurant that is owned by my cousins fiancé. We didn’t have a hard time finding it as the road to get back to the town of town of Rhodes was the same road his restaurant was on. It’s in the town of Soroni and it’s before you see Diagoras airport. You’ll find it on your left side as you enter the town of Soroni. The restaurant is called Mesotrati and has authentic Greek food at a price that you just can’t beat. Well worth the stop on the way back!
The Palace of The Grand Master of the Knights
The palace is located right by the port of Rhodes. Inside the palace is a small town named “pallia poli” or “the old city” where people till this day still live and work. It’s full of restaurants and stores where you can just shop and relax. Inside the walls of the palace are many museums that can be explored as much as you’d like. The museums are well kept and continuously change to accommodate the thousands of tourist that visit it every year.
While in the old city make sure to grab a bite at Pita Fan one of the most talked about souvlaki gyro places on the island. It’s located right by the largest fountain on the castle grounds. You can ask a local how to get there by asking how to get to the main fountain in the old city. Pita fan is open late all throughout the summer months. You can find them open at 4:00 a.m. as they cater to the bar and club crowds as well.
Tips for Greece:
- If you plan on going in the hot summer months bring one large liter of water per person everywhere you go. The heat will dehydrate you so make sure you have water on hand before you go anywhere. If you can, freeze the water overnight. If you buy a cold bottle of water from a local store unfortunately it will be warm water within an hour of you being in the sun.
- Wear footwear that has a grip anywhere in Greece. Most of the grounds you will be walking on are stone which have become slippery over the years from wear and tear of people walking on them and weather. My husband and I wore Birkenstocks as the research we did suggested they would be the most comfortable and have a great grip.
- In addition to this, always wear 50+SPF. You can easily get burned and not even know it as the wind can create a cooling effect that keeps the stingy sun burn sensation from coming fast enough to realize you got sun burned. Protect your skin, always and reapply when necessary.
- The best place to go for a beach nearby the main town of Rhodes is Tsambika beach or Tammy beach in English. It’s a white sandy beach with clear waters with sun beds to rent.
- If it fits your budget, rent a car. The roads are not that complicated to navigate for the most part. As long as you are on a concrete road, avoid rock roads, and use caution you’ll be fine.
- Public transportation (bus and taxi) is reliable on the island so that is also a great alternative.
From the Author
Find out more about my interests and me by visiting my personal blog www.stylushlife.ca.