The largest island of the Dodecanese, rising just 11 miles off the coast of Turkey, stretches like a leaning lozenge from north to south.
The capital, Rhodes Town, and most hotel infrastructure lie at the northern tip; the forested, mountainous interior is sparsely populated, while the southern coast is more pristine and uncrowded.
Rhodes Town is divided into the medieval Old Town – a UNESCO Heritage site – and Niohori (New Town) which was the focus of the Italian colonial administration and sports some astonishing architecture.
The key hubs of the island are:
A UNESCO World Heritage site and the best walled medieval town in Greece, Rhodes Old Town is pock-marked by monuments built by the Knights of St. John who ruled the island for 200 years after the Crusades.
Visitors enter this time bubble through the moated gates of St Amboise, St Athanasios or St John, ambling along the cobbled Street of Knights full of 15th- and 16th-century buildings, and marvel at the superbly preserved Knights Hospital.
The northern part of Rhodes Town was partly rebuilt by the Italians, during their post-World War I occupation, in a colonial style that merges the sensuality of Orientalism with the flamboyance of late period Mussolini.
As Rhodes Town was supposed to become the capital of a Fascist Mediterranean Empire, it’s awash with grandiose constructions. The Town Hall, The Municipal theatre, the Casino, the New Market , the University and the Post Office are all visually stunning and stylishly unique.
Whitewashed, donkey-ridden and narrow-laned, this Rhodian village could have just been plucked out of the Cyclades and magically transported below the acropolis. Dignified mansions overlook the streets and finely frescoed churches crown the cul-de-sacs, for trading Lindians survived passing invaders and prospered throughout their history.
Although not as spectacular as Lindos, Kameiros was abandoned early and, lying in the windswept north-western coast, was not recolonised, leaving for posterity a well-laid out ancient town with a cistern and a water network, an open square, villas with coloured plastered interiors, and much more.