RHODES INSIDE GUIDE (a few of my favourite things)

The biggest island in the Dodecanese, Rhodes has superb beaches, a relaxed café culture, pine-covered hills and valleys of fruit and olive trees. In the sunny southeastern Aegean, so far from the Greek mainland that the mountains of Turkey appear a stone’s throw away, the capital at the tip of the island is circled by deep blue sea and its Old Town has medieval walls built by crusaders, tumbledown classical remains and alleys overhung with bougainvillaea. Here are a few of my favourite things.
(Wrote this for a magazine but they couldn’t use it; so I thought I’d post it here. Big thanks to Anna for her help!)

Kafeneion I Agora

As it’s stuck between the buses and excursion boats taking people off to resorts for the day, finding this hidden taverna means running the gauntlet of the touts luring in visitors to trashy eateries with 2-euro beers. But classy Kafeneion I Agora opened up to reclaim the New Market area for locals, and it gets packed to the gills with Greeks, especially on live music nights. Find a seat at the bar and watch the lively open kitchen produce simple food with a modern twist: squid ink risotto, stuffed vine leaves.
New Market, Mandraki Harbour. Open for lunch and dinner all year round; live music on Tuesdays and Saturdays in summer.




For nightlife in Rhodes town, nothing beats Fuego – as you’ll see from the packed alleys all around the courtyard where the DJ spins the year’s Greek and European favourites. Locals love to see and be seen from 11p.m. onwards at open air music bars from Soho to Apenanti to the newly opened Apple (where I took most of these photos), while Legends Rock Bar caters to a less mainstream crowd. Avoid the Old Town’s daytime crowds and meander its transformed backstreets from dusk. There’s no entry fee so grab a mojito and join the outdoor party. Just make sure you can find your way home…
Fuego: 4 Evripidou Street, Old Town. Start at Ippokratous Square and wander away from the sea. Friday and Saturday all year; nightly July and August. Legends open nightly all year. http://www.rodosnightlife.com/fuego-plus-music-bar




Papakonstandis Mansion, Lindos

Assuming you’ve already taken in the superb Archaeological Museum and the Palace of the Grand Masters, Papakonstandis Mansion dating from 1626 is an example of culture unique to Rhodes. In spectacular Lindos village, an hour’s drive from Rhodes town, dodge the donkeys taking tourists up to the Acropolis and the increasingly popular weddings at St Paul’s bay. Lindos was famous for seafaring from pre-Classical Greece to Ottoman Turk days, and its Captains’ houses have pebble-mosaic courtyards hidden behind thick walls for cool privacy, and décor reflecting the East-meets-West culture in Byzantine, Knights Hospitaller and Arabesque designs.
Lindos town; information tel: 22440-31613. Open year round but call for hours.



Late afternoon, Filerimos

Spend the morning or afternoon in pine forest at Filerimos (10km from Rhodes town). At the top is a monastery frequented by peacocks.
Filerimos Hill, near Trianda (Ialysos); monastery open from 8 am to 8 pm Tuesday to Friday and 8.30 am to 3pm Saturday to Monday. Bus 13 (Ixia/Ialysos) leaves from the New Market regularly.


Day Trip (or a lifetime...)

Take a trip to an island known for tranquillity: Tilos, less than two hours away, with a permanent population of 400 but considerably more goats. The ferry will drop you at the port of Livadia; at beaches around the island you can swim in crystal clear water and lunch on local fish. A few miles away is the island’s spectacularly located monastery, once a temple to Poseidon; and in the pretty whitewashed village of Megalo Horio, a museum of the dwarf elephants whose bones were found in a nearby cave.
Tilos: www.tilos.gr. Ferry schedules at www.tilos-travel.com. Tickets arranged through agents near the port in Rhodes town; check early as a day trip isn’t available every day, though overnight accommodation is plentiful.


Marika’s Dream


Shopping in Rhodes Old Town

Halfway down the alley of Agiou Fanouriou off the pedestrian street of Sokratous is Marika’s Dream Folk Art Creations, with a fantastical collection of hand-made blown glass lamps and goblets for candles. Shop for a one-of-a-kind gift created by two brothers (one in Rhodes and one in Crete), selling their craftsmanship on this spot for over fifteen years. The bronze is made from fired sand with Greek designs, and the bubbly cracked-glass effects, subtle colours and swirling shapes are magical – as international comments agree in the visitors’ book.
Agiou Fanouriou 16, Old Town. Tel: 0030-22410-25425 www.blown-glass-rhodes.com


  1. Looking for somewhere to eat in Rhodes Town, waiting for the ferry to tranquil Tilos. Try a taverna called Indigo. This is situated in the main town by the ancient toilet block. Your host give every appearance of being a tramp earning his next drink. I can see your mouth watering at the prospect. Be not deceived, if you want authentic Greek cuisine enter and enjoy the experience, the food is exquisite. This is an oasis in the general festering dross that represents the vast majority of tavernas in this area.

    For meat eaters, people that enjoy food. Once you arrive on Tilos seek out a man known as Bush (he spent some time in America)real name Pandelis. This man cooks meat better than any I have ever experienced. The chicken, pork and liver are succulent, tender, delectable, you will not find better. The taverna, I have, forgotten the name, is situated about 10 minutes from the harbour opposite the sea, you will see him preparing his meat on the grill. Saviour and enjoy.

    1. Both great suggestions - many thanks! I spent a very happy afternoon at Indigo a few years ago - it's where I started writing about Tilos in fact! And Pandelis' place in Livadia, Tilos, is called Oneiro or Dream.

  2. Hi Jennifer, your book cover looks fabulous. However the blog is hard to read because of the combination of your font colour and background wallpaper. Apart from that a very enjoyable read for those of us who can only make it to Tilos once a year for a couple of weeks. Please just don't make this piece of paradise too well known :-)Had 3 meals at Oneiro/Dream in August. On last visits we had somehow missed it but next time it will be the first stop - the food was superb.

    1. Hi Daniel,
      Glad you like the book cover - that is great to hear! I think the designer may have got it just right. And thanks for mentioning the problems with readability of the blog - no-one's ever mentioned that before but I'd hate to put readers off because of a simple technical problem, so I'll look into it. I know what you mean about not making Tilos too well known - I'd hate it to change (in my book I try to say that everyone must find their own perfect island...). Though the locals wouldn't mind a few more tourists, of course. In these days of economic crisis, Tilos is so lucky to have its regular visitors.
      Am pleased to hear the food is still excellent at Oneiro; my favourite place is Omonia but we actually failed to get a table three times this summer as they were so busy!
      Thanks again for the message...
      All best wishes,