Greek holiday
March 6, 2016 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to Rhodes, Greece in a couple of weeks. I've never been to Greece, much less Rhodes. Anything I should see/do/eat/buy whilst I'm there? Most of the information I've found on places like Trip Advisor is a few years old. I'm staying in a flat in the Old Town, if it makes a difference.

I'm going alone as a 30-something woman. Since it's off-season, I'm hoping to do a lot of relaxing, reading, and drinking wine in the sun in my week there. However, I also want to see the sights and eat good food. Any recommendations from those who have been before?
posted by toerinishuman to Travel & Transportation around Rhodes, Greece (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Rhodes is amazing but it's been about 8 years, and don't know how the Syrian crisis has affected things, so I can't really help you with too many specifics. Get to bed early because kids start up their mopeds and motorcycles early in the morning and the stone walls really reverberate (not a deal breaker though). Avoid the places on the main plaza: not great food and they seriously overcharge. What's nice it that there's a bunch of restaurants to try within a very small location, so you'll find something good, for sure. Great coffee shops further back in town and a nice rooftop one, Marco Polo might be it. If you take a bus down the coast to Gennadi, Effies Dreams Holiday Studios was good pace to overnight. Any of the coastal forts are worth a visit.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:37 AM on March 6, 2016

I went to a different Greek island last year for my first ever trip to Greece and had at least one meal each day that I prepared in my room and was basically just fresh feta and local tomatoes. Mmm. Maybe fresh bread and local honey afterwards. Amazing.
posted by penguin pie at 1:37 PM on March 6, 2016

We went last June. We spent a lot of time swimming, reading and eating, and thoroughly enjoyed it. We rented a car one day, though, and went to the Lindos Acropolis and Antony Quinn Bay, among other places. These two were particular highlights of that day. The old town itself was also lovely.

There are lots of companies and people offering coach or boat tours to the main tourist spots, but for two of us it cost about the same to go in our own car, and that gave us much more freedom and flexibility. For one person, it would be more expensive to hire a car than to go with a group, but still maybe only €30 or €40 for the day.

The Lindos Acropolis gets very busy, so it's worthwhile to try to get there early in the day, before the big groups arrive. And wandering around the town of Lindos was really great, too.

The sun in Rhodes is really intense. I was glad of this, but it is worth noting.

Feel free to MeMail me if you want to know more about where we went.
posted by sueinnyc at 4:11 PM on March 6, 2016

I spent all of March on Rhodes last year, with my 11-year-old daughter. It was wonderful. We got there the first of March and were the only two non-natives. The next week there were three others. The week after that, probably 30 tourists. The final day, a cruise ship pulled in and the whole island changed, especially Rhodes town.

We rented a traditional apartment in Malonas, a small town, and drove a rental car everywhere. Driving is super easy there (if you can drive a stick).

We loved Lindos, especially the Acropolis -- went back several times. We loved being alone on the beaches, although they're filthy this time of year, because they haven't been cleaned for the season yet. There weren't any Greeks on the beaches or in the water; they thought we were nuts swimming the first week in March.

We loved the wild northern side of the island, especially Kamiros (amazing ruins), Kritinia Castle (also ruins) and the mountain roads along the coast and across the center of the island. There are lovely little towns, gorgeous landscapes, wonderful people.

Within Rhodes city, the archaeology museum was the best. We returned several times. The waterfront is beautiful. Take the tour on the walls, as they're incredibly interesting. We didn't take the tour, because I never take tours, but I still wish we'd taken this one.

We took a ferry on a day trip to Simi, which is magical. We walked and walked, climbed and climbed. It was COLD despite being brightly sunny. We tried to go to Turkey, but no ferries go there anymore. I think it's because the loading/unloading process is so chaotic it would be very hard to prevent refugees from getting on/off.

We saw no refugees at all, although I had a long conversation with a bookstore owner in Simi who said the government is very stretched, can't provide the shelter they need, stuffs them all in a huge prison room with no bathroom for a few days until Athens can arrange for their transport to some place else in Greece. She collects supplies for them.

Meals at tiny roadside restaurants were the best. Meals at food trucks were meh. Meals in expensive restaurants in Rhodes were expensive and not especially better. Wine was undrinkable, but I found a wine store in the old town with a glass floor that sells French wine, which saved me from madness.

I always pack a small picnic set: plate, bowl, glass, silverware, corkscrew, paring knife, napkin. I bought a table cloth there to use as a beach blanket, and we had many wonderful picnics all over Rhodes — on the beach, in the woods, in the city. Bread and cheese are wonderful. Our flat had a rooftop deck that we practically lived on. However there was also a lot of rain. Bring a raincoat and a warm sweater. We were quite cold some days, almost hot others. It was more cold than hot, but on a rooftop deck the sun could be so concentrated it was like an oven.

Very few people spoke any English outside of Rhodes city, so having learned a little Greek was immensely helpful. Ditto learning how to read the letters, counting, recognizing words like Women and Ladies, Open/Closed, etc. Yes and No are odd: Yes is neh, and accompanied by a shake of the head. It totally feels like they're saying No.

Any time we could, we made friends, and even when we shared no languages, it was easy. The only down side of this is that once we were friends (which could happen in, like, 30 seconds) many business owners refused to let us pay. For example, we stopped at a wine tasting stand where three men were standing at the counter. It turned out to be closed, and they were just friends with the owner who was there to check on things. They were all having a glass of wine. Because I walked up and said Hello in Greek, we were now friends, and was poured a glass of wine. And then several more. And they would not let me pay because now we were friends. In stores, almost every purchase is followed by a gift. In a grocery store chain, once, that gift was a case of Pepsi. (I don't drink soda, so this was odd.) This was in a big chain store in a large suburb of Athens, so it wasn't like we were potentially long-term customers. We were just random people buying a lot of groceries. Another time we had dinner at a restaurant on an island where we'd sailed, and the next morning I was having coffee at a different restaurant down the beach. Our waiter from the night before paid for my coffee as he passed, even though he knew we were sailing out that morning. The Greeks are just surprisingly generous, friendly, and kind. I was never at a loss for friends there, never felt in any danger (except from natural things, like falling off a cliff), never felt like a stranger. This kind of automatic friendship only rarely happened in Rhodes, only in the little villages, and I'm guessing it wouldn't be so easy once the cruise ships dock. But really, I could tell a dozen stories like these, in a variety of very differing circumstances.

Bathrooms are the worst. We spent the whole month seeking out the trifecta: a door that closes securely, a toilet seat, TP. Bonus points if the TP could be flushed. We almost never found that. (Okay, that's not the worst. There aren't pit toilets with vipers. That's worse.)

I loved Rhodes. Feel free to contact me if you want more, but I'm guessing you'll do just fine wandering around on your own. Having a car will open the whole island to you, which is so beautiful and varied. Please, please drive across the island through the mountains. I miss doing that, and it will make me happy to think you're there for me.
posted by Capri at 6:19 PM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

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