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Known by tourists for its busy beaches and glorious sunshine, we'll help you bypass the chaos and discover the hidden gems of Rhodes

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This is a Student Travel Writer 2018 competition entry


Within the world of travelling, it feels as though every inch of Earth has been explored, recorded and uploaded to Instagram. Over the years we have seen the fall of cultural hubs like Benidorm and we may potentially be seeing the demise of Venice at the hands of over tourism. It therefore begs the question, where on earth is there left for travellers to explore with little interference from other tourists? The answer is simple, Rhodes.

 

Hidden in the deep blue vastness of the Mediterranean, the Greek island of Rhodes is one of the most cultural spots in all of Europe. People from all around the world visit to see a city centre so historical that is protected by the title of a UNESCO World Heritage site, miles and miles of stunning coast line and to stick their forks into the mouth-watering world-famous cuisine. With that in mind, there are so many hidden gems to be found in Rhodes, with this guide helping you to uncover those best kept secrets.

The best time to visit is in May; the mid-summer months of July and August should be avoided at all costs. Rhodes in May will cut out the endless drones of tourists, leaving you with a handful of sun chasers, the locals, and with temperatures known to soar over 20°.

It may be obvious to some but avoiding any resorts should also be considered. Resorts are often far away from cultural hubs and cut out any of the local experiences that being closer to town will offer. Instead, you should stay in the city of Rhodes, as close as possible to the Old Town. Whether you opt for a hostel or a hotel, the city of Rhodes will place you in the perfect spot to partake in the best cultural experiences the island has to offer.

The city of Rhodes is home to the Old Town, the cultural hub of the entire island and a UNESCO world heritage site. The odd blend of modern and historical is one of the most bizarre experiences in all of Greece. An experience that offers visitors the chance to shop and dine within the towering walls of the old fortress and Palace.

The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes epitomises a city bursting at the seams with a rich culture and deep history. The Palace is one of the only standing buildings in the world that exemplifys traditional gothic Grecian architecture. With the entire city built around the Palace, it is no wonder this style spills through the streets and enriches the local atmosphere.

Strolling through the little cobbled alleys is like strolling through an art museum, its architecture is worthy of the trip alone. But visitors be warned, you must always keep an eye out for locals on mopeds who tend to zoom past tourists and locals alike, without a care in the world.

The Old Town is a melting pot of traditional Grecian architecture and strong Islamic features. The most notable is the Suleymaniye Mosque, towering above the community below. Being built during the Ottoman invasion centuries ago, the building is the perfect fusion of the two civilisations, a blend that is echoed around the island.

In what is one of the most satisfying features of the town, the majority of shops are not flogging cheap knickknacks that can be found anywhere else in Rhodes. The ever-winding cobbled streets are lined with plenty of local businesses, selling everything from ancient Greek relics, to high end jewellery, feeling less of a tourist hotspot and more of a genuine community.

Every turn you make and every alley you venture down will undoubtedly be home to a traditional Greek restaurant. You cannot escape the smells of freshly baked pitta bread, home-made tzatziki and fish that has been caught that same day. It is nearly impossible to avoid eating on a roof terrace, which is just as well, as this is one of the best ways to take in the local atmosphere of the hubbub below.

Roof top terraces may be a great way to get first hand experience of local life, but it is not the best way to try quality local food, with the terraced restaurants catering more to the tourist trade than to food lovers. The best restaurants are to be found hidden in the back streets: like all good things, you must search a little harder for them.

Dinoris Fish restaurant is located in the eastern part of the Old Town and is one of the best meals to be had in all of Rhodes. Not only is the traditional Greek menu delicious and caters to all, the family run restaurant will greet you as if you’re an old friend as well as demonstrating an excellent knowledge of local wines and delicacies.

Upon first glance, it may appear that Rhodes Town is the only attraction to the entire island, but this is a misguided opinion as there are many other ports of call that deserve to be visited. With frequent boat trips leaving the harbour in Rhodes Town, there are plenty of opportunities to visit other parts of the island, without having to dedicate your entire stay there, the seaside town of Lindos being a prime example.

Upon arriving in Lindos, the first thing you will see is a towering cliff edge covered with pristine white buildings. Lindos lays on a white sandy beach overlooking a restful bay with crystal clear waters, the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Rhodes Town and to relax in the glorious Grecian sun.

At the very top of the hill lies the old acropolis, having stood watch of the town for centuries. You will be offered the opportunity to ride atop a donkey to reach the historic site, but by doing this you will miss Lindos’ beautiful hidden gems such as incredible vantage points and tiny churches built into the hillside.  

With summer months bringing scorching heat and endless drones of tourists, the best of Rhodes is often left ignored. With this guide passing on its knowledge of hidden gems and local advice, you are now in the best position to explore Rhodes like a local.


In order to provide no entrant with an unfair advantage, Student Travel Writer 2018 competition entries are edited for grammar only - stylistic choices and headlines are solely the work of the writer in question and not of The National Student's editorial staff.           

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