From what I have seen last summer (July 2009) - I would divide the Rhodes Town into 4 parts.
First 2 parts are located within the walls of the Old Town.
1st part is closer to the ferry terminal and is inhabited mostly by older local people and is not that frequent by the mass tourism. That is the part we were staying in and spending our nights.
If you proceed farther north from the ferry you will be surrounded by the souvenir stores and large groups of tourists which disappear during the night -that is the 2nd part.
The third part is behind the Old Town more to the North, This part is mostly few government buildings and lots of hotels, full of tourists, "little trains" that take them around and all that nonsense.
A 4th part is west of the 1st part, outside of the walls of the Old Town. That is where most of local people live in modern homes. That's where they have their supermarkets, offices, furniture stores, etc....
Unique Suggestions: We were staying in the 1st part of course.
It was quiet, nostalgic.
I was going on the morning to the local bakery, and local grocery store where no one spoke english (no tourists there - only old grandmothers gossiping :-).
At night we could dress up (or not) and go to few busy restaurants on the borderline of the 2nd part.
Our car was parked just outside of the walls (5 min walk) because you can't drive into the old town.
We liked that setting a lot.
Fun Alternatives: It would be nice to stay in some remote mountain village, but then we would not be able to stroll to various restaurants, or go for a romantic walk after dinner, when no one is out anymore.
During the day we were never in the Old Town, therefore we did not have to deal with any mass tourism. During the day we were going to the mountains, or to the wild beaches (located far away from any hotels). See my Rhodes Island page for details on our day trips.
MAP KEY (see photo):
Part1 - green - that is the best part of Rhodes Town
Part2 - red - go once, early evening, or go to the museums located there if you like. It is too quiet at night - no one there,
Part3 - yellow - AVOID THIS ONE!!!
Part4 - blue - good to go for a short stroll if is not to hot, or drive through to see how modern greeks live.
Rhodes city turkish baths (hamam) are an interesting piece of islamic architecture, well worth a visit. Buy the 5euro ticket for bath use only and save yourself the massage fee for an unprofessional mock -massage a local would never pay for! Don't be fooled by "spontaneous" comments by "customers" who highly reccomend that you take the massage.
Bring your own towel and soap.
The Rhodos old town is very charming and attractive place to tourists. Most people go there for a visit when the sun is going down. The Rhodos old town is quite big in size, so naturally people get tired after walking on narrow streets or after long sunny day and they sit down for a drink in a cafe. You sit down and ask for a beer, finish it and ask for a bill and here it comes: 5 to 7 euros for beer, more for Bacardi Breezers. We personally paid 14 euros for big local Mythos beer and a regular bottle of Bacardi breezer.
Unique Suggestions: We recommend you to take your own soft drink while you are experiencing beauty of the old town and if you really feel like sitting somewhere for a short break, ask for the prices first.
You will loose a whole afternoon of your holiday if you fall for this trap.
We were approached by a man offering us a scratch card. The gate by the taxi rank at Mandraki is there favourite place.
How lucky were we, we'd got a match!
In his excitement, he went on to say how he would recieve a bonus for having the card in his bundle. To claim our prize a pre paid retunr taxi which would take us to Trianda and his associated offices. He fills you with information about being linked to the Greek goverment etc, and makes you think it's all above board.
You are taken to a hotel and shown around, being fed information. Now knowing it's going to cost the girl refuses to talk cost.
The hard sell finally comes ending in a cost of £5,000.00!
In hindsight we should have known that it would be related to a kind of timeshare but we'd never been approached before.
I was absolutely furious, we had lost a whole afternoon of our holiday.
With one daughter in tears, the other with painful eczema due to being out to long, and a wasted afternoon I left in tears. How could this have happened to us?
I tried very hard not to let this bad experience ruin our holiday, but it hung over me for a very long time. Even returning the next year it made my stomach turn to think I'd been so stupid.
As my husband said. it's that old adage of if it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is.
We have since returned to Rodos twice every year as we have an ongoing romance with the island. They still pounce on unassuming travellers, and I can't help warning people off as we pass. They make a bee line for families with pushchairs and the elderly.
If the time I spent writing this helps just one person say no to these timewasting people then I will be happy.
Unique Suggestions: If you are approached, keep walking whilst saying your not interested. I've seen them be very persistent so don't stop for a second.
I've since seen programmes on the tv and they are taught how to chase you down and get you hooked, so be strong and positive.
I think this place is Ok if you are an Archaelogical student. Its dusty, on the side of a mountain, and in my opinion a waste of money. The 4 Euros we paid to get in were not worth it. I would have been better spending it on a bottle of water. Its virtually a city that is destroyed and all thats left is the shell of the city 1 metre high.
Unique Suggestions: Walk right to the top. Look out at the view. Remember to take water.
Fun Alternatives: Go to the butterfly farm, then into Psinthos for a lunch in the square. Theres not a lot in the square only a few restaurants, but it feels like you are part of the culture, and you get little "touches" like a free orange after your meal.
OK we all know that the touristic places charge the highest prices.....but its just lovely sitting in the main square of the old town when its hot , with an ice cold fruit cocktail the waiter suggests to you...of course it will probably be the most expensive drink on the menu...
Unique Suggestions: so before you drink it make the most of it, put on a big smile with you VT cap and t-shirt and have someone take your pic with it and hey presto its a brand new VT holiday passport pic ;-)
You will find a bunch of seemingly nice cafes in the harbour, but beware: if you are there out of season, there WILL be a bouncer to throw you IN the cafes, rather than out. And it is not very cheap.
Unique Suggestions: If you are in the cafe, be sure at least to order something... cakes can be really tasty even.
Fun Alternatives: just go to another side of the street, shouldn't be that difficult;)
Rodini Park was one of the "must see" things in most of our guide books. I have to say that we found it a huge dissapointment. True, it offers shady wooded walks, and there is a small stream with ducks on it, but there's nothing much else there. It seemed a bit neglected, and indeed we saw only a couple of other people there while we were there. There is also supposed to be a small "children's zoo". We didn't see this - it looked like it was closed, and the smell coming from that area was disgusting.
Unique Suggestions: Take a look around the surrounding area. The churches, shops, cafes and houses of the locals are nice to see. Tourism isn't really catered for up here away from the centre, and signs & menues are usually in greek only. The people can still (usually) speak English though, so you can still manage in the cafes. We found a lovely one nearby.
Fun Alternatives: Go to Monte Smith - it was nice up there - great views, interesting history and a good place for a picnic.