Rhodes is a remarkable island. The Old Town is a Unesco site – and in this post I will explain why.

Firstly, the walls. Their current shape dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. The main builders were the Knights of St John who then occupied the island. Not only is Rhodes a perfect walled city, with 14 gates, but the non-port side has a double moat for defensive purposes. (click on images to enlarge)

Inside the walls, many cultures have left their mark and there are plenty of viewpoints to admire them. From left to right: Ottoman, Greek and Catholic medieval.

What’s remarkable is that when you go out of the walls, you find the ‘New City’ adorned with the best Italian monumental architecture outside Italy itself. The Italians ruled the Dodecanese in the Interwar years and the Fascist party intended the New Town to be a “Foro Italico” celebrating Mussolini and granite-solid Fascism. (The islands became part of the Greek state in 1947.) Although the captions below give today’s building names, the original Italian buildings are from left to right: the Fascist HQ, the Teatro Puccini and the Naval Administration Building.

The palace of the Grand Masters of the Order of St John was redesigned by the Italians as a palace to Vittorio Emanuelle II and Mussolini himself. Neither visited the place, but the restoration which ripped Classical and Hellenistic mosaics from nearby Kos created a folly of such extraordinary proportions as to be unique.

Aa for the Rhodes Archeological museum, inside the old Knights’ Hospital: it’s one of Greece’s best. Here are a few of its treasures.

And finally, let’s not forget the people and the arts and crats in Rhodes town. The place may be touristy, but it has class.



Hotels: Niki’s Hotel 39 Sofokleous street, Old Town. Quiet, great roof garden, central.

Hotel Isoles 75 Evdoxou street, Old Town. Quiet, fab owners, great location.

Youth Hostel 12 Ergiou stret, Old Town +30 22429 30491. Cheap, clean, central and no dorms! (max four beds).


Niohori 29 I. Kazouli street +30 22410 35116, New Town. Less than €10 for grilled meats from their own butcher’s opposite.


Stoa 32 Menekelous street, Old Town (opposite the Turkish hammam). Where the local youth congregates.