This article is about the island of Rhodes. For the city of the same name, capitol of the island, see the seperate article Rhodes.
Rhodes is the largest Greek island of the Dodecanese group of the South Aegean Islands of Greece. It is known for the Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, which was sadly destroyed.
Rhodes is a major tourist attraction for the seekers of sunny beaches. While many of its beaches are gravel, not sand; the island can boast 300+ sun days in a year. Tourism plays a large part in the island's economy. And estimated 80% of the island's revenue results from tourism. As a result, you will stumble into tourists and hotels and beaches full of deck chairs for rent, into shops and restaurants that cater to these tourists. It can be overwhelming at times. If this bothers you, Rhodes is probably not for you. Still, there are some areas where mass tourism has not yet penetrated too much. And there are advantages, too: Travel to and accomodation on Rhodes itself can be purchased for relatively low prices, and most of the locals speak at least English and German and often some other languages.
The local tourist information office for the Dodecanese Islands is located in Rhodes city at Makariou & Papagou Corner. Telephone 22410 44335-6, Fax 22410 26955.
Greek is the native language of the people of Rhodes. However, most people also speak a passable English and many speak German or other European languages.
You can get to Rhodes via a ferry from any nearby island, or from Turkey. However, this is quite unlikely unless you are a local - most tourists, by far, arrive via airplane. The only exception may be cruises, in which case the arrival will have been taken care of for you by the cruise operators.
The island's only airport is Diagoras International Airport with the 3 letter code RHO. There are regular flights from and to Athens; charter airlines connect Rhodes with many major cities all over Europe.
Public busses operate throughout the islands. Depending on the destination, they will depart several times a day. Line 21, which serves the large hotesl on Rhodes' east coast with Faliraki as the final destination, will depart in Rhodes city almost every half-hour. The main bus terminal in Rhodes city is the Neá Agorá, the New Market, where you will also find booths selling tickets. Schedules are also displayed here. The price of a bus ticket will depend on the destination, naturally. For example, a trip from Rhodes city to Faliraki will cost 1.70 Euros.
Tickets can also be bought in the bus. Most busses have a dedicated cashier, who will also gesture you in which door of the bus to enter, especially if the bus is very crowded. If there is no cashier, you pay at the driver's.
Keep your ticket until the end of your voyage.
Bus stops on the road are marked by a sign and usually have a small open roofed area to protect against the sun. Many only have these on one side of the road; do not hesitate to signal a bus driver that you wish to board. Bus stops do not have the timetables displayed. A Rhodes' bus will depart its originating city at a fixed time (the time on the timetable). It is up to the passengers to calculate how long it will take the bus to get from there to the stop they wish to board.
Taxis on Rhodes are dark blue with white roofs. There is a list of expected maximum taxi charges you can obtain from the tourist information office. For example, a trip from Rhodes city to Faliraki should not cost more than 13 Euros; the trip from the Airport to Rhodes city a maximum of 14 Euros. The minimum fare for each trip is 2.00 Euros, the taximeter starts at 0.85 Euros.
You can radio a taxi via telephone number 22410 69800. This adds a standard surcharge of 1.50 Euros. Waiting fare is 7.90 Euros per hour. Between midnight and 5 AM you will have to pay twice the normal rates.
There are some other surcharges, but they can be neglected in most cases. However, you should be aware that some taxi drivers will try to turn off the taximeter and then charge an amount of their choice; you should not go along with this and insist on a correct metering.
It is not worth the hassle to bring your own car to the island, although it is in theory possible. You can rent a car at the airport or via any hotel and at many local dealers. Asphalt highways will allow you to reach the entire island, although roads in the interiour - especially the south - may turn out to be little more than dirt paths.
Motorbikes and mopeds are popular alternatives to cars. Especially mopeds are frequently used by local youths and can go to many places that cars cannot go - for example the twisted narrow streets of Rhodes city. An additional advantage is that you do not need a driver's license to operate them.
Rhodes is a relatively safe area to travel to. However, there are some things to look out for.