The distance from Crete to Rhodes Ρόδος is 485 km or 266 nautical miles. A plane flight takes one hour. The ferry journey from Kriti is 10-14 hours. More details about ferry transport below.
Exploring the island of Rhodes is full of surprises... Famous not only for her history and beautiful beaches, we love the village of Lindos, surely one of the most picturesque and fascinating seaside settlements in the Mediterranean.
We love Rhodes for her beaches and her history, and the discovery of a very different culture from our own beloved Kriti. Let us show you a little bit of what we discovered in the Dodecanese…
We suggest staying in the medieval old town of Rhodes, to soak up the atmosphere, amongst the cobbled streets and narrow lane ways, near the castle walls.
We recommend to avoid the busy tourist times of July and August and visit in shoulder or off-season, you will still be able to enjoy the atmosphere of this cosmopolitan town.
The turrets of the walls of the old town of Rhodes are etched in our memory. We glanced up from every angle whilst we walked around the old town, meandering through the various gates of entry and exploring different squares. The mixture of medieval towers, Greek and Italian architecture and tiny cobbled streets is entrancing.
"There are major sights to see; what we enjoyed was wandering without a plan through the old town and being surprised at every turn with a new view, a little steno or laneway, a different plateia or square, varied architecture, cafés and restaurants".
Highlights of the Old Town include:
• The Palace of the Grandmasters
• The Street of the Knights
• The Archaeological Museum
• Socratous Street
• Hippocratos Square
Rhodes was inhabited since Neolithic times, and earliest complex settlements seem to have been made from 1600 BC. The island’s location at the cross roads of Europe and the east, and proximity to Cyprus and Crete meant she was invaded and ruled by many different peoples over the centuries, and became one of the most important cities in ancient Greece.
Through the classical period, the Roman and Byzantine periods she remained one of the most influential cities in the Mediterranean. In 1309 AD she was ruled by the Knights of St John and later the Ottomans dominated. In recent times, between 1912 and 1947, Italy ruled the island, making significant architectural and structural changes. Rhodes became part of the nation of Greece under the Treaty of Paris in 1948.
The Old Town of Rhodes was declared a world heritage site in 1988. The UNESCO website describes the…"Upper Town is one of the most beautiful urban ensembles of the Gothic period."
The town was once surrounded by a protective moat which has now been emptied of water and forms a green park fringe around the old town which makes for a relaxing walk, whilst admiring the town and palace walls. See the section below on ferry trips from Crete to Rhodes.
Again,we suggest dining in the Old Town of Rhodes. Here you will find plenty of atmosphere, as well as world class service and cuisine. There are many different styles of tavernas and restaurants within the old town walls.
The Palace of the Grandmasters was built by the Knights of St John in the 14th Century. It was damaged by explosion of powder in 1856. It has been immaculately restored since then and seems as if it was built just yesterday. The building sits above the town, an imposing sight from the harbour side, it dominates the skyline.
The stunning towers either side of the entrance leave little doubt about the wealth of the builders and are an example of the strength to come within the structure.
The impressive central courtyard leads to large palatial rooms which house a collection of furniture, marbles, statues and artefacts. The rooms such as the reception hall and the ballroom are very impressive, if a little stark. The mosaics are some of the best preserved in the Mediterranean.
"Leave plenty of time to walk through the palace as it is large and there is a lot to see; of over 150 rooms in the building, only 20 or so are open to the public. Your entry fee of €10 also covers the Archaeological Museum and the Arts Collection".
We loved the steep-sided moats around the Palace, and from the Ambroise Gate to Saint Anthony's Gate leading to streets around the Palace is one of the most picturesque walkways. It is lovely to wander there at dusk and soak up the atmosphere.
The Street of the Knights is a dark, cobbled street hardly touched since medieval times and gives a very good impression of what it would have been like to live within these walls.
This historic street is named Ippoton and stretches from the Grandmasters Palace down the hill to the Archaeological Museum. In the middle ages it housed seven inns representing the seven homelands of the Knights. There is a lack of modern construction on this street and few shops, so it tends to be quieter than other streets.
The Archaeological Museum is inside the former Hospital of the Knights, at the corner of Appelou and Ippoton Streets. The extensive collection takes a while to see, so leave this visit for another day if you are already planning to see the Palace. But don’t miss it as it is a lovely atmosphere inside the 15th Century building, and exquisite pieces from the complex history of this crossroads of east and west.
One of the most beautiful pieces in the museum is a marble statue 'Aphrodite of Rhodes' which is more then 2,000 years of age, dated 100 BC.
Socratous Street is the centre of shopping in the old town. Whilst soaking up the atmosphere, you will find pieces crafted from the skills of the Rhodians over many centuries including jewellery, ceramics, carpets, embroidery, wines, ouzo, olive oil and honey. See the section below on travelling from Crete to Rhodes.
Hippocratos Square is close to the Marine gate. This is a large square with a fringe of historic buildings in Rhodian style, cafes and interesting shopping. The central feature is a fountain with a unique design. We love the owl symbol atop the centre piece of the fountain, which is called the Castellania Fountain.
The commercial buildings around the square were built by the Knights of St John and date from 1597.
The ferry journey from Crete to Rhodes takes you to the islands of Kassos, Karpathos and Chalki. It is possible to island hop between Crete and these islands on the way to Rhodes.
There are options to travel from Crete to Rhodes (or return):
The quickest way to get from Crete to Rhodes is to fly. The flight from Heraklion to Rhodes takes about one hour, and there are about 10 departures per week in peak season costing approximately €70-100.
In the quieter season, when direct flights do not depart, it makes a lot of sense to fly from Heraklion to Athens and then to Rhodes. Aegean Air flies both routes and this can be more economical than expected. Flying time from Heraklion to Athens is approximately one hour, as is the flying time from Athens to Rhodes. Leaving time for connections, it is still possible to do this in a morning or an afternoon.