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The Greek island of Rhodes attracts visitors with its temperate weather and coastline inlaid with fabulous golden beaches. Throw in abundant historic sites, tasty cuisine and exciting nightlife too and the Jewel of the Aegean Sea is a holiday spot to suit all tastes. The largest town, also named Rhodes, is at the north tip of the island and home to a noted 14th-century citadel, the Grand Master’s Palace. Buses link the main town and principal resorts, but service is sporadic at best. To get the most out of a holiday here car hire is the way to go.
Who to Book With
Most of the global vehicle rental suppliers are represented on Rhodes with Budget and Avis among them. Local firms such as Kosmos and Zeus also add to the choice of vehicles available to car hirers and ensure daily rates remain competitive. Booking in advance is the best way of taking advantage of these preferential rates and getting your desired vehicle.
Best time to go
Rhodes is warm enough to visit at almost any time of the year. Even in January temperatures rarely drop below 10°C. The peak summer months of July and August are hot and sunny and the towns and resorts are crowded with tourists. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit for those who like more relaxing holidays and less heat.
Need to Know Essentials
When picking up a pre-booked car rental drivers will be asked to produce the following documents:
- Both parts of a current UK driving license, or an international license
- Their passports or other form of photo identity
- The bank or credit card used when making the original reservation
- The booking number or printed confirmation of it
The roads and beach promenades around the town of Rhodes are easily negotiated, but the Old Town itself has restricted vehicular access. There are car parks nearby which allow motorists to park up and walk to one of the 11 majestic portals that provide access. Once away from this old precinct and the port, roads are wider and easier to drive on.
On-street parking can be a problem in Rhodes Town. There are some zones where motorists are permitted to park, but need to buy tickets from meters. Signs indicating this are usually in Greek and English. In other areas, apart from Lindos, there are no restrictions unless stated.
Most roads on the island are single lane in each direction. There are dual carriageways linking Rhodes Town to Faliraki and Lindos on the northeast coast, and from Rhodes Town to Diagoras Airport and on to Soroni on the opposite coast. Roads are kept in a reasonable state of repair. Inland routes tend to be fairly bendy with lots of steep inclines.
Taxis and buses are the only way of getting around Rhodes Town and the island for those without their own transport. There are no train tracks on the island although many visitors with children do take a sightseeing tour on the Red Mini Train which covers all the main sights in Rhodes Town. Buses typically operate from 06:00 to 21:00, but some of the rural services stop at 18:00.
Bus fares are considerably cheaper on Rhodes than in northern Europe. Fares are calculated by the distance travelled and a fare around town is usually about €1. A ticket for the 50km journey from Rhodes Town to Lindos is around €5. The driver, or on busy routes the conductor, collects fares and issues tickets. Passengers are required to retain their tickets for inspection until the end of the journey.
Two different bus companies provide service on the island. RODA operates buses in Rhodes Town and some long-distance routes. KTEL has services from the town to select locations which include Lindos, Gennadi, Archangelos and Afantou. Buses tend to be in reasonable condition and are air-conditioned on the longer routes. There are bus stops near all the main resorts. The buses are often packed and the custom here is to move to the back to allow more passengers to board.
There are an estimated 400 taxis on Rhodes of which half are registered with Rhodes Taxi & Transportation Service. This firm operates 24/7 and accepts telephone and online reservations. There are taxi ranks in all the main tourist centres, with more than 12 ranks in Rhodes Town alone. Taxi rates are set by the Greek government. From Diagoras Airport to Rhodes Town or Faliraki fares are in excess of €20.
Once the urban sprawl of Rhodes Town and the main seaside resorts have been left behind, there are lots of interesting destinations dotted around the island which are easily reached with a car rental. Pristine beaches, unspoilt countryside, ancient ruins and a hike to the summit of Mt Attavyros are some of the compelling reasons for venturing out and about on Rhodes.
Ruined castles - Found on the west coast, these provide tantalising glimpses of Rhodes’ rich heritage. Soroni Beach is a relaxing rest stop en route to Kritinia and Monolithos castles. Although the ravages of time have left the castles in ruins, the feeling of stepping back in time and the wonderful views from their hilltop locations make the trip worthwhile.
Surfing and deserted beaches - Located on the southeast coast tempt drivers into continuing on past Lindos. From Gennadi down to the southern tip of the island at Prasonisi the beaches are deserted. This stretch of coast offers great surfing and ambient beach cafés.
Mt Attavyros - This is located close to Embonas and Kritinia. It is more than 1,200m above sea level and offers stupendous views from the summit. It is a fairly arduous climb and should only be attempted if fit and healthy.
The ancient ruins at Kameiros - These are 1,400 years old. The site has mostly been excavated and visitors can make out the foundations and remains of the Athena Kameiras temple complex, the acropolis and other structures.