One of my favorite ports to visit is Rhodes, Greece. I visited it on my first cruise and I decided to forgo a group tour and explore Old Town Rhodes on my own. I had prepared and studied the maps of this port and yet, I learned an important lesson. I can get lost in a walled city, but I can also find my way back.
Cruise ships dock very close the one of the gates in the wall that surrounds Rhodes. From there, it is very easy to wander your way through this charming, ancient Greek city.
Ship docked near the walls
The walls were originally built by the Knights of St. John who made this their headquarters until they were defeated and forced to relocate and ending up in Malta. There is the Palace of the Grand Master and the Avenue of Knights that tells their story.
There is also a Archaeological Museum and, at the base of the Avenue of Knights, are the ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite.
And, of course, there are cafes where you can sit and watch the world go by. Of course, I had to get my usual cup of espresso (with a thanks to my waiter who took the photo.
Rhodes is a place I enjoy visiting and would love to spend more time there.
Old town Rhodes is an old, walled city first built in the 11th Century by the Knights of St. John’s (the same ones responsible for many of the sights to see in Malta). The city is a tapestry of winding streets, shops and restaurants, churches and mosques, and even an ancient temple to Aphrodite. For people arriving on a cruise, it is an easy walk off the ship and into the city, making this one of my favourite places to explore. You can even walk along the beach! I feel like I stepped back in time – a truly magical experience.
The Palace of the Grandmasters is not as polished as the one in Malta. You get a sense that this was built to protect and keep the city safe from the canons on the battlements to the thick stone walls and plain interiors. I love the feel of this place and can “sense” a time when it was filled with activity. I could almost hear conversations from old.
Leading to the palace is the Avenue of the Knights. This street has the houses for the 8 languages that made up the Order of St. John – the points on the cross represent each of these languages.
At the base of the avenue, there is the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite. There are a lot of cats the roam the city, however on multiple visits, there seems to be one that has taken residence at the temple – a black and white cat that looks like my new kitten, Lola.
Close to the temple is the Museum of Archaeology. In one room, there is a large collection of grave markers for the knights. These are reminiscent of the decorated marble floor in the co-Cathedral of St. John in Valletta, Malta. These, however, are carved sandstone and have no colours.The symbols are the same, though.
As I always seem to do, I wander through towns – thinking that I know where I am going. It was in Rhodes that I discovered that I can get lost even in a walled city. So, after walking around the city, and getting lost, it is always nice to enjoy a nice cup of espresso.
There is a lot to see on the island of Rhodes, which is why it is on my long list of places to return to, but if you have a day – get lost in the old city.