Report from Rhodes: First Impressions

Welcome to my first installment of a series on lessons learned while living in Greece for a month. We spent the majority of our time in Old Town Rhodes, an incredible World Heritage Site. The experience allowed me and my husband, John, a first-hand opportunity to learn more about Greek life, Greek traditions, Greek food and wine, and a deeper understanding of the history and culture of this ancient island. Why Rhodes? Our first visit (via cruise ship in December 2021) included only a glimpse of the Medieval City’s vibrant historic and magnificent Gothic architecture. We were enthralled by the stories about the ancient Order of the Knights of St. John the Hospitaler, responsible for fortifying the city and protecting pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land for over two centuries. A brief walk along pebbled paths had us peering at public buildings and mosques dating back to the Ottoman period when Rhodes was under Turkish rule. We both wanted to learn more.

Inspired by our initial visit to Rhodes, we booked a 16th Century Airbnb from mid-May to mid-June 2023 in the heart of Old Town and started exploring. Every day we set out to discover a neighborhood, visit a museum, or engage in an activity to help us learn more about the Greek city. At times, we experienced overtourism, but we learned to navigate cruise ship arrivals (thanks to CruiseMapper) and avoid tour groups to explore the centuries of history around us. We also used the exceptional ferry system to visit neighboring islands and discover their unique attributes and attractions. In the next installments of my “Report from Rhodes,” I’ll share some specific insights from our trip. Our consensus after a month? We are ready to return as there is much more to experience in the Dodecanese Islands.