Rhodes is a large and versatile island with plenty to see and do. I had already explored medieval Rhodes old town together with the more modern part of Rhodes town as well as the historical town of Ialyssós and Filerimos Hill. However, there is much more to Rhodes than just these places so I rented a car for a couple of days to discover the island further.My plan for day 1 with the rental car was to explore the west coast from Ialyssós all the way to down to Fourni Beach and return in the afternoon via the mountains exploring inland villages.This was my Rhodes road trip route on the west coast: Ialyssós – Theologos Beach – Dionysos Steki Restaurant – Ancient Kamiros – Agios Minas Beach – Kamiros Skala – Kritinia Castle – Kritinia village – Siana village – Monolithos Castle – Fourni Beach.
I had made a clear plan for the day. I knew it was going to be a long day with many interesting places to see so I woke up very early in the morning and as soon as the sun was up at around 7 am I started my road trip adventure from my hotel in Ialyssós.
Only some 15 km into my road trip I stopped in at Theologos Beach, a very beautiful and natural beach that stretches for 10 km. It was still very early and I had the beach all to myself. I went for a quiet walk on Theologos Beach and enjoyed some fresh sea air before jumping back in the car.
Next I pulled off at Restaurant Dionysos Steki on the main coastal road in Kalavarda. They had this very inviting garden by the sea. I intended to have a cold drink in the garden but unfortunately the restaurant did not open until at 9 am.
Just after 8 am I reached Ancient Kamiros, one of the most important archeological sites of Rhodes with ruins and excavations. Back in the days Kamiros was one of the three large ancient cities of Rhodes, which together with Ialyssós and Lindos created the powerful city-state of Rhodes.
Entrance ticket to Anciet Kamiros was 6 €, which I think was a bit overpriced. Arriving early was a good idea as I had the site all to myself and got to wander around enjoying historical ruins and lovely views out to the sea with peace and quiet. The sun was already up high and I could feel it burning my skin. During the day it must get very hot here.
Agios Minas Beach
Down the road from Ancient Kamiros lies the beach of Agios Minas with sun beads and a couple of restaurants. Here I went for a walk on the beach and enjoyed a refreshing drink before hitting the road again.
My next stop was Kamiros Skala, a small fishing village with a couple of tavernas and boats to the island of Chalki.
From Kamiros Skala I headed to the medieval castle of Kritinia, built in the 16th century on a hilltop some 130 metres above Kritinia village. There is not much left of the original castle. Just the shell of the castle still survives today. Kritinia Castle looks out over the Aegean Sea and offers a breathtaking view towards the island of Chalki some other deserted islands.
Leaving Kritinia Castle I soon arrived at Kritinia Folklore Museum at the entrance of Kritinia village. The small museum was free of charge and took no more than a couple of minutes to visit. The streets of Kiritinia village were very narrow so I left my car on the outskirts of the village. In this tiny white village of 650 inhabitants it was nice just to stroll around and take in the sleepy atmosphere and admire the panoramic view to the sea.
I was getting hungry and luckily the village of Siana with a good array of restaurants was my next destination. I had a delicious Greek salad at a rooftop taverna before exploring the village. Siana is built amphitheatrically on the slopes of Mount Acramitis, the second highest mountain of Rhodes offering a wonderful view over the surrounding areas.
A must thing to see in Siana is the church of Saint Panteleimon, a beautiful 19th century building dominating the centre of the village. Siana was very busy with busloads of tourists coming and going so after exploring the church and the quiet back streets of the village I was ready to take off.
The medieval castle of Monolithos standing atop of a 240 m tall isolated rock was the highlight of my day. Driving 3 km down the road from Monolithos village I parked my car in the car park at the foot of Monolithos Castle from where it was a 10-minute walk along a sandy footpath and a long flight of slippery stairs up to the summit. Once I made it to the top I was instantly rewarded with the most stunning sea and mountain views, ancient windows as well and whitewashed churches. Monolithos Castle literally took my breath away, in many ways.
From Monolithos Castle I took the winding mountain road down to Fourni Beach, a quiet and isolated beach in rough natural surroundings. Fourni Beach was a very beautiful beach but I did not even consider sunbathing or swimming here due to very strong winds and huge waves. Instead I decided to climb up the gigantic cliffs to discover massive rock and cliff formations, nature’s windows and caves beaten by erosion, and secluded beaches on the rugged shoreline.Even though the distance from my home base Ialyssós to Fourni Beach was no more than 70 km it was already late afternoon so I had to keep moving as I wanted to drive back home via mountain roads and discover some of the inland villages along the way. All this and a lot more coming up on my next post.
You might like to read more about Rhodes: