The Island of Rhodes and the city of Rhodes will always have a special place in my heart. It’s the last destination on the Forum-Nexus Study Abroad itinerary each summer, which is how I first came to know this beautiful place. Rhodes may not be as well known as Mykonos or Santorini, but it still has a ton to offer. Here are just 7 reasons to add this island to your travel bucket list:
1. You can get to Rhodes easily by plane or boat from Athens. Flights arrive in the Rhodes Diagoras (RHO) airport, which is small and sometimes crowded, but easy to navigate. Because the island is so small, you’ll never have to be in a taxi too long on your way to your hotel. The Sheraton Rhodes Resort is where I’ve always stayed and it’s a 20-minute cab ride from the airport.
2. Old Town is full of medieval history. The main areas within the city of Rhodes are the Old Town and the New City. To get to the center of Old Town, you must traverse through three medieval stone entrances that twist and turn (so that enemies could get lost or literally run into a wall on their way in and it would slow them down). There is an entrance facing the sea and an entrance facing the land, as Old Town is now met by a marina of private ships. Take a tour to learn about the history and preservation of the Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and then spend some time exploring on your own. If you’re looking for a dinner spot, Sissitio has a romantic atmosphere, detailed cocktails, and a variety of yummy dishes. For more modern shops and nightlife, New City, or “New Town,” will be your go-to.
3. Sun + Sand + Sea. The entire island of Rhodes sees mostly sunny days, and the summertime is hot but not overwhelming. There are plenty of beaches to relax on and ocean to play in. Many resorts like the Sheraton have their own private piece of the beach with chairs and umbrellas available at no extra charge. Depending on the beach, you can find beautiful rocks in different colors, and above the beaches are hills and mountains that make for really amazing views.
4. You can find every type of water sport at Faliraki Beach. Faliraki is a short ride from the city of Rhodes known for its water park and plethora of water activities. Whether you prefer to jet ski, slide, or rent your own boat for the day, you can find it at Faliraki. While at Faliraki, I rented a motor boat with friends for a few hours and had the chance to visit several coves in the Aegean Sea. The water was clear, it was the perfect temperature, and the boat had just enough shade, too. It was my favorite day while in Rhodes! If you’re interested in renting a boat, you can probably find one day-of (we did) but I recommend reserving one in advance just in case. Peter’s and Manolis are two companies that will rent you a boat that you can drive without a guide.
5. Lindos has the classic Greek island look you need. When you think of a Greek island, you might imagine hillsides of white buildings, bright flowers, and sparkling water hugging the beach. The beaches in Rhodes might disappoint in this aspect, but the town of Lindos won’t. In Lindos you can get lost in the alleyways of shops and restaurants, then make your way down to the beach. You’ll get a perfect view of the ivory buildings on your hike up to the Acropolis and temple of Athena, too.
6. It’s really hard to have a bad meal on the island of Rhodes. Traditional cuisine like grape leaves, tzatziki and pita, baba ghanoush, and moussaka can be found just about anywhere, and everything is absolutely delicious. To compliment your food you might try a local beer – Zythos. Mythos, or Alpha. Coming from an American background, I love to experience the care and consideration in the way other cultures prepare and present food, and Rhodes is no exception.
7. You’ll see an incredible sunset every night. Having the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Greek meal while watching the sun set beneath the Turkish mountains (Turkey is visible across the sea from the Sheraton Rhodes Resort), taking it all in from the beach, or even watching from the balcony of my guestroom, made every day just a little bit better than it already was.
According to Smithsonian.com, tattoos are believed to have originated with the ancient Egyptians and may have been used as a permanent amulet to protect women during pregnancy and birth. Today, tattoos mean very different things, and are perceived differently among different people and different cultures. Maybe you're covered or maybe you just don't understand them. Or maybe you're exploring the idea of getting your first. Getting my sixth tattoo a few weeks ago had me reflecting on the other 5, and particularly on the tattoo I got when I studied abroad. I don't regret it one bit, and here's why.
It was spontaneous. // Studying abroad is one of the most exhilarating and exciting things you could ever do - so is traveling in general. I studied abroad when I was 20 years old, in between my sophomore and junior years of college. Every day was a new adventure as I explored 8 cities in 5 European countries in 1 month. And I was spontaneous in many ways. I stayed out until I could watch the sun rise on the beach in Spain, climbed the Eiffel Tower in France, paraglided off of a mountain in Switzerland, hiked between coastal villages in Italy, and in Greece, I got a tattoo. In the spirit of living, being, and exploring, my tattoo was something fun and exciting that I was comfortable with. I noticed the parlor just a few doors down from our hotel in Athens as soon as we arrived, and I was excited about the opportunity.
You'll never be the same again - and that's a good thing. // One of the first things you'll hear when discussing tattoos with a skeptical and/or disapproving person is that it's permanent (no, you're kidding?) and that they don't love something enough to put it on their body. But a tattoo from your trip abroad is more than just ink on your body - it's stories, memories, feelings, and experiences. Sure, it might not be something that you spent ages mulling over and perfecting, but it holds value because of where and when you got it, and who you were at the time. It will forever be a part of you and you should embrace that!
It represents an important time in your life. // I'm so fond of the tattoo I got while abroad because it represents one of the most special times in my life thus far. And one of my favorite things about it is that it has meaning in so many different ways. It's one word - ειρήνη (pronounced irene-ee), which means peace in Greek. Prior to the tattoo, I was never a person who wanted another language on my body unless I was confident that I could speak it. But in the 48 hours that I considered the tattoo I would get in Athens, Greece, I found it appropriate to get a word rather than a symbol, and a word that both connected to my lifestyle and beliefs as well as my physical location at that moment. I never knew when I would be back again, and in Athens, named for Athena, the goddess of wisdom and warfare, it all just made sense. What I liked the most was that my tattoo artist hand wrote it. Especially with everything that is happening in this world, I cherish my tattoo as a symbol of a time where I found peace in the world and peace found me.
If you're still not convinced that a tattoo could be for you (whether at home or abroad), that's okay. It might not be. But I do encourage you to 1. go abroad 2. step outside of your comfort zone and 3. be spontaneous and do something that you'll remember forever.
*Shout out to Ironbrush Tattoo!
Lover of life.