Got back last week from a 2 week holiday on Rhodes basing ourselves in Pefkos, this was our first trip to Rhodes and having asked for advice and used these forums I thought I’d do a trip report....sorry it’s a bit on the long side!
Rhodes was not our first choice and we ended making a snap decision to go without my usual many weeks of research, so we weren’t 100% sure what to expect.
Our first impression on the coach trip from the airport to Pefkos was not the best, there did seem to be a lot of half built complexes, shops and apartments abandoned, I assume because of the present problems Greece is struggling with. As we got further south things did improve a little, the drive past stunning Lindos did lift our spirits.
On arriving in Pefkos, the resort was not what we were expecting, we had hoped for an element of Greek charm, but we felt this was missing as the resort seems to be a purpose built holiday village. (Not to upset any Pefkos lovers, please be aware this is my opinion only).
We were staying at the Stella View apartments which I’ve done a separate review for, after an initial blip, we were generally happy with this choice.
Our second day was one of leisure around Pefkos checking out what’s on offer and the beaches etc. I was surprised how busy the main beach was for September.
On day 3 – we did a trip to Lindos. The bus we caught was full to bursting, however the driver managed to squeeze everybody on. On the walk down into Lindos from the bus stop I spotted a couple in front of us approached by 2 ladies who introduced themselves from Mali and offered their hand to shake, I remembered a item on TA about a scam like this, so we sat on a wall nearby to watch. Within seconds the ladies had attached a 'free' good luck wrist band to each of them whilst still clutching the hands....could not hear the full conversation this poor bemused couple were having with them, but the free soon became, I think, 20 euros .....time for us to move on and I'm sure the couple were not going to have any of it.
Lindos.....was heaving, I had read to get there early to miss the crowds - I thought 9.30am was early but I was wrong! Up to the castle was a slow shuffle, sadly we witnessed a new generation of tourists for who queuing is not deemed acceptable, these were not English, French, Greeks or Germans, however I digress. Saw the poor donkeys having to haul some very large people up to the castle; I know this has been discussed many times on TA so I will not add to it! Apart from the crowds we enjoyed our day in Lindos.
We caught a taxi back (8 Euros) just to get our adrenalin pumping......it's amazing how these taxi drivers know nobody is coming in the opposite direction when they overtake on a blind bend. Lol.
Next day was another day for relaxing in and around Pefkos. I had a nice swim from A.G. Thomas beach, it was not busy so it made for a nice chilled out day.
Day 5 - we got our hire car today, from Zeus, which I thought was very good value, he was even cheaper than their own Internet price! We headed south to Prasonisi, it was amazing to watch the kite and wind surfers in action. It seems a shame that the Government is intending to build a power station here in the near future.....there seems to be a large group of objectors, fingers crossed they win the fight.....my opinion.
From Prasonisi we headed up the west coast to Monolithou Castle, but first called into Apolakia for lunch. On entering the village , We chose, or should I say the lady on 'guard' duty (in Aunty Wainwright style) chose us to eat lunch at the Amalia Taverna. The place was filling up with locals having Sunday lunch and taking part in a kind of tombola where the winner received a jar, of what looked like jam and the runner up got a bigger jar! We had one of the best Gyros and then with lots of 'goodbyes' made our way to the castle......big mistake, two coach parties all perched around the chapel on the top jostling for the perfect camera view.....time for me to go. I fancied a swim so we went down to Fourni beach in the bottom, it looked very picturesque but the sea was a bit rough so I didn’t bother.
We headed back taking the route through Vati. I was horrified to see the amount of destruction the recent forest fires had done, on a high pass as far as you could see the landscape was burnt to the ground.
Day 6 - full day in Rhodes Town today, we managed to park close to the harbour entrance to the old town. I'd seen photos of the Medieval City but to actually see it was fabulous, what an amazing structure. We saw numerous very young children begging and playing instruments along with small dogs. I later saw a lady going round these kids collecting the money.....shame on them! On this occasion we only managed to visit the Archeological Museum which was so interesting, before we knew it three hours had passed and it was kicking out time.
On our way back we called in to St Paul Bay in Lindos so I could have a cooling swim on a very hot day.
The next day we drove inland to Apollona and had a pleasant pit stop in a small taverna. Then it was on to the ancient city of Kamiros. The old ruins were very interesting but just spoilt by the noisy construction works in progress, you tend to lose the ambience of what it may have been like centuries ago when a mini digger trundles by!
From Kamiros we moved south to Skala Kamiros for another break. Until I'd read the advertising boards I had not realised you can get to the island of Halki (Chalki) from here....that might be worth a day trip me thinks.
Further down the coast we visited the castle of Kritinia, fabulous views again spoilt (for me) by dozens of people trying to pose along the wall tops.....for what seemed like dozens of shots for each pose!
On our return we stopped at Gadoura dam currently under construction, you are unable to gain access as it's a working site, I just hope they will make it available to the public when finished as it's in a stunning location.
Next day was another trip up to Rhodes Town to visit more of the hidden streets and the Palace of the Grand Masters - very busy, as there were two very large cruise ships berthed, but another enjoyable time here. On both occasions to the Old Town we ate at the ‘Walk Inn’ located in a nice quiet area to the south of the Old Town. We had a very nice chicken pizza and fresh orange juice.
From here we tried Antony Quinn Bay.....not a chance, it was heaving with people queuing down the steps to the beach! So we moved on to the butterfly valley. Even though it was getting late on in the season, there were still many thousands of them to see....BUT, I wish the owners would patrol the valley to limit the amount of people stamping on bridges, throwing stones and waving their arms about to get them to fly off for photos. I'm afraid the small signs prohibiting these actions are not enough. We tried to tell one bloke, who was stamping a wooden bridge like mad, not to but his expression to us was contemptuous. Sadly this nature reserve needs proper policing.
On the way back to base we stopped again for me to have a swim in St. Paul's bay.....two more weddings were taking place, that's 4 in the two quick visits there...seems a popular spot.
Day 9 - today we headed south again for further exploration. First stop was Genadi beach for a quick swim, didn't see any fish life so we moved on to the village of Lachania looking for some refreshments and we came across The Four Elements Belgian Cafe, as you walk through the entrance it opens up into a oasis of calm and tranquillity where I had one of the nicest coffees during this holiday. There are also 4 apartments, which look very elegant, for those wanting to stay off the beaten track. Having chatted to the owners we came away with many further ideas of places to visit in the Southern part of Rhodes.
I wanted to do some further swimming/snorkelling and was told of a place near the Atrium Prestige Hotel but after driving up and down various dirt track we failed to find a place locally know as The Pink Floyd beach, so I called into the hotel to ask....wow! Judging by the reception it looked very prestigious, anyhow they had not heard of this particular beach but did suggest a place further south turning left at the Italian ruins down a tree lined dirt track.....so after what seemed ages, of being bounced about, we came to sand dunes and what seemed like miles of empty beach...actually there were two other people 500 yards away, so not too crowed. I was surprised at how many shoals of very large fish I saw, as it was not rocky or deep....but a very good snorkel.
Last bit of exploring for the day was a visit to the village of Asklipio, refreshments followed by a visit to their ruined castle which commanded stunning views. We both struggled with the heat today, which hit 40C. According to a local we spoke today, Rhodes was experiencing a heat wave not normally associated with the middle of September.
Next day was an early 7.15 start to catch the 9.15 ferry to Halki. We decided to take the route up to Kolympia across to Profitis Ilas and on to Skala Kamiros. We experienced stunning scenery through old pine forests but a very windy roads.....perhaps not the best of routes when you’re in a hurry, however we just made it and had the luxury of two ferries to choose from.... the Nicos ferry offered a return for two at 30 Euros (should have being 40), we didn't realise until the other ferry set of before us was apparently 20 minutes quicker.....oh well we did save 10 Euros!
Halki was amazing and so different to Rhodes, we only saw the main town and the bay over the hill but the chilled out atmosphere and crystal clear harbour water was magical. I had a very nice swim at both ends of the harbour, the best swim of the holiday so far.
It was another red hot day which at times made it uncomfortable for exploring all the alleyways and over into the next bay.
We did call in at the Traditional House museum, run by the lady owner who has kept it just like when she was a child growing up there. Entrance was 5 Euros for the pair of us, small, not a lot to see but nonetheless worth calling in to see.
I was amused to see a military out-post to the rear of the village, the compound seemed no bigger than two tennis courts, but it had sand bag bunkers in each corner, camouflage netting, a truck and 5 soldiers looking bored, all this next to the public footpath with just a bit of wire between them.
The long drive back was very pleasant with more stunning views to admire.
Day 11 - a chill out day, possible too much sun and/or something we ate has made us both lethargic......so a rest day.
Day 12 - back on the road with places to see! Today we headed back into the mountain villages and more of the west coast. Lunch was in a small but slightly touristy town of Siana. Then it was on to Profitis Ilias. What an amazing place this is, firstly the drive is on narrow winding forest roads and once you reach it you think you have stepped back in time.....in the Italian Alps! Two distinctive buildings stand out, one a hotel looking like a large alpine chalet and the other, just 100 yds away, looking very similar but is in a derelict state, with all its past splendour still evident. Next we went to Eleoussa, again this village had empty buildings showing the remnants of Italian colonial days falling in to ruins. Apparently Mussolini had a winter retreat here; in the local taverna there were old photos from bygone days including Mussolini addressing a crowd opposite the church.
Then it was time for a swim/snorkel, so I tried out the beach of Agathi......wow my best snorkelling to date, many varieties of colourful fish, some in shoals of thousands and a cuttle fish which 'inked' me before swimming away.
The next couple of days included some return visits to beaches and villages we had enjoyed previously, before returning the car to Zeus with a further 1250 kilometres on it.
Food - during our stay in Pefkos we tried a few restaurants:
Dama Dama which served excellent food with very friendly service, we needed to book in advance each time.
Philosophia, nice view (not that you could see anything at night), food was ok, but the most expensive we came across.
Hellas, we had excellent food which was reasonably priced, served with a more upmarket presentation.
Coralli, without doubt was our favourite. Four visits, eight different meals, all excellent, great value and huge portions. We could have had a different meal here each night for the fortnight, as the menu had many meals to choose from.
Holiday overall – we both had a fabulous time on Rhodes after what was a worrying initial impression, would we return – possibly.