But what is even more important is dong these things with the people we love. Which is why we not only love Georgie’s fantastic Rhodes travel report for the holiday inspiration, but also for the reason that she went.
If you are still planning a summer get away but haven’t booked it yet, we definitely think this will convince you to get Rhodes on the list.
At the start of the year my mum made the statement, mid Sunday dinner crossword competition, that for her 60th birthday this year, she wanted to go on holiday with her three daughters. So, over the next few weeks (ok, months) we searched many a travel site to try and find somewhere that ticked all of our (commonly conflicting) boxes, for a relaxing break away in the sun at the beginning of June.
We wanted many things from this holiday: glorious sunshine, a beautiful beach within walking distance, a calm sea with shallow waters and a local town with a variety of good places to eat in the evenings. Oh, and all for under £400 per person. Not a lot to ask!
Finally we settled on a place that we thought was the answer to our infinite list of wishes. A small town called Pefkos in Rhodes.
At a cost of £300 per person (self-catering) for 11 nights, it meant that I could spend some quality time with my family and still have the money to go away with the husband later on in the year. The best of both worlds!
Last year I visited another Greek island, Santorini, for my friend Sara’s wedding, but I had never visited Rhodes before. I try to practice the rule of never holidaying in the same place twice as there are just so many parts of the world that I have yet to explore.
We chose to stay at the Ioannidis Group of hotels, which comprises of three sister resorts all within walking distance of each other.
The best thing about holidaying in a complex like this is that you can stay in an affordable, relatively basic self-catering apartment, but still have access to a number of different shared facilities around all of the hotels. The shared facilities here included 4 swimming pools; one being adult only (and if you happen to be childless like me, an adult only pool is serious music to the ears – apologies to any mums reading this). There were poolside restaurants and bars at each pool (one being swim-up), a book swap bookcase and a reasonably priced supermarket on site.
A beach life
While staying in Pefkos, our aims were as follows: sunbathe, eat, sleep, repeat. Occasionally intercepted with a couple of day excursions due to the fact that I get annoyingly fidgety on holiday if I am kept from exploring the local area.
The beach is directly accessible from the resort by walking down a few steps. It is idyllically soft-sanded and is long and narrow which is just perfect because the sun loungers are only one row deep and from your chosen spot, you are only two steps from the crystal clear water. It is also really shallow for quite a distance, so great for children (who can spend endless hours studying the abundance of tiny shore fish swimming around their feet) and people who are a little hesitant about taking the plunge, outside of the hotel pool.
Because of its panoramic beauty, that is where we spent most of our days, reading books and listening to the soothing sound of the waves. Total bliss. After watching the somewhat humbling sunset over the mountains, we would lazily make our way back to the apartment to get ready to go out for dinner.
Pefkos is known (in comparison to other nearby islands) for its choice and quality of dining options in the town.
Now, I know some people like the site; and others think that it isn’t a fair rating system; but I for one, am a Trip Advisor geek. I use Trip Advisor to research everywhere I go and especially, eat. So for our evening meal, I usually had an opinion on where we visited. I am also not much of a fan of Greek food, however, I concur with the ‘people in the know’ that the standard of all restaurants in Pefkos is very good. Notably: Kyma Lounge, a lovely modern restaurant overlooking the sea with epic views of the sunsets.
Terpsis restaurant, another beautiful setting in a terraced garden serving amazing sea food. I had one of the best fish dishes here that I have ever eaten; a delicate sole dish, stuffed with king prawns and dressed in a subtle clementine sauce that complimented the fish perfectly.
When we had our fill of Greek food, we headed to a quaint, cosy Italian restaurant run by Stefano, the most charming man you will ever meet (aren’t all Italian men), originally from Sicily, who made his home feel like ours and served us the most authentic bruschetta and pasta, all of which were cooked with vegetables and herbs that were grown in the garden at the back of the restaurant.
While in Pefkos we visited Lindos, the larger neighbouring town. Lindos Old Town is only a 10 minute taxi ride from Pefkos and costs between €8 and €10 each way.
The ‘must do’ in Lindos is the walk to the top of the Acropolis.
The view of the sapphire hued bay below is simply amazing.
We then ambled around the maze of narrow cobbled streets that were packed to bursting with shops and eateries until we found a little local restaurant called ‘Caesar’s’ where we had some really imaginative salads and freshly squeezed organic lemon juice straight from the lemon tree in the garden. This was the sourest juice I have ever tasted in my life. But we made the effort to finish it all because we agreed that one glass of this juice surely had the same effect as a week’s worth of detoxing.
During our stay, we also visited Rhodes Old Town, the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe. From Pefkos it was an hour away by local bus (which was really easy to get from the main bus stop in the town) costing €5.50 per person each way. Again, my recommendations here would be to take enough time to explore the town by entering through a number of gates in the town wall.
Once inside, you really feel like you have been transported to another world. You will need some time here – there are roughly 200 cobbled streets with no name and no pattern. Getting lost (and you will!) is all part of the fun. Notable stops in your exploration should be the remains of the temple of Aphrodite, street of the Knights, the Palace of the Grandmaster, Archaeological Museum and the Suleiman Mosque.
My top tip while in the Old Town is to locate the clock tower and make your way to the top of it for a birdseye view of the city (a secret that one of the locals shared with us whilst having lunch in the town). Trade in your ticket (€4 entry) for a drink at the bar when you come back down (which you will really need by now!). To navigate your way around all of these sites, maps are easily available at the entrance gates and tourist information centre situated just outside the walls.
If we were to visit the island again, the ‘To Do’ list would definitely include catching a ferry from Rhodes Old Town to the neighbouring island of Symi. I can imagine that the 1 hour journey to the island via ferry is stunning. While on Symi you can visit the colourful fishing harbour and beautiful monastery which is still home to Symian monks.
Pefkos is the perfect destination for a chill out holiday in the sun and in contrast to my mantra of never visiting the same place twice, I would go back again without hesitation. I don’t think that we were left disappointed once with anything we experienced during our stay. We all certainly had a serious bout of post-holiday blues as soon as we stepped on the plane to come home.
It sounds simply incredible doesn’t it! This has definitely encouraged us to add Rhodes to the travel list, idyllic scenery, beautiful beeches and towns steeped in history and culture are right up our street.
You may have sense that Georgie has the travel bug, but she has lots of other great recommendations for you in her yes directory:
yes read: CONDE NAST TRAVELLER / Yes read: US, BY DAVID NICHOLLS / yes read: THE YEAR I MET YOU, BY CECELIA AHERN / yes read: THE MIRACLE OF MINDFULNESS, BY THICH NHAT HANH / yes cafe: WARUNG TUJUH, BRIGHTOn / yes uk travel: HIGHCLERE CASTLE / yes uk travel: TYLNEY HALL / yes food: VEAL RAGU