Rhodes, the East Coast

The road from the city to the south along the east coast takes us to a place called Thermes Kalithea. It has been known since antiquity for its healing springs that flow out of the coastal cliffs. In August and September, many people gathered here from all over the island, the nearby islands and even from Asia Minor. In 1929, the Italians opened a clinic here. Now it is a popular place for recreation, which is a complex of buildings of pompous architecture, opened in 2007 and by the time we arrived (September 2009) is not quite finished.

There is a round square with a fountain in front of the entrance (2.50 euro). Further the alley passes to the stairs down, and there is another circular square with the Small Rotunda in the center. According to plan, there should flow the sources inside the rotunda but because it was unfinished, we have not seen any sources. Then we pass to a small sandy beach with sun beds and umbrellas. The sea cuts into the shore here, forming a small bay; the beach is located at very end of the bay; and on the sides of the bay, there are the rocky areas. There are sun beds and umbrellas here too and one can come down to the sea by the iron ladder. According to the scheme, there is another source on the left somewhere in the rocks, but we did not go to it.

There is a cafe on the right side of the bay, and when we rise above, we come to the Large Rotunda. In the center of the covered with a glass roof area, there is a small fountain with the statue of Eros. The area is surrounded by the gallery with sculptures, photographs and shots of the films made in this place.

Click the images to enlarge them.

Having gone inland from the Thermes Kalithea, we get to the village Koskinoú. We walked with great delight through the narrow streets around the central square, looking at beautiful houses of the local residents; some of the houses are painted in bright colours.

Further south along the coast, there is the main resort of Rhodes - Faliráki. By the way, the road along the coast leads to Faliraki, but does not lead to the main road, so if you need to go further south, you must turn right before the settlement.

The road come to a long beach, there are a row of multistory hotels on the left along the coast, on the right there are supermarkets and the large "Waterpark". Full ticket costs 20 euros. Here, by tradition, we spent almost the whole day. The water park is located on a hill and has several levels, an interesting view of hotels and the sea opens from there. All as usual: a few slides, lazy river, wave pool. At the entrance there are plastic statues of colourful cows and cars. Frankly speaking, this is the best water park of those where we were in Greece, there was better only in Cyprus.

But I have a bad memory about it; I fell ill after that visit. There was night fever, and almost all the next day I had to spend in bed. I say almost, because the constant lying was not in my plans, I could not stand it and went for sightseeing, alone, the others were on the beach. I succeed to visit only one place (the hill of Monte Smith), while hiking I felt a terrible weakness, although, curiously enough, the driving are not afforded any inconveniences.

Down the road the settlement Faliraki proper is located. In general, it is the usual resort settlement: many hotels, apartments, shops, nice sandy beach. It is written that here is the center of nightlife of the island; the merrymaking does not stop until the morning. We did not verify.

A rocky hill cuts into the sea and limits Faliraki from the south; the Monastery of Saint Amos is situated at the foot of it. On the top of the hill is a small Monastery of Prophet Elijah with a small church. The splendid views open from there: of Faliraki and of two picturesque, surrounded by rocks bays: Anthony Quinn and Ladikó, which located on the other side of the hill. Both bays have small but crowded beaches with cafes.

The rocky shore continues further, and then ends with transition to a sandy beach Traganoú. Here the nature has created one more of its attractions, making caves in the rock. The first cave is located directly on the beach. The second is in the water near the shore, the cave with a through passage, i.e. you can swim in it in one place, and swim out in another, a little further. It's a pity I could not photograph it, as to get there without soaking the camera is impossible. There are not many people here - it is a little-known place; it also has a cafe. I think this is the best beach on the island.

All-round panorama of Traganou beach

A long strip of beaches begins from Traganou, the longest of which is the sand-pebble Afandou beach, where we have chosen our residence in the island. The road extends along the beach, where every two hours (from 10.00 to 22.30) goes a little train, carrying the horseless holidaymakers, the initial and final stop is the central square of Afandou settlement. In this area is located a golf course.

Afándou is a fairly large settlement, the capital of the municipality (dimos) of the same name. It means "invisible", i.e. it was unnoticeable from the sea for pirates. In the main square there are the municipality administration and the Church of Mother of God. The church is not notable for architectural delights, the dome is missing, and it is quite typical of Rhodes. Much typical is the tall and elegant bell tower, used here as well a gate into the churchyard.

The pavement in the churchyard (as in many other places in Rhodes and other Dodecanese islands), laid with sea pebbles, a combination of light and dark stones form a mosaic image, it is called hohlákia.

Arriving at the main square of Afandou, I have parked the car in the only free place - near the administration building. Just later I saw a restrictive sign, although there were other cars near this building, but they seem to belong to the administration itself. As ill luck would have it, soon the police car drove up and two police officers came out and started right here near the car an endless talking with some natives, then with others. By this time we finished sightseeing of the settlement center and were going to go out, but the presence of police has forced us to stay away from our car. So we had to continue sightseeing, strolling along the streets around the square. However, it allowed me to make some interesting shots. Finally, the police left the area by walking to the next street, and we quickly got into the car and departed to the opposite direction.

We also visited the local cemetery and also the Church of Saint Andrew, located not far from our apartments. Near the church is a memorial slab in memory of some guy who died 11 years ago when he was 18 years old. Until now someone brings fresh flowers here.

There is a road from Afandou to the opposite shore of the island. Following this road, after Psínthos village, we get to the Valley of Butterflies - Petaloudes. I will tell about it in the "western" part of my story.

We move further along the coast to the south. The long beach finishes with a low cliff projecting to the sea. On both sides of it are sandy beaches with numerous little houses of hotels. This is the popular resort Kolýmbia. A straight street leads from here to the main road; a dense row of thick and tall eucalyptus trees lined up on both sides along the entire length of the road.

Here the road across the island to the opposite shore branches off from the main road. Near its beginning, there is one of the main attractions of the island - the Seven Springs (Eptá Píges). At the bottom of a shallow tree-covered ravine, there flows a stream, which seems to rise from these seven springs. In one place, this stream flows into a kind of tunnel, designed for the passage of only one person. Visitors remove their shoes, stand on the concrete floor into the running ankle-deep water, and come one after another in the darkness of tunnel.

Somewhere in the middle of the passage there is a well, through which the tunnel receives scant glimpses of daylight. Incidentally, one can look from outside in this well, it is located near the road.

The tunnel ends in 168 metres in another ravine, the water flows into a small pond, and tourists dress their shoes and climb back to the parking lot. Those who have passed through the tunnel, according to one version - have been cleansed of their sins, according to another - have become 10 years younger.

We go further inland, the Church of Saint Nektarios stands on a hill left of the road. A spring flows at the foot of the hill. The Church of big and new, the walls inside are covered with paintings. Permission for photography inside the church was obtained from the priest who sat next to the entrance.

The road passes through villages Arhípoli, Eleoúsa, climbs the mountain Profítis Ilías and further goes out to the west coast near the Ancient Kamiros, but this is in the "western" part.

We return to the eastern shore and go to the south. Near Kolymbia a dirt road diverges from the main way and rises to a high cliff. The Upper Monastery of Panagia Tsambíka is located on the top. The stairs with 300 numbered steps leads up from the parking lot. Those who overpower the climb may delight in a wonderful view of the neighborhood; especially there are good views of Tsambika beach that lies far below.

The monastery is an unpretentious whitewashed building with a shop and a church inside. The local Lady specializes in the healing of infertility. A real, life-giving icon was taken to the lower monastery not long ago. But also near the icon that stays here there are dolls and photos of babies, which were brought in gratitude for the born child.

While we were there, the laying of pavement from sea pebbles, such fashionable here in the islands, took place in the courtyard of the monastery. Actually, nobody worked, but everything was ready to continue working, apparently they waiting for the closing time (or simply it was siesta time). Below, those who rose up were offered bags with pebbles, in order they did not go empty and helped the building. Unfortunately, we learned of this only when we came down and the monastery was left without our help.

All-round panorama from the Tsambika Monastery

The next turn from the main road leads to the Tsambika beach, which is so plainly visible from above. The beach is sandy , large and crowded.

On the other side of the road is the Lower Monastery of Panagia Tsambíka with a big church and bell tower. Here is life-giving icon of Mother of God, taken here from the Upper Monastery. For the thirsty ones there is a water source and plastic cups.

Further to the south-west there is a large settlement Arhángelos. The hill at its outskirts is crowned with the fortress built in XV century by the knights-hospitallers on the ruins of a Byzantine fortress. You can get there using the guide signs. There is only a little church inside the fortress, however, a panoramic view of the settlement opens from here. In the settlement is the Church of Archangel Michael built in XIX century. From Arhangelos one can go to a nearby beach Stegná.

To the south near the sea there is the resort village Haráki with a pebbly beach. Near there is another fortress on the rock Feraklos built in XV century, which used at the knights' time as the prison. The sandy Agathí beach is located on the other side of the fortress in the picturesque bay.

On the other side of the main road stretches the flat and sparsely populated area, intersected by riverbeds of rivers that drying in the summer. There are the villages Malóna, Másari, the Kamíri Monastery here. There was information about two gorges in this area, but we had no time to verify.

The straight and gently sloping coastline changes into a large massif that far cut into the sea and forms several picturesque bays. Here, between a pair of these bays is located one of the most remarkable places in the island - Líndos.

The road comes to a spacious square with plenty of parking places. I, however, suspect that these places are paid, so I stopped on the other side of the road at the shop.

The main part of the settlement lies at the bottom, in the hollow. Before the turn to that direction, there stands a monument to Kleóvoulos of Rhodes, who governed the polis for 40 years in VI century BC and who is considered one of the seven great sages of ancient Greece. Descending, we come out to the main square of Lindos with a big tree in the middle. Another road from the square leads down to the beach in a nearby bay. The rest of the settlement streets are too narrow and therefore are pedestrian. Walking on these streets, one can meet very beautiful houses, gates in the walls. Some sections of streets have roofs covered with dense foliage of vines.

In ancient times Lindos was one of the three cities and centers of the island. Since then in the lower part remains only the ancient theater. A large amount of archaeological finds was made above, in the Acropolis, situated on a high cliff near the sea.

The path from the main square to the rise to the Acropolis is the most lively and full of tourist and shops. The left of the road is the Church of Mother of God built in XV century with a beautiful bell tower. Inside the church all the walls are covered with wonderful old painting. For example, here is a rare image of Saint Christopher with a dog's head (I do not know how in Greece, but the Russian Orthodox Church has banned this way to depict the saint in XVIII century). Unfortunately, taking pictures is forbidden, they keep vigilant watch.

Behind the entrance to the Acropolis territory (6 euros) and before the rise of the hill there is a square. A wonderful view of the bay with the beach is opened from here. The bench and bas-relief of trireme, the ancient ship, which were carved into the rock in II century BC, are located before the stairs.

The Acropolis is surrounded by a fortified wall, built in the knights' times in the early XIV century. After climbing the stairs, we get into the administrative building of the same era; a half-ruined Byzantine Church of Saint John is here next. Most of the territory of Acropolis occupies buildings of the Hellenistic period, partially restored. It is the stoa, propylaia, and stairway. On the opposite side of the entrance is widely known in antiquity the temple of Athena Lindia, founded in IX century BC and rebuilt in VI century BC during Kleovoulos. However, there are not much original ancient stones in these buildings.

At the far end, the fortress wall forms an acute angle, a view of the picturesque Saint Paul Bay with the church and the beach of the same name is opened from the most extreme loophole. According to legend, the ship of the Apostle who brought Christianity to the island, stopped in this place in 43 AD.

We go further, this time inland. The road there starts with the crossroads in Lárdos village. In this wooded area is located several monasteries. Near Lardos there is Ipsenís Monastery, near Láerma village - Thárri Monastery, the largest and most famous of them.

At the entrance to the monastery is a wardrobe with proper clothing for women: dark blue long skirts, shawls. The main attraction is the Church of Archangel Michael. In ancient times in this place was the temple of Apollo, on the ruins of which in V century was built a small church. The present church was erected in the period between IX and XI centuries.

According to one version, once a princess of imperial blood mortally fell ill. Then she miraculously cured due to Archangel Michael, she threw the ring and at this point, the church has grown, apparently, miraculously too. According to another version, more realistic, it was not the imperial daughter who treated here but the daughter of some aristocrats, she healed by the local climate and clean water. Happy parents in return paid the construction of the temple.

While we were there, there was an excursion for Russian tourists. After the speech of a guide, mostly about Archangel Michael himself, the service began, and then there was the sacrament of Communion near a large icon of Archangel. I had a little chat with a monk who speaks a little Russian. On the question may I take pictures inside the church, he replied that if there are few people in the church, then I may not, and if there are many people, especially tourists, then, on the quiet, I may.

On the long coast from Lindos to the southern tip of the island, there are a number of resorts and beaches, such as Péfki, Lárdos, Glístra, Kiotári, Gennády, Plimíri, as well as the village with a fortress Asklipío. But, unfortunately, we had no time to visit them; we sped past on the way to Prasonísi, but more about that - further...

Attribution-No Derivative Works (CC-BY-ND) by Andrey K.