The island of Rhodes has lots of well known tourist spots but there’s also a lot that’s undiscovered by the main summer tourist crowds. Away from the main resorts there’s a very different island to be found. Beautiful places that haven’t changed for decades, where you’ll receive a warm welcome in local tavernas with real Greek food. Discover beaches where you won’t be falling over people to get to the clear blue waters. Find hidden camping spots and beautiful walks.
Here’s 10 hidden gems all in the the south of Rhodes, you’ll need a car to find these and at times a head for heights on winding mountain roads. These aren’t off road or off grid, there’s still amenities and at many wifi, it’s just the crowds that are missing.
1. Stegna beach (Στεγνά)
Half way down the south east coast of the island between Faliraki and Lindos you’ll climb up to the second largest town on the island Archangelos, set in a valley up the hill with it’s own castle ruins, it’s a busy working town. If you drive through the main town and head down a winding cliffside road you’ll come the resort of Stegna.
It feels like to you’ve arrived on a different island with two stretches of long sandy beach divided by a river and small harbour. Dotted with small houses, guest houses and tavernas it’s a world away from the large hotels and packed beaches in the main resorts. Time here runs at a much slower pace.
2. Stegna Kozos Taverna
While you’re in Stegna try out the food at Stegna Kozas where their traditional menu with a twist will delight. Their dacos salad with olive paste and sweet chilli sauce is an amazing taste sensation and the seafood pasta melted in our mouths.
You’ll be sat right next to the water with Kozas cooking in his bare feet. The family run taverna was first opened in 1932 and although the menu has changed the atmosphere is laid back and relaxed. If you really want to get a taste of local life come on the Sunday when it will be busy with Greek families who travel from Archangelos and Rhodes town for a day out at the beach.
Nothing you ask will be too much, guests staying nearby were enjoying a bottle of bubbly on the beach.
3. Haraki (Χαράκι)
A slightly easier drive further south towards Lindos and you’ll find signposted at a roundabout the port of Haraki. On arrival it doesn’t seem like much, you’ll need to get out of the car and walk between the houses to find a crescent shaped bay with clear blue waters.
The long pebble beach has sun beds belonging to the tavernas that line the walkway around the bay. Free to use for customers, there’s many places to eat a snack, an English breakfast, traditional Greek food or seafood. They are all excellent and you’ll receive a warm welcome.
We’ve eaten in many places here and always had a good meal with friendly service. Here you’ll also find the prices are slightly lower than in Rhodes town, Lindos.
Above many of the tavernas are rooms to rent, with a few rental villas near by and a couple of small low rise family run hotels. Most of the people who live and work in Haraki come from Malona a short distance inland and a lovely village to wander around.
4. Agathi beach (Αγάθη)
The road to Agathi beach is signposted before you reach Haraki. About halfway on the left you’ll come to the entrance to walk up to the castle ruins. Not long after this the road becomes a bit more of a dirt track but it’s easy to drive in any vehicle.
There’s an unfinished hotel complex on the hill as you enter the beach and plenty of stories about why it’s not finished, including ship wrecks and lives lost at sea!
The beach is long and sandy with very shallow waters perfect for families and busy with Greeks on a Sunday who come down from Rhodes town. There are a couple of kiosks on the beach serving basic food and drinks and providing sun beds. What you’ll get here is lots of sand and peace and quiet.
At the back of the beach there’s also an area where it’s possible to camp and you’ll often find a tent or camper van during the season. There’s an area at the end of the beach with trees and a small church in a cave to explore.
5. Feraklos Castle (Φεράκλος)
Seen from Haraki the entrance to walk up to Feraklos castle is on the road to Agathi beach. Built where once an ancient acropolis stood, not much remains today of the last stronghold of the Knights of St John who were ousted by the Ottomans except a few outer walls. Though it gives wonderful views of the bay, Agathi beach and across to Lindos. It is believed at one time to have been used by pirates. If you’re here in spring the area is covered in beautiful wild flowers.
6. Monolithos village (Μονόλιθος)
The the south western side of the island has lots of hidden treasures away from the crowds. Though some are on the tourist trail with bus tours and lots of hire cars there’s many spots that are still quiet and peaceful.
Almost opposite Lindos on map, in the mountains, with views to the coast, Monolithos is a traditional Greek mountain village. Monolithos is a collection of small white houses and a church hugging a hill side. Covered in forest with lots of places to walk and explore in spring. The majority of visitors pass through on the way to have a quick look at the castle and then move on but they are missing out.
7. The Old Taverna Monolithos
A family run taverna where you’ll find genuine home cooked traditional food that will make your mouth water. Spend several hours with friends, a carafe of local wine and taste lots of different small maze dishes, then complete it with an ouzo with the owner. Run by a local family the wife cooking and husband waiting on tables. It’s not a place to rush in eat and run out again expect to wait and receive traditional food cooked properly.
It’s got views down the valley and to the sea but best of all in the height of summer when everyone is roasting on the beaches of Pefkos it feels 10 degrees cooler up on this mountain. It’s also open all year, as with most places in winter only at weekends. Not on the main road you’ll need to look for this one, another reason it’s a good place to escape the crowds.
8. Thomas Hotel Monolithos
To really enjoy the local wine and relax it’s always best if no-one has to drive. The Thomas Hotel is a great place to explore the area from. A little dated in decor but with clean comfortable rooms, great views, good showers and a friendly welcome you’ll find it a real escape from the crowds.
We stayed here in August while attending the souma festival in Sianna, the evenings were pleasant and cool and a world away from the August heat of the South East coast. We booked through booking.com but you can also contact the hotel direct here and checkout their website for more things to do around Monolithos.
9. Fourni and Alyki Beach (Φούρνοι και Αλυκή)
Near Monolithos are also two of the quietest beaches on the island. This isn’t completely people free, there’s still a sunbed or two and a small kiosk for food and drink.
Head out of Monolithos towards the castle, you can stop on the corner for some good pictures, then follow the road to the parking entrance for the castle. It’s a good walk up steep steps to the top, where the views are stunning.
Continue past the castle and just keep going. Eventually you will see a few signs for Alyki Beach the first you’ll get to, they are all hand painted on drift wood. There’s small parking area and a short steep walk to the beach itself. A few sunbeds and umbrellas and crystal clear sea are all you’ll find.
Continue on past Alyki beach to the end of the road and you’ll find Fourni beach. Set in a small cove is long stretch of pebble beach with a few sunbeds and a kiosk. There’s a toilet (only available when the kiosk is open). At the back of the site you’ll find a great area for camping under trees and for those that like exploring a little you can head off on foot over the rocky headland to see the caves.
Being on the West coast you’re almost always guaranteed a few waves and a breeze.
10. Glyfada Beach (Γλυφάδα)
If you really want to escape, this small village of scattered white houses is really away from it all. There’s no wifi in the small taverna here. The pebble beach often has the wind blowing onto it and the shore is lined with fir trees. The water here is green rather than blue and a fine paper like seaweed is blown ashore.
You can find the beach by heading from Monolithos towards Rhodes town. The route takes you through Sianna where you can stop at the tourist shops with locally made honey and the spirit souma. Head out of Sianna towards Kritinia, the turning to Glyfada is halfway between the two and signposted Gylfada beach and Laki (a very small village). It’s a narrow winding road through forest and drops down quickly to sea level.
The small beach has been cleaned up a little over the years we’ve been here. A shower has now been provided and a changing hut, though with water shortages on the island the shower has been disconnected each time we’ve visited this year. There’s nothing else. No sunbeds or umbrellas, no music and definitely no crowds. The area can get busy with a few Greeks from Sianna on a Sunday who come down for a swim and then a late lunch.
The small taverna sits right on the shore, serving up home cooked Greek food. The old man and his wife will serve you slowly, it’s a place to sit back, relax, read your book and escape. If it’s too windy you can move under cover of the building or sit under the trees and enjoy the breeze.
A short distance from the taverna across a river bed is the small church of Agio Georgios the rough road is passable in an Fiat Panda, once up at the church there are fabulous views across the bay and the village.
These are just a few of the many quiet locations in Southern Rhodes and all places we have revisited this summer. Please note that on Sunday’s many of these places will get busier with Greeks coming down from Rhodes town for the day.
There’s many other places off the beaten track in Rhodes. Do you have a favourite spot away from the crowds? If you enjoyed this post and found in useful please comment and share. Thank you