Valentines in Greece
Romance is in the very fibre of Greece, home to the ancient Greek goddess of love Aphrodite, there’s romance in the air all year. Everyone thinks of Greece as a summer destination, February is a wonderful time of year to visit, when spring is in the air, the flowers are blooming in the mountains and everything is Green. It makes a Valentines trip to the islands special with fewer visitors and no crowds you’ll have time to explore and enjoy being with the special person in your life.
The Medieval walled city on the island of Rhodes has a unique atmosphere a Unesco World Heritage site it. Travellers and traders from around the world have been walking its narrow cobbled streets since the first battlement were built. The narrow winding cobbled streets have a romance of the past where you can imagine a knight on horseback is just about to come around the corner. With some coffee shops, bars and tavernas open in winter it’s a quiet romantic place.
On days when cruise ships come into port all the shops will open for a few hours and you can sit and watch the passengers as they make their way between Ottoman buildings that were rebuilt by the Italians. Today, visitors come from all over the world, just as they always have, the cultural mix is a central part of the life of this romantic walled city.
Where to Stay
Dotted with a mixture of different places to stay there’s something in the old town for every budget. booking.com and Airbnb are both great places to search.
We stayed at the Avalon boutique suites hotel. A small hotel in the old city of Rhodes they have 6 suites to choose from. We’ve tried out two of their suites: the ‘Notos’ a small sitting room has stairs leading up to the bedroom with a private terrace that has views of the cobbled streets and the ‘Thalassa’ again over 2 floors with a 4 poster bed a large living room and views across the old town to the harbour. The setting, building and the way it has been decorated is a little bit of romantic luxury.
Just around the corner from the Walk Inn in a quiet location, this hotel has been recommended by more than one person that we know. Beautifully decorated throughout, each of the 4 rooms has a different colour scheme, sitting room area and access to the courtyard terrace.
Missing something from home check out The British Corner Shop they might have just what you're looking for.
Places to eat
During the tourist season you are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants in the Medieval Town, in winter you have to look a little harder but you’ll find places that are really local. Open all year and popular with Greeks the food is good and the welcome is always warm. Here are 3 that we’ve enjoyed.
For excellent Greek food and a place that’s always open all year Ta Petaladika (Τα Πεταλάδικα) where you’ll receive great service and quality. Booking is advised on holidays, weekends and during the season.It’s in a quiet street in February but once the season starts it’s surrounded by lots of tavernas and there’s a more lively feel about the area.
A great place to stop for coffee and pancakes during the day or a meal in the evening. The Auvergne Café is tucked away in a corner near the museums, set an open courtyard, when the sun sets and the walls around are lit up, the romance of the place is palpable.In winter an area is covered in and there are patio heaters for the colder nights. It can get very busy at weekends so book in advance.
Set just of Dorieos Square this is an establishment with a reputation for the best pizza in town. They also have a great selection of vegetarian dishes and burgers. We love the atmosphere of the place and the location.They regularly have live music nights throughout the year and the square is a cool quiet escape from the crowds in summer.
Things to do
Forget a map or guide simply wander around the alleys and discover for yourself, around every corner there’s something to see. From colourful staircases and small coffee shops to shady squares and sleeping cats. I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve wandered around the old city yet we discover something new every time.
If you want a bit more history you can head to the Grand Masters Palace, walk along the top of the ancient walls or visit the archaeological museum.
Head just out of the old town and you’ll step out of the quiet and into the bustle of the city, go shopping, grab a gyros or go for a walk around the harbour.
If you come here outside the major tourist season you’ll experience a different side to the island. A quieter side and also a lot more interesting, people will have more time to talk to you and you’ll get to know the culture a little more. Don’t expect to find Valentine cards and gifts in every shop, the crazy commercial side of Valentines hasn’t reached every area of Greece yet.
(we only recommend places if we’ve experienced it ourselves or it’s been recommended by more than one personal friend of ours)
Have you been to Greece for Valentines? Have you stayed in the old town of Rhodes or are you planning to? If you enjoyed this post and found in useful and interesting please comment and share. Thank you
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