Belfast Telegraph

All Rhodes lead to Greece

The jewel of the Aegean, stunning Lindos' mix of history and beauty makes it the perfect summer escape.

By Tony Allen

I recently found my own Greek odyssey during the holiday of a lifetime on Rhodes.

My base for a week-long visit was lovely Lindos — an ancient fortified town known as the ‘Jewel of Rhodes’, which embodies everything you would expect from a Greek historical hotspot.

Travelling direct from Belfast with Thomson, Lindos was less than an hour’s drive from Rhodes Airport and my hotel, the Sensimar Lindos Bay, was located in a picture postcard setting on a beautiful, quiet pebble beach in the bay of Vilcha.

It was easy to see why most people are drawn to the sun-kissed island by its beaches. The island’s east coast is a ribbon of virtually uninterrupted sand.

The beachfront hotel had all you could hope for, from a super spa and fitness room to brilliant beachside and poolside waiter service. On the beach itself there are plenty of water-based activities to choose from including jet skis and tours around the island on glass-bottomed boats. I took a trip out on the boat and we moored in a picturesque bay off the Mediterranean Sea for a refreshing afternoon swim. That was probably the highlight of my trip, I only say probably as every day there was fantastic.  The food, the drink, the culture, the sights — it had it all and more.

I spent most of my time at the hotel’s pool which was just the right temperature for the searing summer heat. With the cocktail bar adjacent there was no need to leave!

The bedrooms were spacious and it’s worth requesting a room with a sea view as the balconies are perfect for drinking in the sunset with a cocktail or two. You can sit out and watch the hotel entertainment below, a perfect way to relax.

As it was an adults only hotel you didn’t have to worry about being woken by kids in the swimming pool below. It all made for an extremely relaxing holiday.

Staying half-board, you can enjoy sumptuous breakfasts and buffet dinners which offer something for everyone with dishes rotated nightly.

A short taxi ride away is the whitewashed town of Lindos itself with its narrow winding streets up to the acropolis sitting on the hill above. The acropolis sits proudly on high ground because the ancient Greeks liked to build their temples as close as possible to their gods.

Dating back to 300 BC, it’s just a 10 minute walk or a five minute donkey ride to the top. Once you’re there you’ll be able to explore the remains of the ancient Temple of Athena, age-old burial sites, churches, mansions and a 20-columned promenade.

As the departure port for the nine ships Rhodes sent to the Trojan War, Lindos is immersed in history and other notable sites worth visiting include the church of Panagia (Our Lady) which is an enchanting sight with its high-rise, stone-built campanile tower dating back to 1300.

The labyrinth of Lindos is also a hive of social activity with a great range of family-run rooftop bars and restaurants. There was no better feeling than sitting out on a roof above the town in the evening sun enjoying a cocktail or a beer.

While I strayed no further than Lindos, Rhodes has plenty to see and do. Historically it is most famous for the giant statue of Colossus that once stood in its harbour and was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

There’s no longer any trace of the bronze effigy but there are many other ruins to explore.

Rhodes Town catalogues the comings and goings of knights over two centuries.  If you’ve only got time to see one thing here, make it the Medieval citadel. Built by the famous Knights of St John, it’s one of the best-preserved in Europe. Of course, the harbour area here was once dominated by one of the seven wonders of the ancient world — the great colossus.

But if it is just a week in the sun on a sandy, secluded beach you are after, Rhodes matches any of the best resorts across the world for this.

For my part I am still wondering why I never travelled to Rhodes and Lindos before. I am already planning my return. Get me to the Greek!

Travel factfile

Thomson flights from Belfast International Airport to Rhodes for summer 2017 begin May 24 and end September 27, flying out on Wednesdays.

I stayed at the adults only Sensimar Lindos Bay. Check out www.thomson.co uk/destinations/europe/greece/rhodes/lindos/hotels/sensimar-lindos-bay.html

Thomson currently has a deal for seven nights half board from Belfast on May 31 for £553pp.

Sensimar is a collection of holidays created by TUI for adults. The 4 or 5 star hotels in this range are geared up to help you relax, reconnect, and leave your everyday routine behind.

During the day, you can take it easy by the pool, or dip in and out of our programme of wellbeing activities. In the evenings, smart restaurants and low-key entertainment are what it’s all about. Looking for great entertainment on your holiday? Head straight to Gold, their classic adults-only holiday collection.

- Dining — Top class restaurants come as standard. They offer specially designed menus that showcase authentic dishes from around the world, and lots have the bonus of terraces and stunning views.

- Wellbeing: You can look forward to yoga classes, health and beauty treatments, and world-class spas.

- Modern Design: Smart interiors and inviting outdoor spaces with attractive pools.

- Rooms: Contemporary bedrooms with big double beds and balconies showcasing views of the beach.

- Pools: Some pools are accessorised with fancy daybeds, swim-up bars or loungers for two.

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