Lazy days on the long island coasts

Costa Rica

Don't judge an entire destination by the wild nights in one resort. When the last Faliraki reveller falls into bed, the rest of this big, fat Greek island, 50 miles long by 24 wide, is waking up to another glorious day in the sun.

Medieval city

Even in high season there are many quiet, ancient villages, tranquil beaches, unhurried restaurants, formidable architecture and fabulous historical remains to visit. The Greeks, Knights of St. John, Ottomans, and most recently the Italians, owners from 1912 -1947, all left their distinctive mark.
Rhodes itself is a well-preserved medieval city dominated by the muscular Palace of the Grand Master. The trail through the island's classical past leads through the ancient sites of Kamiros and Ialyssos, with fortresses to rival any you've seen at Lindos and Monolithos. There's a hilly, forested interior with stupendous views. And the annual riot of black and white butterflies at Petaloudes.

Take a taxi excursion

Hire a car. Better still, take a taxi excursion. The Axarlis brothers of Private Tours of Rhodes ( are two of the wisest; they can smell the fish grilling at a good taverna from miles off. They know the best hill tops cantinas with sea views, and the quietest beaches. 'Cultured, entertaining, reliable - with fluent English' said insider Matt Barrett, : 'Like having a college professor driving you.' They put together a range of trips for well under £100 for two.

White beaches and clear blue sea

Treat the coast of Rhodes as one long opportunity for doing nothing, with - outside the resorts - plenty of semi-deserted white beaches and clear blue sea. Or get active. Faliraki offers most to do, from parasailing to jet skis to canoeing, via bungee jumping and laser clay shooting. (Always quiet in the morning. )
Fancy the Life Aquatic? Sample a diving course at Kalithea, six miles from Rhodes City, beneath the pines and Mussolini's Art Deco spa. Dive Med's multilingual staff offer one day introductory dives for beginners. Conducted plunges take in sunlit underwater caves. Costs £34 . Second dive: £18. Snorkelling program for beginners: £24.
Dive Med. 0030 22410 61115,

Wonder windsurfing

There are windsurfing packages all around the coast. But the very best way to clear a Faliraki hangover is a course in kiteboarding at Prasonisi, on the southernmost tip of the island. This fledgling sport (for men and women) is like bungee jumping in reverse, only it lasts longer. You rip over the surf on a snowboard-like base, clinging to the strings of a big, brightly-coloured arc kite. Then, presto - you are 30 feet up in a clear blue sky, twisting and spinning. How to get down? Gravity will provide.
One hour, £62 for two; 00 30 2244 091044.

Rare restaurants

You'll struggle to spend £50 for two in even the best restaurants in Rhodes, where competition is keener than the Athens Olympics 100 metres. Shave a euro off a menu and you have a customer for life, although it was the free ouzos that brought us back.
The knack is to find the restaurants the locals like, and the tourists can't find. Such as Archontiko, an 'ouzerie' in Zefiros in east of Rhodes city. Good seafood, and a big choice of seafood mezedes (snacks).

Rhodian plates

Palermo (11 Ippodamou street) an Italian place in the new city, wins praise. So do Mikes, in the old city (good for red mullet) on Parados Socratous and Filerimon Restaurant in Ialysos - good, fresh food. The nearby Antonis Taverna serves a fine range of Rhodian plates.
Ta Kioupia in Tris (0030 22410 93448) is one of the best restaurants on the island. Recent creations include chicken marinated in coffee. Tsambikos Taverna in Kalithea is one of Rhodes's oldest seafoods restaurants. Sea views and wide choice of wines.
Indigo on Mandraki Harbour is the canniest tip. Owners Nikos and Christine cook and serve some excellent traditional Greek and Turkish dishes, including a sterling melitsana salata (eggplant salad).

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