With literally thousands of islands throughout the Ionian and Aegean seas, Greece has always been a favourite summer family holiday destination. You might have gone to Crete as a kid, to Mykonos with your friends from uni or to Santorini for your honeymoon. But now that you have kids, this might be the right time to rediscover an old gem; Rhodes.
Why Rhodes is summer family funtastic!
Part of the Dodecanese group of islands, Rhodes is a no-brainer for a summer family holiday. Whether you want to lounge on the beaches, visit old ruins or explore a nearby island or two, Greece has it all. Plus Greek food is simply amazing – juicy souvlakis, creamy moussakas, nutty baklavas – I can go on and on! I personally had feta cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. My daughter loved having refreshing tzatziki salads and watermelon slices (when she was not eating ice cream!) in the hot summer weather.
When to go
The best months to visit would be between June and September so we are basically talking about a summer holiday here. It is still warm in spring and autumn. However you risk getting rainy or windy weather which is not beach-friendly at all!
Where to stay
We stayed at the Sheraton Rhodes Resort which is a walking distance from the Old Town. The hotel was close to lots of restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. Since it was only the second time for our daughter to travel abroad, we wanted the peace of mind of knowing that we are in a reputable hotel. A room with a king size bed would cost around £200 per night including breakfast.
What to pack for your summer family holiday
Make sure to pack beach and pool essentials such as sunscreen, swimming gear, sunglasses and hats. If you also plan on visiting other beaches other than the one in your hotel, toss in a few beach towels and a cooler bag to keep your drinks and snacks cold.
What summer family activities to do
Now here is a tip for you – the beaches on the west coast tend to be pebbly because it is more windy. The ones on the east coast are not as windy so the beaches are sandier and shallower. If you have one day to spend at the beach, then I wholeheartedly recommend Tsambika beach. We took a bus from our hotel that dropped us on the main road. Then it was a brisk 10 minute walk down to the beach. You can get some sun loungers and umbrellas for a couple of euros. Plus there are different stalls if you want to rent some snorkelling equipment or grab a quick bite.
Faliraki Water Park
According to their website, the Faliraki Water Park is the biggest water park in Greece and one of the biggest in Europe. Tickets cost around £21 for adults and £14 for children. We had a blast on the water slides, lazy river and waves pool. We took a bus from the Old Town that dropped us right in front of the water park.
Symi Island Boat Trip
Make sure it is NOT a Sunday though – we learnt that the hard way! After a whole hour on the ferry, we arrived at the postcard pretty fishing village on Symi Island. Almost everything was closed, so we walked around and had a nice seafood lunch. It is a shame we did not have the chance to buy some souvenirs from the village shops and talk to the locals.
After searching for child-friendly activities online, we came across a company that arranges tours and had a family option. You can also hire a car or use public transportation to get around. We started the day with the Rhodes Aquarium which my daughter loved because she is so into fishes and frogs! The aquarium is open except for public holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Depending on when you are visiting it stays open until 8:30 pm. Standard tickets are 5.5 euros.
Valley of the Butterflies
Our next stop was the Valley of the Butterflies which was simply breathtaking. We could see thousands of them resting on the rocks in complete camouflage. Their vibrant orange wings only appeared when they heard the sound of leaves rustling or twigs breaking as we walked as quietly as possible over the wooden walkways and bridges. It is open every day from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Children enter free and adult tickets range between 3 and 5 euros.
We also managed a visit to an ostrich farm called Farma of Rhodes. It actually turned out to be a small petting zoo with llamas, goats, deer and camels. At the cafe you could order what I believe was the biggest omelette I have ever seen made from a single ostrich egg! We were in a rush so we grabbed some ice cream instead.
Old Town of Rhodes
We were very lucky that we were in Rhodes during a medieval festival in the Old Town. It is the oldest inhabited medieval city in Europe and is designated as a World Heritage City by UNESCO. My daughter loved watching the dancers, clowns, musicians and actors.
After a hectic week full of activities, take your time to lounge on the pool in the hotel. We tried the hotel’s beach but unfortunately it was too windy and pebbly. That explains why the pool was a popular choice for most of the hotel guests.
Not ready to end your summer family holiday?
If you have time, perhaps you can visit another Greek island or spend a couple of nights in Greece’s capital city; Athens. That way you can binge on more feta cheese! Yum! Another idea would be to visit another Mediterranean country nearby such as Italy, Portugal or Spain?