argyrocastrou square fountain in rhodes old town

Rhodes Old Town Self Guided Walking Tour, Complete With A Map

The medieval town of Rhodes is a paradise for history lovers, as it’s one of the most well preserved in Europe. In this guide I highlighted the most important sights and attractions you should see when going a self guided walking tour of Rhodes Old Town. As I love maps (and they are also very practical), you can also find one to save in the first paragraph of this post.

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In This Article

Rhodes Old Town Self Guided Walking Tour Map (+ Mandraki Harbor)

If you follow our route, it will take you about an hour to walk from d’Ambroise Gate to Rhodes Aquarium. It’s a 5 kilometer walk. Of course, I’m not counting the time to visit the different attractions and a 1-2 hour lunch break. That will take you the whole day, it may seem a lot, but there are so many things to do, see, and shop!

Is Rhodes the most well-preserved Middle Age town in Europe? Maybe, but there’s a little trick though! From 1912 to 1947, Rhodes was under the control of the Italian administration. The Italian colonists preserved the buildings from the Knight’s period (1309 – 1522), while they demolished the Ottoman buildings (1523 – 1912). They also reconstructed many of the buildings that were neglected or destroyed, including the Grand Master’s Palace.

D’Ambroise Gate

There are several gates to access the citadel. If you are NOT staying inside the walled town, or visiting on a cruise excursion, d’Ambroise Gate is the perfect starting point for your Rhodes Old Town self guided walking tour. The northwestern gate has a scenic moat bridge from where you can admire the walls circling the town.

To enter the town, there is a scenic stone hallway where you can often find a street musician. Enter the second wall line, and you will find yourself in a larger pedestrian street with the left side of the Grandmaster Palace in the background. I particularly loved this part as it’s really picturesque, there are a few portrait painters and so many cats sleeping around!

d ambroise gate street artists square in rhodes old town

The Medieval Clock Tower

As you pass another smaller gate, you will enter Rhodes Old Town. Picturesque two-floor stone houses line the street with colorful shops and restaurants, and in the distance you will notice Roloi the clock tower.

This tower is the highest point in Rhodes Old Town, and it has the best view. The small fee to enter includes a free beverage, coffee or tea.

Suleymaniye Mosque and the Rainbow Stair

While you are in the tower, take the chance to have a glimpse of Suleymaniye Mosque, one of the few Ottoman buildings that survived the wars and the Italian renovation works. Today the mosque is closed except during special events or religious festivities.

Following our path, you will also pass by the mosque very close on all sides. Go up to Panaitiou Street and, after the dummy with a medieval armor, turn right for a quick photo stop on the rainbow stair.

The Grandmaster Palace

Seat of the Knights of Saint John’s power, the Grandmaster palace is one of the most impressive sights in Rhodes. The imposing castle was renovated by the Italians (who controlled Rhodes from 1912 to 1947), after the explosion of a gunpowder storage in 1856 severely damaged the area.

Even though most of the castle has been rebuilt, the place has a really immersive atmosphere that will take you back to when the Knights of Saint John controlled the island. On the other hand, the Italians made some important modifications. For example, while renovating the castle, they took many damaged mosaics from Kos and placed them inside the palace. You will also notice many Roman symbols, like the Capitoline Wolf or the Eagle, both taken by Fascism from the Roman Empire symbolism.

The ticket entrance will give you access to an interesting exhibition of objects, a few very ancients. The final part of the museum is dedicated to the Knights of Saint John and their history on the island.

grandmaster palace and courtyard rhodes old town

The Street of the Knights

Your journey to discover Rhodes Old Town continues outside in one of the most emblematic places of the town, the Street of the Knights, which is considered one of the most well preserved medieval alleys in Europe.

This cobblestone street, also known by the name of Ippoton, is lined with 15th – 16th century buildings that were once the inns where the knights lived. Today, several of these buildings have been converted into embassies.

I highly recommend exploring the 650 ft (200 mt) alley, and appreciate the small details hidden among the ancient walls. On our map you will notice a short deviation to explore the narrow alleys around. The one I’ve put in the tour has a panel that illustrates the different buildings lined up on the main street.

street of the knights of saint john rhodes old town

The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

Rhodes’ largest collection of archaeological finds, is inside the scenic ancient hospital of the Knights of Saint John. As I mention in the best Rhodes Instagram spots, the location itself is absolutely worth the entry fee. The two level stone building features a mix of romanesque architecture and some elements from the Middle East, recalling the caravanserais.

The museum displays many objects from the Hellenist era, like vases and other daily objects, but also burial finds. There is also an outdoor garden with some ancient statues that are well worth seeing.

Personally, the Hospital of the knights was my favorite attraction in Rhodes Old Town.

rhodes archaeological museum stone arches

The Jewish Martyrs Square

When passing through this bustling square, the monument to the Jewish martyrs may easily go unnoticed, shadowed by the large trees in the center of the square.

Dedicated to the memory of the Jews who were deported from Rhodes and Kos by the Italians and Germans during World War II, this memorial is an important piece of the modern history of Rhodes Old Town, that wasn’t spared by the war.

Church of the Virgin Mary of the Burgh

Most cities would probably organize the area of the Church of the Virgin Mary of the Burgh, and make access available for a small fee. Not in Rhodes, you can freely walk among the ruins of this medieval church. That’s also one of the reasons I loved exploring the town so much. It feels authentic, like a step back in time.

The Gothic church was built in the 14th century by the Knights of Saint John Hospitaller. Through the years, the church has been abandoned, and the roof as well as many of the walls collapsed. Nowadays, you can admire the arches supporting the sky and a large colony of cats living among the ruins.

Before heading back to the city center, admire the view from the gate that takes the name of the church, the Virgin Mary or Panagia Gate. It’s indeed one of the loveliest views in the town.

Church of the Virgin Mary of the Burgh rhodes old town

From Sokratus Street to the Liberty Gate

Even though it’s a very touristy location (you could say tourist trap), I loved shopping on Sokratus Street! There are so many shops of all types, from jewelers to the usual kitsch stuff, that I’m the first to buy. It’s unlikely you won’t give in to the temptation of buying something.

My only advice is to pass by Argyrocastrou Square Fountain, one of the cutest photo spots in Rhodes Old Town, and the Temple of Aphrodite, which is one of the oldest ruins in the town. The ruins of this temple are worth seeing, even if it will only take you a few minutes.

Leave Aphrodite Temple and the Old Town from the Liberty Gate and find yourself in Mandraki Harbor.

sokratus street and suleymane mosque in the background

The Three Windmills and the Doe

Considered one of the landmarks of Rhodes, the three windmills, stand on the right side of Mandraki, on the same pier to go to Saint Nicholas Fortress. The three windmills have been renovated and are the few survivors of a series that once served both for agriculture and defensive purposes.

Even before thinking of visiting Rhodes, you probably come across it during history class because of the mythical Colossus. Known as one of the Ancient 7 World Wonders, the Colossus didn’t survive the test of time. To celebrate Rhodes symbol, a statue of a doe on the right side, and one of a deer on the left side, have been placed where the feet of the Colossus stood.

The location is also a perfect view of the harbor with the old town in the background and the Italian buildings in the modern part.

deer and doe statues in place of the colossus of rhodes mandraki harbor

The Seaside Promenade to the Aquarium

Back to the harbor and Nea Agora, take your time to admire the neoclassical architecture built under Italian dominance. There are several administration buildings that will remind you of the buildings you can find in the EUR neighborhood in Rome. Among the most noticeable, check out the market of Nea Agora and the Casino, both marked on the map.

The last stop of our Rhodes Old Town Self Guided Tour is the northernmost building on the island, the aquarium. The aquarium itself is very small, and you may skip it, but the area is very nice, and I recommend going there also to relax and admire the sunset on the western coast.

administrative building in rhodes italian architecture

Are you planning to visit Rhodes? You will love it!

This island has so much to offer and there are so many interesting activities to do. Need inspiration to craft your itinerary? Check out our 7-day itinerary for the island that includes a day in Symi.

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