Green Tourism on Rhodes

Discover the natural beauty of Rhodes through eco-friendly activities, hiking, kayaking, and supporting sustainable tourism initiatives.


The fairy-tale old town, beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters, important archaeological sites, and a vibrant nightlife are what typically attract tourists to “The Island of the Knights,” often overshadowing the island’s unique natural beauty. Despite its mass tourism and beach bars with sunbeds floating in the sea, Rhodes holds many surprises for nature and adventure lovers.

Despite last year’s fires, which destroyed more than 25 acres of land in the island’s southeast, Rhodes has numerous green spaces, many of which are part of the Natura 2000 program and are considered wildlife sanctuaries of rare beauty. Cypress and pine forests, valleys, gorges, and lakes are home to, among other things, the island’s famous butterflies, the fallow deer that are the symbol of Rhodes, and the microscopic gizani fish that are found exclusively in the island’s fresh waters.

 

If you enjoy nature walks, spring is the best time of the year to discover the island’s rich biodiversity and explore its greener side through eco-friendly activities that combine adventure and environmental sensitivity, supporting Rhodes’ much-needed transition to sustainability.

Go hiking in the countryside

Leave the popular town of Faliraki behind and travel southwest to discover Rhodes’ virgin countryside. Thousands of kilometers of forest trails and scenic paths will take you closer to the island’s history, culture, and wildlife while providing breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea, nearby islands, and the Turkish coast. On the road that connects the villages of Kritinia and Monolithos you can explore the Gorge of Sideritissa, also known as Koufos, as well as the Acropolis of Aghios Fokas and the Necropolis of Kymisala, which provide stunning views of the islands of Halki and Alimnia. If the weather is nice, you can climb to the peak of Mount Akramytis, the island’s second highest mountain, and enjoy a panoramic view of Rhodes.

Info: Trekking Hellas Rhodes

Experience Rhodes’ beaches from a different perspective

Get off the sunbeds and explore some of Rhodes’ most stunning beaches by kayak. Begin at Charaki Beach and explore the rock formations and islets of the island’s southeast coast, passing under Feraklos Castle and taking a swim at Kokkini Ammos Beach, which has reddish sand and can only be reached by sea.

You can also visit the beautiful beaches of Anthony Quinn and Ladikos, explore the Cave of Fokias, and snorkel in the waters of Tranu Beach beneath Erimokastro Hill. You can also enjoy spectacular views of these beaches while rock climbing at Erimokastro Castle. With a little experience, you can rappel down to the entrance of a cave set against the backdrop of these stunning small coves.

 

If you prefer to see the sea from above but don’t want to leave the water, you can kitesurf at Ialysos Beach on the island’s northwestern coast. Even if you’re a complete beginner, you can learn to kitesurf in a few hours. If you don’t get the kitesurf off the ground, you can still enjoy the waves.

Info: Trekking Hellas Rhodes, Rhodes Climbing Community, Kite Surf Ialysos

Discover the island’s rich flora and fauna

Far from the island’s tourist hotspots, the Apolakkia reservoir, created as a result of the dam’s construction in 1989, allows you to enjoy nature in a unique wetland that is now a protected area. With a little luck, you might see fallow deer come down for a drink of water. You can explore the landscape by ziplining, canoeing, or water biking through the reservoir’s teal waters while also helping to protect these protected wild animals. When driving to and from Apolakkia, keep an eye out for these beautiful, white-spotted deer crossing the street to forage in the villages. After consulting with the local Forestry Service, you may be able to buy food for the deer.

Info: Rhodescape Park, Directorate of Forests of the Dodecanese (Thira Office, 22410.436.90).

Buy local products

Visit the Monastery of Ypsos, also known as Ypseni, in the village of Lardos, a historic convent on the island’s southeastern end that was saved from fires in 2023 but lost its trees, some of which were 200 years old. The nuns who risked their lives to save the convent continue to prune and plant new trees in an effort to reforest the area. They also make herbal creams and beeswax balms, pasta, sweet preserves, and liqueurs, including limoncello (an Italian lemon liqueur), which you can purchase at the convent’s shop.

A little further north, near the center of the island, in the village of Apollona, you will find Apolloniatisses, the first women’s agritourism and agro-industrial cooperative of the Dodecanese, where you can buy Rhodes’ traditional melekouni (a pastry made with almonds, sesame, and honey), as well as takkakia (a filo pastry made with walnut, sesame, and honey), anevata koulourakia (a local biscuit), rustic bread, and herbs from Profitis Ilias. Apolloniatisses is run as a family business by nine women who, for the past two decades, have been producing local products and pastries using their grandmothers’ time-honored recipes and local ingredients from their village.

Plant a tree

If you want your vacation to have a low impact while also benefiting the island’s natural environment, you can join a local regenerative tourism initiative that organizes tree-planting campaigns in areas destroyed by fires. The “Gia Ti Fisi” social cooperative enterprise brings together hotels, tourists, and the local community in an effort to reforest and regenerate Rhodes’ fire-affected areas, which total over 100,000 acres.

Info: Giatifisi.org



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