Before returning to university, my mum and I decided that a week in Rhodes was the perfect end to such a relaxing summer break. We went at the end of August, which meant that we got a good deal price-wise, and were told that quad-biking was the best way to see the island, because we could do it independently and at our own pace. Unable to drive, I was a little disappointed at first about staying a passenger the whole time, but I soon realised that I was able to see and experience the island better than if I had been concentrated on the road ahead.
Even before getting behind the handlebars, we had explored and thoroughly enjoyed Rhodes Town itself: it turned out to be far easier to bus in and out as opposed to wasting time finding somewhere to park the quad-bike. Our journey around the island started slightly later in the morning than we had planned, and we didn’t have to go far before arriving at our first stop: the base of the settlement of Kamiros. Kamiros was one of the three great cities of Rhodes in the 6th and 5th century BC, and its ancient majesty hits you as soon as you get close. We stood where the Agora once was and saw the remains rising further up the hill, and just couldn’t help but be awestruck. We climbed the hill and were able to fully explore the ruins at our own leisure before returning to the bike and rejoining the coastal road further south.
We stopped next at Kritinia Castle, which offered spectacular views of the Aegean Sea, albeit on top of another hill that had rather too many steps leading up to it. The castle was deceptively large from below, though, while the outside appeared completely intact, the inside and the side facing the cliffs and the sea had fallen to ruin. The surviving architecture was still lovely to see, however, and it proved a worthwhile stop.
We drove further inland from Kritinia, deciding to take in Emponas, also known as the Wine Village. Upon arriving we went to the acclaimed Emery winery. This was great fun for me (unfortunately, as the driver, my mum was unable to taste): wine tasting was something I had never done before, and to get to experience it for the first time in Rhodes was fabulous. Continuing on the inland roads, we drove through the tiny village of Sinia, and had the opportunity to see the church at its centre. Nothing could have represented Greek architecture better.
After stopping for lunch in Monolithos for traditional Greek skewers and pittas, we realised we were a bit behind on time, but still decided to pay a quick visit to Monolithos’ castle, and I’m glad we did, because it was stunning. At the top of rocky cliffs their ruins stood high and proud, and after climbing another load of stairs to get to the top and somehow managing not to fall on their frighteningly slick stonework, we quickly clambered back down to drive on to our final destination, Prasonisi, jumping onto the coastal path coming down the western side of the island.
Prasonisi is arguably the most famous part of the island. While the drive from Monolithos to it felt endless, as we turned the final corner leading down to the beach, I knew it had been worth it. Prasonisi is where two seas, the Mediterranean and Aegean, almost touch, cut off from each other by a single, narrow strip of beach. There was even a different shade of blue to each sea. I wished then that we could have had the time to actually walk between them, but time was against us and we had to move on quickly.
Despite it being nearly 17:00 and our bike needing to be returned by 19:00, we decided to drive back along the east side of the island this time. We went as fast as the bike could take us without stops. The eastern side of the island is far more commercialised than what we’d driven through already, in that the majority of it is hotels and resorts, but even these tourist spots had some highlights worthy of a drive by, showing us the beauty of the entire island.
Somehow, we managed to make it back only ten minutes late, and the rental company was forgiving enough for the minor tardiness. Although quad-biking was definitely not as glamourous and cinematic as I had imagined it to be – it wound up being very greasy and dirty, and my legs were incredibly sore by the end – it is something I would do again in an instant.
Images courtesy of Rebecca Kennedy.