RHODES, Greece, is the Crusader Isle, steeped in ancient history and boasting 300 days of blue skies a year. Rhodes lies at the southern end of the Dodecanese island chain that skirts the Turkish coast and is one of the most sought after holiday destinations in the Mediterranean. Many resorts of Rhodes, such as Faliraki, are now devoted to package tourism and anyone expecting to see a Greek goatherd has definitely come to the wrong place. Bar touts and club bouncers make up the local 'colour' these days and locals in the tourist hotspots can display an avarice that only an unending supply of free-spending tourists can sustain. But Rhodes is big enough to swallow all types of travellers - from beach holiday families to independent backpackers. Rhodes offers some of the best beaches and the best bargain accommodation at Rhodes hotels.
The most popular beaches, packed with holiday hotels - lie to the west and south of Rhodes City. To the west a maze of high-rise conference centres towers over narrow, shingle beaches while, to the east, replicated rows of holiday hotels are stacked along the coast like deck chairs. Many visitors now opt to fly to the island direct, there being so many cheap flights to Rhodes on offer. But only south of the popular resort of Lindos do the crowds thin out and only there does a more authentic glimpse of Greek island life emerge.