Rhodes Main

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Warm sun, lots of beaches - and all the vast historical heritage of the Aegean? Well, chalk up one for Rhodes. On this Greek island, there's no lack of sandy bays, mega-resorts, and watersports (snorkeling, windsurfing, and sailing are familiar favorites). But you'll probably want a guidebook as much as a beach towel - and time to explore both ancient ruins and traditional mountain villages.

Start at the northern tip of the island in the medieval city of Rhodes, where the old town is a labyrinthine maze of cobblestone streets and castles built by the Crusaders in the Knights' Quarter along with the mosques and Ottoman architecture in the Hora district where the commoners once lived. From the city, it's less than 30 miles to the city of Lindos, where a horseshoe bay, beach, and picturesque, narrow, pedestrian-only streets leading up to an impressive Acropolis attract hordes of daily visitors.

Longtime visitors will say much of the island's shoreline now resembles the over-developed concrete world of the Spanish coasts, but this is a big island. If your world extends beyond beaches, take a car into the countryside, where another Rhodes still lives on.