The east coast is the beach coast on Rhodes. It’s also the tourist coast, and the farther south you travel, the less crowded the sand is. Faliraki is the main resort, but Plymiri is the starting point if you are searching for a quieter strand (instead of sunbeds, parasails, jet-skis, and high-rise hotels). One bay on the way south worth a curiosity stop is Kalithea; it’s a nice spot to go snorkeling, and the aging setting (which includes a once glamorous Italianesque art-deco spa) is a classic.
It’s known as the Valley of the Butterflies, but the red-black-and-white fliers here are actually tiger moths. Found across Europe to the Channel Islands, the moths come by the millions in mid-summer to this valley near Petaloudes in the north-central part of the island. Tours here are a popular attraction – in fact, too popular. As the number of visitors has increased in recent years, the number of moths has been in sharp decline.
Blustery winds can put a damper on beaches along the West Coast, but for windsurfers, those breezes are a blessing at Prassonisi, a sandspit at the very southern tip of the island. Windsurfing is still a favorite pastime in the Greek Islands, and some of Europe’s best board sailors come here to play (wave jumping) and practice (speed and slalom).