Planning Your Time

Rhodes and Kos are two of Greece’s most popular resort islands, and for good reason: they offer not only some magnificent sandy beaches but also real historical dazzlers and rich, off-the-beach experiences. On Rhodes, cultural must-dos include visits to the Palace of the Grand Master and other sights in Rhodes’s Old Town, as well as the Acropolis of Lindos. Kos’s great archaeological treasure is the Asklepieion, the great healing center of antiquity. Go early to avoid the heat and crowds.

On these busy islands it’s also easy to wander off the beaten path to enjoy mountainous hinterlands carpeted in pine forests, vineyards, and groves of olives and oranges. A visit to either island should include a country drive (or bus excursion) and lunch in a village taverna. Good stops are Siana and Apollona in Rhodes, and Zia on Kos. Symi and Patmos are more geared to travelers looking for low-key retreats and a glimpse of authentic island life. It’s easy to slip away to uncrowded beaches and coves on either, but also to join islanders for their time-honored ritual of an evening stroll. On Symi, you can amble around the harbor in Yialos, then walk up the Kali Strata (Good Steps) to Chorio. In Patmos, the gathering spots are the main waterfront promenade and narrow lanes of Skala, which come alive in the evening.

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